- Fred Olsen Cruise Line; Arctic Mountains, Fjords & Polar Bears -
The Fred Olsen Cruise Line sailing to the the snowy Arctic, with its amazing landscape and fascinating wildlife, is a most exciting and adventurous itinerary. Balmoral has a 16-night cruise departing from Southampton on the 26th of July 2013, and the experience will be enhanced by guest lecturer Sue Stockdale, the first British woman to ski to the North Pole, who will be aboard as part of the Vistas enrichment program.
Northern Norway is a land of magnificent fjords, snow capped peaks, and reindeer. It is scantly populated, and near enough to the North Pole that in some places the sun never sets during the summer months. The people are primarily fishermen, tourist industry workers, or shopkeepers and others who provide the infrastructure required by the two industries.
Fred Olsen Cruise Line’s Arctic Itinerary
Sailing from Southampton, the Fred Olsen Cruise Line’s Balmoral will call first at Ǻlesund in Norway. This charming town was destroyed by fire in 1904 and completely rebuilt in Art Nouveau style. Today it is one of the most picturesque places in the country. From there Balmoral heads far north into the Arctic Circle. She calls at Tromsø, surrounded by snow-capped peaks even in summer, then at Honningsvǻg and the North Cape, the northern most point in Europe. The road from Tromsø to the peaks that surround it becomes so narrow in winter that buses travel between walls of snow and ice, with a clearance of literally a few inches on either side. Fortunately, these frozen walls are not there in summer. En route to the peaks it is common to encounter white arctic foxes and cross country skiers however, snow being ever present. The cliffs of the North Cape near Honningsvǻg overlook the Arctic Ocean, and are inhabited by a wide variety of arctic birds, and the waters below are home to several species of whales. Along the route you may encounter herds of reindeer. The return taxi ride to the Cape can cost over $250 USD, so a ship’s tour may be a better alternative here.
Then its on to Longyearbyen, Svalbard, a town which enjoys daylight around the clock in the summer months. The town has 160 inhabitants, and reindeer can be seen roaming the streets. Originally a mining town, it has a museum dedicated to its mining and whaling history. As the Balmoral approaches the North Pole, it makes port at Ny Alesund, the most northerly permanent settlement in the world, and home to a scientific research center.
Balmoral then begins her journey south, visiting Kristiansund, famous for its Klippfish (dried cod) Museum. The last northern port of call is the spectacular fjord village of Olden, and then the ship sails back to Southampton.
Fred Olsen Cruise Line Guest Lecturer Sue Stockdale
Sue Stockdale, the guest lecturer on this voyage, uniquely combines business expertise with her experiences as an adventurer and explorer. Unlike other arctic explorers, Sue was a business consultant before she realized her dream of becoming an adventurer. She is the first British woman to walk to the Magnetic North Pole. In 1996 she survived temperatures of -40C and pulled 60 lbs of equipment for twelve hours a day to reach the Pole.
Sue is a successful international business consultant, with a Masters degree in quality management. In her richly inspirational presentations, she combines all her personal expertise and wide experiences as a polar explorer with her profound business knowledge. As such, Sue will be the perfect companion for this Arctic cruise, and Fred Olsen Cruise Line is fortunate to have her aboard.
Exploring the Arctic is an adventure which we found exhilarating when we had the good fortune to make the trip several years ago. As always, if you dare to venture into the northern stretches of Norway, heed the warning. Be ware of the trolls!
Happy cruising. Andrew Kruglanski
This story is based on a press release by Fred Olsen Cruise Line, and was edited and augmented by Andrew Kruglanski, Cruisin Susan Cruise Blog.
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The photo of the cliffs of North Cape was taken by Andrew Kruglanski