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Midsummer in Norway & the Scottish Isles 2019

Our voyage begins on the northeast coast of Scotland in the port of Aberdeen from where we call into the remote Shetland Islands to learn of the many legends that have shaped this mystical place. Cruising north, we will catch our first glimpse of Norway and begin our navigation of the fjords. Words cannot describe the awe-inspiring scenery as we take in views of mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, valleys and truly dramatic fjords. Amongst them, Naerofjorden has been included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

This itinerary uniquely combines the wonders of the natural world with the historical and cultural highlights of the area. Our visits will include the archaeological site of Jarlshof in the Shetlands, Haugesund to learn of Norway’s Viking heritage and Alesund to marvel at the Art Nouveau architecture. We will also spend time exploring the narrow and deep sided Trollfjorden and Runde, home to more than 240 species of birds. A highlight for many will be the journey on the Flam Railway, one of the most beautiful railway lines in the world.

Such a journey can only be undertaken by a special vessel with the self sufficient qualities of the MS Serenissima and joining you on board will be an expert team who have been selected for their enthusiasm, professionalism and specialist knowledge of the natural world. With our small ship we are able to access small harbours which are just not accessible to the larger cruise ships and ferries and we will be able to get up close to see nature at its rawest, cruise rugged coastlines, witness vibrant colours and admire the prolific birdlife of this wonderful region.

Midsummer in Norway & the Scottish Isles 2019 itinerary:

show reverse itinerary
Day 1 - Aberdeen, Scotland.
Embark the MS Serenissima this afternoon. Transfers will be provided from Aberdeen Airport and train station at a fixed time. Sail this evening for the Shetland Islands.
Day 2 - Lerwick, Shetland Islands.
From the Shetland capital we will visit the remarkable archaeological site of Jarlshof. The site was uncovered by a violent storm in the winter of 1896/7, revealing an extraordinary settlement site embracing at least 5000 years of human history. The site contains a remarkable sequence of stone structures – late Neolithic houses, a Bronze-Age village, an Iron-Age broch and wheelhouses, several Norse longhouse, a Medieval farmstead, and the 16th century laird’s house. Alternatively enjoy a free morning to explore this historic port. Perhaps wander through its narrow stone lanes or maybe visit the excellent Shetland Museum, containing artefacts from shipwrecks and the whaling era. Return to the ship for lunch and enjoy the afternoon sailing.
Day 3 - Haugesund, Norway.
It was in Haugesund where, a thousand years ago, King Harald Fairhair united Norway into a single kingdom, and it was from this area that the Viking Kings ruled Norway for more than 500 years. The region has laid claim to the title of Norway’s Birthplace and Homeland of the Viking Kings. On a morning tour we will visit the 13th century St Olav’s church before learning about the Viking Age at the Nordvegen Heritage Centre. We will return to the MS Serenissima via the national monument, Haraldshaugen which commemorates Norway’s unification. After lunch on board the afternoon is free to explore this small town independently, maybe make your way to the top of Steinsfjellet Mountain with panoramic views over the town, fjord and surrounding islands. Alternatively join us as we visit the charming old town of Skudeneshavn which consists of 130 white wooden houses originating from the 1800’s, when herring fishing was at its peak. We will stroll through the streets and our guide will share stories about the locals that lived here before we visit the Maelandsgarden Museum which highlights the development of the town.
Day 4 - Rosendal, Hardangerfjord.
Arrive this morning in Hardangerfjord, the third largest fjord in the world. We will dock in Rosendal and drive along the fjord towards the small part of the Hardangerfjord called Maurangerfjord, experiencing the idyllic scenery and farms along the way and viewing the magnificent Langfoss Waterfall. When we arrive at the small village of Sunndal we will walk to Bondhus Lake which is surrounded by a fascinating landscape of fjords and mountains. After lunch on board we have free time to explore the town.
Day 5 - Bergen.
We arrive this morning in the lovely fjord capital of Bergen. On our guided excursion we will drive past the fish market, Nordnes peninsula and Bergen Theatre on our way to Troldhaugen, the home of Norway’s most famous composer, Edvard Grieg. Here we explore the house and gardens before enjoying a private concert of his music. We return to the ship for lunch via the Hanseatic Quarters of ‘Bryggen’. This afternoon is at leisure to explore at your own pace.
Day 6 - Balestrand & Naerofjorden.
We spend the day enjoying spectacular fjord scenery from aboard the MS Serenissima. Balestrand is known for its narrow fjord branches and scenic and lush mountain landscape. Here we will see waterfalls, glacier arms stretching down into green valleys and the typical Swiss style wooden villas. We will continue to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Naerofjorden, one of the many fjord arms of Sognefjord and considered one of the most dramatic. If time and weather permits we will drop the Zodiacs to find a suitable landing to explore and enjoy a walk. This evening we will moor at the village of Flam.
Day 7 - Flam.
This morning we will embark on one of the most dramatic train rides in Europe. The Flam Railway is only 20 kilometres long but a masterpiece of engineering. The train climbs up from sea level to 867 metres during these 20 kilometres, crossing back and forth across rivers and through 20 tunnels. To allow you to view the magnificent scenery the train will proceed slowly and stop at the Kjosfossen Waterfall where you may leave the train to take a closer look or take some pictures. We will leave the train at Vatnahalsen and walk from the station to the Mountain Hotel where there will be time to relax before re-boarding the train back to Flam.
Day 8 - Nordfjord & Loen.
At dawn we will enter the spectacular scenery of Nordfjord and cruise towards the small village of Loen. From here we travel past Lovatn Lake to the beautiful Kjenndalen Valley where we will walk to the Kjenndalen Glacier, an arm of the Jostedal Glacier, the largest glacier in continental Europe. After lunch on board you can choose to enjoy some free time in Loen, or to take a trip on the cable car which rises 1100 metres and offers wonderful views over the fjord below. Alternatively join us on a visit to Jostedalsbreen National Park, home to one of the last great ice sheets in Europe with some sections over 1200 feet deep. Our scenic drive will also take us through the mountains, past rivers and lakes before ending at Videster with wonderful views towards Lodalskapa Peak and the Buldrefossen Waterfall.
Day 9 - Runde & Alesund.
Be on deck early this morning as we cruise by the bird cliffs at Runde, one of the largest nesting cliffs in Norway and home to half a million birds. More than 240 different species have been observed here including puffins, gannets, razorbills and northern fulmar. We continue to Alesund, one of the most beautiful towns in Norway. It is a great place to spend a morning exploring the streets with their Art Nouveau buildings and the more active may like to enjoy a walk up Mount Aksla taking the 418 steps for magnificent views of the town. Return to the ship for lunch as we continue our journey north.
Day 10 - Torghatten & Bronnoysund.
This morning Mount Torghatten will come into view, one of the most famous landmarks on the Norwegian coast. A fairly strenuous walk will take you to the ‘hole’ in the mountain which has been eroded by the sea and, for those wishing to have a more relaxing morning, our naturalists will lead some gentler walks along the water’s edge. During lunch we will sail through Bronnoysund and later this afternoon we cross the Arctic Circle by the island of Vikingen where we will see the monument and raise a glass on deck to celebrate.
Day 11 - Lofoten Islands & Trollfjorden.
Our final morning sees us in the Lofoten Archipelago, an enchanting area of picturesque villages with jagged granite mountain peaks forming a dramatic backdrop. We will have a full day tour to explore the villages and see the life of these islands. We will disembark in the small fishing village of Reine revered as one of the most beautiful in Norway before driving through the dramatic Lofoten scenery to Nusfjord. Enjoy a guided walk around this UNESCO World Heritage Site seeing the restored fishing cabins and local stores. After lunch we will continue to the picturesque seaside village of Vikten and the Viking Museum at Borg. Our day ends in Svolvaer where the ship will have sailed to meet us. This evening we enjoy time on deck as we sail through the beautiful, narrow and steep sided Trollfjorden witnessing the birdlife, waterfalls and dramatic scenery.
Day 12 - Tromso to London.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for your scheduled indirect flight to London.

