Norway Winter Expedition Cruise from Hamburg

Norway Winter Expedition Cruise from Hamburg

Norway Winter Expedition Cruise from Hamburg

Norway Winter Expedition Cruise from Hamburg

Travel information 15 days MS Otto Sverdrup
September: 30.
October: 14., 28.
November: 11., 25.
December: 9.
January: 6., 20.
February: 3., 17.
March: 3., 17.
Price from 4198 €
3448 €
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

This is a winter expedition sailing from Hamburg to the coast of Norway, into the Arctic, and under the Auroral Zone. You’ll go all the way up to the North Cape and experience fjords, fishing villages, scenic cities and island life along the way. Keep your eyes on the skies for appearances of Norway’s spell-binding Northern Lights.

Up beyond the Arctic Circle

Setting off Hamburg, you’ll soon arrive in Bergen. The views from atop Mount Fløyen are sure to get your expedition off to a good start. We’ll sail Nordfjord and explore Loen, nestled beneath Mount Hoven and not far from the largest glacier in Norway. Admire ice sculptures and try a shot of aquavit at an ice bar in Svolvær. Enjoy a concert at the shiny Northern Lights Cathedral in Alta and go on to behold the cliffside scenery of North Cape at the top of Europe.

More winter highlights

The ship now sails south to cosmopolitan ‘Capital of the Arctic’ Tromsø where there are optional winter excursions to join. Learn about the importance of fishing to Norway in the picturesque Lofoten villages of Reine and Å. It’s then time to take in Ålesund city’s Art Nouveau architecture and visit the Atlantic Sea Park, home to Humboldt penguins, seals, and otters. In a village in Hardangerfjord, you can toast to your thrilling winter adventure with warm, locally brewed cider before heading home to Hamburg.

Norway Winter Expedition Cruise from Hamburg
  • Day 1

    Setting sail for Norway

    Estimated time of departure is 7:00 PM

    All aboard at Hamburg! MS Otto Sverdrup is here, ready and waiting to bring you north to Norway´s magical landscapes on the hunt for one of nature’s greatest spectacles: The Northern Lights. 

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

    The ship sets sail, heading up to the North Sea. Stretch your sea legs and get to know MS Otto Sverdrup, your cosy home away from home. If the weather holds, take in the salubrious sea air from out on deck or park yourself in the Explorer Lounge and Bar to watch the world go by from the panoramic windows; together with a relaxing glass of wine. Your adventure to the Arctic under the Auroral Zone is officially underway! 

    Day 1

    Setting sail for Norway

  • Day 2
    At sea

    Norway Bound

    This day at sea gives 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. But you’ll likely also be striking up a camaraderie with the Expedition Team as well as other crew members and guests.  

    The Expedition Team will begin the first in their series of insightful lectures over at the Science Center. Each member of the Expedition 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, history, nature, people and natural phenomena we are likely to encounter during this winter cruise along the Norwegian coast. Today’s topics might include the geology of the North Sea, the science behind the Northern Lights, or the history of Hurtigruten as a national icon of Norway. 

    We also support a number of Citizen Science projects that you can join. These projects include Happywhale where your photographs help identify and track whales across the planet. Or the Globe observer project which combines your observations of clouds and sky conditions from below with data collected by satellites. Not only will you be supporting the scientific community, you’ll also be getting a better understanding of the world around you.

    Even as no one can completely predict the weather, wind and waves on the North Sea are known to be a bit choppy at this time of year. Our Captain’s goal is to bring us into Bergen the next day, but where nature is involved, nothing can be completely set in stone. This is just part and parcel of the expedition experience, adding extra suspense and excitement to your adventure. Rest assured that we’ll be doing our best to make your cruise as safe and as smooth as possible, even if it means being flexible and adapting our plans to factor in the elements. 

    Day 2
    At sea

    Norway Bound

  • Day 3

    City of Seven Mountains

    In the morning, you’ll get your first glimpse of the Norwegian coast as small islands and mountains appear on the horizon. We’ll leave the North Sea and enter scenic straits and fjords on our way to the Hanseatic city of Bergen. Depending on the weather when crossing the North Sea, we aim to arrive in Bergen in the afternoon. As our first port of call in Norway, and one of the country’s most picturesque cities, Bergen won’t disappoint. Founded in 1070 AD, 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.

