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markfull
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We are booked on a Bolette (In Search of The Northern Lights) in March 23, going as high as Alta in northern Norway.
This is the first time we have done an Artic cruise and would like advice as to what clothing to take for the excursions we have booked! Obviously warm stuff but has anyone under, or over, estimated what they would need? Are shoe grips necessary, face coverings etc?

My wife feels the cold a lot more than I do (I have a lot more natural insulation, if you see whet I mean! But then again, a greater surface area through which to lose heat!!) and is begining to fret about what to take!!

TIA.

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1 hour ago, markfull said:

We are booked on a Bolette (In Search of The Northern Lights) in March 23, going as high as Alta in northern Norway.
This is the first time we have done an Artic cruise and would like advice as to what clothing to take for the excursions we have booked! Obviously warm stuff but has anyone under, or over, estimated what they would need? Are shoe grips necessary, face coverings etc?

My wife feels the cold a lot more than I do (I have a lot more natural insulation, if you see whet I mean! But then again, a greater surface area through which to lose heat!!) and is begining to fret about what to take!!

TIA.

 

We've been in Norway, Finland or Sweden during winter over 10 times over the last 20 years and most of these trips have been cruise based. Essential the weather varies tremendously both from day to day but also depending on latitude and distance from the coast. Think what it was like in the UK a week ago and what it's like now.

 

By the end of March you should expect temps between about freezing to somewhere up as high as 10˚C in the south and below freezing in places like Alta in the north. Roads and paths will normally be free of ice and snow and are usually well gritted... but in places you may be walking over compacted snow. The really cold bits are on deck where wind chill will pull temperatures down to well below freezing, tripping off to see the Northern Lights and standing in the freezing cold for several hours and getting on or off the ship... especially if a wind is blowing.

 

We've a full range of arctic gear having been of a number of expeditions towards the poles so we're spoilt for choice. 

 

The essentials that we would take are full body thermal base layers, thermal socks, a couple of pairs of thermal water proof gloves and under gloves, We use thermal snoods that double as neck scarfs and face coverings and, because we spend a lot of time on the deck, thermal/fur hats and under caps. In addition we pack thermal fleece lined trousers arctic/alpine parkas. To be honest... you might not need so much stuff in March and it may just feel like a winter day at home... many people manage with less... but on the other hand we've gone on a Northern Lights trip with Fred and a good number of people have stayed in the bus until it went back because they were just too cold. The best sighting of the Northern Light that we've seen have always been at night and from the ship at sea... two or three hours doing that can be really bitter. 

 

We do have ice grips and they can be very useful... we've been in Tromsø in March with a foot of ice on  the quay but... ice-grips need to be taken off when going into most buildings or back onto the ship so we tend to use thermal snow boots instead. We always feel a bit silly if we've taken too much but would never forgive ourselves if we missed out on something sensational because of the cold.

 

I attach some pics taken while on different Fred cruises in March to give a better idea of what you might expect.

 

We're up there again this year about the same time as yourselves but not with Fred this time.

 

Good luck with the lights and have an enjoyable holiday

 

 

 

P3130048.thumb.JPG.639a8cc2421f94d7cf734bfab4b09e58.JPG

 

DSC_7611.thumb.JPG.55834d3b8a24cc98437ee6cb9e2d0e8c.JPG

 

DSC_6057.thumb.JPG.f452c1d61e558f5767f7f78fdce6d16e.JPG

 

IMG_0442.thumb.JPG.5a5314b006f62d402a24a21ba6bfef2f.JPG

 

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DSC_8907.thumb.JPG.4111538e82627f4758dbcf5cdb0f6dc5.JPG

 

 

DSC_9205.thumb.JPG.c1a60a2fc4dde27237ab1861ac35cc59.JPG

 

 

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DSC_7724.thumb.JPG.a898411ee26699ce2a4ab6e624f05930.JPG

 

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DSC_0396.thumb.JPG.defa09a0d8a1fb340bee9208f026d8a7.JPG

Edited by twotravellersLondon
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1 hour ago, twotravellersLondon said:

 

We've been in Norway, Finland or Sweden during winter over 10 times over the last 20 years and most of these trips have been cruise based. Essential the weather varies tremendously both from day to day but also depending on latitude and distance from the coast. Think what it was like in the UK a week ago and what it's like now.

