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Sailing conditions along Noway's coast


I am not the best sailor, but considering a Viking tour along the Norway coast. Has anyone had experience with this tour or similar?
Naturally smooth sailing depends on the weather, but any information would be helpful. Thanks.


Posted by
23411 posts

That is so hard to forecast. Most of the time it is fine but you can hit a bad day. We were in that area four or five years ago in Sep and it was fine for about a week, ten days, and then we were hit with some really strong wind for about 12, 18 hours and then it was fine for the rest of the trip. We did have to skip one port because it was too difficult to get in and out of the harbor. In our situation the wind was head on so we were pitching some. Ships can handle rolling with stabilizers but depends on the size of the ship to reduce pitching.

Posted by
5020 posts

I am not the best sailor, but considering a Viking tour along the
Norway coast. Has anyone had experience with this tour or similar?

I'm a little unsure of your terminology. To clarify, is this a sailing tour (on a sail ship/boat) that is called a Viking tour? Or is this a Viking Cruise line cruise with a Norway itinerary on a cruise ship? Because the experience at sea would be very different.

No one can predict the sea conditions very far in advance. It could be smooth as glass or it could be miserably rocky even with modern stabilization. Assuming you wouldn't attempt this in winter, the area isn't known for rough waters (like the Bay of Biscay), but you never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks for your replies. Yes, it is a Viking Cruise line trip (900) passengers in May 2022.

Posted by
5837 posts

I was on the MS Nordnorge a number of years ago at the end of a Finland-Norway ski tour. The Nordnorge uses bow side thrusters to assist in docking without the help of tugs. It works in calm weather but sometimes the thrusters are not enough in high winds. See the following link for some exciting videos:

Posted by
7792 posts

We have done 20 ocean cruises and two that stopped in Norway.
The North Sea is where we have found the stormiest weather anywhere in the World.

Our Royal Caribbean cruise up the coast of Norway to the North Cape in 2019 was fantastic.
The scenery is amazing. Don't be afraid to do Norway, it is wonderful.

Posted by
2489 posts

The disclaimer about forecasting was made already.

Basics to know:

  • In general Norway has one of the lowest forecast ranges for weather: 24 to 48 hrs - beyond is guessing.
  • Local weather forecast is done by Additionally I recommend (use "waves" and play next days).
  • North Europeans define "bad" weather by wind and swell, not by rain.
  • There is also the slogan "Bad weather does not exist, only wrong clothing".

May can have nearly winterly or even early-summerly conditions, depending on how fast spring is heading North in Europe. You can have very marvellous weather - or not. This video shows coastline north of Tromso in June at very peceful weather.

Info: Larger cruise ships do not have the chance to use some of the close-to-shore routes which are used by Hurtigruten, e. g. Raftsund, Nærøysund (not fjord) or channel at Risøyhamn.

In Norway you will find roughly four different sea areas (from South to North):

  • Skagerrak (part of North Sea infront South Norway): Famous for its really fast changing and partly heavy weather conditions.
  • North Sea infront of South-West Norway: One of Europe's top 5 rain regions. Less affected by sudden storms but can happen.
  • Norwegian Sea: Little bit more un-sudden sea conditions due to gulf stream but can become hard as well, especially around Lofoten islands.
  • Barents Sea: Open polar sea which can become really nasty. Experienced conditions which were pushing spray up to deck 7 of a Hurtugruten ship.
  • The inner fjords of West-Norway are nearly free of dangerous swell for large ships.

Naturally smooth sailing depends on the weather

Not only. Be informed that in some areas closer to the coast in the North you can find a remarkable ground swell - independent from any weather conditions. You can see it in this video as very long waves below the surface waves; I experienced it even harder with up to 5-7 metres high waves. The video with smooth ground swell was on the backside of Havoysund. When Hurtiguten ships meet they use the horn three times.

Face the fact that the available rescue measures in the Norwegian and Barents Sea are not sufficient to save the high number of passengers from large cruise ships in trouble.

Hope that helped you.

Finally: Just do it! :-)