    Day 3

    City of Seven Mountains

  • Day 4
    Outside Loen

    Fjord side to mountain top in five

    We start the day with some scenic cruising into Nordfjord, passing Hornelen, Europe’s highest sea cliff, early in the morning. The fjord run offs from Jostedalsbreen, Europe's largest mainland glacier, and flows west into the ocean just south of the Stadlandet peninsula.  

    Thanks to the smaller size of our expedition ship, we’ll be taking you through straits and channels that larger vessels simply can’t fit through. This allows you to get that much closer to the fjords and mountains that the Norwegian coast is so famous for. It also means we can access small communities that few ever get to visit, giving you an intimate glimpse into the culture and way of life here. 

    It would make sense if lectures for today focus on the geology of Norway, covering the formation of its fjords, mountains and glaciers. You might also learn more about the Viking culture that used to inhabit the region and their thirst for exploration that still beats in the hearts of Norwegians today. 

    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.  

    We use our small boats to land at a floating jetty which is conveniently also a starting point for the Loen Skylift. The cable car climbs 1,011 metre to the top of Mount Hoven in only five minutes. At the summit, you’ll be treated to an unforgettable vista over the fjord. Mount Skåla and Lake Lovatnet can be seen to the east, and Jostedalsbreen Glacier and Olden to the south. With these panoramas all around you, you can participate in several optional winter activities on the mountain, such as snowshoeing or sledding. If time and weather allow, there might also be an opportunity to do some thrilling winter kayaking on the fjord. 

    Day 4
    Outside Loen

    Fjord side to mountain top in five

  • Day 5
    At sea

    Approaching the Arctic Circle

    Today you can spend time in the ship’s lounge, soaking in a hot tub, or out on deck. Whatever you do, don’t take your eyes off the scenery as we sail through Helgeland county and the thousands of islands of the Strandflaten lowland area. Pick out the peaks of the Seven Sisters mountain range, thought to be the petrified bodies of seven troll sisters caught out at sunrise. You’ll likely be amazed at Torghatten mountain too, with its distinct hole right through the middle. Local legend states that the mountain was in fact the troll-king’s hat which turned to stone when it was pierced through by an arrow. 

    At this point of your expedition, we are around the halfway mark along Norway’s long coastline and you won’t be far off from the Arctic Circle. This is an exciting time as the further north we sail, the greater your chances of seeing the Northern Lights. The natural phenomenon occurs when charged particles carried by the solar wind disturb the Earth’s upper atmosphere, creating mesmerising ripples and rays. The end result is a cosmic lightshow of dazzling colour and dance. Our route along the Norwegian coast will take us directly under the Auroral Zone, a prime area of Northern Lights occurrences. We’ll be hoping to see multiple sightings of the lights in different locations. 

    The weather in northern Norway will be noticeably nippier and the amount of snow you’ll see will normally start to increase as well, which actually has the effect of making the landscapes seem brighter. Depending on when in the winter season you sail, the periods of daylight will be fairly short and grow even more brief above the Arctic Circle. 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. 

    The Expedition Team will continue their onboard lectures which may cover local folklore and fairytales or a history of navigation along the coast from lighthouses to satellites. You might also learn about the quintessentially Norwegian love of the outdoors known as friluftsliv. Or perhaps pick up tips from the professional onboard photographer on how best to capture the aurora when they appear. 

    Day 5
    At sea

    Approaching the Arctic Circle

  • Day 6

    Enchantment in the Lofoten Islands

    There are just a few places on Earth where you can sail north of the Arctic Circle in wintertime. The Norwegian coast is one of them. The ship will officially cross over the Arctic Circle sometime in the morning. To mark the occasion in the tradition of Norwegian sailors, we’ll be inviting you out on deck for a special ceremony. Exactly what happens is something you’ll just have to find out on your cruise!