Midsummer in Norway & the Scottish Isles 2019 reverse itinerary:

show main itinerary
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for your scheduled indirect flight to London.
Our final morning sees us in the Lofoten Archipelago, an enchanting area of picturesque villages with jagged granite mountain peaks forming a dramatic backdrop. We will have a full day tour to explore the villages and see the life of these islands. We will disembark in the small fishing village of Reine revered as one of the most beautiful in Norway before driving through the dramatic Lofoten scenery to Nusfjord. Enjoy a guided walk around this UNESCO World Heritage Site seeing the restored fishing cabins and local stores. After lunch we will continue to the picturesque seaside village of Vikten and the Viking Museum at Borg. Our day ends in Svolvaer where the ship will have sailed to meet us. This evening we enjoy time on deck as we sail through the beautiful, narrow and steep sided Trollfjorden witnessing the birdlife, waterfalls and dramatic scenery.
This morning Mount Torghatten will come into view, one of the most famous landmarks on the Norwegian coast. A fairly strenuous walk will take you to the ‘hole’ in the mountain which has been eroded by the sea and, for those wishing to have a more relaxing morning, our naturalists will lead some gentler walks along the water’s edge. During lunch we will sail through Bronnoysund and later this afternoon we cross the Arctic Circle by the island of Vikingen where we will see the monument and raise a glass on deck to celebrate.
Be on deck early this morning as we cruise by the bird cliffs at Runde, one of the largest nesting cliffs in Norway and home to half a million birds. More than 240 different species have been observed here including puffins, gannets, razorbills and northern fulmar. We continue to Alesund, one of the most beautiful towns in Norway. It is a great place to spend a morning exploring the streets with their Art Nouveau buildings and the more active may like to enjoy a walk up Mount Aksla taking the 418 steps for magnificent views of the town. Return to the ship for lunch as we continue our journey north.
At dawn we will enter the spectacular scenery of Nordfjord and cruise towards the small village of Loen. From here we travel past Lovatn Lake to the beautiful Kjenndalen Valley where we will walk to the Kjenndalen Glacier, an arm of the Jostedal Glacier, the largest glacier in continental Europe. After lunch on board you can choose to enjoy some free time in Loen, or to take a trip on the cable car which rises 1100 metres and offers wonderful views over the fjord below. Alternatively join us on a visit to Jostedalsbreen National Park, home to one of the last great ice sheets in Europe with some sections over 1200 feet deep. Our scenic drive will also take us through the mountains, past rivers and lakes before ending at Videster with wonderful views towards Lodalskapa Peak and the Buldrefossen Waterfall.
This morning we will embark on one of the most dramatic train rides in Europe. The Flam Railway is only 20 kilometres long but a masterpiece of engineering. The train climbs up from sea level to 867 metres during these 20 kilometres, crossing back and forth across rivers and through 20 tunnels. To allow you to view the magnificent scenery the train will proceed slowly and stop at the Kjosfossen Waterfall where you may leave the train to take a closer look or take some pictures. We will leave the train at Vatnahalsen and walk from the station to the Mountain Hotel where there will be time to relax before re-boarding the train back to Flam.
We spend the day enjoying spectacular fjord scenery from aboard the MS Serenissima. Balestrand is known for its narrow fjord branches and scenic and lush mountain landscape. Here we will see waterfalls, glacier arms stretching down into green valleys and the typical Swiss style wooden villas. We will continue to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Naerofjorden, one of the many fjord arms of Sognefjord and considered one of the most dramatic. If time and weather permits we will drop the Zodiacs to find a suitable landing to explore and enjoy a walk. This evening we will moor at the village of Flam.
We arrive this morning in the lovely fjord capital of Bergen. On our guided excursion we will drive past the fish market, Nordnes peninsula and Bergen Theatre on our way to Troldhaugen, the home of Norway’s most famous composer, Edvard Grieg. Here we explore the house and gardens before enjoying a private concert of his music. We return to the ship for lunch via the Hanseatic Quarters of ‘Bryggen’. This afternoon is at leisure to explore at your own pace.
Arrive this morning in Hardangerfjord, the third largest fjord in the world. We will dock in Rosendal and drive along the fjord towards the small part of the Hardangerfjord called Maurangerfjord, experiencing the idyllic scenery and farms along the way and viewing the magnificent Langfoss Waterfall. When we arrive at the small village of Sunndal we will walk to Bondhus Lake which is surrounded by a fascinating landscape of fjords and mountains. After lunch on board we have free time to explore the town.
It was in Haugesund where, a thousand years ago, King Harald Fairhair united Norway into a single kingdom, and it was from this area that the Viking Kings ruled Norway for more than 500 years. The region has laid claim to the title of Norway’s Birthplace and Homeland of the Viking Kings. On a morning tour we will visit the 13th century St Olav’s church before learning about the Viking Age at the Nordvegen Heritage Centre. We will return to the MS Serenissima via the national monument, Haraldshaugen which commemorates Norway’s unification. After lunch on board the afternoon is free to explore this small town independently, maybe make your way to the top of Steinsfjellet Mountain with panoramic views over the town, fjord and surrounding islands. Alternatively join us as we visit the charming old town of Skudeneshavn which consists of 130 white wooden houses originating from the 1800’s, when herring fishing was at its peak. We will stroll through the streets and our guide will share stories about the locals that lived here before we visit the Maelandsgarden Museum which highlights the development of the town.
From the Shetland capital we will visit the remarkable archaeological site of Jarlshof. The site was uncovered by a violent storm in the winter of 1896/7, revealing an extraordinary settlement site embracing at least 5000 years of human history. The site contains a remarkable sequence of stone structures – late Neolithic houses, a Bronze-Age village, an Iron-Age broch and wheelhouses, several Norse longhouse, a Medieval farmstead, and the 16th century laird’s house. Alternatively enjoy a free morning to explore this historic port. Perhaps wander through its narrow stone lanes or maybe visit the excellent Shetland Museum, containing artefacts from shipwrecks and the whaling era. Return to the ship for lunch and enjoy the afternoon sailing.
Embark the MS Serenissima this afternoon. Transfers will be provided from Aberdeen Airport and train station at a fixed time. Sail this evening for the Shetland Islands.
* = Indicative
Map for Midsummer in Norway & the Scottish Isles 2019
Serenissima, the ship servicing Midsummer in Norway & the Scottish Isles 2019

