Spectacular Norwegian coastal scenery from panoramic lounge
Shore tour variety: dog sledding, historic town walks, even a North Cape excursion
Free Wi-Fi access and Internet cafe
Kong Harald Overview
--By Theodore W. Scull, Cruise Critic contributor
Built in 1993, 11,200-ton Kong Harald represented the first of a new generation of larger and more sophisticated passenger-cargo ships for Hurtigruten's daily year-round service along the Norwegian coast. Taking up to 622 passengers (474 berthed), the ship is one of 11 plying the route from Bergen in the south to Kirkenes at the north end, calling at 35 ports along the Norwegian coast. This coastal service dates to 1893, when regular steamship service began linking the more settled south with the north's remote islands and isolated communities.
Colorfully decorated public rooms, named after Norwegian explorers and featuring Norwegian art, include a high-up panoramic lounge, adjacent big-window cocktail lounge and a second bar lounge on the restaurant deck. A long light-filled gallery lounge joins the main public deck spaces to the aft-facing 240-seat restaurant.
Roundtrip cruise passengers and others making the full one-way between Bergen and Kirkenes have all meals included in the fare. Breakfast and lunch are buffet-style, while dinner is from a set three-course menu with reserved seating. The Norwegian fare emphasizes seafood, from grilled fish to varieties of marinated herring. Lunch is the most popular meal, as it offers the most selections.
Cabins, located on four decks, are mostly twin-bedded outsides with large picture windows and amenities that include radios, automated wake-up calls, decent drawer and closet space, tiled showers and hair dryers. One bed becomes a sofa, and the other folds up to create more floor space during the day. Two forward-facing suites come with separate sitting areas. The least expensive cabins are insides with upper and lower berths.
Other onboard amenities are a library and card room, conference spaces, 24-hour cafeteria (priced a la carte and mainly used by local port-to-port passengers), fitness room, souvenir shop, children's playroom and video arcade. The passengers are mainly Europeans, with some Americans traveling as individuals or part of an organized group.
The cruise was our ruby wedding present to us. We could not fault the service or organisation of the cruise. The breakfasts and lunches were to our taste and we found the evening dinner large enough after sampling several of the puddings at lunch. ...continue
We, 2 ladies of 42 and 72, embarked at Bergen on the Kong Harald. The choice of ship was determined by the sailing date most convenient to us rather than by any reasoned choice. I suspect the newer boats of the fleet are all very similar. The only ...continue