 

By the end of March you should expect temps between about freezing to somewhere up as high as 10˚C in the south and below freezing in places like Alta in the north. Roads and paths will normally be free of ice and snow and are usually well gritted... but in places you may be walking over compacted snow. The really cold bits are on deck where wind chill will pull temperatures down to well below freezing, tripping off to see the Northern Lights and standing in the freezing cold for several hours and getting on or off the ship... especially if a wind is blowing.

 

We've a full range of arctic gear having been of a number of expeditions towards the poles so we're spoilt for choice. 

 

The essentials that we would take are full body thermal base layers, thermal socks, a couple of pairs of thermal water proof gloves and under gloves, We use thermal snoods that double as neck scarfs and face coverings and, because we spend a lot of time on the deck, thermal/fur hats and under caps. In addition we pack thermal fleece lined trousers arctic/alpine parkas. To be honest... you might not need so much stuff in March and it may just feel like a winter day at home... many people manage with less... but on the other hand we've gone on a Northern Lights trip with Fred and a good number of people have stayed in the bus until it went back because they were just too cold. The best sighting of the Northern Light that we've seen have always been at night and from the ship at sea... two or three hours doing that can be really bitter. 

 

We do have ice grips and they can be very useful... we've been in Tromsø in March with a foot of ice on  the quay but... ice-grips need to be taken off when going into most buildings or back onto the ship so we tend to use thermal snow boots instead. We always feel a bit silly if we've taken too much but would never forgive ourselves if we missed out on something sensational because of the cold.

 

I attach some pics taken while on different Fred cruises in March to give a better idea of what you might expect.

 

We're up there again this year about the same time as yourselves but not with Fred this time.

 

Good luck with the lights and have an enjoyable holiday

 

 

 

P3130048.thumb.JPG.639a8cc2421f94d7cf734bfab4b09e58.JPG

 

DSC_7611.thumb.JPG.55834d3b8a24cc98437ee6cb9e2d0e8c.JPG

 

DSC_6057.thumb.JPG.f452c1d61e558f5767f7f78fdce6d16e.JPG

 

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DSC_9205.thumb.JPG.c1a60a2fc4dde27237ab1861ac35cc59.JPG

 

 

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Thanks so much for the info - very helpful. Hopefully we will get photos as beautiful as yours!

 

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@markfull I would echo exactly what has been suggested above re taking lots of layers. The fleece lined thermal trousers are also great, ours are Craighoppers and have a really thick lining and water&wind proof outer layer

 

Additionally you can buy little self heating pads that you just “crack” and they stay hot for hours. You get them to go inside 2 layers of gloves or into your boots. We gave some of the hand warmers to the staff who really appreciated them (one had never seen snow before and was delighted but cold).

 

We also took a light fleece rug that fitted into our back pack, useful for  Sley rides etc for a bit extra cosy, coorie in under it together.

 

As twotravellerslondon says don’t under do it, better to have too much and take it off if necessary. We also saw people missing out as they were ill equipped for the cold. Some purchased additional clothes and in Norway and that as you know is not cheap.

 

Wonderful experience though and the lights are beautiful.

 

 

Edited by Eglesbrech
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It was minus 27C on the ship's excursion to see the northern lights (about the 20th March a few years back), so you must be prepared for really low temperatures.  If you have photographic equipment you will definitely need an underneath pair of gloves, otherwise your hand will freeze to the equipment if you need to take heavy gloves off to handle it.  I recommend ice grips if you want to actually walk on ice.  Otherwise there is a high chance you will fall, but yes, they are a pain to put on/ and take off, so at least buy some to take with you, then you can just see when it is best to use them.  The outdoor suppliers are the places to go for clothes, I suggest going round them in the January sales to see what you can pick up.

 

You can get very hot on tour buses especially for a night excursion if you are really togged up, so worth having something you can easily remove on the coach.

