We entered the small town of Hammerfest, Norway. It’s an oil industry town, but also the gateway to the Sami culture. The Sami are the native people of northern Norway, Finland and Russia. They have a distinct culture including clothes, crafts and food. It’s so rare to find a unique culture that has managed to keep their individual customs separate from others around them. It’s also an opportunity to get to see reindeer. The west coast of Norway is simply incredible.
Next, Oceania cruise line’s Insignia pulled into Honningsvaarg, Norway, the gateway to the North Cape. This is the most northern point in mainland Europe. A 45-minute bus ride through the countryside took us to the precipice overlooking the Arctic Ocean. From here there is a visitors center, film and, of course, the reason to come – endless views over an infinite sea at the top of the world. Words can’t do justice to the view before us. One has a feeling of pure peace and one truly feels so small in the world. Honningsvaarg has a nice ice bar (they provide you gloves and jacket), where you can enjoy a drink in a frozen wonderland. The Norwegians as a whole do speak perfect English, even in the small towns, so I have yet to find any language barrier throughout any of my travels.
I have yet to write about the nightlife onboard the Oceania Insignia. Oceania has been offering a different show each night, ranging from classical music to magicians and contortionists. Of course there is always the cruise ship staple, song and dance spectaculars, blended into the variety as well. For those of you who like a little casino action, Oceania doesn't disappoint. On this ship they offer the newest slots, blackjack, 3-card poker, roulette and poker. The staff of the casino makes it fun to be there, winning or losing. There is also Horizon’s on the top of the ship, where you can dance the night away!