Cruise Norwegian Fjords - Cruise Trail

Cruise Norwegian Fjords

“Magical! Our cruise Norwegian Fjords journey was so breathtaking that we have now booked a combination trip to Sweden and Norway next year to go hiking and sailing – and we can’t wait. ”

Welcome to the Land of the Midnight Sun! Norway’s summer months in May, June and July enjoy long, sunny, warm days – and the further north you go, the lighter your nights. 

When looking to book a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords, you will want an itinerary that gives you as many ports of call as possible. This is, quite simply, a cruise where you should be exploring nature on land as much as possible as the scenery is that stunning.

The air, light and color of the landscape of Norway is different to anywhere else in the world. The words crystal clear come to mind, and I cannot think of a better way to describe it. 

Gerianger, Flaam, Stavanger, Olden and Bergen are some of the Fjords you can visit depending on your chosen itinerary. 

Start your cruise from Southampton in Southern England. Fly into London and spend some time in either London or Southampton before your cruise starts. 

Southampton is surrounded by sweeping areas of outstanding natural beauty. It is made famous by it’s spectacular countryside, vast coastline, cosy pubs and welcoming villages.

We have a detailed 4 day guide to make your visit to Southampton the best possible. Spend some time exploring the city’s maritime history, then venture further afield by renting a car and driving the dramatic Jurassic Coastline of Southern England.

12-night cruise package to the Norwegian Fjords

This package suggestion includes:

  • 5 hotel nights in Southampton before your cruise
  • 4 full days exploring Southern England
  • 7 night luxury cruise to the Norwegian Fjords with Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas

Your cruising destinations are:

  1. Southampton, England
  2. At sea cruising on board Anthem of the Seas
  3. Stavanger, Norway
  4. Flam, Norway
  5. Olden, Norway
  6. Bergen, Norway
  7. At sea cruising on board Adventure of the Seas
  8. Southampton, England

Our cruise to the Norwegian Fjords was as a family, travelling with young teenagers. It’s a wonderful vacation, and best of all, it’s easy to book yourself so you have complete control over your vacation.

How to get to Southampton

If you are flying to England from abroad then you will fly into one of London’s main international airports: Heathrow or Gatwick. 

Both offer easy transfer options to Southampton. You can choose to transfer to Southampton upon arrival, or spend a few days in London first then transfer to Southampton.

(Tip! Read our advice about booking your flights online before you book!) 

We recommend that flights are booked around 4-6 months before your travel date. But keep an eye on availability and special offers from the large international airlines such as American Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM and United Airlines.

The earliest you will be able to book your flight ticket is around 11 months before your planned departure date, when seats and prices are released by the airline.

Private Transfer or taxi

Southampton is about 130km southwest of London on the coast. The transfer time is around 2 hours. 

A private taxi or car transfer is the most expensive way of travelling, but of course the most convenient. It will most likely cost you around UKP£100. We strongly recommend that you book a car service in advance if you want a private transfer. It will be less expensive than taking a taxi from the airport.

Train from central London

If you are staying in London before your cruise from Southampton, book a train ticket from Waterloo Station direct to Southampton for the fastest route. The journey is around 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Buy your ticket online before you travel to save money.  Southampton train station is located in the heart of the city close to shops and hotels.  From Southampton train station to the Southampton cruise port you will need a taxi transfer.

Train from London Heathrow airport

There is no direct route from Heathrow to Southampton from London Heathrow by train. You will need to change lines, but it is possible. You must first take the Heathrow Express direct to Paddington Station. Then take the Underground train to Waterloo in order to get the train to Southampton. The journey is a couple of hours. Buy your ticket online before you travel, so to save money.  Southampton train station is located in the heart of the city close to shops and hotels.  From Southampton train station to Southampton cruise port you will need a taxi transfer.

Train from London Gatwick airport

If you are flying into Gatwick you can get a direct train to Southampton. The journey is just under 2 hours. Buy your ticket online before you travel to save money.  Southampton train station is located in the heart of the city close to shops and hotels.  From Southampton train station to the Southampton cruise port you will need a taxi transfer.

Coach from central London

You can get a direct coach from London Victoria coach station (a short walk from Victoria train station) to Southampton. Coaches are offered by National Express. Book before you leave home because you will get the best price. The journey time is about 2 hours and 40 minutes. Southampton coach station is located in the heart of the city close to shops and hotels. From Southampton coach station to the Southampton cruise port you will need a taxi transfer.

Coach from London Heathrow

If you are travelling to London Heathrow there is a comfortable coach service direct to Southampton. Coaches are offered by National Express. This is a journey I have done many times. The coaches are clean and comfortable with wifi and toilet facilities on board. The journey time is about 1 hour and 40 minutes. Southampton coach station is located in the heart of the city close to shops and hotels. From Southampton coach station to the Southampton cruise port you will need a taxi transfer.

