This is a warning to any prospective passengers of Hurtigruten.
The Midnatsol is 20,000 DWT and carries a maximum number of passengers of 1,000. This actually makes it a very crowded ship in comparison to other cruise ships. Its staffing levels are nowhere as high as what you find on a conventional cruise ship
The staffing in the restaurant is totally inadequate about 12 or 13 bodies serving meals at dinner to upwards of 500 passengers. This resulted in a very leisurely dinner starting at 8:30pm and often ending well after 10pm. The buffet breakfasts and lunches are absolute chaos due to the bad design of the buffet counters. The food for breakfast and lunch was nothing special, the evening dinner were very small portions.
Four times we lost our cabin toilet with problems of blockages, when I suggested to the reception pursers that they should include information about what can be disposed of down the toilet, I was told there was a notice in the cabin. The notice in the cabin turned out to be on the inside of the toilet lid and showed paper cups and bottles. Talking to one of the maintenance staff .the problems by and large were being caused by cosmetic removal clothes, similar to non-disposable kitchen cloths. I suggested that they should make a public announcement to the effect that these should not be discarded down the toilet; to no avail.
My major concerns is about the attitude to general safety on board.
Leaving port on several occasions with passenger and freight doors not being watertight. This is particularly alarming remembering the Herald of Free Enterprise sank in Zeebrugge with loss of life 26 years ago. I was appalled to find this still going on.
The other very dangerous practice they were doing was disembarking passengers from the ship to smaller vessels whilst moving to facilitate excursions. This was being done without the provision and wearing of any life saving vests by the passengers. Although the ship appeared to be stopped dead in the water we were actually doing 6 or 7 knots against the current. had anyone fallen overboard I doubt they would have survived.
So unless you wish to do the parts of Norway which are only surved by this company, my advice is do not travel with them or if you do be it at your own peril.