If you have never visited Scandinavia before, then experiencing the incredible landscape of Norway on an Arctic Circle cruise will have you totally in awe of this fantastic region of Europe.
An Arctic Circle cruise from Amsterdam provides you with the opportunity to explore many ports, and beyond, in what must be one of the most beautiful destinations in the world.
Quite simply this Arctic Circle cruise is an unforgettable experience as far north as it gets.
The stunning natural beauty and mystical light of the Arctic Circle have long since been a source of wonder. This unique region is now reachable in the luxury and comfort of a first class cruising experience.
Norway, the land of Thor and Odon
Known for its luna landscape, deep fjords, arctic nature and natural wonders, Norway offers geographical extremes, clean, crisp air and a high standard of living.
Discover Viking history, local customs and food and the culture of the friendly Norwegians.
You’ll start your adventure with getting to know the city of Amsterdam. Your Arctic Circle cruise will take place in the summer months, and you’ll get to see these destinations around summer solstice, and that means bright evening and light nights.
Note! Within this 12-night cruise, there are 5 cruising days at sea. Not a problem as you are on board the beautiful Jewel of the Seas, a favorite amongst Royal Caribbean customers. But it is important to know before you book. Not everyone’s idea of a perfect cruising vacation is being on board the cruise ship for 5 of the 13 days at sea. Remember that where you are heading to – the Arctic Circle, is a long way and it takes time to get to the ports and destinations. But Norway is stunning, and it is worth making the journey to see it. After all, you are travelling in luxury!
Cruise the Arctic Circle in 2022 with Royal Caribbean
This is a suggestion for a 16-night package for a cruise vacation from the Dutch capital, Amsterdam. The package is 3 full sightseeing days (4 nights) in Amsterdam followed by a 12 night cruise to Norway’s Arctic with Royal Caribbean International.
And it’s easy to tailor-make your holiday and book yourself, so you have complete control over your booking!
4 nights Amsterdam + 12 night Arctic Circle Cruise
Norway is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It’s defining landscape is the fjord – deep valleys cutting through the mountains that have, over thousands of years, filled with water.
Cruises take place during the summer months only. And cruising to Norway and the Arctic Circle is the most comfortable way of reaching so many destinations in one and the same vacation.
Whether you are travelling as a couple or as a family with children, there is something for everyone to enjoy. During your port stops, you can be as active as you like, depending on the fitness level of your family members. There are excursions to suit everyone, young and old.
4 nights in the fun city of Amsterdam is a great way to kick-start your cruise.
Day 1: Arrive in Amsterdam
Arrive at Amsterdam airport having booked your flight with your favorite airline. (Tip! Read our advice about booking flights online before you reserve your flight tickets!) The name of the international airport is Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Transfer to your hotel in Amsterdam by taxi from the official taxi rank outside the arrival terminal. The journey will cost you around 40 euros.
Take it easy on your first day with a walk along the canals andthen dinner, and enjoy your first of 4 nights in Amsterdam.
Days 2-4: Exploring Amsterdam
- The Van Gogh Museum, The Royal Palace, Anne Frank’s House
- The Nine Streets, Dutch houseboats & antique shopping in the Jordaan district
- Zaanse Schans and the village of Edam in Dutch countryside
Day 5: Check in for your Arctic Circle from Amsterdam
Check-out from your hotel and transfer to the Port of Amsterdam. The easiest way to get from the city to port for your cruise from Amsterdam is to ask your hotel for help in making a taxi reservation.
The journey takes around 25 minutes and will also cost around 40 euros. Do ensure that you give the hotel your cruise port address according to your cruise ticket and the time you want to arrive at the port, so they can arrange the correct pickup time for you with the taxi chauffeur.
Alternatively we have detailed information on how to get to the port on our Amsterdam information page here .
Your port check-in time is on your cruise ticket. Make sure you check both the port address and your time of departure before you travel.
- Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean International
- Name of Ship: Jewel of the Seas – read more about the fantastic Jewel of the Seas and Royals “Radiance” class ships here!
Cruise Length: 12 nights
- Name of Cruise: Arctic Circle Cruise
- Start Date: June – July 2022 (Tip! Cruise dates and itineraries are subject to change at any time check with Royal Caribbean at the time of booking)
- Cruise Port: From/To Port of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Days 5 to 17: Arctic Circle Cruise with Royal Caribbean International (12 nights/13 days)
Cruise Day 1: Amsterdam
You’re onboard your ship and found your cabin! Let the holiday begin! Royal Caribbean’s ships are equipped with all the amenities you would want or need on vacation.