    The Lofoten Islands are one of the most spectacular locations in all of Norway and maybe even the world. As we approach the archipelago, the sight of the massive wall of mountains and dramatic peaks rising up out of the sea is something you’ll never forget. Serene fishing villages sit nestled in the sheltered coves, all the more charming if dusted with the season’s snow and if the aurora is seen swirling above.

    We sail along Vestfjord and arrive in Svolvær in the afternoon. This is the largest town in Lofoten with about 4,800 residents, many of whom work as fisherfolk. There are shops and art galleries to browse along the seafront promenade and rows of rorbuer, fishing huts, to admire. You might spot wooden racks called hjell dotted around the shores of the town too. Locally caught cod is dried on these racks and later turned into tørrfisk, or stockfish in English, and prized as a local delicacy. Fishing is clearly an important way of life in Lofoten and the lecture for the day may focus on how cod effectively helped to build Norway into a country.

    From where you get off the ship, it’s a short walk to your inclusive visit to the multicoloured Magic Ice bar. The former fish-freezing warehouse now displays a range of selfie-suitable ice sculptures that depict Lofoten life and Viking culture. Enjoy a signature spirit to warm you up, served in an ice glass of course! Your expert Expedition Team will also flex their local knowledge by handpicking safe and spectacular hiking trails or snowshoeing areas to offer as optional excursions.

    Day 6

    Enchantment in the Lofoten Islands

  • Day 7

    The City of the Northern Lights

    Alta lies in the vast wilderness of 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. We’ll arrive here in the early afternoon and plan to stay past midnight to stargaze and watch for the aurora. Alta 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. The titanium-clad building and its spiral belfry dominate the skyline here, all the more impressive when illuminated at night. There is an interactive exhibition here 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. You’ll also be treated to a classical concert in the cathedral as part of your visit.   

    Troms and Finnmark county also forms part of the traditional lands of the indigenous Sámi whose livelihoods revolve around semi-nomadic reindeer herding. The Expedition Team may take the opportunity being in Alta to talk more on Sámi culture. Not far from Alta is Máze, a Sámi village located along the Kautokeino river and visitable as part of an optional excursion. When more snow falls as winter progresses, Alta is also prime territory for visits to ice hotels, dog sledding and snowmobiling. 

    Day 7

    The City of the Northern Lights

  • Day 8

    At the edge of Europe

    Start the day by arriving into the small town of Honningsvåg. You’ll now visit one of the northernmost points in Europe as part of an included excursion. The scenic bus ride from Honningsvåg passes small bays and tiny villages, then crosses a mountain plateau before arriving at spectacular North Cape. At 71°10’21´N, it is just 2,100 kilometres away from the Geographic North Pole, with only the Svalbard Archipelago in between. 

    Stand at the cliff’s edge and gaze out across the sparkling sea. The North Cape is the closest you may ever get to the top of the world. There’s the obligatory selfie at the Globe Monument to snap before visiting the North Cape Hall for several exhibits and a short film which chronicle the history of the cape.   

    Back in Honningsvåg, enjoy a stroll by the pretty harbour, browsing the charming shops, houses and church. Like many towns in northern Norway, fishing is the main source of income here. The local restaurants offer fresh fish and seafood, with king crabs available all year round. This is the ship’s turning point and from here, we start our return trip southbound.

    Day 8

    At the edge of Europe

  • Day 9

    Gateway to the Arctic

    It’s time to explore Tromsø, capital of the Arctic. But before we do, we’ll be on the watch for humpback whales out on deck or in the Explorer Lounge. Families of these gentle giants are known to frequent the winter waters here, feeding on the abundant herring. The Expedition Team will also be on the lookout and alert you to any sightings.  

    We’ll reach the city of Tromsø in the morning and spend the rest of the day and evening exploring its fascinating history, culture and bold architecture. The Arctic Cathedral is one of the most striking landmarks in Tromsø, especially when lit up at night. It features an attractive, huge stained-glass window that is well worth seeing up close.  

