19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
The first surprise was finding out the old ship was sold out leaving Bergen. What better testimony for the popularity of the MS Lofoten. There were all kinds of loyal passengers on this voyage. Retired professors among the older crowd, ... Read More
The first surprise was finding out the old ship was sold out leaving Bergen. What better testimony for the popularity of the MS Lofoten. There were all kinds of loyal passengers on this voyage. Retired professors among the older crowd, many middle aged couples, and some young people. A lot of Norwegians, many Germans, several British, and a few Americans. Definitely the word has spread about the Lofoten experience. The wifi internet service was fast...and free. The food service was good considering the purpose of the ship. I was not disappointed. The only rolling seas felt on the ship was while it was out at sea from Bergen. Otherwise, mostly smooth sailing...even in the Barents Sea area. The scenery made the round trip worthwhile. Understand that this ship is an old sea ferry not a cruise ship. If you can not easily entertain yourself with the scenery and port visits than you should seek out a big cruise ship. Pay attention to the currency exchange rate before buying anything especially drinks on this ship. The taxes will seem very high for those individuals from other countries. Even without the taxes the drinks are not cheap. Know what you are paying. I booked a 12 day round trip. I noticed that for about a week everybody enjoyed getting to know everyone else. The second half of the trip once everybody had gotten acquainted many of the passengers tended to settle in with certain small groups. It was a comfortable crowd. I thought the next time I ride a Norwegian coastal ferry I may want to make the voyage a one way with other options. Check out train service options or flights. But most likely I will do the 12 day round trip voyage again as the cost is very reasonable doing the round trip. If I find it difficult to book a cruise on the Lofoten again with less than a full boat I may try to book on the MS Vesteralen, but only if it is not sold out. It is nice to find available chairs in the lounge areas which a less than full boat will have. I used the Hurtigruten booking agent located in Seattle, USA. The agent also booked the flights and the hotel in Bergen. That was good service. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
My first trip on the Vesteralen was great. Beautiful scenery, northern lights, cute villages and nice people in a quiet atmosphere. The interior of the ship is simplel and dated (or vintage depending on your point of view). But cosey and ... Read More
My first trip on the Vesteralen was great. Beautiful scenery, northern lights, cute villages and nice people in a quiet atmosphere. The interior of the ship is simplel and dated (or vintage depending on your point of view). But cosey and there was enough place everywhere to sit (as we were in low season). The food was good to excellent, with a large variety of choice. Water was included in all meals. Coffee and tea is included only for breakfast and lunch, count on paying around 4-5 euro's for a cup. This seems much but I had some coffees in several towns and the prices there are the same. Norway is in that sense expensive. This is also true for any food and souvenirs (on or off the ship). The excursions to Nord kapp and the husky slee ride are really nice. The town trips can also easily be done on your own in all places, if you are able to walk well. Take into account that in winter it is quite slippery in most places. You can easily book on board. We cancelled a trip once and got all money reimbursed, no problem. Staff was very friendly. The experience of a working ship was nice too. This trip is excellent for people that do not like big crowds, that like simplicity rather than luxury, and the feeling of being on a real ship (instead of a floating hotel). If you think the scenery and occational chat with other travelers is enough entertainment and you can manage dark or bad weather moments by reading or doing any other activity by yourself than you will love this for sure. If you need lots of entertainment, Tv in your room and luxurous cabins, please reconsider. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Re Norway - Hurtigruten Cruise - Hunting the Light - 12 days Just back from a fabulous holiday. The whole package was superb. Everything was very well run. The ship, Polarlys, was superb - so beautifully equipped. The staff very ... Read More
Re Norway - Hurtigruten Cruise - Hunting the Light - 12 days Just back from a fabulous holiday. The whole package was superb. Everything was very well run. The ship, Polarlys, was superb - so beautifully equipped. The staff very helpful, friendly and professional. Food - great; lovely to have the 'Coastal Kitchen' menu which centred on local recipes and produce - fantastic fish dishes. Lunch buffets were wonderful, masses of choice, hot & cold, something to suit everyone. Excursions well organised and interesting, only disappointment was that due to lack of snow we couldn't do the dog sledding. North Cape was amazing and Tromso Cathedral concert a wonderful peaceful experience, and there's something special to look forward to as you cross the Arctic Circle! Certainly a good company to travel with and provided some stunning locations and scenery. Highlight is that we saw the Northern Lights on two occasions and the second time it was especially clear - dancing curtains of pale green right across the sky. Yes we can certainly recommend this trip. If you like something a bit different, enjoy spectacular scenery and like some comfort and relaxation and have a hearty appetite then this is for you! Recommend a good quality down jacket (so glad we bought ours) as it's rather chilly on deck and that's the best way to appreciate the views as you gently sail through the fjords and islands of the Norwegian Coast. Also do the whole return trip so that the parts you pass in the dark on the journey North you will see in daylight travelling south. An upgrade in cabin was a good move to provide that extra space and on a higher deck, quiet and with good views. And KLM were a great airline, talking to others we were the only ones that got any refreshments on board! Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We were delighted with the cruise. The Northern Lights were on our bucket list, as was the Norwegian coast. We wanted a relatively small, modern no-frills ship, so we chose the Trollfjord. It's obviously not your typical luxury ... Read More