 

Enjoy the cruise,

 

 

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We have done 2 ‘Northern Lights’ cruises and these are notes from my diaries that may be of help. Our cruises were in late February so it may be slightly warmer when you go in March. Layers of clothing is definitely the right way to dress when outside.

This is a list that I made after our first trip

Brought/forgotten - used/not used.

Forgotten

Highlighter pens

Polo shirts

Casual, thin day wear for around the ship

 

Brought and used.

Thermal vests, long johns, socks.

Water/wind proof jacket

Fleeces to layer

Scarf

Neck warmer

Thick hat with ear protectors 

Thermal gloves

Silk glove liners

Camera tripod

Snow/lined waterproof boots

Crutch/walking stick ice spike

Hand/foot warmer gel pouches

Brought and not used

Ski goggles

Crampon studs

 IMG_3860.thumb.JPG.0428f28837a11aa1ff30effcf8eacd87.JPG

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We have visited all of your ports so here is some info that may be useful:

Trondheim Port

  • the port is quite industrialised.
  • There isn’t a terminal building 
  • It is a 2km walk into the town centre
  • Ship’s tour busses are parked a short walk from the gangway 
  • I didn’t see independent tours or taxi tours being offered at the port

Trondheim Town

  • There are plenty of shops and food outlets
  • the town centre is quite picturesque with a river bordered by historic, colourfully painted warehouses.
  • The cathedral is attractive and the wooden bridge is almost Chinese in its design.

 

  • IMG_4217.JPG.e753fdef019675a83f118d1aab249a74.JPG
  •  

IMG_4225.JPG.98b3c8a7b62f6c972083d36556bffd43.JPG

 

IMG_4238.JPG.6b7bbf022598e19238cabbf9110b9491.JPG

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alta.

Alta Port

  • The ship docks at an industrial pier on the outskirts of the town.
  • There isn’t a terminal building 
  • Tour busses and shuttle busses are parked about 100m from the gangway.
  • I didn’t see any taxis or independent tours being offered.
  • The town is approximately 3 miles from the port.
  • It is a 15-minute journey and a 5km walk.

Alta Town.

 

·         The town is small and 'modern' with 60s style architecture.

·         There is a regular free shuttle service from the ship to the town square.

·         There is not a lot to see in the town except for the tourist information centre by the bus drop-off point, the cathedral and the shopping mall which is opposite the bus park.

·         The shopping mall has a food court, a variety of shops and a supermarket. I thought prices were very high.

IMG_4089.JPG.172b1078f2b991ecb10d3beaa66717c3.JPG

 

RB2A5992.JPG.d21bd8389d90b1bef2b888c03ffc65e0.JPG

 

IMG_4068.JPG.84929fb2269808188aa3db3f6e080349.JPG

 

IMG_5886.thumb.JPG.f86b7ab6da0c53483e621999face7468.JPG

 

IMG_4080.thumb.JPG.c8e91562c45e13e234f5a45b68f186a1.JPG

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tromso Port

  • the port is industrial
  • It is situated about 2 miles out of the city centre.
  • There isn’t a terminal building
  • The shuttle busses and ship’s tour busses depart from the bottom of the gangway
  • I didn’t see any taxis or private tour companies but couldn’t see all the parking area so there may have been some.
  • There was a shuttle service into Tromso town centre which was free for us but £10 for those on a saver fare for unlimited journeys.

Tromso City

  • the city centre has a wide variety of ships and eating outlets
  • There are walkways along the harbour area.
  • There appeared to be boat trips and sightseeing tours being offered but I’m not sure if they were running while we were there