    Historically, Tromsø was a frontier town for returning hunters and explorers and acted as a launch point for several Arctic expeditions. Today, the city is often called the ‘Paris of the North’ because of its international and cultural diversity. You can busy yourself by browsing the shops or sampling the region’s fresh produce in a range of restaurants. Feel like meeting some of the friendly locals? Tromsø is home to the world’s northernmost brewery, Mack Bryggeri, which also runs Ølhallen, a lively pub where townspeople go for a chat and a few pints.  

    Your included activity in Tromsø is a visit to the Polar Museum which is housed in a converted 1830s warehouse on the seafront. You’ll enjoy exhibitions that cover the city’s heritage as a base for famous trappers Henry Rudi and  Wanny Wolstad, the first female hunter in Svalbard. Tromsø also played a crucial role in the expeditions of legendary explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen.

    Other winter activities available in Tromsø include optional excursions with our Expedition Team on nature hikes, snowshoeing, and aurora-hunting bus rides. And like many places in Arctic Norway, when there is enough snow later in winter, the landscape becomes the ideal place to engage in some exhilarating dog sledding.  

    Day 9

    Gateway to the Arctic

  • Day 10

    Idyllic island life

    In the morning, we dock into the picture-perfect fishing village of Reine back in the Lofoten Islands. This is where red-painted rorbuer cling to a string of islands beneath sharp 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. You’ll be hoping the Northern Lights are active above the village when we are there, completing the composition of your own photo of this piece of paradise.  

    After spending some time wandering around Reine, ooh-ing and aah-ing at the scenery, 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. Exploring at your leisure, you’ll soon discover that the village is the museum and the museum is the village. 

    Day 10

    Idyllic island life

  • Day 11
    At sea

    Going with the flow

    The ship arrives at the islands off the coasts of Helgeland and Trøndelag. You’ll likely notice that these windswept islands are exposed to the North Sea and a stark contrast to the sheltered fjords. Even as the trees are stunted and bent by the wind, small communities still live here.

    The plan for today is that there isn’t one! After all, where’s the sense of fun and adventure if everything is scripted beforehand? The day’s activities and any landings will therefore be decided at the discretion of the Expedition Team. They will draw on their in-depth knowledge of the area to pick out the most interesting sites for you to explore, and based on the local weather conditions that day. It’s all part of your expedition experience.

    There are many islands and fjords to choose from in the area, and we’ll be exploring one or some of them, depending on time and climate. The ship will anchor off one of the islands or in a small bay. Boats will take us to shore where we’ll have the opportunity to explore local nature and culture.  

    Day 11
    At sea

    Going with the flow

  • Day 12

    Aquarium and Art Nouveau architecture

    Welcome to the charming coastal city of Ålesund! The small city clutches to the shores of a thin island chain. Its waterfront buildings, once wharves and warehouses and now apartments, are painted in pastel yellows and reds. Walk its cobblestone streets and admire the numerous spires, towers and highly-ornate buildings. Look closely and spot the variety of stone statues carved into the buildings 

    Due to a devasting fire in 1904, much of the city was rebuilt in the architectural style so fashionable at the time: Art Nouveau. The extensive project was partly funded by Kaiser Wilheim of Germany who enjoyed vacationing in the Sunnmøre region. He was such a fan that he is known to have visited Norway at least 22 times! Approximately 20 master builders and 30 Norwegian architects educated in Trondheim and Berlin drew inspiration from all over Europe when designing the many buildings that still stand here today. 

    As Norway’s Fishing Capital, Ålesund is also the site of the Atlantic Sea Park, recently granted status as Norway’s first marine science centre. A visit here is your included activity for the day. Built in the coastal landscape at Tueneset, you’ll find a spacious Humboldt penguin park and Europe’s biggest seal pool together with an underwater observatory. The park’s Otter Island is home to three sociable and adorable otters who go by the names of Nusse, Muffe and Pia.  

    There’s also a decent hike to the summit of nearby Mount Aksla, giving you views over the city and the other islands. Once you reach the top, you can refuel with an ice cream at the café. Or perhaps tuck into svele while here, a thick, crescent shaped pancake popular in these parts. For an added, bold Norwegian twist, add a slice of brunost, Norwegian brown cheese, so it melts in the middle.  

