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What It’s Like to Cruise Arctic Norway in Summer

“Oh typical,” the handsomest crew member mutters, looking out past the crowd gathered on the bow. “We won’t be able to go in. There’s a ship there.”

Although it’s the middle of the night, everyone is out on deck. The cliffs on either side of us are mirrored in the green water. The low sun, hidden behind clouds, still manages to pick out each ripple like a line drawing. And as I find a spot at the railing, it’s clear that the crew member I’d privately named Kjuti was wrong: We are going in.

Even with dozens of people out on deck, Trollfjord is silent as a church — because the Havila Castor has switched to battery power. As my ears adjust, the sounds of the fjord fill the silence.

Water laps the walls on both sides. Thin waterfalls splash down the rock walls. Passengers murmur with appreciation at the captain’s skill as we maneuver close to one cliff to avoid the ship that sits at the far end of the inlet, refusing to give way.

This is why Havila ships don’t need entertainment.

I glance around the crowd and spot my parents, but not my husband or son. Suddenly I remember that my husband had told me about an hour ago, as he left the jacuzzi, that he was off to bed — despite the excursion director, Askjay, imploring us over the PA system to stay up for this treat.

They have to see this.

When I step back inside, the HVAC system seems to roar. I run down two stairways to our corridor, my sandals slapping the rubber edge of each step. In our cabin, the curtains are open, but my son is facing away from the window, playing with his Nintendo Switch, and my husband is connected to his CPAP, dead to the world.

“Wake Dad up! You guys have to come out on deck and look at this beautiful fjord!” I order Toth. Then I run back upstairs and out onto the deck. I can’t risk missing the rest of this experience to wait around and see if Toth successfully wakes Erik.

This time, I stand on the smaller prow observation area, which is less crowded. Once the ship has fully executed its turn to leave the fjord, I run up to the roomier back deck, above the jacuzzis. I watch the green water churn into turquoise in our wake, as the ship so impudently parking in Trolljord shrinks into a toy. Pockets of snow speckle the mountains. We are about 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

Gliding in and out of Trollford was the highlight of our seven-day Havila Coastal Voyage, but it wasn’t an anomoly. The whole trip felt like that, at varying levels of intensity: Beautiful sights, frequent bouts of awe, jumping in and out of bed at odd hours for once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Feeling, with the never-ending daylight, that I didn’t dare sleep for fear of missing something.

In my next few posts, I’ll share more highlights of our trip up Norway’s coast: my favorite ports, reviews of the three excursions we took, the food (omg, the food), and even the few things I think Havila could have done better.


How the Havila Coastal Voyage is Different Than Other Cruises

Everything You Need to Know About Boarding a Havila Coastal Voyage

Day 7 Part II: Boarding the Havila Castor

Day 7: Last Day in Bergen

Day 6: Exploring Bergen

Bryggen Walking Tour Review

Moxy Bergen Hotel Review

Day 5: Reykjavik to Bergen

The Iceland Phallological Museum (NSFW!)

Reykjavik Airbnb Review

Reykjavik Lebowski Bar Review

Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

Day 4: Iceland’s Golden Circle

Day 3: Reykjavik in a Day

Day 2: Arriving in Reykjavik

The Blue Lagoon

Day 1: Traveling from Chicago to Reykjavik

My Iceland Recommendations

Overview: Multigen Trip to Iceland and Norway Cruise

Travel book review: Welcome to the Goddamned Ice Cube – The Miles Mom

Monday 4th of March 2024

[…] and darkness of the Arctic winter she describes doesn’t appeal to me. I’m still glad we cruised Norway in summer. It would be cool to ride a dogsled, of course, but hey, sometimes people offer that experience in […]

Our Havila Coastal Voyage, Part 2 – The Miles Mom

Tuesday 26th of September 2023

[…] Recovering from our late-night venture into Trollfjord, we slept through four quick ports in the early hours before quickly jumping off at Finnsness at 11 […]

Our Havila Coastal Voyage, Part I: Lighthouses, Waterfalls and Midnight-Sun Ports – The Miles Mom

Thursday 21st of September 2023

[…] midnight, we entered Trollfjord, the absolute highlight of the trip, which I described in a previous […]