We were delighted with the cruise. The Northern Lights were on our bucket list, as was the Norwegian coast. We wanted a relatively small, modern no-frills ship, so we chose the Trollfjord. It's obviously not your typical luxury cruise, but that suited us. We opted for a mini-suite to get a double bed and a bit more room for the 11-night voyage. We knew we had a good view when pax frequently stood in front of our window, taking photos. The crew were very friendly and helpful (and spoke English well). Our room was very clean & comfortable, with plenty of space. Although we'd read both complaints and praise for all the fish, we found quite a variety, even a vegetarian selection in the lunch buffet, as well as plenty of vegetables. So, even after flying to Bergen after having spent 3 weeks in France, we were very pleased with the food (with a delicious soup at each lunch), and creative, elegantly presented 3-course dinners. Determined not to be taxed out of enjoying wine with dinner, we opted for the wine & water package (alcohol is pretty heavily taxed in Norway), and were quite pleased with the wines selected for the meals -- quite good, and a wide variety. We like this time of year to travel because fewer people are traveling -- on our sailing, roughly 150 pax northbound and under 100 southbound (vs. a sleeping capacity of 600+). It's a very Norwegian experience -- Norwegian crew, Norwegian food, and the beautiful coast of Norway. And, we got to see the Northern Lights on 2 nights. We highly recommend the Trollfjord and Hurtigruten. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Excellent service all round; could not fault-with all ship staff being very polite & always willing to help and make sure you enjoy your holiday aboard the Megallan with a Good choice of food to a high standard with a choice of refined ... Read More
Excellent service all round; could not fault-with all ship staff being very polite & always willing to help and make sure you enjoy your holiday aboard the Megallan with a Good choice of food to a high standard with a choice of refined restaurant sitting or buffet type of dining & All Alcoholic drinks were reasonably priced for a cruise ship Excellent entertainment programme; all the singers and dancers/comedian were of a excellent standard and really put in that extra effort to make sure you had a good time aboard. Plenty of choice activities on ship to suit all taste. The ship is a true stylish looking & nicely size cruiser (not the large block of flats on water type) nicely decorated and not too over done. The Sea crossing/cruising was smooth, no problems. Myself & my Wife will definitely use CMV & this fine Megallan Cruise Ship again in the future will recommend with Excellent value for money Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We chose the Vesteralen because not being a fan of crowds and large cruise ships, her size fitted us perfectly. From the moment we checked in until our disembarkation 12 days later, we were charmed and totally satisfied with the entire ... Read More
We chose the Vesteralen because not being a fan of crowds and large cruise ships, her size fitted us perfectly. From the moment we checked in until our disembarkation 12 days later, we were charmed and totally satisfied with the entire experience. The crew are happy and helpful, the food was well presented, varied and delicious, and the ship was extremely comfortable. Our cabin was small, but accommodated us perfectly. There was adequate space for us to unpack and stow our luggage, plenty of hot water, and comfortable beds. We loved sitting in the panorama lounge watching the coastline pass by at a leisurely 15 knots, the opportunity to get of the ship several times a day, the exposure to Norweigen life, food and traditions. Announcements were made when there was something special to see outside, and the back observation deck afforded unobstructed views. We enjoyed all of the well planned and executed excursions we took. Thanks Hurtigruten, for a wonderful trip of a lifetime! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
This cruise was one of the worst experiences of my life. I never felt so un-welcomed and isolated in my life. The cruise itself was great. The scenery was awesome. The relaxing atmosphere was wonderful. The other tourists on the boat were ... Read More
This cruise was one of the worst experiences of my life. I never felt so un-welcomed and isolated in my life. The cruise itself was great. The scenery was awesome. The relaxing atmosphere was wonderful. The other tourists on the boat were friendly. The staff, however, were a nightmare. Particularly one of the receptionists and the cruise director. I took the 7- day cruise from Bergen to Kirkenes this past July 2015. By the fourth night I was crying every night. I traveled alone and this was my first cruise. When I asked questions I left feeling terrible. Getting answers to questions like, “What are the check out procedures for tomorrow?” or “Do I need to show my receipt for the excursions I booked?” were a battle. The crew spoke perfect English, but getting answers…My words were often played with, twisted so that the answer I got didn’t answer my question. I was spoken to very condescendingly. No matter how much I would re-phrase my simple question, it ended up being a game of words. Exhausting. I also