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NJS53

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New to cruising and didn't realise that the Northern Lights excursions would be sold out so quickly.

Can we just disembark in Tromso or Narvik and find a local tourist place who can take us out into the local area with a guide?

Also it looks like something as simple as walking around and then going to a coffee shop costs an arm and a leg if you do it via a pre-booked shore excursion; again, can we just leave the ship and do our own thing, as long as we are back before the scheduled departure time?

thanks

Sarah

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Just now, NJS53 said:

New to cruising and didn't realise that the Northern Lights excursions would be sold out so quickly.

Can we just disembark in Tromso or Narvik and find a local tourist place who can take us out into the local area with a guide?

Also it looks like something as simple as walking around and then going to a coffee shop costs an arm and a leg if you do it via a pre-booked shore excursion; again, can we just leave the ship and do our own thing, as long as we are back before the scheduled departure time?

thanks

Sarah

 

Yes,  we prefer to just go off and do our own thing.  Often it's possible to use local transport and explore on your own.  Tromso you need the shuttle bus to get into town but then can get the bus or walk to the Arctic Cathedral and Cable Car going up independently.  Norway is expensive but getting off the ship, getting coffees etc isn't too OTT if you DiY.   

What I don't know though is how the winter conditions affect how easily you can get around. No doubt some will be able to offer advice and suggestions - we've never been in winter.

But don't be daunted by DiY.  Some places you only need to get off the ship and walk.  My advice would be to research the ports, seek advice (as you are) about the practicalities at individual ports then decide what you most want to do and determine whether its something you can do yourself or whether, in some cases, a ship's excursion is the easiest/most efficient/practical approach.  But DiY can be very satisfying as well as very much cheaper.  We've learned such a lot from other cruisers both on the forum and on board.  

Good luck with your research and above all... enjoy!

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I know it is frowned upon by some people,but grab a couple of rolls each at the breakfast buffet,fill with whatever and you've got a packed lunch.Not like Aus and NZ where you will be arrested by the police with food sniffer dogs.If the ship is in town,just come back for lunch and go out again.A guy on the Celebrity forum on his Norway review said beer was cheaper ashore than the ship.

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We always DIY.  Search on the destinations on this site and also just Google the ports and get some information.

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1 hour ago, NJS53 said:

New to cruising and didn't realise that the Northern Lights excursions would be sold out so quickly.

Can we just disembark in Tromso or Narvik and find a local tourist place who can take us out into the local area with a guide?

Also it looks like something as simple as walking around and then going to a coffee shop costs an arm and a leg if you do it via a pre-booked shore excursion; again, can we just leave the ship and do our own thing, as long as we are back before the scheduled departure time?

thanks

Sarah

Lots of private providers out there, the internet is a great resource to choose and cross reference the alternatives, sightings are not guaranteed, we were lucky. Make sure you can stay warm, we were out for 4 hours in Alta when these were taken.

DSCF3121.JPG

DSCF3130.JPG

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33 minutes ago, brian1 said:

I know it is frowned upon by some people,but grab a couple of rolls each at the breakfast buffet,fill with whatever and you've got a packed lunch.Not like Aus and NZ where you will be arrested by the police with food sniffer dogs.If the ship is in town,just come back for lunch and go out again.A guy on the Celebrity forum on his Norway review said beer was cheaper ashore than the ship.

It might be cheaper if they charge more than £8 for around a 1/3 of a pint that is what it cost us 2 years ago in Norway

 

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1 hour ago, brillo said:

It might be cheaper if they charge more than £8 for around a 1/3 of a pint that is what it cost us 2 years ago in Norway

 

Remind me not to  buy a pint on Celebrity,lol.

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On the Northern Lights cruise I took the shuttle ashore in Tromso and got a local bus to the cable car station and then back to the Arctic Cathedral. Public transport runs as normal in the snow in Norway. Do some internet research first - I had to buy a ticket in a shop near the bus stop first. You can't buy them on board the buses. There are private companies running northern light tours late at night too - worth checking those.

 

It will be very cold but it is a dry cold. It's essential to have proper clothing - thermals and preferably waterproof. Also it's a good idea to have traction devices on your footwear - I like Yak Trax - some people without them had falls in the snow. 

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Considering the prices in Norway, P&O trips are not as expensive as you may think. The problem with doing your own thing over chasing the Northern Lights is that privately arranged trips are similar in price to P&O ones although they tend to be in minibuses for a smaller group, but they tend to operate from the centre of Tromso which is about 4 miles from where the ship docks. Personally, I wouldn’t take the risk of not being able to get transport back to the ship at around midnight. If you are late back and not on a P&O organised trip, they will not wait long for you. 
 

