Princess Cruises: Exploring the Land of the Midnight Sun
Discover the beauty of the midnight sun on a bucket-list cruise with Princess Cruises
Like the northern lights, the midnight sun is a phenomenon that many travellers dream of seeing in their lifetime, and Princess Cruises can easily make this dream a reality with its cruises to some of the most northern points in the world.
In the northern hemisphere, days of prolonged daylight hours, commonly known as the midnight sun, start anywhere from April in the far north and mid-June around the Arctic Circle and last until late August or early July, respectively.
Of course, this prolonged sunlight is very different from the light you will find in the middle of the day, possessing a magical quality akin to a perpetual sunset in its beautiful hazy glow.
When the sun doesn’t set for six months and highlights the beauty of the land it looks down upon, it’s easy to see why this part of the world is a favourite for many cruisers.
Departing from Southampton in 2021 aboard Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess, cruisers will get to cruise along the fabled Norwegian coast across the Arctic Circle where the midnight sun shines 24 hours a day on the cruise line’s popular 14-night ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’ itinerary.
Shore excursions on this action-packed itinerary include everything from tours around historic towns to hikes in the wilderness.
In the land that never sleeps, you don’t have to either and can instead enjoy endless activities, from cycling and kayaking to fishing.
One of the popular ports of call is Bergen, which has witnessed Vikings setting sail on voyages of exploration, trade and war.
This former Hanseatic trading port situated on Norway’s southwestern coast still resembles a quaint fishing village and you could easily spend the whole day strolling around Bergen’s cobbled lanes, admiring the brightly-coloured Hanseatic merchant buildings that line the Unesco-listed Bryggen Wharf, with the magnificent fjords serving as the backdrop.
Bergen is also a great place to pick up gifts and souvenirs, with the market selling unique local crafts, including Bergen jumpers made from mountain-reared sheep’s wool, and the famous Fish Market, which has been a meeting place for merchants and fisherman for centuries. You can take in many of these historic sites on Princess’ ‘Highlights of Bergen’ excursion.
Alternatively, you can also visit the city’s famous Magic Ice Bar, one of Princess’ many Bergen shore excursions, where you will don provided ponchos and gloves for a unique sub-zero experience.
Drinks are served in handcrafted ice glasses, with dramatic sculptures and iridescent lighting enhancing the experience, while the translucent walls have been adorned with works of art by popular local artists.
The 14-night cruise also calls at Skjolden/Sognefjord, Olden, Trondheim, Honningsvåg, Tromsø, Lofoten Islands and Ålesund, leaving you with plenty of opportunities to marvel at the spectacular surroundings and deep-cut fjords.
Trondheim is the third largest – and second oldest – city in Norway. The town was originally called Kaupangen upon its founding in 997 AD by Viking king Olav Tryggvason.
Having served as the capital of Norway during the Viking Age until 1217, Trondheim is one of the best places to discover Norway’s medieval history, while also being a vibrant university town, complete with contemporary shops, bars, restaurants and cafés.
While here, don’t forget to pay a visit to the medieval Nidaros Cathedral, considered one of the important cathedrals in the country.
Honningsvåg, Norway’s third-largest harbour, is the gateway to the North Cape, the northernmost point of Europe and one of the best places to experience the midnight sun.
No visit to Honningsvåg is complete without a trip to North Cape. Princess Cruises offers an excursion to the mighty cliff’s plateau, where you can look out onto the vast Arctic Ocean and the Svalbard islands, which are the only things separating you from the North Pole.
Lying north of the Arctic Circle, Tromsø is home to the northernmost university in the world, which gives the town a lively cultural scene, highlighted by the annual ‘Midnight Sun Marathon’.
For a picture-worthy excursion, ride the cable car to the summit of Mt Storsteinen for dramatic views of Tromsø city.
For those who would prefer a more relaxed activity, you can visit the Polar Museum & Husky Wilderness Camp, where a guide will lead you through the camp and introduce you to many of their dogs and puppies which run in the Finnmarksløpet, the world's most northernmost and Europe's longest sled dog race.
Unique for its extreme weather conditions, low temperatures, frozen landscape of lakes and rivers, tundra and endless mountain, the Finnmarksløpet race is one of the toughest on the planet. Then, you'll return to Tromsø for a visit to the Polar Museum.
Housed in a historic warehouse, built in 1830, the museum is devoted to the numerous exploits of the great Norwegian explorers and hunters of the Arctic's polar regions. Exhibits, vintage equipment and artefacts, including skis, tents, scientific instruments and weapons, are also on display.
Another exciting port of call on the itinerary is Ålesund, a fascinating Art Nouveau style town and often called one of the prettiest ports in Norway. Buildings with elegant turrets and spires line the streets of the city centre.
Today, the city is one of Norway's most important fishing harbours and the world's largest supplier of stockfish (Klippfisk) – dried cod. Ålesund’s major attractions are the surrounding fjords and the stunning Sunnmøre Alps.
In 2021, Princess Cruises is offering two opportunities for cruisers to visit the land of the midnight sun with sailings departing from Southampton on 12 June and 21 August 2021.
In 2022, the cruise line will offer this amazing itinerary aboard its new ship, Sky Princess, with cruises departing on 11 June and 20 August, respectively.
Visit princess.com for more information.