Settle into your cabin, unpack your suitcase, head over to the buffet restaurant for lunch. Or grab your favorite glass of bubble and relax on deck for the sail-away party!
Before you leave home, we recommend that you download the Royal Caribbean International app onto your mobile telephone. It’s a great way to easily check in for your cruise, stay connected with family and friends on the ship, plan your activities, make reservations and see all that’s happening on board. And you do not need wifi to use it!
Cruise Day 2: Cruising Day At Sea
Today you get to relax and spend time on your fantastic cruise ship, Jewel of the Seas. It takes some time to sail from The Netherlands to Norway so today you are on board all day enjoying the view up on deck or exploring the ship.
Packed full of fun activities, entertainment, great restaurants and sports facilities, make the most of the ship today. Or just order some bubbly and lounge by the pool. With excellent kids clubs on board, you get to do exactly what you want today.
Cruise Day 3: Geiranger, Norway
After breakfast today make your way up on deck to see your entrance into your first port of call in Norway, Geiranger.
Located at the head of the Geirangerfjord, you can see the famous Seven Sisters waterfall and the mountain road through the village as you approach the dock.
UNESCO protected, the whole area is of outstanding natural beauty. There are shore excursions either with the cruise line or booked independently that offer scenic tours through the mountainous landscape.
If your cruise route instead includes the port of Olden, then join the excursion to the Briksdal Glacier then it is well worth it – you hike to this spectacular Glacier on the edge of a crystal clear lake. The bus takes you to Mountain Lodge, a small restaurant, a cafe and a souvenir shop. This super hike is about 3km and is quite easy. There were children of all ages along with elder folk when we did this excursion.
Cruise Day 4: Cruising Day in the Arctic Circle
As you sail into this remote, broad horizon you will hopefully have the chance to see the tremendous variety of Arctic wildlife. Thousands of seabirds call this region home. As to the larger mammals – polar bears, walruses and the Arctic fox. Wrap up warm and get out on deck and enjoy a landscape you have never before seen.
Cruise Day 5: Tromso, Norway
They call Tromsø the capital of the Arctic. What you get is a great Norwegian city on the edge of spectacular nature. When you arrive at the harbour terminal you will find the tourism office. These friendly and knowledgeable folk will provide information and maps about the area if you want to explore on your own.
Indeed before you even leave home we recommend that you read the official tourism website to see the type of activities that are possible. In truth, the Arctic cruises are in the summer months, because sea conditions allow cruising to these areas. However the Northern Lights are best spotted in Fall, Winter and Spring. In other words September to April. With most sightings between February to March and September to October. So you may go on an expedition in the hope of seeing the lights but there is little possibility if you are visiting in the summer months.
Well that just means you need to return to Norway – albeit not by cruising! That’s another trip, and another article.
That said, there are some truly amazing experiences to be had. In the summer when you arrive by cruise boat, there is mountain hiking, cod fishing and stand-up paddle boarding which are the most popular. In the winter it’s dog sledding, cross country hiking and adventures on a snowmobile.
Bring good clothing, you will need to pack essential layers in nature fibres like cotton and wool.
There are many bike and electric scooter rentals along the beachfront, and on a hot day it’s a great way to explore the coastline. If you want to book in advance then Viator has trustworthy suppliers.
Cruise Day 6: Honningsvag, Norway
You are now close to the heartland of the The Sámi people, the indigenous inhabitants of northern Norway. If you can, find a tour that enables you to meet the folk, and learn about their traditions and their history.
Your visit here in Honningsvar is unique – you are at the Barents Sea, North Cape – one of the most prime fishing spots in the world. Join a boat tour to fish the king crab – at the very least you must try this delicacy at one of the local restaurants.
Try King Crab House Brasserie & Bar. Or there is the fish soup, made from fresh catch of cod, salmon, halibut or haddock which flourish in these waters.
Arctic cuisine experience
In face this stunning area is known for its arctic cuisine, and Honningsvåg is a fantastic place to do a food tour. Try the local dishes and learn more about the history of the area. Or why not try a reindeer dish followed by a cloudberry dessert? These arctic sweet berries are unique to the region.
If you are doing your own thing this day rather than joining an excursion, you will find the tourist information office at the centre of the town. Check their opening hours before you travel.
Cruise Day 2: Cruising Day At Sea
Yes, another day at sea. So by now you should know your ship pretty well. You only have to look at a map to see how many nautical miles you are sailing. It takes time to get from Honningsvåg to Alesund.
