We chose one of their more modern boats as my husband can suffer with seasickness so wanted one with the best stabilisers.
We booked virtually the day the trip was released as we specifically wanted a cabin with a balcony and there are only 5 on that boat. We booked MG 775 and friends booked M2 782 next door.
We stayed a few nights in Bergen first so caught a cab down to the Hurtigruten terminal where we walked straight up to the check in desk no queues and checked in and were given our room keys and dinner seating and table. We had requested a table for the 4 of us by a window and that is just what we got and on the starboard side of the boat which is on the mainland side as you go north, not that you could see anything but lights at night.
The safety presentation was supposed to start at 15.50 but in the end the video did not start till 16.10 but that was the only timekeeping issue we had with the. As soon as that was finished we could board.
Cabins were not supposed to be ready till 6pm but at about 4.45 we went to see if we could find ours and it was ready and our bags were outside the door which was a bonus. The cabin was a big seating area with a sofa and two chairs as well as a low table. in the entrance way was a big wardrobe section, the safe though stood on end rather than on it's side - watch out for it as the lid swung down on my fingers causing a big painful cut that needed medical attention on board (very swift and well managed).
There was a separate desk with a bottle of sparking wine and two champagne glasses and a bowl of fruit, in the wardrobe were dressing gowns and slippers. Our friends in 782 had similar perks but I understand that is not in all cabin grades.
The bedroom was a separate 'room' divided by a curtain and had a porthole but you could lie in bed and see straight out of the glass wall that was one whole side of the cabin looking out over the balcony. We did not draw our room curtains or the main ones on that side in either cabin even at night as it was beautiful to watch the stars at night or see the floodlight ports.
The downside was that you could not watch TV from the bed not a huge deal but my husband does like to do that. There were a couple of channels that showed a webcam from the front of the boat and others that showed it's position on route.
The bathroom in 775 had a small bath with a shower over it and a hotel style hairdryer.
According to their website the suites have internet access - I presumed that meant wifi but no you had to go and get a cable from reception... In this modern day with phones and netbooks not great at all. We did have a small netbook for downloading photos onto but it was as slow as dial up so gave up on that plan. Wifi was supposed to be on deck 5 towards the front of the ship but we found by the first set of stairs on deck 7 we could get good signal, so you would often find us sitting on the bottom steps there if we wanted access!
The balcony was huge with two chairs and a small table, a few nights we sat out watching the snowy dark scenery float past with a glass of wine or two. LHR sell wine boxes just the size of your duty free allowance and Hurtigruten did not seem to mind that you brought it on board and stored it in our fridge/mini bar in our room.
Sadly our cabin on day 2 developed rising damp in the carpets... and electrical issues so we had to move, we were offered a 'larger' cabin on the 8th deck but wanted the balcony so they moved us to 780 (and hoped to fix the issues before Tromso when someone had booked 780 so they were going into 775... 780 is quite a bit smaller in the lounge area and only had a shower not a shower over the bath as 775 did. However for going northbound at that time of year 780 is better as the main coast line is that side and the sunrises are also that side. The balcony was amazing as I could run out in my PJs if I wanted to take a quick couple of photos and run back in it was well worth it as you are so sheltered back there.
Our friend's cabin 782 although not as large and just with a shower was great as well with the balcony for taking photos from, they could see both sides but not as clearly as you could from ours, sometimes the perfect side on view was what I wanted.
We did not go for the wine package but did take the tea/coffee deal. The coffee was strong so I either watered it down a bit or drank tea (great selection inc some fruit teas). The mugs kept drinks really hot but were not huge.
We attended the welcome on board talk which was good, no selling of trips that was another session which we did not go to as we had already booked what we wanted to do. The manager did say that you could not drink your own alcohol outside of your cabins and that the coffee mugs changed colour if you put anything else in them, which got a big laugh. Just for experimental purposes you understand I tried and can report it was as big a joke as we all thought.
We explored the ship which had a small café, shop, bars and lounges, laundry (tokens from reception - 4 machines and 4 tumble dryers you got a detergent gel pouch in the cost) a small gym, men's and women's saunas and two outdoor Jacuzzis. We used one of them most nights despite the cold they were boiling hot and a lovely place to sit and watch the stars. One had a windbreak round it that we favoured the most, the dressing gowns and slippers were perfect for that.
The food in the restaurant was good, breakfast and lunch free seating and a bit of a scrum at times. Dinner was two seatings and buffet on the 1st and last nights.
If you pressed P1 on your phone you could hear all the announcements in your cabin day and night including in the middle of the night if the NL were spotted. The weather for our whole trip was perfect hardly a cloud in the sky day or night and they were spotted every night but the first one. So cue a mad rush up to deck 9, what I did not realise is that unless they are strong displays they look a bit like funny cream clouds that at time had a green tinge to them. Through your camera with a long enough exposure you got green! Although with the boat moving and the long exposure not great pictures. Some nights we could see them from our balcony's so no mad dash upstairs as we would watch from there.
Every day the team on board would post a brief for the next day with times and things to watch out for and would announce when you could see them and on what side.
We were only late into a couple of ports and only by a few minutes but we always left on time so if you do get off make sure you are back in time! In some ports it felt like Norway was closed for the winter so as much as we enjoyed it I would not do it again at that time of year.
They had a brilliant pianist and singer in one bar and we sat and listened to him a couple of times. When we past by the entrance to Trollfjord and through a really really narrow gap the ship stopped and floodlight the land on either side which was beautiful.
We took a couple of excursions the North Cape one - I will review that separately but it was amazing the weather was stunning and the views breath-taking! We also took the Viking feast one again I will review separately good but not amazing, our guide though on that was outstanding we learnt so much from him on the coach journeys. With hindsight we would have done the trip in Bodo to the aircraft museum as there was not much to see or do there.
Overall a fun trip, if I was being honest I am not sure I would do it again in the winter to see the NL just go to Tromso and be there as many days as you can. We wanted to see the fjords so would want to go back in the summer and rent a car and explore that way.