Christmas Expedition Cruise from Dover

Christmas Expedition Cruise from Dover

Christmas Expedition Cruise from Dover

Christmas Expedition Cruise from Dover

Travel information 15 days MS Maud
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Make your Christmas and New Year’s even more magical with an expedition along the beautiful Norwegian coast, bringing together yuletide traditions and the spectacular Northern Lights. 

It’s beginning to look a lot like… 

Sailing from Dover, we’ll reach the wild and spectacular Nordfjord on the morning of Christmas day. You’ll have a Christmas to remember as you explore the picture-perfect village of Loen. In the stunning Lofoten islands, you’ll visit one of the best-preserved traditional fishing villages in Norway.  

You’ll go stargazing in Alta; situated at 70°N, it’s one of the most northerly towns in the world and one of the best places to see the aurora, should it appear. In the Arctic capital of Tromsø, you’ll learn about its polar history and possibly take part in exciting excursions. Basking in the light of the Polar Night, we continue north to Narvik, a small town with great historical significance. 

Starting the New Year on an adventure 

It’ll be a New Year’s Eve with a difference as we head off off-the-beaten-track exploring some of mid-Norway's islands and fjords for two magical days – expedition style! As our special New Year’s party reaches its climax and the clock counts down to midnight, you might be treated to fireworks. You’ll round off your journey exploring Bergen’s UNESCO-listed Bryggen district and charming Egersund before ending your expedition cruise back in Dover.

Christmas Expedition Cruise from Dover Christmas Expedition Cruise from Dover
  • Day 1
    Dover, UK

    Setting off from the White Cliffs

    We set our course north from Dover towards the coast of Norway’s magical, snow-covered landscape as we hunt for the Northern Lights. You can also look forward to discovering a number of wonderful Norwegian Christmas traditions along the way.  

    If you’ve time, take a walk alongside or atop the iconic white cliffs of Dover that have become a symbol for England. One of the best places to do so is at St. Margaret’s Bay which offers great views of the chalky coastline from its wide shingle beach. 

    Once on board the ship, you’ll pick up your complimentary expedition jacket, settle into your cabin, and attend a mandatory safety drill.  

    When the ship sets sail, stretch your sea legs and get to know MS Maud, your cosy home away from home. Take in the sea air out on deck or watch the world go by from the panoramic Explorer Lounge and Bar, maybe together with a relaxing glass of wine? Your Christmas and New Year’s adventure to the Arctic is officially underway!  

    After the first of many delicious dinners and a welcome toast by the Captain, you’ll meet your expert Expedition Team. They are your knowledgeable lecturers, warm hosts, and good-natured guides throughout your journey. Many grew up and live in the places you’ll be visiting and are passionate about sharing their home with you, especially during this special season.  

    First and foremost though, they are there to keep you safe and well. They’ll be making it a priority to run through important health and safety aspects with you and your fellow guests.    

    Later in the evening, we’ll call at Harwich, which is one of the most important ports on the Essex coast and boasts a rich maritime heritage. Famous explorers such as Sir Francis Drake, Sir Richard Hawkins, and Sir Martin Frobisher all departed from here on several expeditions of discovery. Perhaps most famously, the town was the home port of the Pilgrim ship ‘Mayflower’ and birthplace of its captain, Christopher Jones.  

    In keeping with Harwich tradition, and to celebrate the start of your journey, you’ll enjoy a local sea shanty performance before crossing the North Sea.  

    Day 1
    Dover, UK

    Setting off from the White Cliffs

  • Day 2-3
    At sea

    Norway bound

    The next two days at sea give you all the time you need to ease into your journey. You’ll definitely want to start enjoying onboard facilities like the hot tubs, sauna, and indoor gym.  

    The Expedition Team will begin the first in their series of insightful lectures over at the Science Center. Each member of the team are experts on different subjects and you’ll find them to be walking, talking treasure troves of stories and information. They’ll share their extensive knowledge about the places, Christmas traditions, history, and natural phenomena you are likely to encounter.  

    Norwegians celebrate Christmas on the 24th rather than the 25th of December. This means that today, the 23rd is Lille Juleaften or Christmas Eve in Norway. Each family has its own traditions; some might weave julekurver – heart-shaped paper decorations, others build gingerbread houses, decorate the tree, or eat risengrynsgrøt – a warm rice porridge served with cinnamon, sugar, and butter. Perhaps you’ll even take one of these Norwegian traditions back home with you and make it your own! 

    Day 2-3
    At sea

    Norway bound

  • Day 4
    Nordfjord & Loen - Anchored - Full day

    Fjord side to mountain top in five

    It’s Christmas morning. Norwegians normally open their gifts after dinner the night before but you might have left yours to unwrap this morning. Share season’s greetings with family and friends or simply admire the scenic winter landscapes as we sail into Nordfjord.  