got answers given in a smart-aleck way. Also not answering my question directly, but I understood the answer. I tried to laugh the smart-aleck answers off, but after a couple days of this they began to feel insulting. It felt horrible. Please make sure you are clear with the boarding and docking times. They WILL leave you, as they did me. I was a single woman left stranded in Alesund, a foreign country, with no money, id, or phone. Just my camera. My plan was just to walk off the boat and take pictures for a few minutes and get back on the boat. As this was my first docking experience, I did not want to get left. Didn’t want to take any chances. I think I was still jet lagged from my flight from the US because on that day I took a long nap in the mid afternoon. I woke up close to 7p.m. I noticed we were docked so I grabbed my camera. I went to reception to ask about getting on and off the boat. I made a light joke about the importance of being back on the boat on time. I saw the time of 19:00 posted at the exit. “Ok,” I thought. “We just docked so I definitely have time to take a few quick pictures.” I spent about 15 minutes off the boat. When I came back the boat was gone! It was my misunderstanding about the timing. 19:00 was the time the boat was to leave, not arrive! But it would have been nice if the receptionist told me that, instead of watching me walk off the boat at 19:00. The person who scanned out my cruise card could have said something like, “Hey, where are you going? We are getting ready to leave.” I paid about $350 for a cab and ferry ride to catch up to the boat at their next stop. I was mortified, but the staff didn’t make it any easier. I was determined to enjoy this cruise since I paid so much money for it. Everything was lovely except that the staff wore me down by the fourth day. I paid for two excursions that I did not go on. One was the day after I got left on the boat. I was still so horrified about getting left, I was scared to get off the boat again! The other one was viewing the Russian border. Because of my flight arrangements, leaving at noon, I was not able to go on that excursion. No refunds… Getting off that boat at Kirkenes to go home was like getting out of jail. My Norwegian friend said that their behavior was probably due to racism or the fact that I'm American. Who really knows? If you must go, don’t go alone. And if my friend is correct, especially is you are a person of color or an American. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Viking did an amazing job. Was it perfect? No. Was it above expectations? Absolutely! This was a belated 40th anniversary celebration and it was obscenely luxurious-- fit the bill! Ship: Flawlessly beautiful, smooth, and gracious. From ... Read More
Viking did an amazing job. Was it perfect? No. Was it above expectations? Absolutely! This was a belated 40th anniversary celebration and it was obscenely luxurious-- fit the bill! Ship: Flawlessly beautiful, smooth, and gracious. From the Explorer's Lounge with loads of glass to the tip of the infinity pool and from the window seating in Manfredi's to the Deck Nine ports area, the views were great and the amenities wonderful. The piped in sounds of birds in some of the public area bathrooms were a bit surprising at first. Our stateroom (Penthouse Veranda) was HUGE and had a wonderful outdoor space. Wishes: I wish there had been a few more places to sit in the comfortable lounge areas with feet up after a long day. The few wing chair/ottomans combos were snapped up immediately! Also wish I had realized they have to drop the water level in the infinity pool while underway. No pics of me "swimming" in the Baltic with the water flowing over the top of the glass. Oh darn. Food: Incredible. The best were the surprises like Shanghai dumplings (as would be served in the Chef's Table) and specialty pastas (as would be served in Manfredi's fine Italian rest. ) showing up on mini-plates at World Cafe (buffet rest.) at lunchtime. If you kept your eyes open, the World Cafe was sometimes a sneak preview of the best dinners to come. Amazing Ravioli with lemon sauce. Sounds mundane, tastes unbelievable! Chef's Table fixed menu (every 5 days) great for foodies and wine lovers. Manfredi's is very popular for good reason: fine Italian food, impeccable service, and no huge plates full of red sauced spaghetti. The real deal for fine Italian-- EXCELLENT food. No extra cost for ANY restaurant. Make reservations early once on ship for popular nights, like last few days! We got everything we wanted just by asking, including our favorite window seat at Manfredi's. Oh, room service took no more than 5 min when we ordered (also free), though our requests were not "cooked" items. Service: As you can tell from above, it was outstanding. Excursions: Costs were typically more than DIY, and these were a bit heavy on motor coach tours (not our fav). Where possible, take the WALKING tours. DO NOT take the included trip to Berlin. This was Viking's major faux pas. 3.5 hr each way PLUS time "touring" sites in Berlin -- still on the bus! And ours had broken A/C on a 90+ degree day. Scott, the Excursions director, told us they are evaluating how to handle Berlin. We suggested dropping it entirely and just staying out near the port. Viking did offer included options closer to the port, but we, like 600 others, were lured by the prospect of seeing Berlin. Resist the temptation! We also had two much-anticipated excursions in other ports cancelled the day before due to tour operator issues or lack of sufficient interest. We have no experience to know how "normal" this is, but were disappointed. Rescheduling another option was made easy for us. Still waiting to see how quickly they process our refunds. (It has not been 10-14 days yet.) Best excursion: Chocolate making and Old Town in Tallinn. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