Are you on the Arcadia cruise later this month? There is an expert onboard who will help people get the best chance of seeing the lights. If they are visible elsewhere, they should be visible from the ship, especially when the ship is sailing. There is a cruise critic roll call for the Arcadia cruise on this site so even if you are on a different one, you may choose to look at it (around 500 posts) because there is some good advice along with general ‘conversation’.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Host Sharon said:

On the Northern Lights cruise I took the shuttle ashore in Tromso and got a local bus to the cable car station and then back to the Arctic Cathedral. Public transport runs as normal in the snow in Norway. Do some internet research first - I had to buy a ticket in a shop near the bus stop first. You can't buy them on board the buses. There are private companies running northern light tours late at night too - worth checking those.

 

It will be very cold but it is a dry cold. It's essential to have proper clothing - thermals and preferably waterproof. Also it's a good idea to have traction devices on your footwear - I like Yak Trax - some people without them had falls in the snow. 

 

We did the same in Tromso.  We caught a bus in the town centre.  We were able to buy a ticket to the Cable Car using our credit card (or debit card) in a machine at the bus stop there.  It was only a single though.  Across the road from the Arctic Cathedral was a bus stop but no machine.  We were able to purchase tickets from the driver.  However they were quite a bit more expensive (I think about £5 each compared with less than £3). We were glad to pay it not to have to walk!  In the summer we have walked both ways but it's quite a stretch over the bridge especially if it may be icy. 

If you can find a shop as Sharon did, it would definitely be worth buying return tickets.  

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1 hour ago, Host Sharon said:

On the Northern Lights cruise I took the shuttle ashore in Tromso and got a local bus to the cable car station and then back to the Arctic Cathedral. Public transport runs as normal in the snow in Norway. Do some internet research first - I had to buy a ticket in a shop near the bus stop first. You can't buy them on board the buses. There are private companies running northern light tours late at night too - worth checking those.

 

It will be very cold but it is a dry cold. It's essential to have proper clothing - thermals and preferably waterproof. Also it's a good idea to have traction devices on your footwear - I like Yak Trax - some people without them had falls in the snow. 

Excellent advice from Sharon.

We did exactly the same when we were in Tromso in November a couple of years ago.

The shop is called Narvesen in Stortorget which is in Tromso main square.

The bus stop called S1 is just across the road from the shop and the bus is service 26.

As there are plenty of things to see and do in Tromso I would advise if you want to do a ‘Hunting the Northern Lights’ excursion (Glod Explorer) and or a Dog Carting/Sledding experience (Holmen Husky) to do these in Alta as there are less things to do there. I assume there is still an overnight stop in Alta.

You can google the references above for more details.

I am sure you will have a great time

Edited by P-L-B

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34 minutes ago, P-L-B said:

Excellent advice from Sharon.

We did exactly the same when we were in Tromso in November 2017.

The shop is called Narvesen in Stortorget which is in Tromso main square.

The bus stop called S1 is just across the road from the shop and the bus is service 26.

As there are plenty of things to see and do in Tromso I would advise if you want to do a ‘Hunting the Northern Lights’ excursion (Glod Explorer) and or a Dog Carting/Sledding experience (Holmen Husky) to do these in Alta as there are less things to do there. I assume there is still an overnight stop in Alta.

You can google the references above for more details.

I am sure you will have a great time

 

Just to add, the cost for the cable car was NOK 170 return and admission to the Arctic Cathedral was NOK 50. I think we paid by CC

Edited by P-L-B

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14 minutes ago, P-L-B said:

 

Just to add, the cost for the cable car was NOK 170 return and admission to the Arctic Cathedral was NOK 50. I think we paid by CC

When we went in the cathedral it was free. It was four years ago though.

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1 hour ago, happy v said:

When we went in the cathedral it was free. It was four years ago though.

Yes, unfortunately chargeable now.

 

https://www.ishavskatedralen.no/en/the-arctic-cathedral/

 

Also, unfortunately the Cable Car prices have increased.

NOK 170 when we were there November 2017 now NOK 230

You can get them a little cheaper if you book on line but a bit risky if for some reason you cant make the port.

 

https://fjellheisen.no/en/

 

Also, we enjoyed our visit to Polaria which cost us NOK 130

 

https://polaria.no/en/

Edited by P-L-B

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Many thanks for all your advice - good to have the benefit of all your experience!

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