Cable car

  • I had done my research online at home so I knew that it was possible to get a bus from the town centre to the cable car.
  • The Bus stop for bus #26 was quite close to the shuttle bus drop off point.
  • Busses were quite frequent
  • Tickets must be purchases from the ticket machine (Instructions can be accessed in English) by credit card before boarding. Unfortunately, this machine wasn’t working so we bought our tickets at the shop across the road… NOK40pp = £3.30pp
  • Tickets must be validated on the machine on the bus.
  • The journey takes about 20 minutes and the driver will call out when to get off.
  • There is a short walk to the lower station where the ticket office is situated.
  • Tickets are NOK280PP = £20.  or NOK220pp = £18 or pensioners
  • Each car holds about 20 passengers 
  • At the top there is a cafe, toilets, a viewing platform and access to open space where people were skiing etc.
  • IMG_3917.JPG.cfe7a135003552cef9787ee8042ed921.JPG
  •  
  • IMG_3919.JPG.6a9e3b3f9a48afda73bf5afb3663e365.JPG
  •  
  • IMG_3923.thumb.JPG.5f996c3f0e0f54ee5a997ab843bcd392.JPG
  •  
  • IMG_3954.JPG.ed14bd58f961ad6bba21dc1af7ef268b.JPG
  •  
  • IMG_5836.thumb.JPG.b62d48789c873b15345c3fd5dce1b56e.JPG
  • ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bodo Port 

  • the port is small and situated close to the town centre.
  • There isn’t a terminal building so tour busses were waiting at the bottom of the gangway.

Bodo town

  • the town centre is a short walk from the port.
  • It is a typical modern small Norwegian town with plenty of shops, a harbour and marina, good quality housing and some rugged countryside.
  • IMG_4154.JPG.b0e61493ed7365c1d40c953b2b63d69a.JPG
  •  
  • IMG_4147.JPG.1e0afba36ff4256ebe91036e9b43290c.JPG
  •  
  • IMG_4135.thumb.JPG.34b18104aca4af0449f1779fea476fc0.JPG

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

and lastly some Borealis pictures. these were taken on my iphone from the ship's deckthumbnail_IMG_3458.thumb.jpg.7e1e5b6d9cd501c359260f7f6966a608.jpg

 

thumbnail_IMG_3461.thumb.jpg.8af88175d9c425525f5d6fb65edcd7d3.jpg

 

1133374748_thumbnail_IMG_3591(1).thumb.jpg.8a71756e52dae833e77dd11f818540cf.jpg

 

I hope tou have a wonderful time

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On 12/26/2022 at 12:21 PM, Izzywiz said:

We have done 2 ‘Northern Lights’ cruises and these are notes from my diaries that may be of help. Our cruises were in late February so it may be slightly warmer when you go in March. Layers of clothing is definitely the right way to dress when outside.

This is a list that I made after our first trip

Brought/forgotten - used/not used.

Forgotten

Highlighter pens

Polo shirts

Casual, thin day wear for around the ship

 

Brought and used.

Thermal vests, long johns, socks.

Water/wind proof jacket

Fleeces to layer

Scarf

Neck warmer

Thick hat with ear protectors 

Thermal gloves

Silk glove liners

Camera tripod

Snow/lined waterproof boots

Crutch/walking stick ice spike

Hand/foot warmer gel pouches

Brought and not used

Ski goggles

Crampon studs

 IMG_3860.thumb.JPG.0428f28837a11aa1ff30effcf8eacd87.JPG

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We have visited all of your ports so here is some info that may be useful:

Trondheim Port

  • the port is quite industrialised.
  • There isn’t a terminal building 
  • It is a 2km walk into the town centre
  • Ship’s tour busses are parked a short walk from the gangway 
  • I didn’t see independent tours or taxi tours being offered at the port

Trondheim Town

  • There are plenty of shops and food outlets
  • the town centre is quite picturesque with a river bordered by historic, colourfully painted warehouses.
  • The cathedral is attractive and the wooden bridge is almost Chinese in its design.

 

  • IMG_4217.JPG.e753fdef019675a83f118d1aab249a74.JPG
  •  

IMG_4225.JPG.98b3c8a7b62f6c972083d36556bffd43.JPG

 

IMG_4238.JPG.6b7bbf022598e19238cabbf9110b9491.JPG

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alta.

Alta Port

  • The ship docks at an industrial pier on the outskirts of the town.
  • There isn’t a terminal building 
  • Tour busses and shuttle busses are parked about 100m from the gangway.
  • I didn’t see any taxis or independent tours being offered.
  • The town is approximately 3 miles from the port.
  • It is a 15-minute journey and a 5km walk.

Alta Town.

