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[Richard wrote]: 23rd Jan 2003

"Two British liveaboards - Gaelic Rose and Jane R - have been working in western Norway during the summer for several years now. Both the wreck and wall diving are superb. Dozens of groups of British divers are now visiting Norway each year. The following information may be helpful if you are organising a trip.
You have two choices for getting to Bergen, the normal starting point for Norway liveaboards - plane or ferry. Flights can be had for around £170. Flying saves time, but baggage allowance is a problem if you are taking all your cold water diving gear, and other temperate climate liveaboard comforts.

The Fjordline ferry from Newcastle takes 24 hours, but is very comfortable, and a pleasant and sociable way for a group to start their holiday. The cheapest fare, including a cabin, works out around £175 a head for 4 people and a car (4 people without a car costs slightly more!). You can pile as much heavy stuff as you can fit into the car, one person drives it on and off the boat, while the other 3 passengers walk on and off the boat, leaving behind any other cars used to travel to Newcastle. It is only a short walk from the ferry terminal in Bergen to where the liveaboards tie up. However, if the number of people in your party is not a multiple of 4 they can't all go on 4-in-a-car fares. The cost per head is about £40 more for the extra people even though they are part of the same group and don't have a car. It gets worse if you want to take a trailer (you expect to pay extra for the trailer but not for the people who are accompanying it), or have a multi-week trip with people going for different times. The booking staff at Fjordline are pleasant and efficient but the company is inflexible about its charging policy. Many businesses give a discount for bigger orders but Fjordline effectively imposes a surcharge.

The relative costs of travelling to Newcastle or the airport may vary depending on where you live in the UK, but that apart, the most economical way to travel is to send 4 of the party on the ferry with the whole group's excess baggage in the biggest vehicle(s) you have less than 5m long and 2m high, and get the others to fly."
 

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Played chicken with the Gaelic Rose on the Breda a while back. Looks like a top boat, well sorted and spacious...
 
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