My travel agent once told me a story about a customer who asked tickets for a flight to Kristiansand (KRS) in southern Norway. In fact, what he meant was Kristiansund (KSU), which is where we are going.

Ms BERLIN re-crossed the Arctic Circle yesterday afternoon. If Belinda, the cruise manager, hadn’t announced it, we wouldn’t notice.

What we do notice is the very bright start of the day. Blue sky and plenty of sunshine!

Later this morning we’re going to berth in Kristiansund, after a 667 nautical mile journey from Tromsø. It is the first time I come here, which makes me happy.

Kristiansund is built on four main islands, and we have to enter a fjord first before reaching the main island. As we sail into the bay I can understand the strategic location of the town. Kristiansund is named after the Danish-Norwegian king Christian VI in 1742.

Hilde, our onboard guide explains that ship repair, especially in the offshore industry is big business in this area. We notice some offshore supply vessels (OSV), which are dwarfed by the oil rig TRANSOCEAN BARENTS.

Skillfully our Italian captain maneuvers ms BERLIN into the harbour via the southeastern entrance. It is really nice to observe the architecture of the houses and small buildings. It looks like a very charming miniature town.

The welcoming salute by three shots at arrival make us all jump. I didn’t know they had this tradition here too. I remember that when a ship leaves Geiranger shots are fired too, to thank for the visit and the business.

We are berthed right along the local COOP supermarket. During lunch I decide I could try to find local strawberries. Fifteen minutes later I am back onboard, with fresh ‘jordbær’  from the nearby island of Frei. Price: 11 euro per kg. But what a treat! Because of the long summer days the strawberries get a lot of sunshine. It makes them very sweet and tasty.

Today I have volunteered to be an English-French translator on one of the excursion buses. Together with local guide Inger and some 40 guests we drive to see two main attractions: the historic Kvernes Stave Church, built in the 14th century, and the Atlantic Road.

The ship represents life: you sail from your birth to your final destination

Caroline from WTV Focus interviews one of the guests

Atlantic Road with the famous bridge

Once back to the ship there is little time for me to discover downtown Kristiansund. All tour conductors have to attend a debriefing meeting, and then it is diner time again. I just make a quick jump to see the ‘Klippfiskkjerringa’ or clipfish woman. This statue is the symbol of the town. It refers to the historical importance of the heavily salted and dried cod –clipfish– and the fish oil industry. While men were out at sea it was the women and children who worked in this land-based part of the fish industry.

Other guests took this former rescue boat to the island of Grip

Time to say goodbye to Kristiansund. I am really impressed by the golden light of the late evening. The weather has simply been perfect today. When at midnight we sail under the bridge at the southwestern gate I cannot take the decision to go to bed. The night is simply too bright and colourful to miss this opportunity. We are less than ten people on the upper bridge deck. All others are sleeping. They don’t know what they’re missing.  

My last shot of the day is the cute lighthouse on the island. The same one I photographed this morning. Now I can get some rest.

Words and photos: Mike Louagie 

Mike is onboard classic cruise vessel BERLIN, chartered by Belgian cruise tour operator All-Ways. With a couple of workshops he tries to inspire people, to grab their cameras and smartphones, and learn them to achieve better results, and come home with superb souvenir photos