TV series Cruising with Susan Calman showcases Norway’s ‘winter wonderland’
By Katie McGonagle | 22 Dec 2021
Seeing the Northern Lights, going husky sledding and cruising through frozen fjords were among the highlights of travel series Christmas Cruising with Susan Calman through Norway.
The Scottish comedian dubbed it a “winter wonderland” as she travelled on Hurtigruten ship Maud along the rugged Norwegian coast to Tromso and back south to Bergen.
The Christmas special, which aired on Channel 5 on December 20 and 21, was the first edition of the popular cruise documentary series since Calman took over from singer Jane McDonald.
“It’s like I’m in the middle of a real-life snow globe,” said the presenter, who can be seen driving across the scenic Atlantic Ocean Road, which featured in Bond film No Time to Die, visiting a Christmas tree farm and browsing the stalls in Bergen’s Christmas market.
Cruising the Norwegian coast
The cruise set off from Dover towards Stavanger in southwest Norway, which boasts 173 preserved wooden buildings and one of Europe’s largest collections of street art, where a barbershop quartet of carol singers got passengers into the festive spirit.
Calman said: “I hopped off the ship in Stavanger and it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, but I’m leaving with so many happy memories.
“Do you know why I love cruising? Because it’s like a taster menu of different places.”
The ship carried on to Alesund, Reine in the Lofoten Islands and Tromso, before returning south to Bergen via Honningsvag, Finnsnes, Kristiansund and Molde.
Along with her fellow passengers, the comedian climbed 418 steps to the Aksla viewpoint for breathtaking views over the port town of Alesund, made Northern Lights-themed Christmas baubles in the Lofoten Islands and visited Europe’s northernmost point at the North Cape.
She also sampled salmon-like Arctic char and locally brewed ales, and went husky sledding through a frozen snow-covered landscape with the help of a local Sami guide.
Norwegian fjords and Northern Lights
The standout moments for the presenter were seeing the spectacle of the Northern Lights and cruising alongside the huge Svartisen glacier, a mammoth 142 square miles.
Of the latter, she said: “It’s certainly a sight to behold. What I love is that everyone’s out on deck and there’s a low hum of chat and excitement as people are sharing the experience. It’s gorgeous because on a cruise, you’re not on your own, you’re always with other people.
“We are actually sailing through ice – we’re cutting through ice in the middle of this beautiful fjord. It’s unbelievable, I never thought I’d see this.”
Calman added: “We finally got to see the Northern Lights and they are absolutely beautiful. I’ve never seen them in my life before. It’s truly quite emotional, a beautiful moment that people wait a lifetime to see.
“It’s the ultimate bucket list to be in Norway seeing the Northern Lights and it is just magical – it’s out of this world.”
Christmas Cruising with Susan Calman is available to stream on My5.