Your ship will dock early, if you are up on deck you’ll see the captain navigate the beautiful archipelago before he drops anchor, and in the distance you’ll have a view of Mount Aksla which dominates the sky line.
Cruise Day 8: Alesund, Norway
Most cruise lines dock their cruise ships close to downtown Alesund, so exploring of the town can be done on foot if you want to stay local. Alesund is known as Norway’s Art Nouveau city and the buildlings are beautiful.
If you’re feeling active then you can climb the white staircase from the city center to the viewing platforms on Aksla Mountain. Get camera-ready for panoramic views across the water, the islands and the city.
If you prefer an excursion then visit Alnes Lighthouse, about a 40 minute bus ride from the centre of Alesund. There is a small museum inside and you can chat to the lighthouse keeper.
Cruise Day 9: Bergen, Norway
Located in the prettiest mountainous surroundings you can possibly imagine, Bergen is known as “The Heart of the Fjords”. It’s a large city with a small-town charm.
The historic wharf welcomes you with colorfully painted warehouses and the historic fish market offers the catch of the day.
Take some time to stop for a bite to eat and shop the outdoor markets, packed full of handicrafts and Nordic souvenirs.
Walking distance away, visit Troldhaugen, once the home of the composer Greig and now a museum. Or the open-air Bergen museum with reenactments from 18th century Bergen.
For retail fun the best place to start is on the shopping street of Skostredet. Pick up authentic Norwegian knitwear and outdoor wear, some of the best quality in the world.
Bergen by yourselves without a booked shore excursion
In Bergen we opted not to book an excursion – either privately or with the cruise line. Instead we took some time exploring the wharf and the town as the sun was out (Bergen is Norway’s rainiest city so bring a jacket).
Then we hiked up to Mount Fløyen, the most accessible summit from the town, standing at 320 metres above sea level.
Many visitors chose to travel to the summit using the funicular railway (Fløibanen funicular), just a 6 minute ride, however the views during the hike were breathtaking and definitely worth it.
Another popular excursion is riding the Ulriken Cable car up to Mount Ulriken, the highest of Bergen’s mountains. At the viewing platform there is a restaurant where you can relax in the clouds.
Cruise Day 10: Day at Sea
Enjoy a spa treatment, or a good book, or make new friends by joining the lively itinerary of activities on board today. Don’t forget to check your cruise app for a list of what’s going on today, when and where so that you don’t miss the fun.
Cruise Day 11: Kristiansand, Norway
Kristiansand is Norway’s southernmost city. There are plenty of shore excursions on offer here both by your cruise line and by independent suppliers.
Most of the excursions are centered around hiking around the region, and range from easy to difficult for different fitness levels.
If you would rather see the city instead, then it’s easy to do yourselves without booking an excursion.
Spread across 4 different islands and flanked by white sand beaches, it’s easy to travel between the different islands of the city using the local ferry, Sundbåten. The ferry goes very frequently every day, and a round trip takes around 20 minutes. It’s a great way to orientate yourself with the city from the water!
The city’s coast is stunning, and if you have a chance a boat tour through the thousands of islands that make up the archipelago is well worth it to meet the local sea captains and learn about the history of the area.
If you are lucky enough to be visiting Kristiansund during the first weekend in July, you can go to the fantastic Palmesus music festival on the beach – known as Scandinavia’s biggest beach party!
On a sunny day walk to Fiskebrygga, the pier front where the locals have lunch. It’s a fun, lively area with lots of great cafes and quirky shopping.
Walk from Fiskebrygga 10 minutes through the city center and you’ll find the tourist information office where you can pick up local maps and talk to the friendly staff there for tips on how to spend your day.
Another 20 minutes walk towards the north of the city is a gorgeous park, Ravnedalen. There are miles of lakes and trails to enjoy, and you can even take a swim so bring a swimsuit! There is also a little outdoor cafe serving food and drinks and available restrooms too.
Cruise Day 12: Cruising Day at Sea
Why not try out one of the specialty dining restaurants on board for lunch? Often you can get discounted prices for lunch instead of evening dinner.
Cruise Day 13: Arrival back in Amsterdam
Your cruise will finally return to the Port of Amsterdam, and dock early in the morning.
If you are flying home the same day your ship docks in port, then leave on a flight after lunch, just in case your ship is late docking.
Alternatively, extend your time in the city or travel further afield. Brussels in Belgium can easily be reached by high speed train; and Paris is only 4 hours away!