     The fjord run offs from Jostedalsbreen, Europe's largest mainland glacier, and flows west into the ocean just south of the Stadlandet peninsula.  

    You’ll spot numerous old fishing communities located along the fjord that actually date back to pre-Viking times. One such place is Loen, where we arrive around noon. In the shadow of the mighty Jostedalsbreen glacier, at the very heart of Nordfjord, Loen is the perfect place to explore the gorgeous surrounds.  

    As you enjoy a delicious meal back on board the ship, you can continue to admire the views as we exit the fjord and rejoin the coastal waters. This will certainly be a Christmas to remember. 

    The menu will be inspired by the same Christmas dinner Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen enjoyed on his expedition to the North Pole aboard the original Fram in 1893. It was also the year Hurtigruten was founded. 

    Our chefs will have been busy preparing rich oxtail soup, traditional fish terrine, succulent reindeer with tangy lingonberry marmalade, stewed cloudberries, and kransekake, a Norwegian confectionary made of almonds. 

    Christmas meals are usually washed down with a generous glass (or more) of local akevitt (snaps) and beer. God jul to all! 

    Day 4
    Nordfjord & Loen - Anchored - Full day

    Fjord side to mountain top in five

  • Day 5
    At sea

    Cruising the coastal inner route towards the Arctic

    Today marks the start of Romjulen, the quieter period between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Many Norwegians head to the slopes to go skiing or sledding. We’ll be spending the day at sea en route to the famous Lofoten Islands and into the Arctic Circle. 

    If you celebrated a little too merrily last night, today will provide you with a day to recover. Relax in the ship’s Explorer Lounge, soak in a hot tub, or take in the scenery out on deck as we sail through Helgeland county. 

    Gaze out over thousands of small isles and pick out the Seven Sisters mountain range and famous Torghatten Mountain with its distinctive natural hole right through its centre.  

    The Expedition Team continues its on-board lecture series and there may be a photography workshop, giving you top tips on how to capture the best Northern Lights images.  

    This may come in very useful as we head north of the Arctic Circle into the Aurora Zone where your chances of seeing the Northern Lights improve considerably. 

    It is the Polar Night above the Arctic Circle, 24 hours of night. It’s not complete darkness though as you’ll also get to experience the very romantic ‘blue hour’. This is an extended twilight that can actually be several hours long. The winter sun glows just below the horizon, bathing Norway’s fjords and mountains in a dreamy cobalt-blue light.  

    Day 5
    At sea

    Cruising the coastal inner route towards the Arctic

  • Day 6
    Reine - Half day

    Idyllic island life

    Welcome to the picture-perfect fishing village of Reine, in the Lofoten Islands. This is where red-painted, snow-covered rorbuer cling to a string of islands beneath sharp, dark grey granite mountain ranges. The 450-metre tall Reinebringen is one of the most distinctive peaks, particularly dramatic when layered with snow.  

    The combination of setting and colour makes Reine one of the most photographed landscapes in all of Norway.  

    After marveling at the scenery and discovering pretty Reine, you’ll go on your included activity for today. A 30-minute bus ride will take you to Å, one of the best-preserved traditional fishing villages in Norway. At the heart of the tiny village is the Norwegian Fishing Village Museum, which covers the importance and development of fishing in Lofoten over the last 250 years. 

    Later, we return to Reine where there may be opportunities to go on hikes with the Expedition Team or even try some winter kayaking. The views here will certainly tempt you to sign up to either.  

    • Included Reine - The Fishing Village of Å
    Day 6
    Reine - Half day

    Idyllic island life

  • Day 7
    Alta, 70° North

    On the lookout for the Northern Lights

    Alta lies in the vast wilderness of Troms and Finnmark county, well above the Arctic Circle at 70 degrees north. Welcome to the turning point of your expedition and to one of the northernmost towns in the world with a population over 10,000. This is a cute town to stroll around, decorated in Christmas lights and the season’s snow. 

    We’ll arrive here in the early afternoon and plan to stay past midnight to stargaze and watch for the aurora in Alta’s skies. The town is directly beneath the Auroral Oval, a zone known for consistent Northern Lights activity. If the heavens aren’t overcast, and the conditions are right, you might well be in for quite the show... 

    You’ll learn more about the aurora at the modern Northern Lights Cathedral in Alta, situated at the end of the Christmas-decorated pedestrian street. The titanium-clad building and its spiral belfry dominate the skyline here, all the more impressive when illuminated at night.  

