Geirangerfjord

A view over Geirangerfjord

The road soars, dips and curls around hairpin bends wound as tightly as a perm.

The coiled curves of Eagles Road, located high above Norway’s serrated western coast, lead the way to a panoramic viewpoint.

Beside me, its thunderous roar flooding my ears, stands a waterfall and I get an unexpected dousing when the wind changes direction and the water abruptly surges towards me.

The Magellan

The Magellan has 726 cabins, two outdoor pools, three whirlpools, a spa and a casino

Looking down I see our ship, the MS Magellan, moored in Geirangerfjord where the deep blue waters ripple into a herringbone pattern.

The lop-sided looking Storseisundet Bridge is scarily spectacular enough to merit near-celebrity status

Our home for seven nights on our voyage to and from Tilbury, Essex, to Norway, the Magellan has 726 cabins, two outdoor pools, three whirlpools, a spa and a casino.

But there’s no time for blackjack as the itinerary is packed to the rafters with some of Norway’s most picturesque spots.

The tiny town of Geiranger, which is home to just 250 people and a small chocolate factory inside glass-roofed boathouse, is just one.

Storseisundet Bridge

The Storseisundet Bridge is scarily spectacular enough to merit near-celebrity status

From Eagles Road our journey continues to Mount Dalsnibba on the other side of Geiranger. We go from blue skies to grey and back again, from forested slopes to barren rocks and year-round glaciers as we carefully navigate a looping stretch nicknamed Knuten (The Knot).

We pass farms perched so high they can only be worked in summer and stone cairns which have shown the way for centuries.

We savour the fjords and mountain scenery from a lookout at the top. Back onboard the Magellan, we have a pre-dinner gin martini in Sinatra’s Lounge Bar, the walls adorned with black and white photos of old Hollywood stars, before dining in the ship’s smart Kensington restaurant.

The lemon sole rolled with salmon mousse was particularly tasty. We end our evening in the show lounge for the nightly entertainment.

There’s a varied programme on offer, from songs of the musicals to sounds of the Sixties, comedians and tribute acts. With the sounds of Abba ringing in our ears, we sail through the night to the city of Molde.

In the morning, we join an excursion that passes mirror-like fjords reflecting the soaring mountains that surround them. 

We’re heading for the Atlantic Road which links rocky islets between Molde and Kristiansund. The five-mile drive is a National Tourist Route and includes a series of eight bridges.

The lop-sided looking Storseisundet Bridge is scarily spectacular enough to merit near-celebrity status; it’s so steep I can’t see the way down and think we’ll plummet into the ocean.

MS Magellan

The luxurious facilities of the MS Magellan

We don’t, obviously, it’s merely an optical illusion but if it was a theme park ride you’d queue to go on it. A short crossing takes us to Haholmen Island.

As far back as the 17th century, this tiny island was inhabited by fishermen and their families. The Vikings also spent some time here and we see the wreckage of a replica ship, the Saga Siglar, which was caught in a storm on its way to Spain in 1992.

We have lunch, a delicious fish soup, before the Viking boat takes us back to the Atlantic Road.

Heading south to Bergen, Norway’s quaint second city, we take the Floibanen Funicular to the top of Mount Floyen. It’s a five-minute ascent with more near-vertical pauses than I was expecting.

From the top I get my bearings and can see why the city is said to have its back to the mountains and its arms – peninsulas of land – reaching for the sea.

Below is Bryggen, a row of ancient wooden buildings by the cobbled waterfront that has been named a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Tall and gabled and painted in fetching shades of terracotta, mustard and white, they lean wearily and creak enchantingly.

Long alleys run between and behind them packed with galleries and studios, shops, cafés and bars from which you can watch the boats in the harbour.

Bergen

The Bryggen district of Bergen

MS Magellan

Interior view of cabin on MS Magellan

We wander over to the busy all-day fish market on the quayside. It’s very Scandinavian with fresh seafood, bunches of dried fish and more exotic culinary treats such as reindeer and moose.

Our last day is spent at sea. While many have mastered the art of taking things easy, there are so many events taking place – line-dancing, historical lectures, card-playing and crafts to name but a few – that it proves as busy as all the other days.

We try the cocktail masterclass where theatrical mixologists get to work (think Tom Cruise in Cocktail) as music blares and bottles are tossed and not always caught.

The mixologists prepare five deliciously sweet cocktails – old favourites such as Tequila Sunrise and a Long Island Iced Tea – and we sit back and reflect on the perfect way to toast our most memorable of voyages.

GETTING THERE

Cruise and Maritime Voyages (0844 998 3877/ cruiseandmaritime.com) offers seven nights in Norway aboard the MS Magellan departing from Tilbury from £759 (two sharing), full board.

Norwegian tourist board: visitnorway.com

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