Christmas Cruising Traditions – Iceland and Akureyri

One of my favourite Christmas traditions is planning, or at least dreaming of planning, my next cruise vacation. This usually happens sometime between Boxing Day and New Year.
That magical time when the focus and attention of the advertising world switches quite suddenly from Christmas to the summer holidays in no more than the twinkling of an eye.
No time to mourn the passing of the recent Christmas past. Bah Humbug! We’ve moved on..

There really is no better way to beat those post-fest winter blues than to start planning a cruise. Not only is shopping a fun and entertaining way to cheer yourself up before the credit card bill lands on the mat – *ahemm*. But personally speaking it also serves to send me into a full blown health conscious spin. The mere thought of posh frocks and skimpy beach outfits is enough to get me dusting off the juicer and digging out the fitness DVDs!
I’m telling you, it’s all very healthy and positive this cruise planning lark.

And whilst my own thoughts may turn to the cloudless blue skies of the Caribbean, and seas that I can actually swim in without the risk of hyperthermia – for others the 2017 cruise dream is to visit Iceland.. And what a treat these lucky peeps have in store for them.

There are all sorts of cruises and cruise lines visiting Iceland. You really are spoiled for choice with all the different cruising experiences on offer. Big ships, small ships, expeditions ships, luxury ships, no-frills ships, family focussed ships … you can even bring your Super Yacht if you like!
All rather confusing really, and let’s face it, you could end up making quite an expensive and disappointing mistake if you choose the wrong option.
This is why I strongly recommend bringing in a dedicated cruise vacation specialist. They will prove invaluable in helping you plan the just right cruise experience for YOU.

Obviously as I live in Iceland and love it here, I am going to recommend you take a cruise that includes as many Icelandic ports as possible. But if you really do have to choose, then there is one port that I recommend you look out for, and that is Akureyri. But don’t just take my word for it – in case you didn’t already know, Akureyri took the number one spot on Lonely Planet’s best places in Europe 2015.

Not only are the shore excursion options amazing from this port but the wharf  is also really conveniently placed close to the centre of town and within easy walking distance for those of an average fitness level.
There is a lot to see and do in Akureyri and the best bit is that you don’t have to go too far to see and do it. Take your pick of 12 museums (yes…12!) –  check out the link here for a handy walking map that includes walking distances, opening times and websites.
The town also has a fantastic open air swimming pool heated by natural geothermal water and several hot tubs of varying (hair raising!) temperatures, so please go carefully..

Fun Festive photo opportunities abound a-plenty in the downtown area. Look out for Iceland’s most famous ‘Christmas Couple’, Grýla and Leppaluði who can be found towering over the humanoids on Hafnarstræti (the main street in town). Oh, and keep an eye open for the bright red letter box nearby where you can post letters to the Icelandic Santa all year ’round. And, talking of Christmas, did I mention the Jólahusið Christmas Store that is open all year ’round?

‘Bah humbug’ indeed… Happy Christmas!

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