This was our first ocean cruise, having done three river cruises with Viking River Cruises. This time we tried their newly-launched ocean liner, the Viking Star, on the Homelands Cruise in Scandinavia. The countries visited were ... Read More
This was our first ocean cruise, having done three river cruises with Viking River Cruises. This time we tried their newly-launched ocean liner, the Viking Star, on the Homelands Cruise in Scandinavia. The countries visited were beautiful - our favorite was Norway. We were not disappointed in the overall experience. Viking goes beyond wanting to accommodate you in all aspects of travel and we had no complaints and no regrets making the cruise. We had a fantastic time; and Viking keeps you busy with shore excursions and on-board activities if you so choose to participate. The ship itself is beautiful and topnotch. We liked that it is not the mega-cruise ship you normally see. The food was excellent, our stateroom was perfect (and all rooms have a balcony with a table and chairs), and the staff from the captain down to those who clean your stateroom are friendly, helpful, accommodating and ready to listen when you talk. The tour guides on all our excursions were just as friendly as the Viking staff. All in all, we had a fantastic cruise with Viking Ocean Cruises and will not hesitate to recommend Viking to anyone and have done so many times. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
We booked our cruise after reading a promotional flyer in July 2013. The next two years we spent following the progress of the ship's being built and tested. This to say that, as seasoned travelers who had never taken a cruise and who ... Read More
We booked our cruise after reading a promotional flyer in July 2013. The next two years we spent following the progress of the ship's being built and tested. This to say that, as seasoned travelers who had never taken a cruise and who live in Europe, we were very much anticipating this different adventure. We were not disappointed. Since we handled all our arrangements in terms of arrival and departure, we cannot write about theses issues, but can say that our embarkation and debarkation were handled smoothly and professionally. The ship itself was wonderfully laid out, with so many different lounges, the spa, and quiet corners that I'm not sure we discovered all of it on our time aboard. The Explorer's Lounge is quiet, seemingly private and very comfortable. I met with a group of friends (who all met for the first time on the second day out) nearly every day in the upstairs of the Explorers Lounge. We all had a common issue and, for the most part, were able to share our experiences, solutions and challenges in some privacy. The artwork displayed throughout the ship was excellent and we enjoyed being able to read about the artists and the works in the book provided in our cabin. I'd suggest a lecture or a tour of the artworks as an activity for those who are inclined. So much of the work was thematic for the region in which we were traveling that it was a subtle enhancement to the experience overall. We didn't participate in many of the shipboard activities, lectures, etc. so I can't say much about them, except that we watched a few of the port lectures on the tv in our cabin and found them informative. In Bergen, we skipped the tour as we'd spent three days there in advance of the trip, and is our style, had discovered much of its hidden enchantments on our own. The cruise into the fjord with Flåm as our destination was, by itself, a highlight for both of us. Waking to those cliffs, waterfalls, and draped with long low clouds and mist was absolutely magical. The fact that the Viking Star is so quiet and smooth enriched the experience. We booked, in advance, our own rail trip in Flåm, so we cannot speak to Viking's excursions there. Our excursion was enjoyable and informative, although we hadn't left ourselves enough time to explore much. The Pulpit Rock cruise was great fun and our guide was informative and entertaining. As we are both active and fit,we'd have preferred a hike to Pulpit Rock, and would have scheduled and paid for it on our own, but there wasn't enough time in Stavanger for us to do that and be assured of returning to the ship on time. After our fjord cruise in Stavanger, we had precious little time to explore this charming town which we would have liked to do. Our time in Aalborg, on the walking tour, was well spent. The guide was thorough and spoke nearly-flawless English. My husband got tired of being in a group, but stuck with it. Because the walking tour was long, we also didn't have much time to explore the town, however, we'd already seen most of it so it wasn't necessary for us. We skipped the Copenhagen tours during the day and went out on our own. The added excursion of the Canal Jazz (actually Dixieland, not Jazz) was sensational. The band was great fun and the cruise gave us a view of Copenhagen we'd otherwise have missed. We almost missed the cruise itself as it wasn't well-publicized, and we only found out about it from friends. We didn't take any of the Berlin tours as we planned to spend the month of August, and are now, in Berlin. Gdansk was great, albeit a bit hurried. I appreciated the accommodation to my motion-sickness on the bus tour. The front seat was reserved for us even though we hadn't given much notice. Our guide was very good, well informed and professional. Our only problem came during the walking tour. Our guide was very short, and she either couldn't or wouldn't hold up the group sign, nor, apparently did she did ask anyone taller to do so. As Gdansk was extremely crowded, I got lost from the group on more than one occasion. This was quickly remedied as my husband alerted her and once I walked into the range of her voice on my listening device, I rejoined the group. The day spent sailing was fine and relaxing. However, most of the window area lounge chairs were taken up the whole day by people who camped out on them, left their belongings for long periods of time in order to save their places, and made it