We are planning a Norway fjord cruise for July 2019 and would like to work it to stopover in Iceland on the way to go to a convention. Any ideas on cruise operators large and small. Want one that goes above Arctic Circle. I have seen listings for cruises on ferry/mail ships that have many stops and some larger ships that are more traditional ocean cruises. Any experience with airlines that have deals for stopover in Iceland and then continue to the continent. All advice would be appreciated.
Have you checked out Iceland Air? They have stopovers in Iceland.
Hurtigruten ferry travels the coast of Norway, you can check it out to see if that is something you would be interested in.
I did not do the way Iceland - Norway by ship.
I was travelling with Hurtigruten several times, always port-to-port but also on board for a few days (e.g. this last June). I really like to travel that way, in my case with own car on board. It is a very personal and comfortable but also functional way of traveling, not like the big cruise ships with masses of people and entertainment on board.
Be aware that Hurtigruten coastal line (post) ships are driving into the Geirangerfjord along Seven Sisters waterfall in summer only.
At all seasons depending on weather the Hurtigruten ships are driving into very narrow Trollfjord (on Lofoten islands). Bigger cruise ships cannot do that because they have not enough space to turn.
For an interesting port-to-port experience I suggest Trondheim to Tromsø passing along the seven sisters mounttain chain or even up to North Cape, beautiful mountain scenery between Tromsø and Skjervoy. And also the sun does not disappear. It makes so clear that sunset and sunrise are totally wrong words for what is happening in reality.
My suggestion: Fly from Iceland over to Bergen, Tromsø or Trondheim and do a port-to-port "cruise" with Hurtigruten ships. Have lots of ideas how you can do that also with taking a rental car on top, so you will see parts of the country that you will not see from the sea, e.g. reindeers crossing or standing aside of long roads in highlands of Magerøya.
A great way to find cruises with specific parameters is the Vacations To Go Custom Search: https://www.vacationstogo.com/custom.cfm
You may have to register. But then, you can specify which ports you want to visit and the timeframe (in your case, July 2019 to July 2019), and get a list of all the cruises that meet these parameters.
We wanted to do a Norway Arctic Circle cruise.
My Daughter and Son with their families did a great on last year on NCL.
We compared NCL with RCI and decided to go with RCI, since it was cheaper.
Check out Royal Caribbean cruises. We are booked on Serenade of the Seas for June 9, 2019 out of Copenhagen.
Iceland Air does the stopovers.
If you want a stop over in Iceland; you have only 2 options
Iceland Air and WOW air both offer them without extra charge if flying on those airlines.
No one else would ever make a stop in Iceland on the way to another European country of course.
WOW will always be cheaper BUT everything costs extra by the time you add in the fees you will be charged in the end it could be wash or cheaper to fly Iceland Air so make sure you research that.
Someone mentioned "Serenade of the Seas". Nothing against large cruise ships and nothing against that ship but be aware what such amount of people on a ship means for yourself on board (individual taste) and on land. If over 2,500 people (incl. some of the crew) are flooding into the small villages (with 300 to 500 residents) you will experience Norway in something like a crowded cloud of tourists. With smaller ships or even with post ships you will reach places the big ships will not get to and with smaller crowds. Especially if you do hop-off-hop-on, means leaving the ship, sleeping at a place and just taking the next one on the next day.
You don't mention how much time you have? My trip was last July and I used Iceland Air and the week long coastal Hurtigruten, Bergen to Kirkenes. I loved the experience, and in summer season sailed, as mentioned, into Geirangerfjord and Trollfjord. The optional excursion at Geraingerfjord was awesome, and so was Nordkapp. This is not a traditional cruise shop, though. If you have been to Alaska, that was plenty of fjords for me in Norway- the experience above the Arctic Circle was incredible. This assumes you don't want to rent a car, or, perhaps do both, as mentioned. From Kirkenes you could fly Oslo- Iceland...
We have cruised a lot on ships with 2400 persons and know how to book our tours for each port. We largely book private tours with smaller groups. We don't just walk around the town, we visit key sites.
As for taking Hurtigruten, which has a smaller ship that visits many ports (more than the large ships) we found the overall fare to be significantly higher than on a main line cruise ship. Also, that would involve a cabin on Hurtigruten with no balcony or window, where on the cruise ship you can get a balcony.
Also, you have to pay an arm and a leg for drinks and food. Many of the stops in ports are very short, with no real time to explore the city. The few ports that you can book excursions, the prices are very high.
Yes, there are advantages to a smaller ship like Hurtigruten, but many disadvantages as well.