    You’ll find an interactive exhibition in the cathedral that chronicles how Norwegian scientist Kristian Birkeland established Alta as an epicentre for ground-breaking Northern Lights research in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  

    ‘Buorit Juovllat!’ That’s Merry Christmas in North Sámi. Troms and Finnmark county forms part of the traditional lands of the indigenous Sámi whose livelihoods revolve around semi-nomadic reindeer herding.  

    • Included Experience the Northern Lights Cathedral
    Day 7
    Alta, 70° North

    On the lookout for the Northern Lights

  • Day 8
    Tromsø - Full day

    The Gateway to the Arctic

    Your Yuletide adventure, filled with the magical beauty of nature, continues as we look out for humpback whales out on deck or in the Explorer Lounge. Families of these majestic mammals are known to frequent these winter waters, feeding on the abundant herring. The Expedition Team will be on hand to alert you to any sightings.  

    Our next stop is Tromsø, capital of the Arctic. We’ll arrive around lunchtime and spend the rest of the day and evening exploring its fascinating history, culture and bold architecture.  

    The city is especially pretty around Christmas, festooned with lights and decorations. The Arctic Cathedral is one of the most striking landmarks in Tromsø, especially when lit up at night. It features a huge stained-glass window that is well worth seeing up close.  

    You can busy yourself by browsing the shops or sampling the region’s fresh produce in a range of restaurants. Why not drop into a local bakery and try some seasonal julekake, ‘Norwegian Hole Cake’, made with raisins and orange peel?   

    For more festive spirit, join the friendly locals in the town’s many pubs. Tromsø is home to the world’s northernmost brewery, Mack Bryggeri, which also runs Ølhallen, a popular and lively pub.  

    • Included The Polar Museum
    Day 8
    Tromsø - Full day

    The Gateway to the Arctic

  • Day 9

    An historical port surrounded by fjords

    We arrive in Narvik in the morning. The town has a spectacular setting on a peninsula surrounded by three fjords: The Ofotfjord, Rombaken, and Beisfjord. The multiple mountains also help to shelter its popular ski slopes from strong coastal winds.  

    Narvik developed as an all-year port for Swedish iron mines, which was of strategic importance for Germany during World War II. Browse the town’s galleries, shops, and restaurants, which specialise in locally-sourced seafood from the fjords and reindeer meat from the mountains.  

    If weather allows, ride the cable car to the top of Mount Narvik to see the breathtaking views and twinkling Christmas lights decorating the town or go on optional excursion hikes, snowshoeing or kayaking on the fjord.  

    • Included Narvik War Museum Visit
    Day 9

    An historical port surrounded by fjords

  • Day 10-11
    At Sea - Full day

    New Year’s party on expedition

    Today, we’ll be sailing into a new year – expedition style! We’ll spend the time getting off the beaten track and heading to wherever takes our fancy. Activities and any landings will be picked at the discretion of the Expedition Team, and they’ll draw on their in-depth knowledge of the area to bring you to the most exhilarating and naturally beautiful locations. 

    There are many islands and fjords to discover in this region, and we’ll be sailing in to get a closer look at some of them. Our expedition boats will take us ashore where we’ll be on the lookout for the local wildlife in these stunning surroundings. Weather conditions will also play a part in deciding where to explore – so all we can say is expect the unexpected! 

    We aim to find calm waters for our special New Year’s Eve dinner. Expect caviar, king crab, and beef, salmon or nut roast Wellington. Round it off with an aquavit sorbet to kick off more celebrations aboard the ship for the rest of the evening.  

    As the party reaches its climax and the clock counts down to midnight, you might be treated to fireworks. Not a bad way to see in the new year! 

    Day 10-11
    At Sea - Full day

    New Year’s party on expedition

  • Day 12
    Bergen - Half day

    City of Seven Mountains

    Welcome to Bergen, one of the country’s most picturesque cities, and perfect for exploring on foot. Founded in 1070 CE, Bergen was Norway’s capital for many years and you’ll see that the city has retained a great deal of its local character, heritage and charm.  

    Your included activity in Bergen is an excursion to Mount Fløyen. We’ll hop on Hurtigruten buses from where the ship docks and drive to the Fløibanen funicular. The ride to the top of the mountain takes just six minutes. At the summit, 320 metres high, bask in stunning views over the city surrounded by seven mountains and the sea. If there’s time, we might also have an opportunity to venture into the alpine forest here for a short hike. 

    Once back in the centre of Bergen, spend some time wandering the cobblestone streets and alleyways of this thriving, compact city. Be sure to stroll through the historic UNESCO-listed Bryggen district with its colourful wooden wharfs. The area dates back to the 14th century and now houses boutique stores selling a range of Norwegian arts and crafts. Across from Bryggen is Bergen’s famous fish market which is full of sights, sounds and scents to savour.  

