On January 29th 2011 we went on the Hurtigruten Classic Round Voyage sailing from Bergen to Kirkenes and back to Bergen.We booked direct with Hurtigruten by phone. They did offer flights and transfers from Gatwick, but we booked independently online with Norwegian Airlines and saved over £600. When we arrived in Bergen we boarded the Hurtigruten bus and paid for our fare. It took us to the Hurtigruten Terminal where we had to wait for the Trollfjord to return. When all the passengers had disembarked we were allowed to go aboard. We were aware this was not your regular cruise ship, but you would never have guessed it as it was much better than the previous cruise ship we went on. We were in cabin 706 on deck 7 in a small corridor that led to the Bridge. The cabin had a very large window, a most comfortable large bed adequate drawer and wardrobe space and a shower/toilet. Very comfortable and warm. The toilet had underfloor heating. We set sail at 10pm that night and started our journey northward. As it was dark we didn't see anything until the next morning when we drew the curtains and saw some beautiful scenery.
We stopped at 34 ports , some for 2-3 hours some of the smaller ones for just 15 mins. The announcements were made when we were about to stop in 3 different languages. The dining room was large and breakfast was a buffet style as was the lunch. In the evening we had our set tables and were served by a very obliging team of waiters and waitresses. Nothing was too much for them. The breakfast consisted of eggs, bacon,sausages, fried potatoes,meats, cheeses, fish, cereals, porridge, fruit and lovely bread rolls, marmalade and jam. Tea and coffee was self service.
Lunches were again buffet style with a selection of different salads, hot and cold meats, fish, soup, pate, vegetables and the most mouthwatering desserts you can ever imagine with a choice of up to 6/7 items.
Dinner was a little bit more formal with some very good food, although we did not eat the reindeer meat offered.(Kept thinking about Rudolph!) We were offered an alternative by the ever helpful staff.
This was a very relaxing cruise for us sitting about doing nothing, looking at the wonderful scenery that passed by, occasionally reading. There were quite a few passengers cruising and a number of passengers that were using the ship as a ferry to get to different ports. The embarking and disembarking at the ports was done with great precision and the ship docked at all the ports on time. As we went through the Arctic Circle we all were given a Hurtigruten woolly hat which was needed as the weather started to get colder and more snow was seen.
The best thing about this cruise was you were not badgered to spend any extra money as you are on regular cruise ships, and not pushed to go on any excursions..it was your choice. There was no 'standing on ceremony' every night in the Dining room. People were dressed casual tidy and smart (Leave the jewels at home !)
The Northern Lights came out 4 times as we sailed North of Tromso.The scenery was spectacular. The ship was brilliant as was the crew. The only problem (which was soon put right when we stopped at a port) was that they ran out of Teabags !!! possibly due to the high number of British people on board.
I can honestly say this was the best cruise we have been on, and would love to return to Hurtigruten and visit Greenland to see the Polar Bears...
Thank you Hurtigruten and the crew of the Trollfjord for making out cruise so memorable.