impossible for anyone else to use them. Bad manners. St. Petersburg: the bus tour wasn't the best. It was difficult to see much. Fortunately, we'd booked the canal cruise and the weather cooperated by giving us clear skies and mild temperatures—a fortuitous happenstance. The cruise was informative and we had much better views and viewpoints than on the bus tour. As an added bonus, we toured the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood and the St. Isaac's church. Our guide, Irina, was excellent, the best we had on the whole trip. She was our guide again the next day for The Hermitage. The next day, we started early for our tour early and arrived at the Hermitage before the crowds, being admitted to what amounted to be a nearly-private touring. Our guide, once again, was knowledgeable, complete and very well educated in both history and art. This s an excursion not to be missed! Especially with Irina. She knew how to navigate this huge museum, allowing us time to see many masterpieces without any crowds at all. We had time to linger with the Rembrandts and many others. Quite a few of my fotos have no people in them—remarkable considering the time of year, the venue and the extremely long line waiting to get in after we left. Definitely the best excursion of the whole trip. We cancelled the walking tour of Helsinki and went in on the shuttle. It's a charming city, and it's one we may return to on our own. We took the bus tour of Stockholm, and as I hadn't reserved the front, we were farther back. Fortunately, I had no motion sickness, but the tour was a wash in that we couldn't see anything. We stayed on our own a week in Stockholm, so we got to know the city fairly well. As to dining: we ate only once at the Chef's Table and had the Sweet and Salty meal. It was sublime, and spoiled us for all our other meals. We ate lunch and breakfast almost exclusively at the World Cafe. The food was very good, not excellent, but not at all common cafeteria food either. The selection was good. The Pool Grill was also good. Service at both was very good. All the wait staff were polite, friendly and professional. Our favorite restaurant was The Restaurant and we had dinner there frequently. The choice of meals varied nightly, with some constants. The quality never varied—it was always excellent. As was the service. The Beef Wellington is to die for, absolutely great, as were all the fish dishes. Our only dining disappointment was at Manfredi's. The waiters were very good, and apologetic that out food took so long to arrive. The chicken one night was overlooked, and my one pasta dish wasn't al dente, nor particularly tasty. When we spoke to the maître, he was surly and defensive. He tried to explain to us how each meal was individually prepared, etc. as if we had no idea how a well run restaurant of reputation operates. Rather than argue with him, we simply didn't return there. We heard from others that they'd had great meals there, so I assume the quality varies. In summary, I'd say it was a wonderful trip, made all the more so by the friends we made on it, and the sights we saw. We may taking a Viking Star cruise of the Eastern Mediterranean in the future. It depends on if one is scheduled for the Fall, as we normally spend our summers in the States and return to Barcelona for the Fall. 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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
My wife and I chose this cruise as our first cruise ever because it was going to destinations that were on our list in the Baltic, and the ship would be newly built and crewed. It was also smaller than the large vessels at under 1000 ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise as our first cruise ever because it was going to destinations that were on our list in the Baltic, and the ship would be newly built and crewed. It was also smaller than the large vessels at under 1000 passengers and every cabin had a balcony. We weren't disappointed. Passenger service was very good and the staff was friendly. The only down side was an excursion to Berlin which, due to traffic problems, didn't live up to our expectations. We filled our stops with excursions, perhaps too many. There were stops in Norway (Flan, Stavanger, Bergen), Denmark (Aalborg, Copenhagen), Poland (Gdansk), Germany (Berlin), Estonia (Tallinn), Russia (St Petersburg), Finland (Helsinki), and Sweden (Stockholm). We certainly enjoyed our visit to the Hermitage in St Pete. We didn't participate much in the onboard entertainment since we usually rested after our excursion packed days. However, we did enjoy the pre-port lectures on the cities and cultures. The food was very good with a large variety of settings. We really appreciated the choices of gelato after lunch and dinner, which came with complimentary house wine. All in all it was a memorable time. We have booked another different trip on the same ship for 2016. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Having done this voyage over 40 years ago the changes were enormous. The infrastructure (roads, bridges and tunnels) have changed the passenger profile, and the ships are modern and carry far more "tourists". This trip should ... Read More