    Day 12

    Aquarium and Art Nouveau architecture

  • Day 13
    Rosendal or Sundal area

    ‘Queen of the Fjords’

    Hardangerfjord, located in the south-west of Norway, will be the last of the great fjords we visit on this winter Expedition. Enjoy the views as we sail deep into this fjord. We plan to explore either villages of Sunndal or Rosendal, depending on local conditions.

    From Sunndal, located close to the Bondhus Glacier, you can explore the area on a scenic hike or go kayaking with the Expedition Team as optional excursions. With only 800 inhabitants, Rosendal is a small, charming village. Just to the east of Rosendal is Folgefonna Glacier. You can learn more about one of Norway’s largest glaciers at the visitor’s centre found in the village.

    Whether Sunndal or Rosendal, make it a point to stop into one of the small cafés in the village to sample the delicious local produce. The hillsides of Hardangerfjord are home to 40% of all of Norway’s fruit orchards. The region is therefore famous for its apple products, from jams and juice to its award-winning cider, which one wine critic described as “Nordic champagne”.  

    Day 13
    Rosendal or Sundal area

    ‘Queen of the Fjords’

  • Day 14
    At sea

    Headed for Hamburg

    Your expedition is fast coming to an end. By this stage of your journey, you’ll have made friends with your fellow explorers, finding that you have much in common in terms of your interests and passion for nature. You can spend time chatting with them over a snack at the bistro-like Fredheim, perhaps recalling the best moments of your expedition together. Enjoy drinks at the Explorer Bar while swapping friendly banter and stories of past adventures. You might even catch a couple of the crew and Expedition Team here too.  

    If you’d rather spend this last day at sea in quiet contemplation, you’ll likely have multiple memory cards full of Northern Lights photos and more to sift through and reminisce on. Take stock of everything you’ve seen and experienced with a blood-pumping session in the gym and then relax in the soothing steam of the sauna one last time. 

    Day 14
    At sea

    Headed for Hamburg

  • Day 15

    End of an enchanting expedition

    Estimated time of arrival is 11:00 AM

    It’ll be time to say a fond farewell to the ship, the Captain, crew, Expedition Team, and your new-found friends.  

    As you head ashore, you’ll take with you special memories of Norway in winter: wonderful fjords, fascinating towns and cities, friendly people, and the magical Northern Lights.  

    We look forward to welcoming you aboard again with us soon!  

    Day 15

    End of an enchanting expedition


  • 2022
  • 2023

Current offers on this cruise:

  • Northern Lights Promise

    The beautiful Aurora Borealis is Mother Nature’s ultimate light show. We know that no trip to the Arctic Circle is quite complete without experiencing this highlight at least once on your journey.

    If the Northern Lights do not appear on your expedition cruise to Norway, we will give you another 6 or 7-day Classic Voyage FREE OF CHARGE.
    See full offer details
  • New Season

    Life changing experiences start here. Discover our new itineraries for 2022 and 2023.
    Read more


17 days left!

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What's included

Included in your voyage

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
  • German- and 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, outdoor and indoor gyms and outdoor running track
  • 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 and head lamps are available if necessary
  • Complimentary wind and water-resistant expedition jacket
  • Expedition Photographers help with your camera settings before landings

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
  • Optional treatments in the onboard wellness and spa area


  • 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 Otto Sverdrup
Photo: Trym Ivar Bergsmo/Hurtigruten
Aune Restaurant
Photo: Espen Mills
Ms Otto Sverdrup
Photo: Agurtxane Concellon
Your ship

MS Otto Sverdrup

Year built 2002
Year of refurbishment 2020
Shipyard Kleven Verft (N)
Beds 554
Gross tonnage 15,690 t
Length 138.5 m
Beam 21.5 m
Speed 15 knots
MS Otto Sverdrup
Photo: Trym Ivar Bergsmo/Hurtigruten

MS Otto Sverdrup is designed for exciting, sustainable expedition cruises along the Norwegian coastline

Read more about MS Otto Sverdrup

Cabin M4
Photo: Espen Mills
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