Cruising the Norwegian fjords is a bucket-list experience that offers breathtaking scenery, unique cultural encounters, and the tranquility of nature. If you’re considering this unforgettable journey, you’re likely wondering about the best time to go, the overall worth of the trip, the optimal side of the ship to choose, and what kind of weather to expect. Here, we address these key points to help you plan the perfect Norwegian fjords cruise.

What is the Best Time of Year to Cruise the Norwegian Fjords?

The best time to cruise the Norwegian fjords is between late May and early September. During this period, the weather is relatively mild, and the days are long, thanks to the Midnight Sun, especially from June to July. These extended daylight hours provide ample opportunity to explore the stunning landscapes, embark on shore excursions, and take in the majestic beauty of the fjords.

Spring (late May to early June) is particularly charming as the waterfalls are at their most vigorous due to the melting snow, and the landscapes are lush and green. Late summer (August to early September) is also an excellent time, offering fewer crowds, pleasant weather, and a chance to witness the early autumn colors. If you’re interested in wildlife, this period is ideal for spotting whales and various bird species.

Is a Norwegian Fjords Cruise Worth It?

Sailing Nordfjord

Absolutely, a Norwegian fjords cruise is worth every moment and penny. The fjords are renowned for their spectacular natural beauty, featuring steep cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and serene waters. A cruise allows you to experience these wonders from a unique vantage point, often inaccessible by land.

Besides the natural scenery, the cultural experiences are equally enriching. Many cruises offer excursions to quaint villages, historic sites, and opportunities to engage with local traditions and cuisines. Activities such as hiking, kayaking, and even glacier walking are commonly available, providing both adventure and relaxation.

The fjords themselves, including Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord (both UNESCO World Heritage Sites), are highlights of any cruise, offering stunning vistas and tranquil environments. The combination of natural beauty, cultural immersion, and the sheer tranquility of cruising through these ancient waterways makes it an experience of a lifetime.

Which Side of the Cruise Ship is Best for Fjords?

Choosing the best side of the cruise ship for viewing the fjords can enhance your experience, though it’s worth noting that both sides will offer spectacular views at different times. Generally, if your cruise travels northbound, the port side (left side) might offer better views, and for southbound journeys, the starboard side (right side) is often preferred.

However, the scenery is dynamic and ever-changing, so you’ll find yourself frequently moving around the ship to catch the best sights. Many modern cruise ships have open deck spaces and observation lounges that provide panoramic views, ensuring you don’t miss any of the stunning landscapes, regardless of your cabin location.

What is the Weather Like in the Fjords on a Cruise?

The weather in the Norwegian fjords can be quite variable, even in the summer months. Typically, temperatures range from 50°F to 70°F (10°C to 21°C) during the cruising season. While you can expect many sunny and clear days, rain is also quite common due to the region’s maritime climate. It’s wise to pack layers, including a waterproof jacket, to stay comfortable in all conditions. When we sailed to the Fjords in April 2022 the weather was gorgeous but a little cool at nights.

The fjords are known for their dramatic weather shifts, with mist and fog often adding to the mystical atmosphere. This variability means you’ll experience the fjords in different moods, each offering its own unique beauty. Clear days provide unobstructed views of the towering cliffs and blue waters, while misty, overcast days create a hauntingly beautiful ambiance that enhances the sense of adventure.

In conclusion, a Norwegian fjords cruise is a richly rewarding experience, offering unparalleled natural beauty, diverse activities, and cultural insights. By choosing the right time to travel, selecting the best side of the ship, and preparing for variable weather, you’ll ensure a memorable and breathtaking journey through one of the world’s most stunning regions.

Popular Ports of Call on a 7-Night Norwegian Fjords Cruise

A typical 7-night Norwegian fjords cruise includes stops at several charming and picturesque ports. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Bergen: Often the starting or ending point of the cruise, Bergen is known for its colorful wooden houses, vibrant fish market, and the UNESCO-listed Bryggen Wharf. The city is surrounded by seven mountains, offering stunning panoramic views from the Fløibanen funicular.
  • Geiranger: Nestled at the end of the Geirangerfjord, this port is famous for its dramatic scenery, including the Seven Sisters Waterfall and the Eagle’s Road. Shore excursions often include visits to viewpoints like Dalsnibba and boat tours of the fjord.
  • Flåm: Situated in the Aurlandsfjord, Flåm is a gateway to the scenic Flåm Railway, which ascends through breathtaking landscapes to the mountain station of Myrdal. The area is also known for its hiking trails and the Stegastein viewpoint.
  • Stavanger: This port is renowned for its proximity to the Lysefjord and the iconic Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen), a flat-topped cliff offering stunning views over the fjord. The old town of Stavanger features well-preserved wooden houses and the impressive Stavanger Cathedral.
  • Ålesund: Known for its Art Nouveau architecture, Ålesund is spread across several islands. The Aksla viewpoint provides panoramic views of the town and surrounding archipelago. The Atlantic Sea Park, one of the largest saltwater aquariums in Europe, is also a popular attraction.
Alesund – April 2022
  • Olden: Located at the end of the Nordfjord, Olden is a charming village that serves as a starting point for excursions to the Briksdal Glacier and the picturesque Loen Valley. The Skylift in Loen offers an exhilarating ride to the top of Mount Hoven for breathtaking views.
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