    • Included Bergen - The Fløibanen Funicular
    Day 12
    Bergen - Half day

    City of Seven Mountains

  • Day 13
    Egersund, Norway - Half day

    Christmas cheer 

    We arrive in Egersund in the morning. Bask in the magical atmosphere while admiring the rustic wooden houses and narrow streets of this historic town, decked out in festive decorations, fairy lights, and a Christmas tree in the town square. 

    Peruse the many beautifully decorated shops of the pedestrianised town centre. A visit to the local chocolate and ice cream factory is also well worth a visit. There are small windows inside where you can see tasty treats being prepared. Indulge in gourmet chocolate and pick from a range of ice cream flavours. We recommend the pepperkake-is, gingerbread ice cream! 

    After enjoying the delights of Egersund, you’ll return to the ship in the afternoon.  

    Day 13
    Egersund, Norway - Half day

    Christmas cheer 

  • Day 14
    At sea

    Headed home

    It’s our final day at sea and your cruise with us is fast drawing to a close. Your thoughts might naturally turn to home, or maybe you’ll find that you’ll have already left your heart back in Norway.  

    Today will be a good time to spend reflecting on and taking stock of all the wonderful experiences you’ve had. Like the sensation of standing in awe under the Northern Lights. Or the spectacular scenery of the Lofoten Islands in Reine. Or maybe the cosy, idyllic islands of Kalvåg and Mosterøy.  

    The Expedition Team will likely be in a similar mood as you, and you can join them as they fondly recap the highlights of the thrilling cruise you’ve shared together. Their enthusiasm and stories of other expeditions might even tempt you to return to Norway with us again, eager to experience other places on its coast but perhaps in a different season next time.  

    For your next cruise here, spring offers the best of both sun and snow while summer is when the Midnight Sun reigns supreme day and night, making the fjords and mountains appear even more vibrant. Autumn has a special kind of sunlight that bathes the yellow, rust-coloured leaves in hazy gold hues. Whichever season you choose, you’ll probably fall in love with Norway all over again. 

    Day 14
    At sea

    Headed home

  • Day 15

    Refreshed and ready for the new year

    We pass the white cliffs of Dover during the early morning hours and dock at the city’s harbour. After breakfast, it’s time to leave your home for the past 14 days, ready to enter the new year in earnest.  

    As you head ashore, you’ll take with you the lifetime memories of Norway in winter during Christmas time - wonderful fjords, fascinating towns and cities, friendly people, and the magical Northern Lights.  

    Dover acts as the gateway to English countryside, the verdant counties of Kent and Surrey, and beyond to the melting pot of London. But before you rush off, you might to like to visit Dover Castle, tipped to be the largest in England.  

    There is a rare Roman lighthouse here, one of only three in the world and reputedly the UK’s oldest building. You can also go on a tour of the underground hospital and secret WWII tunnels that run beneath the castle complex. 

    Whatever’s next for you, we wish you a safe onward journey and look forward to seeing you on your next adventure! 

    Day 15

    Refreshed and ready for the new year


What’s included

Expedition Cruise

  • Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurants Aune and Fredheim
  • À la carte restaurant Lindstrøm included for suite guests
  • Complimentary tea and coffee
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to use at water refill stations on board
  • English-speaking Expedition Team who organise and accompany activities on board and ashore
  • Range of included activities

Onboard Activities

  • Experts on the Expedition Team deliver in-depth lectures on a variety of topics
  • Use of the ship’s Science Center which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
  • Citizen Science program allows guests to assist with live scientific research
  • Professional onboard photographer gives top tips and tricks for the best landscape and wildlife photos
  • Use of the ship’s hot tubs, panoramic sauna and indoor gym
  • Informal gatherings with the crew such as daily recaps and preparation for the day to come

Landing Activities

  • Escorted landings with small expedition boats
  • Trekking poles, head lamps and walking poles available if necessary
  • Complimentary wind and water-resistant expedition jacket
  • Expedition Photographers help with your camera settings

Not included in your voyage

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional shore excursions with our local partners
  • Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team

  • All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions
  • Excursions and activities are subject to change
  • Please make sure you meet all entry and boarding requirements
  • No gratuities expected
MS Maud
Interior in restaurant Lindstrøm
Photo: Oscar Farrera
Your ship

MS Maud

Year built 2003
Shipyard Fosen Mek. Verk. (N)
Passenger capacity 570 (500 in Antarctica)
Beds 500
Gross tonnage 16,151 T
Length 135,75 m
Beam 21.5 m
Speed 15 knots

Formerly MS Midnatsol, MS Maud was renamed in honour of the ship that brought Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen through the Northeast Passage.

Read more about MS Maud

Science center - MS Maud
Photo: Oscar Farrera