Having done this voyage over 40 years ago the changes were enormous. The infrastructure (roads, bridges and tunnels) have changed the passenger profile, and the ships are modern and carry far more "tourists". This trip should not be confused with a "cruise", it is a working boat which carries a large number of tourists, and that is its unique attraction, along with gaining access to smaller ports and channels than the cruise liners we saw in Bergen, Alesund, Trondheim and Tromso. The Restaurant staff were very helpful, appropriately attentive to allergies etc. We found the selection at breakfast good, the buffet lunch very generous and the evening meal, although a set menu, very well cooked, varied and well presented. The use of local produce and suppliers was commented on by other passengers. Other reviewers have commented on "re-cycling", which we saw as entirely appropriate and avoiding unnecessary waste. The evening meal portions were not large, but with open access breakfast and lunch that is appropriate (and with the sedentary nature of the trip more than adequate). The allocation of tables had obviously been carried out with some thought, and we found ourselves on a table with other English-speaking passengers. There was no "entertainment" on board, except for a couple of "crossing the circle" sessions on the aft deck, drinks in Trollfjord and a demonstration of Salmon filletting. We have suggested that maybe a couple of "information evenings" would be appreciated. A Couple of evenings there was some "entertainment" in the bar... As we were not expecting any organised entertainment we were not disappointed. Entertainment was created by the scenery, the stops in ports and the opportunities for photography, reading and relaxing .... A large number of passengers were to be seen with their binoculars or cameras at all times of the day (there being no night for about half the trip!) The majority of tourists seemed to be from Germany, with many from Norway (most of whom spoke English!) , a few British and a very small number of Australians and Americans. All announcements were therefore in Norwegian, English and German. (and French when the crew were aware of French-speakers among the "tourists". The tour-guide(s) were extremely helpful, and knowledgeable. We went on several of the organised excursions in order to see some of the surrounding country, see wildlife etc., and found them very good (albeit a little contrived at times, but understandably so). Beware that the ferry has a tight timetable to keep to, so if it is due to call at a port for 15 or 30 minutes, it will leave on time even if it arrives late ... and that is with or without passengers (although the tour guides did work hard to account for everyone), and I am not aware that we left anyone behind. The only aspect which we would urge caution on is for those flying to and from Bergen Airport. The airport is undergoing major work and the "bus stop" is some way from the terminal . The buses are scheduled to depart every hour for the town, but the day we arrived there was a wait of 1hr 45mins between buses, with no way of knowing what was happening, and on return Norwegian Air would not allow check-in until 2 hours before scheduled flight time, leaving us with bags and only a small coffee shop for 2 hours. Overall, the trip delivered what the literature said it would, the service was excellent, and to add to it the weather was excellent (although as advised we did need winter wear at the northern extremes). Of course, Norway is an expensive destination anyway Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Our cruse was everything we expected and more. The service, accommodation, amenities all were excellent. Our only complaint was the rudeness of several older passengers in the buffet lines. Not something the crew could do anything ... Read More
Our cruse was everything we expected and more. The service, accommodation, amenities all were excellent. Our only complaint was the rudeness of several older passengers in the buffet lines. Not something the crew could do anything about. We enjoyed the stage shows, music in the lobby and cooking demonstration. We even got see a movie we had missed at home. The night club was just the type atmosphere to promote nostalgia for a past time. Wonderful. Service was spot on. Everything I asked for from a needle and thread to an espresso before breakfast appeared instantly. Even my night cap was waiting before I made it to the bottom step. Shore trips were well organized and led by well informed guides. We particularly enjoyed the spa. My favorite was the steam room adn snow gratto while Jack loved the big hot tube. I could hardly get him out. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
This was our first ever cruise. We enjoyed every part of the voyage as well as learned a great deal. The Viking Star is a beautiful ship and her crew was most accommodating. We enjoyed the food as well as the dinning atmosphere. Our ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise. We enjoyed every part of the voyage as well as learned a great deal. The Viking Star is a beautiful ship and her crew was most accommodating. We enjoyed the food as well as the dinning atmosphere. Our cabin was large and quite roomy, the steward took care of our every need. All the entertainment was enjoyable from professional theater, staff production, movies, and TED Talks Almost all the local guides were very knowledgeable and attentive. We particularly enjoyed Alexander in Russia and Tiina in Tallinn. In Berlin I felt we were terribly rushed and the guide skipped over the most interesting places such as the Wall and the actual Check Point Charley. For those of us of a certain age these were the reason for going to Berlin. The same for Poland, the Ship Yards needed to be seen not just the crane pointed out while flying down the highway from a very far distance. Over all we had a wonderful time and are planning another cruse with Viking very soon. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
This was our first cruise and I was aware that some stops would be short, however if time is lost through bad weather or technical problems then stops are curtailed and sometimes you are not allowed to get off the boat at all. Apparently ... Read More
