Best Time To Cruise The Norwegian Fjords

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Cruising the Norwegian Fjords is an incredible experience and unlike any other we have experienced. The scenery is simply breathtaking. However what is the best time to Cruise The Norwegian Fjords? This really depends on your preferences and what you would like to see and experience during your trip. This could include experiences such as excursions and experiences, and whether wildlife and the Northern Lights are on your wish list for cruise vacation musts.

Also cost is a factor and varies depending on the season. However read on for our in-depth guide to cruising the Norwegian Fjords and when in the best time to visit Northern Europe on a cruise vacation.

Whats the best time to cruise the Norwegian Fjords for weather and animals

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Best Time To Cruise Norwegian Fjords

Whats The Best Month To Cruise Norwegian Fjords For The Weather?

The best month to cruise the Norwegian Fjords for weather largely depends on personal preferences and interests. However, in general, the most popular time to cruise the Norwegian Fjords is during the summer months of June, July, and August when the temperatures are milder, the days are longer, and the scenery is at its most vibrant.

During these months, you can expect average temperatures of around 15-20°C (59-68°F) and up to 20 hours of daylight, allowing for more time to explore the stunning fjords and surrounding landscapes.

Streets and Cafes on Skagenkaien,. When is the best time to cruise the Norwegian Fjords
Streets and Cafes on Skagenkaien,.

That being said, if you prefer a less crowded experience, consider cruising in the shoulder seasons of May, September and October. The temperatures during these months are pleasant, and you’ll have more opportunities to see the Northern Lights in September.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that weather in the Norwegian Fjords can be unpredictable, so it’s always a good idea to pack plenty of layers and prepare for some rain.

How To Beat The Crowds On Your Norwegian Fjords Cruise?

Here are some tips on how to beat the crowds when cruising the Norwegian Fjords:

Choose the right time to visit. As previously mentioned, the summer months (June to August) are the most popular time to visit the Norwegian Fjords. If you want to avoid the crowds, consider traveling during the shoulder season, which is in May or September. During this time, the weather is still relatively mild, and there are fewer tourists.

Choose a smaller ship or private tour. Choosing a smaller ship or a private tour company that can provide a more personalized and less crowded experience. Smaller ships can often visit less crowded ports and provide a more intimate experience. 

Øvre Holmegate in Stavanger

Plan your itinerary wisely. Avoid visiting popular attractions during peak hours, and consider visiting them earlier in the morning or later in the evening when fewer tourists are around. Alternatively, consider visiting lesser-known destinations to avoid crowds altogether.

Book shore excursions independently. Booking shore excursions independently can save you money and help you avoid large tour groups. You can plan your own itinerary and explore at your own pace.

Alternatively, explore on your own. Instead of following the crowds on shore excursions, explore the destinations on your own. You can rent a car, bike or hike to explore the area at your own pace and avoid the tourist crowds.

By following these tips, you can beat the crowds and enjoy a more relaxed and authentic experience when cruising the Norwegian Fjords.

P&O Iona Review and Photos

What Is The Best Time To See The Northern Lights On A Norwegian Fjords Cruise?

You can see the Northern Lights on a Norwegian fjord cruise from late September to early April, as this is when the nights are the longest and the sky is the darkest. This period provides the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights, as the dark skies increase the visibility of the aurora borealis.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that sightings of the Northern Lights are never guaranteed, as they are a natural phenomenon and depend on a variety of factors such as solar activity, cloud cover, and light pollution.

If you are specifically interested in seeing the Northern Lights during your Norwegian fjords cruise, it’s best to plan your trip for the optimal viewing period and choose an itinerary that includes ports with minimal light pollution. Additionally, consider booking a Northern Lights-focused excursion or activity to enhance your chances of seeing the lights.

What Is The Best Time To See The Northern Lights On A Norwegian Fjords Cruise? northern-light-g3a69a2035_1280

It’s also important to note that the Northern Lights can often be seen from the deck of your cruise ship, so be sure to keep an eye out for any alerts from the crew or captain regarding Aurora activity.

