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Sailing towards the Northern Lights!

P&O Northern Lights Cruise | See all accessible cruise holidays

After boarding the beautiful Oriana in Southampton, we headed north. This was in March, so the thermals were packed!. Our ship was for adults only and a much smaller ship than the rest of the fleet. If you are looking for a family friendly ship however, there is so much choice. Some ships have up to 5 swimming pools to give you an idea of the enormous size!

The anticipation of seeing the Northern Lights made this cruise extra exciting because the chances were very likely!  The Norwegian Fjords are stunning and although I had already cruised there before in the summer months, I was desperate to cruise even further north into the Arctic Circle during the winter to try and spot the Northern Lights.

The accessible cabin was about 3 times the size of a standard cabin with a wet room, grab rails, wider door frames and sink to fit the wheelchair underneath. If you need equipment that is not already onboard, for example an electric bed, our specialists can organise this for you when you book. Access on the ship was fantastic so I didn’t feel limited by the choice of activities. Decks can be accessed by lifts, there were accessible seats in the theatre, a hoist into swimming pool if requested, and staff are very well trained with assisting embarking and disembarking the ship using a ramp. I’ve found that some people are hesitant to book a cruise because they think the ship will be overcrowded but Oriana had many cosy and peaceful places to rest as well as a large choice of entertainment and activities.

Electric wheelchair

Andalsnes

After a couple of relaxing days at sea, swimming in the surprisingly warm outdoor pool, enjoying entertainment in the theatre and eating scrumptious food with exceptional service, we arrived in Andalsnes. This was the magnificent view by my cabin when I woke…

Surrounded by tall mountains and situated on the Romsdalsfjord, Andalsnes is often referred to as “The Alp town by the fjord”. Andalsnes railway was a popular trip for seeing more of the picturesque countryside. Unfortunately the railway was fully booked so we made our own plans. I’m glad we did because I found a wheelchair accessible path up a mountain with a stunning view. I was anxious about how my electric wheelchair would manage the snow but it didn’t struggle as much as I thought. This was a proud moment when I reached the top!

 

Tromso

Tromso

This was the city where people were going dog sledding or reindeer sledding and in the evening, searching for the magnificent Aurora Borealis. We embarked on a reindeer adventure which created lifelong memories.

We arrived to feed a very friendly bunch of reindeer- they belonged to some of the Sami people. Approximately 40,000 Sami people live in Norway, as well as Sweden, Finland and Russia. I learned that around 2,600 Sami people in Norway make their living from herding reindeer. We warmed up in their goahti (which is a Sami hut) with reindeer soup and hot chocolate, before our reindeer sledding!  I was so grateful for a tour guide who was so keen to make sure I wouldn’t miss out because I was in a wheelchair. Although part of this trip was accessible in an wheelchair, it was important you could walk a few meters in the snow to reach the reindeer.

In the afternoon, we fitted in a trip up Europe’s most Northern cable car. This was the incredible view from the top.

Alta

Alta is the city of the Northern Lights - the city everyone had been waiting for! It is the largest town on Norway’s northern coast and lies at the head of the Alta Fjord.

As you can imagine, the journey sailing there is exceptionally beautiful. Rather than freezing in the famous Ice Hotel (which I am sure would be incredible!), we spent the day meeting local people to learn about their interesting minimalist lifestyle, visited the Alta museum to see the Hjemmeluft Bay prehistoric rock carvings, took a trip to the Alta Cathedral (also known as the Northern Lights Cathedral) and watched the end of the famous dog sledding competition.

In the evening everyone was desperate for the clouds to shift. After hours of waiting with lots of hot chocolate, the magical lights appeared! The atmosphere on the top deck of the ship was very exciting as everyone tried to capture the best photos possible!

Stavanger
Stavanger was our final city. Popular places to visit included Stavanger Cathedral and the Norwegian Petroleum Museum. After staying up into the early hours, we decided to wander around the shopping street Øvre Holmegate, which is known for its colorful houses and enjoy plenty of Norwegian coffee!

Searching for the Northern Lights was a holiday I will never forget. If you fancy a change from the summer sun then I would highly recommend this wonderful adventure.

Electric wheelchair

 

See all accessible cruise holidays or call 0161 804 9898 for more information

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