As Cruisers go this was our first trip, & having read reviews first we had a good idea of what to expect, & therefore unlike some reviewers who seemed to travel blind we had no really unexpected problems.
We are not lie on the beach & roast types or sit in a floating 5000 bed hotel & not know when or where you are, & Las Vegas style shows no thanks, there thats told you so now you know us.
Our booking of the trip was no problem, a 15 minute or so phone call & we were reserved, not the suite I would have liked,( in the end I was glad we didn't get one) but the cabin was outside deck 3 & turned out to be just right.
Having received the booking info & brochure & advice about pre booking tours we had plenty of time to bone up on the choices & do just that pre book. The invoice had been paid, but no problem I received an amendment, coughed up the extra & all was set. I did have some questions but a quick phone call & all was answered. I did get worried when the tickets hadn't turned up but a quick call & all was ok.
So off we go, Titan Air Charter was quick & simple ( Stansted is Stansted). On arrival in Bergen our transfer was straight forward, our luggage taken care of once on the coach, it would appear at our cabin next so no more humping it around. At the port we sign in & get our Cruise Cards ( needed for access)
sit through a 15 minute H&S video & shown how to wear a very fetching bright RED survival suit.
Once on board we don't wait long to get to our cabins, what would they be like ( we are virgins don't forget). First impression,just right like Goldilocks not too big, not too small. All you need a loo, a shower,handbasin, plenty of hanging space & cupboards. The single beds were large enough & comfortable with crisp linen & the window a good size. Our luggage turns up & we settle in.
And above all the cabin was clean!!!!!!!
Its a few hours to go before we sail & we have dinner & exploring to do first. There is no cabin tea & coffee, but what is called a "Coffee Deal" at approx Â£30 a head you can drink yourself to death on basic coffee & tea for the whole trip. So at Â£2.50+ a cup you can soon recup ( get it recup) your layout.
One deal we didn't go for as we are not surnamed Rothschild or Gates, was the wine deal at approx Â£400 for a bottle of wine each night for the trip :)-
Ok the trip was billed as Northern Lights & sure enough on leaving port that first night we have a good display at around 11.00pm and to be honest as far as we were concerned that was the best display of the trip, not to say that others saw better, but our stamina started to wane after late calls over the intercom for the first few days left us a wee sleepy. We get some pictures of later shows, but these were better picked up by digital cameras than naked eyes, to which they appeared as green blurs. But we did get the chance to see constellations & galaxies hidden by UK lights, revealed by Norwegian darkness.
Ok, lets cut this down you're getting bored, we had 4 excursions, Trondheim City Tour with a very knowledgeable guide Anna, a very enjoyable Viking Feast with tasty basic food & a wealth of information,
a trip to North Cape again an informative guide & video, & finally a trip to the Russian border, a little disappointing not a lot of Russians or guard towers, just a Russian liquid waste lorry.
Now homeward bound, no more lights but a couple of Sea Eagles, Troll Fjord & what I consider the best a pod of 6 Orcas all be bit only seen for 5 minutes,but great.
Ok 3 more things, the food & the tour manager,captain & crew
The food, well 3 square a day was good,
Breakfast was help yourself always porridge, cereals, fruit, yogurt, smoked & pickled fish of at least 6 varieties, & for hot boiled eggs, mini franks & meatballs & variously fried egg & bacon, scrambled eggs,cheese, rolls, bread , toast& other things I have forgotten.
Lunch was always a cold table with poached salmon, smoked salmon,gravlax, sild in various sauces, salads, sliced cold meats, cheeses. Plus hot choices always a vegetarian choice , & 2 meat options with rice or potatoes & a vegetable, also sauces to accompany your meal.
And to round off, usually 4 or 5 desserts sometimes with ice cream, & always cheese & biscuits plus fruit.
Dinner was a fixed 3 course meal which alternated fish & meat more or less, you can get a menu if you go on line I'm not going all through it here. Portions were sufficient, say no more, but nearly always very good. (food is very subjective) being a chef I can appreciate what goes on back of house, & even more so in restricted circumstances.
Please DO NOT moan about getting fish every night it's not true, man cannot leave on BURGERS & CHIPS alone.
The Tour Manager Eskild Ognes, a very versatile & patient man, with good British sense of humour & learning skills, ( he learnt how to pronounce SAUSAGES in 3 minutes) you needed to be there!!!
The Captain,Bridge & Crew although we did not interact that much were always polite & communicative,
the waiting/cleaning staff always friendly & helpful. Our voyage ( it's not a strict cruise) was fun, hard work, ( a lot of looking/watching) & eating.
Would we go again, YES please.