We started and ended in Bergen, NO. sailing for 12 days. Perfect!
PEOPLE: varied group of many different nationalities and countries. They were well traveled and most were over 50 years of age.
THE SHIP: Our room was well located with large window and about mid-ship, level 3: room 336. We were on the same level as we disembarked and one level below the restaurant so we didn't need to use the elevator to go to the dining room. Our room was quiet and there wasn't a lot of traffic past our door. The room was larger than we expected and reasonable. There were black-out curtains so we could sleep in spite of the sunny days and nights. The BATHROOM was a typical ship bathroom and the shower was adequate. Deck 8 was the Panorama area and we spent a lot of time there. usually we could get a good chair. Two COMPUTERS were there as well. We could usually get one to use and they worked at a reasonable speed. There was a LAUNDRY ROOM on our level as well. there was no charge for the washer, dryer and soap! The machines did a nice job cleaning our clothing.
THE FOOD: breakfast and lunch were served as buffets. The selection was varied and plentiful. I missed having fresh fruit for breakfast-----there were apples and oranges, but I would have liked more: IE: pineapple, melons. There were a lot of dried fruits, but I prefer the fresh. The Coffee Cup purchase was not necessary. If our weather had been cold and rainy, it may have been beneficial. We felt it was a waste of money! The evening meals were exquisite! They were tasty, and beautifully served. However, there was no coffee served with dessert! We had to leave the dining room to get the coffee afterward. We like to drink our coffee/tea with our dessert.
EXCURSIONS: Our first excursion was from Alesund to the Geiranger Fjord. The staff seemed to be inexperienced at managing a large group to go off the boat in a tender. We had to rush to finish our tour and the ship needed to wait for us to return---the case to take a ships' excursion! Our second tour was in Skarsvag to the fishing village. This was a good tour and we learned a lot. The third tour was in Tromso to the Arctic Cathedral to the midnight concert. Loved it! The last tour was to Vesteralen from Harstad. This too was a good tour with lots of information. I would recommend booking several tours just to get off the boat and learn more about the region. It is easy to leave the ship and walk in the little villages, but often we didn't really know what we were seeing.
SHIP ACTIVITIES: We knew there wouldn't be a lot of entertainment and that was fine. The saxophone player and the pianist were fine. We expected more information from "Naturalists". It would have been nice to have these on Deck 8 during the day to point out what we were seeing. Our trip into the Trollfjord was incredible! Our captain truly knows how to maneuver the ship! On Deck 8 thee were nice 2-volume coffee table books about the cruise ports. Sadly, there was only 1 volume of the 2 volume set (missing the second book) in English. We loved getting this background to understand better what we were seeing. Extra activities were fun: the men's choir from Trondheim serenading us for breakfast; the fresh prawns from a fisherman; King Neptune Baptism and cod liver oil as we crossed the Arctic Circle just to name a few.
ECONOMY: The high prices of everything in Norway were discouraging. We like to go off the ship and enjoy a pastry and coffee in ports. We just weren't comfortable doing this during this cruise.
All in all, We had a wonderful trip. I would recommend the Finnmarken on the Hurtigruten Cruise Line as a great experience!