A flight journey with fewer stops is often worth the extra cost

Unless you want a stopover on the way to London, for example in a city you have never visited before and you want to spend a couple of nights there, book a ticket with as few stops as possible.

There are two main benefits for doing this and it is often worth paying more for this option:

  1. It will shorten your overall journey time there minimizing the effects of lengthy jetlag
  2. There will be fewer opportunities for your baggage to be lost by the airline

As with all cruise bookings that require you flying to your cruise port, we recommend booking a changeable and refundable flight ticket. Just in case! Cruise lines can change their itineraries or cancel sailings and you may need to amend your flight ticket accordingly.

Check the terms and conditions that apply to your flight ticket before you purchase. Remember that tickets offering the lowest price can often be inflexible. Avoid tickets that are non-refundable and non-changeable.

Where to stay: pre-cruise in London or Southampton

Check the dates and times of arrival and departure so that you book the correct dates with your hotel. If the time given for your flight arrival includes “+1” this means that you are arriving at the stated time on the following day after the departure date. This happens with eastbound flights.

We have recommended hotels in both Southampton and London, centrally located for convenience. You can choose to spend as few or as many nights as you wish in either or both cities prior to boarding your cruise ship.

Choose the location that suits you and your family the best. Find our recommended London hotels here on our “Cruise from London” page. And our recommended Southampton hotels here on our “Cruise from Southampton” page.

If you are not already, join the hotel members program before you travel and take advantage of any freebies at check in, preferential rates, promotions or exclusive offers. For example, if you are a member of the Hilton Honors program it’s free of charge and you can start earning bonus points from you very first visit. Our perk when we checked in was bottled water in our room, welcome cookies, and breakfast included free for the kids.

Our suggested itinerary: 5 nights Southampton + 7 night Norwegian Fjords cruise

Day 1: Arrive in London and transfer to Southampton

Arrive at one of 2 main international airports servicing visitors to London, having booked your flight with your favorite airline.

Transfer to your hotel and check in. If it’s too early and your room is not ready, leave your luggage with the Concierge and get out and explore the immediate area around your hotel. 

Day 2-5: Exploring Southampton and Southern England

Spend the next 4 days exploring Southern England. Follow our detailed itineraries, or do as little or as much as you like of our suggestions! You are sure to see much more along the way!

Day 6: Check in day for your cruise to the Norwegian Fjords!

If you have not booked a pre-arranged transfer then ask your hotel to book a taxi for you to get you to your departure port.

Your port name and check-in time is on your cruise ticket. Make sure you get to the correct cruise port terminal and that you get there in time!

  • Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
  • Name of Ship: Anthem of the Seas
  • Start Date: May – August 2022. (Tip! Cruise dates and itineraries are subject to change at any time check with Royal Caribbean at the time of booking)
  • Name of Cruise: 7 Night Norwegian Fjords Cruise
  • Cruise Port: From Southampton, England 

Remember to download the Royal Caribbean app before you travel. This app is really a must-have now, it makes everything so much easier and smoother both before and during your cruise. Using the app, you can check in online, see all activities offered on board so you don’t miss out on the fun, book specialty dining or shore excursions, keep in touch with friends and family you are travelling with on board (the app works without internet access!), and you can even checkin for safety drills. Download it before you leave home – it’s amazing!

Days 6 to 13: Norwegian Fjords Cruise (7 nights/8 days)

Cruise Day 1: Southampton Cruise Port 

Check-in for your cruise at Southampton Cruise Port. Climb aboard Anthem of the Seas and discover this magnificent ship, your new home for a while.

We booked a standard balcony cabin which was just about large enough for the 4 of us. When the beds were all made up it was pretty tight to get around the furniture and out onto the balcony. If you like your space consider upgrading to a suite for 4 people.

Once you’re in your cabin, relax, unpack and unwind. Explore the ship or grab a bite to eat. Then get up on deck for the sail away experience out of Southampton harbor – one of the largest and deepest cruise ports in the world. It was of course made famous in 1912 as the home port of The Titanic.

Cruise Day 2: At Sea

Spend your first day at sea relaxing on board your cruise ship. Check the Royal Caribbean app to see what activities are scheduled on board and join in as much or as little as you want to.

There is always a lot going on, but at the same time this is your chance to really relax after a few hectic days in London or Southampton. So you can do exactly as you please.

Familiarize yourself with the ship, check out the dining options, book a massage or relax by the pool. 

If you’re feeling sporty there is a sky-diving simulator, or bumper cars to enjoy. Book in advance! Or perhaps some retail therapy in the shopping mall.