Serenissima

Vessel Type: Small Ship

Length: 87 metres

Passenger Capacity: 95

Built / refurbished: 1960 / 2013 / December 2018

Prior to her life as the MS Andrea she spent many years cruising the Norwegian coast as the Harald Jarl. The decision by the Norwegian owners, Hurtigruten to invest in much larger new vessels, presented an opportunity to the American company, Elegant Cruises to purchase the vessel in 2002. After a substantial refit of over $20 million in Sweden she began her new life of worldwide cruising. She underwent another significant refurbishment in December 2018 and her capacity was reduced to 95.

Perhaps, one of the best known and loved features of this vessel is its unique style. During the major refit in Sweden the then owners commissioned Swedish interior designers to create a Gustavian style interior. This bright Swedish 18th century influenced, country house style works particularly well on a vessel of this vintage, providing intimacy and classic nautical sensibility often lacking in larger vessels.

Accommodating just 95 passengers, the 53 cabins are attractively designed for comfort and convenience and are fully air conditioned with a modern shower and toilet, telephone, flat screen televisions and other thoughtful appointments. There are eight different grades of cabin arranged over five decks and with the exception of the five inside cabins, all staterooms feature either windows or portholes.

The free seating Venice Restaurant accommodates all guests in one sitting. In addition there is an outside dining area for when the weather and itinerary permit. A new addition to the vessel is a Lido area on Deck 5 with a bar and Jacuzzi.

Other facilities on board include two lounges, a small library with two computers for internet access, a spacious observation deck, fitness area, massage and an elevator. In areas such the United Kingdom and Norway the vessel is equipped with Zodiac craft allowing us to visit remote places where normal tender arrangements are not possible.

The European captain, officers, expedition staff, and crew offer a first class service and have been selected for their professionalism and caring attitudes. The atmosphere on board is warm and welcoming and dedicated to discovery and relaxation.

Serenissima DeckSerenissima suite

 

Cabin layout for Serenissima
• From the Shetland capital Lerwick we will visit the remarkable archaeological site of Jarlshof

• Arrive in Hardangerfjord, the third largest fjord in the world

• Explore the lovely fjord capital of Bergen. On our guided excursion we will drive past the fish market, Nordnes peninsula and Bergen Theatre on our way to Troldhaugen, the home of Norway’s most famous composer, Edvard Grieg

• Embark on one of the most dramatic train rides in Europe. The Flam Railway is only 20 kilometres long but a masterpiece of engineering

• Discover the Lofoten Archipelago, an enchanting area of picturesque villages with jagged granite mountain peaks forming a dramatic backdrop
Enquire now about Midsummer in Norway & the Scottish Isles 2019

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