What Wildlife Will You See On A The Norwegian Fjords Cruise

A Norwegian fjords cruise offers a wonderful opportunity to view a variety of wildlife in their natural habitats. Here are some of the wildlife species that you may see on a Norwegian fjords cruise:

  1. Puffins These cute birds are known for their colorful beaks and can often be seen in large numbers on islands along the Norwegian coast.
  2. Eagles: Norway is home to both golden and sea eagles, which are often seen soaring above the fjords.
  3. Seals: Both harbor seals and grey seals can be spotted basking on rocks or swimming in the fjords.
  4. Reindeer: These majestic animals can be found grazing on the hillsides surrounding the fjords.
  5. Whales: Several species of whales, including humpback whales, orcas (also known as killer whales), and minke whales, can be spotted in the fjords.
  6. Dolphins and porpoises: These playful marine mammals can sometimes be seen swimming alongside boats in the fjords.
  7. Otters: Norway is home to both sea otters and river otters, which can sometimes be seen playing in the fjords.
  8. Moose: While not commonly seen near the coast, moose can sometimes be spotted in the forests near the fjords.
  9. Artic Fox: These elusive creatures can be seen in areas of northern Norway and Svalbard, particularly during the summer months.
  10. Polar bears: While sightings are not guaranteed, polar bears can be seen in areas of Svalbard during the summer months.
Tips for cruising the Norwegian Fjords

It’s important to note that wildlife sightings are never guaranteed, and can vary depending on factors such as the time of year and weather conditions. However, a Norway cruise is an excellent way to experience the stunning natural beauty and wildlife of this region.

When And Where To See Puffins On A Norwegian Cruise

Puffins can be seen on a Norwegian cruise in various locations along the Norwegian coastline, particularly on islands and cliffs near the coast. Here are some places where you may be able to spot puffins on a Norwegian cruise:

Runde Island

This island off the western coast of Norway is home to a large seabird colony, including thousands of puffins.

Gjesvaerstappan Nature Reserve

Located in the far north of Norway, this nature reserve is home to large populations of puffins, as well as other seabirds.

Lovund Island

This small island off the coast of central Norway is home to a large puffin colony, and is also a popular spot for whale watching.

Bleiksøya Island

This island off the northern coast of Norway is home to a large puffin colony, as well as other seabirds such as guillemots and razorbills.

Hornøya Island

This small island off the coast of northern Norway is home to a large puffin colony, and is also a popular spot for birdwatching.

It’s important to note that the best time to see puffins in Norway is typically between late May and early August, during the breeding season. Additionally, wildlife sightings can never be guaranteed, as they are dependent on factors such as weather and local conditions. However, a Norwegian cruise offers a great chance to see puffins and other seabirds in their natural habitats.

When And Where To See Puffins On A Norwegian Cruise puffins-g9ef443883_1280

When And Where To See Eagles On A Norwegian Cruise

The best time to see eagles on a Norwegian cruise is during the winter months, from November to March. During this time, eagles are more active, and the chances of spotting them are higher. Additionally, the winter months offer longer periods of darkness, which makes it easier to spot eagles against the sky.

There are many locations along the Norwegian coast where you can see eagles during a cruise. Here are some popular spots

Lofoten Islands

 The Lofoten Islands are known for their high population of sea eagles. The Trollfjord is a particularly popular spot for eagle watching.

Vesterålen

The Vesterålen Islands, located north of the Lofoten Islands, are home to several large colonies of sea eagles.

Helgeland

The coast of Helgeland, located further south along the Norwegian coast, is another popular spot for eagle watching. The islands of Vega and Lovund are particularly known for their large populations of sea eagles.

When And Where To See Eagles On A Norwegian Cruise eagle-g0fa37e0e1_1280

Andøya

The island of Andøya, located north of the Vesterålen Islands, is home to the Bleik island nature reserve, which is a popular spot for eagle watching.

Sognefjord

The Sognefjord is the longest and deepest fjord in Norway and offers stunning scenery and the possibility of seeing eagles along the way.

Many Norwegian cruise lines offer excursions focused specifically on eagle watching, which can take you to some of the best spots for eagle sightings along the Norwegian coast. Additionally, eagles can often be seen from the deck of your cruise ship, so be sure to keep an eye out while sailing along the coast. 

When And Where To See Seals On A Norwegian Cruise

Seals can be seen on Norwegian cruises at various locations, including along the coastlines and in the fjords. Here are some places and times to look out for seals on a Norwegian cruise:

Svalbard

Located in the Arctic Ocean, Svalbard is a group of islands that is home to various species of seals, including bearded seals and ringed seals. The best time to see these seals is during the summer months when they haul out onto the ice to rest and molt.

Tromsø

 Tromsø is a popular cruise port in northern Norway that offers opportunities to see harbor seals and gray seals in the fjords. These seals can be seen year-round, but the best time to see them is during the summer months.

Lofoten Islands

The Lofoten Islands are known for their rugged landscapes, fishing villages, and abundant wildlife, including seals. Visitors can spot harbor seals and gray seals in the waters around the islands, particularly in the summer months.