This was our first cruise and I was aware that some stops would be short, however if time is lost through bad weather or technical problems then stops are curtailed and sometimes you are not allowed to get off the boat at all. Apparently the schedule is the same in winter so the chances of stops being curtailed at that time must be much higher. Excursions are expensive. We booked ours in advance. BEWARE THAT IF YOU BOOK IN ADVANCE FROM THE UK, YOU ARE LIKELY TO PAY 20-25% MORE THAN IF YOU BOOK ON BOARD. There is a slight risk that a trip may be fully booked, but when we travelled all excursions were still available the day before. My advice would be to plan which excursions you want to do and book them as soon as you can once there. Excursions we did: Geiranger Panorama. This was good and included a coach trip through the mountains as well. Rib safari at Bodo. Quite good fun though expensive and the tides were wrong to see the whirlpool. Kirkenes. Trip to Russian border. Quite interesting, but mainly because of the guide we had. Honningsvag. Breakfast at the North cape. We enjoyed the North cape but the coach journey after was long and not especially interesting, though the guide was good. I suspect we would have got as much out of it if we had done the Northbound North Cape excursion. Tromso. Midnight concert. This was very good. We booked the sea eagle safari, but this was cancelled due to bad weather. The ship. Food was good and most of the staff were friendly and helpful and the cabins were comfortable. Alcohol is expensive and water is charged for at dinner and lunch (also expensive though available free with the wine package). Included tea and coffee is only available with meals. We took a travel kettle to use at other times. Water in the cabins is safe to drink. I liked the boat size and the fact that the number of passengers was not too great. We went from Bergen to Kirkenes and back. Although there are different excursions available on the way back, we might have been better going one way, probably Bergen to Kirkenes. I have raised the overcharging issues with Hurtigruten customer services whilst on board and since being home. The answer I have received is basically 'too bad' and they are not going to refund any money. If I were planning this trip again I would look for a small ship with longer stopping times. I have rated this at 2 because of the issues above and the penny pinching attitude of Hurtigruten towards its customers. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
What a wonderful voyage, to Kirkenes and back. Excellent ship, scenery was fantastic and the ship was great, loads of brass, polished wood and staff were very attentive. Good trips ashore but very expensive - Norway has a higher cost of ... Read More
What a wonderful voyage, to Kirkenes and back. Excellent ship, scenery was fantastic and the ship was great, loads of brass, polished wood and staff were very attentive. Good trips ashore but very expensive - Norway has a higher cost of living than Britain. Food was great, especially the desserts. No entertainment but made lots of friends because of this. - will return as soon as possible during the dark nights when we may get to see the Northern Lights. Thank you Hurtigruten for a memorable experience. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
When I first booked this 'expedition ship/coastal ferry' I was concerned that the experience would not be good. But I was wrong. The Trollfjord was wonderful! Though not a true cruise ship in the American sense, it offers ... Read More
When I first booked this 'expedition ship/coastal ferry' I was concerned that the experience would not be good. But I was wrong. The Trollfjord was wonderful! Though not a true cruise ship in the American sense, it offers comfortable cabins with nice views and above all very good food. Dinner aboard is especially nice since the food quality and presentation was equivalent to a 5 star restaurant. I do want to mention my concerns after completing this trip from Kirkenes to Bergen. CONCERNS: 1. families with small children should be sectioned off far from the main diners as they are quite irritating to listen to. The restaurant is one room and you can hear small children anytime they make noise. Our cruise was only 34%booked so this seemed to be a problem with many meals. 2. Unlike every cruise ship in the universe, this one charges passengers to drink tap water for lunch and dinner. How aweful and stupid? Whoever came up with this idea needs to be fired. This presents a major inconvenience and the cruise line seems to think that because some restaurants charge for table water, that all passengers should suffer this additional charge. 3. Large suitcases will NOT fit under the bed and the room (even a standard suite) is not that big. The ship makes numerous stops, some as brief as 15 minutes along the coastal route and this is very interesting. Fascinating scenery even in snowy weather was one of the highlights. Prospective passengers should be aware that an expedition ship has no movies or show lounges or entertainment. The staff is very responsive. Cabins are cleaned daily and one should be aware that cleaning begins as early as 8am and ends at 3pm. So for aurora hunters who stay up all night, this can present a challenge unless you put your DO NOT DISTURB card on the door. Cabin showers are hot and perfect. The line provides face cloths (spotty delivery), face towels and bath towels as well as shampoo and bath gel. WARNING: travelers should prepare for rough seas in winter and sea sickness bags are provided. You will need them. Take either medications or other measures to mitigate this situation. Trollfjord can carry up to 822 passengers in 301 cabins. Most are European. We were in a standard suite with a small flat screen TV. CNN was one of the 7 channels present. There is a small minibar. Note that everything on this ship costs money. But we did get a free hat and coffee mug. Our suite was 701 adjacent to the bridge. The room also had a phone, hot water boiler, good lighting, large bed, chair, sofa, small table and 2 night stands.There was no problem getting an assigned table for 2 at the restaurant on deck 5. WIFI is free and may work well or not. There are 4 PCs on deck 8 and they are first come first served. No printer. WIFI is on deck 7 and deck 8 but not everywhere. Port side cabins get to see all the ports. Tap water in the bathroom can be drunk without problem. Room lighting is very good. There is a small closet with 4 hangars. I dont know why the ship designers failed to realize that with limited room, large suitcases should fit under the bed as they do on every other cruise line on which we have sailed. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
