The down­hills are sub­lime – but you’ll have to sail to them

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Iyou to hike up the moun­tain be­fore swoosh­ing back down through the vir­gin pow­der.

Be­ing rel­a­tively new to cruis­ing, I didn’t know what to ex­pect of our ship the Nord­st­jer­nen. Built in 1956 in Ham­burg, she was an ab­so­lute de­light. Dwarfed by the giant ferry moored n Gatwick’s South along­side her in Tromso, she was neat Ter­mi­nal, I spied the and trim as a new pin. With 150 cab­ins, crowd most likely to be my she can’t match newer ships for space ship­mates for the next few or lux­ury, but what’s lack­ing in days. Wait­ing to board a fa­cil­i­ties is made up for in teak-and­flight to Oslo, the five brass charm. The retro in­te­rior is gen­er­ously bearded chaps fin­ished with orig­i­nal art­work by Paul wore com­pli­cated zippy René Gau­guin, whose jaunty South trousers, huge techie watches and had Seas reliefs pro­vide a coun­ter­point to names like Thurston and Trent. Fist the Arc­tic sur­round­ings. bumps and manly hugs were dished Paul René was the Nor­we­gian out while they rem­i­nisced over the last grand­son of the great man but – as our in­stance of der­ring-do. Gin­gerly, I cap­tain sug­gests on a visit to the asked if they were also join­ing the bridge – the art is pos­si­bly worth more ship.Hur­tigru­ten­cruiseatTromso.Theythanthe C looked as though I had an­nily, sail­ing takes in­vited them seal club­bing. place from af­ter­noon to

“Er, no,” said Tren­ton, or evening, dock­ing by 11pm Kent, or what­ever his name to al­low a good night’s was. “We’re go­ing ski­ing.” sleep. Charm­ing as the A preg­nant pause. Nord­st­jer­nen is, she bobs “To the Lo­foten Is­lands,” like a cork when the waves he added, by way of rear up, and the diesel clar­i­fi­ca­tion. en­gine rum­bles like a “Oh, me too!” nu­clear re­ac­tor. He seemed less than Speak­ing of fuel, ski con­vinced. tour­ing can burn as much as

“It’s a ski cruise. You get 5,000 calo­ries a day – so off ev­ery day. To ski!” overeat­ing is prac­ti­cally a

“Oh, right. Well… maybe health and safety see you out there then.” re­quire­ment. I got my daily

“Not if I see you first,” I in­take down to a fine art. should have mut­tered. Around 40 per cent came

To be fair, they were not from break­fast; which, in the only ones to mis­take my Nor­way, adds much smoked Arc­tic ad­ven­ture for fish to the pro­ceed­ings, plus some­thing not that a cu­ri­ous brown goat’s ad­ven­tur­ous. But the cruise cheese. I mis­took the lat­ter line Hur­tigruten, which for a very pun­gent but­ter; op­er­ates a fleet of luck­ily, it is quite tasty as it is “commuter” ships around served at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity. the Nor­we­gian coast, has de­vised a Packed lunches were pre­pared from vari­a­tion on the clas­sic Nor­we­gian the break­fast buf­fet and de­mol­ished in sight­see­ing voy­age, adding skiers to haste on the moun­tain around 11am. the le­gion of na­ture lovers and Make about dou­ble what you ex­pect to north­ern lights fanciers who ply this eat; lunch is an­other 40 per cent of stun­ning stretch of coast. your daily in­take. I gained around 30

The Arc­tic Haute “ski and sail” per cent of my daily in­take from an cruise is a part­ner­ship with a lo­cal anal­gesic, mostly gin. out­door spe­cial­ist, Nor­we­gian Math­e­ma­ti­cians will no­tice we are Ad­ven­ture Com­pany. A three-day al­ready at 110 per cent of the calo­rie cruise from Tromso to Bodo (or vice count which, as any Ap­pren­tice versa), it opens up the rich pick­ings of con­tes­tant will tell you, is about where the Nor­we­gian coast to groups of you need to be to suc­ceed. Not least if skiers. There are no lifts; no trails you ex­pe­ri­ence the weather we did. even, just a guide and a pair of tour­ing Safety brief­ings took place each skis with free-heel bind­ings that al­low evening in Nor­we­gian first, then

Matthew Hamp­ton, above, and sun­set over the Lo­foten Is­lands, right

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