Cruise Day 3: Stavanger

Surrounded by breathtaking Norwegian Fjords, your first port of call in Norway is the beautiful city of Stavanger, dating back to the 12th century. The cruise ship will spend a whole day in Stavanger, ensuring that you have time to see as much as possible today. 

Cruise ships dock at the port very close to downtown. From the port it is just a short walk to get to the shops, restaurants and cafes.

For a lazy down in town, walk from the port to the main shopping pedestrian street of Øvre Holmegate. Also known as “The Street of Colors” you’ll see why when you visit. It is one of the most popular places to shop, eat and browse in Stavanger. Stop off along the way at the city’s medieval cathedral with its romanesque and gothic architecture, and beautiful stained glass windows. 

If you plan on staying in the city for the day and do not want to walk everywhere or the weather isn’t great, then we recommend that you purchase hop on/hop off bus tickets, and choose to travel the waterfront route. There will be a stop very close to the cruise terminal.

But if you are adventurous – and we take it you are as you have chosen one of the world’s finest cruising routes for spectacular nature – then you’ll want to do an excursion when in Stavanger.

One of the most breathtaking excursions is to Preikestolen, otherwise known as Pulpit Rock. This cliff with a flat top stands at over 600 meters above sea level over Lysefjorden. It is one of the most famous hikes in Norway. Hiking season is May to October and this is not for the faint-hearted, if you choose to go you should go with an organized excursion or guide.

Cruise Day 4: Flam

Another great day awaits as you disembark Anthem of the Seas and get a tender boat into the pretty port of Flåm, nestled inside the very heart of the Norwegian Fjord called Aurlandsfjord.

The scenery around Flåm is spectacular. And the best way to see it is by using the Flåm railway to travel from Aurlandsfjord to Myrdal. The bad news is that during the summer months, it is very, very crowded. 

If you arrange your own day trip and purchase train tickets yourself, there may be a chance that you won’t make it back to the cruise ship in time unfortunately. Unless you can book a designated time of departure on the train, which is not also possible to pre-book. For this journey you may want to opt for the arranged tour with the cruise line.

We chose to skip the train and do our own hike from Flåm up to Brekke waterfall (Brekkefossen). We started at the tourist information center with a map and headed off. It was fantastic, men looking back actually wished we had opted for the rail journey instead. 

Cruise Day 5: Olden, Norway

There is a ton of very cool excursions and activities to do when you dock in Olden, it will be a difficult choice to make.

Do some research before you leave home and take time to read about the area. Then decide what you want to do and book your excursion, or guided tour before you start your cruise. 

The nordic village of Olden is located at the entrance to the picturesque Oldedalen, a 20km valley which leads up to the gigantic Jostedalsbreen glacier. We opted for the excursion with the cruise line to hike to the Briksdal glacier, a smaller arm of the Jostedalsbreen Glacier. It was a relatively easy hike, but be prepared for gradual incline and wear good walking shoes. The air was crystal clear and it was a warm day despite being surrounded by waterfalls and ice.

At the end of the day the bus drove us up and over the valley and down the otherwise to get to our cruise ship which was repositioned, and I must say the ride was jaw-dropping. The scenery was magnificent, the road narrow and winding, so not for the faint-hearted.

Read all about the glacier before you leave home here.

Alternatively book a boat excursion with a local fisherman or guide. The Fjords are packed full of fish including of course the famed Norwegian fresh salmon and arctic cod. 

Or book a kayak and spend a quiet afternoon paddling the Fjords with a guide. This is also a great way to see the native wildlife and fauna close up. 

Cruise Day 6: Bergen, Norway

You last port of call before you start your journey back towards Southampton is at the Norwegian city of Bergen. 

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.

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.

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, 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 7: At Sea

Cruise Day 8: Return to Southampton, England

Your cruise will finally return to the Port of Southampton, and dock early in the morning.

Remember that the transfer time back to the international airports in London is at least 1 hour, possibly more depending upon motorway traffic. 

If you are flying home the same day your ship docks in port, then leave on a flight after lunch, as you probably will not make it to the airport in time with a morning flight.

Alternatively, stick around either Southampton or London for extra vacation days. Or better still take the opportunity after your cruise to transfer up to the beautiful city of Oxford, and even further afield to the gorgeous golden region of The Cotswolds. Both are well worth visiting if you have never been. 

Need more tips on cruising? We’re here to help!

Cruise from Southampton – the essential guide

Cruise from London – the essential guide

Cruise packing list essentials – our 19 best tips

11 Top tips for booking a cruise and avoiding common mistakes

The 8 best cruise ships for families and kid-friendly cruises

Royal Caribbean International and their amazing fleet of ships

Meet the Author

Mattias has nearly 2 decades of travel industry expertise, working with cruise lines, tour operators, airlines, IT providers, hospitality suppliers and everything else in between that makes the travel industry tick. more..