Helgeland Coast

The Helgeland Coast is a scenic stretch of coastline in northern Norway that is home to various species of seals, including harbor seals and gray seals. Seals can be seen basking on rocks or swimming in the waters year-round.

It’s important to note that while it’s possible to spot seals during a Norwegian cruise, wildlife sightings are never guaranteed. It’s also important to respect the animals’ space and maintain a safe distance to avoid causing any disturbances or stress.

When And Where To See Seals On A Norwegian Cruise seals-g8a57ae4ff_1280

When And Where To See Reindeer On A Norwegian Cruise

Reindeer are a common sight in Norway, and visitors on a Norwegian cruise may have the opportunity to see them in their natural habitat. Here are some places and times to look out for reindeer on a Norwegian cruise:

Svalbard

 Svalbard is a group of islands in the Arctic Ocean that is home to the Svalbard reindeer, a subspecies of the Arctic reindeer. The best time to see them is during the summer months when they graze on the tundra and along the coast.

Tromsø

Tromsø is a popular cruise port in northern Norway that offers opportunities to see reindeer herds grazing in the surrounding hills and valleys. The best time to see them is in the winter months when the landscape is covered in snow.

Finnmark

Finnmark is Norway’s northernmost region and is home to large populations of wild reindeer. Visitors can see them roaming the tundra and mountainsides year-round, but the best time to see them is in the summer when they are more active.

Røros

Røros is a historic mining town in central Norway that is known for its cultural heritage and beautiful natural surroundings. Visitors can see reindeer herds grazing in the surrounding hills and valleys year-round. But the best time to see them is in the summer months.

When And Where To See Reindeer On A Norwegian Cruise deer-g1f476e938_1920

When And Where To See Whales On A Norwegian Cruise

Whale watching is a popular activity on Norwegian cruises. Thus there are several locations where visitors can have the opportunity to see whales in their natural habitat. Here are some places and times to look out for whales on a Norwegian cruise:

Tromsø

Tromsø is a popular cruise port in northern Norway that offers opportunities to see humpback whales, killer whales (orcas), and fin whales in the fjords. The best time to see them is during the winter months. From November to January, when they come to feed on herring.

Andenes

Andenes is a small town located on the northern tip of the island of Andøya. And is known as one of the best places in Norway to see whales. Visitors can see sperm whales, killer whales (orcas), and humpback whales in the waters around Andenes from May to September.

Lofoten Islands

The Lofoten Islands are known for their rugged landscapes, fishing villages, and abundant wildlife, including whales. Visitors can see killer whales (orcas) and humpback whales in the waters around the islands from November to January. As this is when they come to feed on herring.

Svalbard

Svalbard is a group of islands in the Arctic Ocean that is home to various species of whales. This includes beluga whales and bowhead whales. The best time to see them is during the summer months when the ice melts and they come to feed in the surrounding waters.

When And Where To See Whales On A Norwegian Cruise sea-g738a8841d_1280

When And Where To See Dolphins On A Norwegian Cruise

Dolphin sightings are less common on Norwegian cruises compared to whale sightings. But there are still some places where visitors may have the opportunity to see them. Here are some places and times to look out for dolphins on a Norwegian cruise:

Vestfjorden

Vestfjorden is a large fjord located between the Lofoten Islands and the mainland of Norway. Visitors may spot white-beaked dolphins in the waters around Vestfjorden, particularly in the summer months.

Sognefjord 

Sognefjord is the longest and deepest fjord in Norway and is home to various species of marine mammals, including dolphins. Visitors may spot common dolphins and white-beaked dolphins in the waters around Sognefjord during the summer months.

Hvaler 

Hvaler is a municipality located in the southeast of Norway and is known for its beautiful archipelago. Visitors may spot common dolphins and white-beaked dolphins in the waters around Hvaler during the summer months.

When And Where To See Dolphins On A Norwegian Cruise sea-g74ef8cb9b_1280

When And Where To See Otters On A Norwegian Cruise

If you’re looking to see otters on a Norwegian fjord cruise, the best time to see otters in Norway is during the summer months, from June to August, when the weather is milder, and the days are longer. Here are a few places you can visit where otters could be spotted:

Geirangerfjord

This is one of Norway’s most famous fjords and is home to a variety of wildlife, including otters. Many fjord cruises stop in Geiranger, and there are also kayaking and hiking excursions that take you closer to the otters’ habitats.

Sognefjord

This is the longest and deepest fjord in Norway, and it’s also home to otters. Many fjord cruises stop in the towns of Flåm and Aurland, where you can take guided tours to see the otters.

