Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2023

193 on history, geology, ecology, or a blend of the three. Nordland National Park sits in between Bodø and Mo I Rana, almost equally accessible to both. It has a well-stocked visitor centre and an adjoining gallery which is primarily dedicated to the love shared between artists Per Adde and Kajsa Zetterquist and their extraordinary life stories. However, perhaps the biggest draw to Nordland is the opportunity to stride across the invisible line that marks the Arctic Circle – a rite of passage for every new explorer! After the pandemic curtailed its first attempt, Mo I Rana has restarted its quest to become a recognised cruise port of call. Boasting a credible 265-metre ship limit and a wide, open pier, the port can accommodate passengers and coaches just as easily as its usual trade goods. Perhaps its strongest card is its clear willingness to be flexible and agile as it seeks out early cruise line partnerships. Like Narvik, Mo I Rana has a strong industrial heritage – dating back to the 16th century. This is reflected in three of the town’s popular attractions: Rana Museum, Norland Science Centre and Mo Industripark. While we did not have time in our schedule, the ‘Best of Helgeland’ excursion is ideally suited to nascent explorers. Within a mere six hours, this tour takes in whales, a glacier, fjords, waterfalls and mountain viewpoints, as well as a boat ride to the island of Vikingen where passengers can cross the Arctic Circle. Heading south to our final call we stopped for lunch and a walk around Sjøgata, a historic area in Mosjøen on the banks of the river Vefsna. Vefsn Museum is an educational stop, home to a richly curated history of Sjøgata, from the consecration of a new church in 1735 to the current programme of refurbishment of the town’s listed wooden buildings. The spirit and beauty of Brønnøysund and the wider southern-Helgeland region will ensure the town’s continued growth as a cruise destination of high merit. Set on a narrow peninsula and surrounded by over 10,000 islands, the destination is an adventurer’s playground. Mythical tales about Torghatten Mountain provide the enthusiasm required to hike up to, and through, its famous hole. This feature alone is ample justification for a visit, but Brønnøysund has so much more to offer. I will have to return in future because aside from our hike, our short stay only provided the time for a port inspection, a walk around the city, a visit to Gåsheia Winter Park and a trip to the Norwegian Aquaculture Centre within the Unesco Vega World Heritage Area. This last stop alone could easily fill a happy week or more. I have a great fondness for Norway – for both the adventures I’ve found there and for those I am yet to experience. These adventures are crafted by a breathtaking environment but delivered by wonderful people. “ Including Norwegian ports on an itinerary makes any cruise worthy of the expedition moniker” CFR executive editor Jon Ingleton on the Arctic Coastal Walk excursion in Bodø