Hurtigruten relies on Mother Nature to supply the entertainment, and as such, there is very little in the way of organized entertainment onboard. We were fortunate to have an excellent Norwegian jazz band during the first three nights of our cruise, and on a North Cape excursion, we were treated a to a fabulous military brass band concert. That's the extent of the entertainment.
Periodically throughout the day as we passed something particularly noteworthy, a brief announcement was made to give folks time to prepare for photo opportunities. But we would have enjoyed evening talks by a naturalist about the following day's sites or a piano player after dinner.
Although the shore excursions can get expensive, ranging in price from 165 to 870 NOK, I would highly recommend them on this type of cruise as your time is quite limited in most ports. While some smaller cities such as Alesund are easily walkable, other sites are not easily accessible on your own. The glacier excursion (Sevartisen) was definitely one of the highlights of our cruise.
Editor's Note: Keep in mind that even some of the very short stops have some worthwhile attractions located near the ship. Check at the tour guide's desk for suggestions and maps.
Finnmarken Public Rooms
Throughout many of Finnmarken's public rooms, you'll find understated elegant Art Nouveau decor, usually in indigo and pewter or burgundy and warm beige with inlaid wood and wood veneers. I particularly enjoyed the whimsical watercolor sketches of life onboard Finnmarken that decorate the two main stairwells. By far the most popular room onboard, the large and comfortable observation lounge at the front of Deck 8 offers panoramic views through floor-to-ceiling picture windows that are designed and angled in a manner that managed to keep them exceptionally clean throughout the cruise. Passengers quietly congregate here to enjoy the beautiful and ever-changing scenery while reading and knitting. A bar here serves drinks and snacks throughout the day, and there's also two Internet terminals located here if you'd rather not miss the view while checking your e-mail.
The Floybaren is the main entertainment spot onboard where music can be heard if offered on your cruise. The bar in the Floybaren is open during performances, and there's another Stiftstaden coffee bar midship on Deck 7, which we found only open in the evening after dinner. This is one of the only cruise lines I know of that allows passengers to bring their own alcoholic beverages onboard, providing they partake of them in their cabins only.
One of my favorite hideaways onboard, the seldom-used Fiinstuen or club room, is a cozy card room and library that's tucked away just outside the left entrance to the Floybaren.
A tiny Internet cafe, with three computers, is located just before entering the main dining hall. Outside the cafe at the small tables along the windows, you can also get somewhat finicky and slow wireless reception. There are two additional computers in the observation lounge. Internet access is prepaid for 30 minutes, 60 minutes or 6 hours at a cost of 40, 60 or 200 NOK, respectively.
The small gift shop on Deck 4 has a great selection of beautiful handmade Norwegian goods including sweaters, hats, gloves and mittens, Christmas ornaments, hand-blown northern lights glass, jewelry, and soft Elk leather goods, along with the ubiquitous trolls and a small selection of toiletries. Make sure to ask for the VAT refund receipt, which you can cash in at the airport as the ship won't do the paperwork automatically.
Finnmarken Spa & Fitness
A small beauty salon/spa offers the typical assortment of hair, nail and skin treatments, and an onboard masseuse is available for massage therapy. One small heated pool and two Jacuzzis on Deck 7 were surprisingly well used during our early fall coastal Norway cruise, even when it was quite brisk outside. There's a small fitness room with six machines, including the usual treadmill, stairclimber, weights and lifecycle. This facility is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day and was rarely used, at least on our cruise.
Separate saunas for men and woman are conveniently located just up a short flight of stairs from the pool.