Hardangerfjord 

This fjord is known for its fruit orchards, but it’s also home to otters. Many fjord cruises stop in the town of Eidfjord, where you can take a guided kayak tour to see the otters up close.

It’s important to remember that otters are wild animals and can be elusive, so there is no guarantee that you will see them. However, these fjords are known to be home to otters, so your chances of spotting them are higher in these areas.

When And Where To See Otters On A Norwegian Cruise sea-g74ef8cb9b_1280 otter-gdd7090c2e_1280

When And Where To See Moose On A Norwegian Cruise

While it’s possible to see moose from a cruise ship, your best chances of seeing these majestic creatures on a Norwegian cruise is to go on a land-based excursion to areas where they are known to live. Here are some popular destinations for seeing moose on a Norwegian cruise:

Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park

This national park is home to a large population of moose, and it’s located near the port of Trondheim. You can take a guided tour through the park to spot moose in their natural habitat.

Rondane National Park

 This park is located near the port of Alesund and is home to several species of wildlife, including moose. You can take a guided hike or bike tour through the park to see moose and other wildlife.

Saltfjellet-Svartisen National Park

This national park is located near the port of Bodø and is home to a large population of moose. You can take a guided tour through the park to spot moose in their natural habitat.

Langedrag Nature Park

This park is located near the port of Oslo and is home to several species of wildlife, including moose. You can take a guided tour through the park to see moose up close.

With that being said, the best time to see moose in Norway is during the fall, from September to November, when they are more active during the mating season. However, moose can be seen throughout the year, but they may be harder to spot in the summer months when the vegetation is dense.

When And Where To See MooseOn A Norwegian Cruise moose-g06ac11887_1280

When And Where To See Arctic Foxes On A Norwegian Cruise

Arctic foxes can be seen on a Norwegian cruise, but your best chances of seeing them are on land-based excursions to areas where they are known to inhabit. Here are some popular destinations for seeing Arctic foxes on a Norwegian cruise:

Svalbard

This archipelago is located between Norway and the North Pole and is home to a large population of Arctic foxes. You can take a guided tour through the tundra to spot Arctic foxes and other wildlife.

Tromsø

This city is located in northern Norway and is known for its stunning landscapes and opportunities to see Arctic foxes. You can take a guided tour through the countryside to spot Arctic foxes and other wildlife.

North Cape

This area is located at the northernmost point of mainland Norway and is home to Arctic foxes. You can take a guided tour through the tundra to spot Arctic foxes and other wildlife.

Polar Park

This wildlife park is located in northern Norway and is home to several species of Arctic wildlife, including Arctic foxes. You can take a guided tour through the park to see Arctic foxes up close.

When And Where To See Arctic Foxes On A Norwegian Cruise arctic-fox-g3ef6ddb7a_1280

When And Where To See Polar Bears On A Norwegian Cruise

Polar bears are magnificent creatures that can be seen on a Norwegian cruise. However sightings are not guaranteed. Here are some popular destinations and times of year for seeing polar bears on a Norwegian cruise:

Svalbard

This archipelago is located between Norway and the North Pole and is one of the best places to see polar bears in their natural habitat. The best time to see polar bears in Svalbard is from May to August when the sea ice has retreated, and the bears come onto land to hunt.

Spitsbergen

This is the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago, and it’s known for its polar bear sightings. You can take a guided tour on a small expedition ship to explore the island and look for polar bears.

Franz Josef Land

This is a remote archipelago located north of Russia and is home to a large population of polar bears. You can take a guided tour on a small expedition ship to explore the area and look for polar bears.

Where to see polar-bear-g240ebbed7_1280

Best Cruise Ports In Norwegian Fjords

The Norwegian Fjords are a popular cruise destination, offering stunning scenery, incredible wildlife, and a chance to experience the natural wonders of Norway. Here are some of the best cruise ports to check out in the Norwegian Fjords when plan your cruise vacation.

Bergen

Known as the “Gateway to the Fjords,” Bergen is a picturesque city surrounded by seven mountains and seven fjords. Visitors can take a funicular to the top of Mount Floyen for panoramic views of the city and fjords, explore the historic Hanseatic wharf, or visit the famous fish market.

Geiranger

Located at the end of the Geirangerfjord, one of Norway’s most famous fjords. Geiranger offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country. Visitors can take a scenic drive up to the Dalsnibba viewpoint, hike to the Seven Sisters Waterfall, or take a fjord sightseeing cruise.

Geiranger fjord view form eagle bend

Flam

Flam is a small village situated at the end of the Aurlandsfjord, a branch of the Sognefjord. It is known for its picturesque railway, the Flam Railway, which offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains, waterfalls, and fjords.