 

·         The town is small and 'modern' with 60s style architecture.

·         There is a regular free shuttle service from the ship to the town square.

·         There is not a lot to see in the town except for the tourist information centre by the bus drop-off point, the cathedral and the shopping mall which is opposite the bus park.

·         The shopping mall has a food court, a variety of shops and a supermarket. I thought prices were very high.

IMG_4089.JPG.172b1078f2b991ecb10d3beaa66717c3.JPG

 

RB2A5992.JPG.d21bd8389d90b1bef2b888c03ffc65e0.JPG

 

IMG_4068.JPG.84929fb2269808188aa3db3f6e080349.JPG

 

IMG_5886.thumb.JPG.f86b7ab6da0c53483e621999face7468.JPG

 

IMG_4080.thumb.JPG.c8e91562c45e13e234f5a45b68f186a1.JPG

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tromso Port

  • the port is industrial
  • It is situated about 2 miles out of the city centre.
  • There isn’t a terminal building
  • The shuttle busses and ship’s tour busses depart from the bottom of the gangway
  • I didn’t see any taxis or private tour companies but couldn’t see all the parking area so there may have been some.
  • There was a shuttle service into Tromso town centre which was free for us but £10 for those on a saver fare for unlimited journeys.

Tromso City

  • the city centre has a wide variety of ships and eating outlets
  • There are walkways along the harbour area.
  • There appeared to be boat trips and sightseeing tours being offered but I’m not sure if they were running while we were there

Cable car

  • I had done my research online at home so I knew that it was possible to get a bus from the town centre to the cable car.
  • The Bus stop for bus #26 was quite close to the shuttle bus drop off point.
  • Busses were quite frequent
  • Tickets must be purchases from the ticket machine (Instructions can be accessed in English) by credit card before boarding. Unfortunately, this machine wasn’t working so we bought our tickets at the shop across the road… NOK40pp = £3.30pp
  • Tickets must be validated on the machine on the bus.
  • The journey takes about 20 minutes and the driver will call out when to get off.
  • There is a short walk to the lower station where the ticket office is situated.
  • Tickets are NOK280PP = £20.  or NOK220pp = £18 or pensioners
  • Each car holds about 20 passengers 
  • At the top there is a cafe, toilets, a viewing platform and access to open space where people were skiing etc.
  • IMG_3917.JPG.cfe7a135003552cef9787ee8042ed921.JPG
  •  
  • IMG_3919.JPG.6a9e3b3f9a48afda73bf5afb3663e365.JPG
  •  
  • IMG_3923.thumb.JPG.5f996c3f0e0f54ee5a997ab843bcd392.JPG
  •  
  • IMG_3954.JPG.ed14bd58f961ad6bba21dc1af7ef268b.JPG
  •  
  • IMG_5836.thumb.JPG.b62d48789c873b15345c3fd5dce1b56e.JPG
  • ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bodo Port 

  • the port is small and situated close to the town centre.
  • There isn’t a terminal building so tour busses were waiting at the bottom of the gangway.

Bodo town

  • the town centre is a short walk from the port.
  • It is a typical modern small Norwegian town with plenty of shops, a harbour and marina, good quality housing and some rugged countryside.
  • IMG_4154.JPG.b0e61493ed7365c1d40c953b2b63d69a.JPG
  •  
  • IMG_4147.JPG.1e0afba36ff4256ebe91036e9b43290c.JPG
  •  
  • IMG_4135.thumb.JPG.34b18104aca4af0449f1779fea476fc0.JPG

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

and lastly some Borealis pictures. these were taken on my iphone from the ship's deckthumbnail_IMG_3458.thumb.jpg.7e1e5b6d9cd501c359260f7f6966a608.jpg

 

thumbnail_IMG_3461.thumb.jpg.8af88175d9c425525f5d6fb65edcd7d3.jpg

 

1133374748_thumbnail_IMG_3591(1).thumb.jpg.8a71756e52dae833e77dd11f818540cf.jpg

 

I hope tou have a wonderful time

Thanks for all your effort - great information that will come in handy! I'm sure we'll have a great trip!

 

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