If you have never visited Scandinavia, experiencing the spine-tingling landscape of Norway on an Arctic Circle cruise will leave you in awe of this incredible region of Europe.
An Arctic Circle cruise from Amsterdam allows you to explore many ports in what must be one of the most beautiful destinations in the world.
The stunning natural beauty and mystical light of the Arctic Circle have long since been a source of wonder. This unique region is now accessible to all 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.
Most Arctic Circle cruises take place in the summer, and you’ll see these destinations around the summer solstice, which means bright evenings and light nights.
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.
Cruise the Arctic Circle with Royal Caribbean
This is a suggestion for a 16-night package for a cruise vacation from the Dutch capital, Amsterdam. The package includes three full sightseeing days (4 nights) in Amsterdam and 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!
Four nights Amsterdam + 12 night Arctic Circle Cruise
Norway is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Its defining landscape is the fjord – deep valleys cutting through the mountains filled with water over thousands of years.
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 the same vacation.
Four nights in the fun city of Amsterdam is a great way to kick-start your cruise.
Whether traveling 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.
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 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 and then dinner, and enjoy your first of 4 nights in Amsterdam.
Days 2-4: Exploring Amsterdam
Follow our three-day sightseeing tips on our Amsterdam page before you start your cruise. Click here for detailed itineraries, travel tips, hotels, and must-see sights, including:
- 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 the 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 the port for your cruise from Amsterdam is to ask your hotel for help making a taxi reservation.
The journey takes around 25 minutes and will also cost about 40 euros. 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 that 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 the port address and your departure time before traveling.
- Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean International
- Name of Ship: Jewel of the Seas – read more about the great Jewel of the Seas and Royals “Radiance” class ships here!
Cruise Length: 12 nights
- Name of Cruise: Arctic Circle Cruise
- Start Date: June – July (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 want or need on vacation.
Settle into your cabin, unpack your suitcase, and head 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 downloading the Royal Caribbean International app onto your mobile telephone. It’s a great way to quickly check in for your cruise, stay connected with family and friends, 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 can 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 you are on board all day, enjoying the view up on deck or exploring the ship.
Packed with fun activities, entertainment, great restaurants, and sports facilities, make the most of the ship today. Or 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, 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 independent suppliers 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, with travelers of all ages, young and old joining in.
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 do the larger mammals such as polar bears, walruses, and the Arctic fox. Wrap up warm, get out on the deck, and enjoy a landscape you have never seen.
Cruise Day 5: Tromso, Norway
They call Tromsø the capital of the Arctic. You get a wonderful Norwegian city on the edge of spectacular nature. You will find the tourism office when you arrive at the harbor terminal. These friendly and knowledgeable folk will provide information and maps about the area if you want to explore it.
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 hoping to see the lights, but there is less chance if you are visiting in the summer months.
That said, there are some truly unique experiences to be had. When you arrive by cruise boat, mountain hiking, cod fishing, and stand-up paddle boarding are the most popular in the summer. In the winter, it’s dog sledding, cross-country hiking, and adventures on a snowmobile.
Bring suitable clothing; you will need to pack essential layers in natural fibers 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 Sámi people’s heartland, northern Norway’s indigenous inhabitants. If you can, find a tour that enables you to meet the folk, and learn about their traditions and history.
Your visit here in Honningsvar is unique – you are at the Barents Sea, North Cape – one of the 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 the fresh catch of cod, salmon, halibut, or haddock, which flourish in these waters.
Arctic cuisine experience
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 in the center 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 skyline.
Cruise Day 8: Alesund, Norway
Most cruise lines dock their ships close to downtown Alesund, so exploring the town can be done on foot if you want to stay local. Alesund is known as Norway’s Art Nouveau city, and the buildings are beautiful.
If you’re feeling active, 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, visit Alnes Lighthouse, about a 40-minute bus ride from the center of Alesund. There is a small museum inside, and you can chat with the lighthouse keeper.
Cruise Day 9: Bergen, Norway
Located in the prettiest mountainous surroundings you can imagine, Bergen is known as “The Heart of the Fjords.” It’s a large city with a small-town charm.
The historic pier 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 at 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 a tour – 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 meters above sea level.
Many visitors travel to the summit using the funicular railway (Fløibanen funicular), just a 6-minute ride. However, the views are breathtaking and worth it if you choose to hike.
Another popular excursion is riding the Ulriken Cable car to Mount Ulriken, the highest of Bergen’s mountains. On 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 by your cruise line and 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, it’s easy to do it yourselves without booking an excursion.
Spread across four islands flanked by white sand beaches, it’s easy to travel between the other city islands using the local ferry, Sundbåten. The ferry frequently goes daily, 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 meeting the local sea captains and learning about the area’s history.
Suppose you are lucky enough to visit Kristiansund during the first weekend in July. In that case, 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 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 spending your day.
Another 20-minute walk towards the city’s north is a gorgeous park, Ravnedalen. There are miles of lakes and trails to enjoy, and you can swim, so bring a swimsuit! There is also a little outdoor cafe serving food and drinks and available restrooms.
Cruise Day 12: Cruising Day at Sea
Why not try 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 four hours away!
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