Alesund

Alesund is a charming coastal town known for its Art Nouveau architecture and scenic views. Visitors can climb the Aksla viewpoint for panoramic views of the city and fjords, explore the local museums, or take a boat tour of the surrounding islands.

Stavanger 

Stavanger is a vibrant city with a rich history and culture. Visitors can explore the historic Old Town, visit the famous Petroleum Museum, or hike to the top of Pulpit Rock for incredible views of the Lysefjord.

What to do on a port day in Stavanger Port

Tromso

Located in the far north of Norway, Tromso is known for its stunning Northern Lights and Midnight Sun. Visitors can take a cable car to the top of Mount Storsteinen for panoramic views of the city and fjords, explore the local museums and galleries, or take a dog sledding or reindeer sledding tour.

These are just a few of the many amazing cruise ports in the Norwegian Fjords. Each offers its unique attractions, natural beauty, and cultural experiences, making a cruise through the Norwegian Fjords an unforgettable experience.

Top 10 Things To Pack For a Norwegian Fjords Cruise

  1. Warm clothing: Norway can be chilly even in the summer months, so it’s essential to bring warm clothing such as sweaters, jackets, and waterproof pants.
  2. Waterproof gear: Since Norway can be wet and rainy, it’s important to pack waterproof gear such as a waterproof jacket, waterproof shoes, gloves and an umbrella.
  3. Good walking shoes: The Norwegian Fjords are known for their beautiful hiking trails and scenic walks, so it’s important to bring comfortable, sturdy shoes that will keep your feet dry and supported. I swear by Hotter, they are so comfy and waterproof.
  4. Camera: The Norwegian Fjords are breathtakingly beautiful, so don’t forget to pack your camera or smartphone to capture the amazing scenery and memories.
  5. Binoculars: A pair of binoculars will come in handy to spot wildlife like seals, porpoises, and seabirds.
  6. Swimsuit: Although the water may be cold, some cruise lines offer the opportunity to go swimming in the fjords, so don’t forget to bring your swimsuit.
  7. Sunscreen: Even though Norway is known for its chilly climate, the sun can still be strong, especially during the summer months, so be sure to pack some sunscreen to protect your skin.
  8. Power adapter: Norway uses a different type of electrical outlet than most countries, so be sure to bring a power adapter to keep your devices charged.
  9. Medications: Make sure you bring all necessary medications and prescriptions with you, as they may not be easily accessible during the cruise.
  10. Cash: Although credit cards are widely accepted, it’s always a good idea to bring some cash with you for small purchases or tipping.
When to cruise the Norwegian Fjords

Which Cruise Lines Cruise The Norwegian Fjords

  1. AIDA Cruises
  2. Azamara Club Cruises
  3. Celebrity Cruises
  4. Costa Cruises
  5. Cruise & Maritime Voyages
  6. Crystal Cruises
  7. Cunard Line
  8. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
  9. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
  10. Holland America Line
  11. Hurtigruten
  12. MSC Cruises
  13. Norwegian Cruise Line
  14. Oceania Cruises
  15. P&O Cruises
  16. Princess Cruises
  17. Regent Seven Seas Cruises
  18. Royal Caribbean International
  19. Seabourn Cruise Line
  20. Silversea Cruises
  21. Viking Ocean Cruises
  22. Windstar Cruises

Each cruise line offers different itineraries and cruise packages that include Norwegian fjords. Thus it’s recommended to check with each cruise line to see what options are available.

Views over Hellesylt

The Fjords In Conclusion 

In summary, the best time to cruise the fjords depends on what you want to see and experience during your trip. If you want longer days, then consider cruising during the summer months. If you prefer a quieter experience, then the shoulder seasons might be a better option. Finally, if you’re interested in seeing the Northern Lights, then winter is the best time to cruise. Hop this guide has helped you plan you Norwgian Cruise Vacation? And most of all enjoy this wonderful experience.

Author

    by
  • Sarah Christie

    Sarah also writes for Mini Travellers Family Travel Blog and Extraordinary Chaos Craft and Lifestyle Blog. Both are award-winning blogs with a travel and family focus. She is married and has two boys, aged 18 and 22, who all love cruising as a family. Nothing is better than waking up every day in a new port with new and exciting things to explore. She aims to share how cruising as a family with young adults is the perfect choice for family travel. Her boys are sporty and love the activities, sports and dining options cruising offers. Sarah has worked with brands such as Walt Disney World, Mark Warner, Ikos Resort, Center Parcs, Laura Ashley, Belling and Next.

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