29 August 2008
Ferry to Norway
Rob Fisher

I recently took the DFDS ferry from Newcastle to Stavanger.  It takes over 20 hours, and is quite expensive.  Even the bars on board charge Norwegian instead of British beer prices.  But it’s good fun, the accomodation is pleasant, and there is even a cheesy live band.

But the route is closing at the end of August.  According to one of the crew, it’s because of Rising Fuel Prices.  Another factor is that the ship has Norwegian and British crew, who are more expensive than Polish crew.  There is a vague hope that another company will buy the ship and continue the service, otherwise there will be no ferry from the UK to Norway (except possibly from the north of Scotland).  Car drivers could fly and rent, but Norway is a great place to explore in your motor home or on your motor bike.  You’ll have to go via Denmark instead.


  1. Is this the route they consigned Hammond and May to when Clarkson was rushing off to Oslo in the SLR?

    Posted by Patrick Crozier on  30 August 2008 at 12:04 am

  2. I can’t quite remember.  And in looking for the answer I found this interview with Clarkson.  Which contained this, which I thought was very interesting (but doesn’t answer your question):

    A lot of people ask how we film these races, and whether they’re fixed. Well, let me say here and now, in print, they’re not. I follow a Range Rover tracking car, and we really don’t pull over for anything except fuel.

    In the drive to Oslo, the camera man spent 24 hours in the boot and had to relieve himself in a bottle because there was no time to stop.

    Meanwhile, James and Richard are doing all they can to beat me. We take it very seriously.

    But not half as seriously as the director who, when the race is over, has to retrace our steps, adding to the miles of tracking shots he took in the race, with many more miles of arty ‘ups and passes’. This usually takes three days. And then he edits the film.

    And to edit the 32-minute Bugatti race took a staggering 33 sixteen-hour days. That’s not even a minute a day, and no one spends that much time (or money) on a commercial.

    It’s the main reason why Top Gear doesn’t look like any other show on television. Because everyone on it works so bloody hard. And because we have the best production manager in the whole of the BBC.

    Talking of editing, I’m working on a Ewan and Charlie style documentary of my trip around Norway, which will appear online some number of weeks from now.

    Posted by Rob Fisher on  30 August 2008 at 12:56 am

  3. Hmm, according to Wikipedia May and Hammond took the Newcastle to Kristiansand ferry, which DFDS used to run before they closed it in 2006 and bought the soon to be closed Stavanger route from Fjordline.  I took it years ago when I moved to Norway to work for a few months.

    Seems like these ferries haven’t been profitable for years.

    Posted by Rob Fisher on  30 August 2008 at 01:09 am

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