Richard With Review
- Pro: Outstanding observation areas indoors and out
- Con: Not a cruise ship per se so lacks the facilities and finesse some passengers might desire
- Bottom Line: All-seasons, authentic, immersive experience of Norwegian nature and culture
Richard With Overview
As with all Hurtigruten vessels sailing the line's signature Norwegian coastal voyage between Bergen and Kirkenes, this ship offers the opportunity to encounter the real Norway, up close and personal. Like the rest of the fleet, it is a working ship which makes port calls around the clock, picking up and delivering short-hop passengers -- often plus their car or bikes -- and loading and unloading goods. This delivers a unique, authentic experience, which is best suited to independent-minded travellers seeking an immersive and sometimes adventurous voyage.
Those who expect to the features of a luxury cruise ship focused on indulging leisure travellers only, may well be disappointed by the no-frills, albeit comfortable, cabins and the absence of features such as balcony cabins (there are none), butler service, nightly turn-down with a chocolate on your pillow, a spa, duty-free boutiques, a casino and nightly stage shows (but you may see the biggest spectacle of them all -- the northern lights).
The ambience is friendly, relaxed and informal; the facilities are more than adequate. As a constant, there's the scenery which, for the most part, is stunning, with frequent wildlife and seabird sightings.
Named after the man who founded Hurtigruten in 1893, Richard With was built 100 years after With completed his first voyage on the coastal fast route.
Richard With Fellow Passengers
People of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities sail with Hurtigruten. Announcements and printed programmes are in Norwegian, German, and excellent English.
Locals predominate, and often include family groups. Many are travelling between ports not as easily reached by road; some are onboard for a short leg of the voyage, others for longer, and some for the entire 11-day Bergen-Kirkenes-Bergen round trip. Some of the leisure travellers on board -- Norwegian and other nationalities -- will be adventure-seekers, using the ship to transport them to remote biking or hiking trails, or embark on a kayaking or fishing expedition.
Most leisure passengers from other countries are likely to be of, or near, retirement age and taking -- not necessarily for the first time -- a trip that has long been on their bucket list. U.K. passengers form, on average, up to 15 percent of those onboard in summer, and 25 percent in winter -- the northern lights being the hook that makes this season more popular. And for Brits, February is the most popular travel month.
Richard With Dress Code
Informal. Although some passengers choose to change for dinner most don't dress up. Sporty, casual clothing is the norm during the day, with those in-the-know wearing layers to cope with temperature changes. Depending on the season, local weather can deliver chill winds, rain, snow or blazing sunshine (sometimes on the same day). Rainproof and windproof outdoor clothing is advisable and, for exploring ashore, sturdy walking shoes. In winter, the ground can be icy and spiked shoes are a wise choice.
Richard With Gratuity
Tipping is not common practice, however it is discretionary if passengers wish to reward good service and there are tip boxes and envelopes in the ship's restaurant. A guideline is 10 percent of the fare, rounded up. The onboard currency is Norwegian krone (NOK).