Norwegian Cruises Cruise Destinations around the World

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Norway isn't one of the most common cruise destinations but its fjords and coastline are well worth visiting. And though there may be fewer lines providing Norwegian cruises than trips to other destinations, the country gives its name to one of the biggest cruise companies, Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) of which more later.

First, back to Norway. There are a few lines, among them Cruise Norway and Norwegian Coastal Voyages, offering itineraries in this region. Cruise Norway's 7 day trips sail daily from Bergen to destinations including Alesund, Trondheim, Harstad, Hammerfest and Kirkenes. Alternatively, there are Norwegian Coastal Voyage's longer cruises which in 12 days cover the 1,250 mile west coast. Northbound or southbound (you can take either), it's quite a haul: 34 ports with stops lasting between 45 minutes and 6 hours.

Norwegian Coastal Voyage's ships are new, equipped with up to date technology, and adorned with charcoal drawings, watercolours, oils and sculptures by Norwegian artists. Norway's a hearty frontier country with a love of outdoor pursuits such as hiking, biking, fishing and climbing all available on Norwegian cruises. The national love of the great outdoors is well justified the country's landscape is beautiful and varied. In the south it's gentle farmland, fjord and forests but as you travel north, it gets darker and wilder until you get to Svalbard, a chain of icy islands where seals, walruses and polar bears live (if you've read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials novels, you'll remember that this region was home to the Armoured Bears, as well as even stranger and darker creatures). Princess Cruises also travel here.

If you take advantage of the opportunities for exercise which Norwegian cruises afford, you'll probably work up an appetite. Some Scandinavian food is an acquired taste fish covered in soap and buried until it is jellified, anyone? but some is unarguably delicious. There are abundant sources of wild and farmed fish and the light summer gives an aromatic tinge to fruit, vegetables and grazing animals. Pick a cruise which takes advantage of Norwegian produce.

Moving on to Norwegian Cruise Lines: founded in 1966 as Norwegian Caribbean, this line is one of the biggest in the world. Its original name gives a clue to the fact that most of the staff on board NCL's ships are from the Caribbean, not Norway in fact, the name of the line and of ships such as Norwegian Wind are the most Scandic thing about it. NCL goes to a variety of destinations and is known for its Freestyle dining programme, which, unlike the restaurant service on most large cruise liners, allows passengers to eat whenever they like (it has had mixed success, the most being aboard the fleet's newer ships).