Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning 2024

78 ASSOCIATION HIGHLIGHTS: REPORT Behind the clouds the sky is always blue Jon Ingleton shares some of the highlights of Norway’s southernmost ports and destinations after exploring the region during a familiarisation trip with Cruise Norway The uplifting proverb ‘Bak skyene er himmelen alltid blå’ (‘behind the clouds the sky is always blue’) likely originated in the north of Norway but is equally apt for destinations in the south of the country. Although renowned as the part of Norway with the best weather, the south does have bleaker autumnal and winter days, all of which can be brightened by exploring the sights, sounds and various other attractions on offer in the region. This year, my Cruise Norway familiarisation trip started on a cloudy day in Stavanger. Sadly, we had precious little time to explore this vibrant city, which was founded in the 12th century. Preikestolen, one of my all-time favourite Norwegian adventure spots, is just a short ride away. Happy memories of previous visits were easily recalled while strolling alongside the harbour and through the old town before we embarked on a tour to explore some of the key attractions in Norway’s southernmost cruise destinations. Egersund Navigating the 250-metre-long quay to berth in Egersund is easy for cruise ships due to the harbour having effectively zero tidal range, although cruise operators may be disappointed if they don’t book quickly as the port can only accommodate one ship with a maximum length of 200 metres at a time. Of course, such limitations may elevate the appeal of the port for cruise guests. During a walk around the town, our guide proudly described Egersund as ‘the wooden city’. But it offers so much more, not least a natural marvel created by a nearby amphidromic point and the Magma Unesco Global Geopark, which has been home since 1854 to Eigerøy lighthouse – the first in Norway to be constructed of cast iron. Some of the other highlights on offer in Egersund include Berentsens Brygghus, a successful family brewery business that was founded in 1895 with a coffee roaster and a soda machine. Beer, whisky and gin have been added to its significant portfolio, which enables a range of tasting experiences for cruise guests. Aside from the two big natural attractions, a jolly good brew and the captivating city walk, there is also a good variety of out-of-town adventures available to cruise guests. Sogndalstrand, a 17th-century fishing village, is just a short bus ride away. Seemingly lost in a time warp, the village has a rich source of stories as endless as the river has salmon – 763 were caught in 1886 with an average weight of six kilos! Just a few kilometres further on is the newly built Jøssingfjord Vitenmuseum, a striking new construction in a dramatic landscape that is intended to celebrate the meeting of nature, people and technology. The museum site sits in the shadow of the historic Helleren, the famous rock with an expansive overhang that provides a natural roof for two small houses dating back to the 1880s. Farsund The iconic Lista lighthouse was our first stop in the municipality of Farsund. “ Navigating the 250-metre-long quay to berth in Egersund is easy for cruise ships”