This was a first time "cruise" for us, so have no experience of other boats and cruises. We were travelling with the hope of seeing the Northern Lights but didn't really have any pre-conceptions about what to expect. So we ... Read More
This was a first time "cruise" for us, so have no experience of other boats and cruises. We were travelling with the hope of seeing the Northern Lights but didn't really have any pre-conceptions about what to expect. So we were very happy overall with Hurtigruten and the MS Finnmarken in particular. Having had the opportunity to wander around two of the other ships (MS Midnatsol and MS Lofoten) we would advise anybody to read the boat descriptions carefully before booking. Yes, the boats are different sizes but were quite shocked at the difference between MS Finnmarken and MS Midnatsol, both of similar size and age. Midnatsol struck us as being a "shopping mall". Very modern decor but not at all like a boat. Our guess was that MS Midnatsol had a little more lounge space and a larger usable deck area, but then the lounges were connected so could very easily have been noisy. MS Lofoten is tiny by comparison and on the days we were voyaging would have been somewhat rough. It is also worth stating that our voyage was apparently around 1/3 full so dinner was in one sitting only. We think we would have had a good voyage if the boat had been fuller, but not sure we would have enjoyed it quite as much. Check-in did not start well, giving a poor impression of Hurtigruten. Due to flights into Bergen we were very early at the port, and we did know in advance that we would only be able to check in our bags a short time after we got to the terminal. However this was chaotic as the transfer bus from the airport dumped a large group of people before the baggage drop started, and the baggage drop was run by only one person. You are then stuck with your hand baggage as the few lockers in the terminal used coins and neither the counter or the cafe had any change. The actual check-in was quite smooth but again after a long queue as although there were more staff on check-in we happened to come back around the same time as an airport bus. Our cabin was larger than expected having plenty of storage space and room to place our two suitcases, although two larger ones might have been a problem. Clean and well located. We managed to find our way around fairly quickly making use of both sets of stairs to navigate. The introductory buffet on the first night set the scene for the excellent food that was to come. The breakfast and lunch selections were a little repetitive, but never a complete repeat and a wide choice. Being British we were disappointed with the choice of vegetables with main courses, so made use of the vegetarian option quite often. The restaurant was aware of different food issues and had labels out for vegetarian and gluten free options. There was entertainment on board. A very versatile pianist in the evenings, although the majority of the passengers seemed to disappear to their cabins after dinner. We understand that there is NOT normally any entertainment on Hurtigruten now-a-days (cost savings), this being a special for Christmas and New Year. Excursions were reasonable well described and were planned well. Driving to the North Cape in a convoy behind a snow plough was probably the most unexpected. We enjoyed the Husky adventure at Kirkenes too. The weather could have been a bit better in terms of wind/waves but even allowing for that, the ship always seemed to be running just a bit late. This wasn't a problem for the ports with longer stays, but did mean that there was little opportunity to pop ashore when there was only a 30 minute stop scheduled. The number of stops was mostly fascinating. We weren't disturbed by any of the stops in the night and it was good seeing the smaller ports, villages, towns up close. Swimming pool, sauna and Jacuzzi's were all very good; we're just disappointed that we didnt start using them until the trip back. December was very dark however. At Kirkenes the sun was scheduled to rise for 1 minute only which isn't quite as bad as it sounds because pre-dawn light meant there were up to 8 hours of good visibility a day. We would probably recommend taking the full 12 trip Bergen-Bergen, but if considering something shorter due to dates / cost, getting off at Trondheim on the way south cuts out some truly boring days (and a lot of open sea). If only going one way, the schedule North is much better than the schedule South. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
Just back from a cruise up the coast of Norway from Bergen to Kirkenes on the Hurtigruten Trollfjord. Had a very fine time: comfortable cabin, decent food (and the kitchen very obliging about accommodating vegetarians and ... Read More
Just back from a cruise up the coast of Norway from Bergen to Kirkenes on the Hurtigruten Trollfjord. Had a very fine time: comfortable cabin, decent food (and the kitchen very obliging about accommodating vegetarians and semi-vegetarians), lots to do, fabulous staff, gorgeous country, beautiful scenery. May I suggest, though, a couple of ways that this experience could be made perfect (rather than just very good): 1.The gym: there's a small but decently equipped gym on board (fine for my limited requirements, anyway) which is, however, not available for passengers' use all the time. Why not? Because of the size of the gym and the limited range of equipment there were several occasions when I wanted to use the gym within the hours designated for passengers but couldn't because it was full - with a queue of folk waiting. Can't see why it isn't available for use all the time so that early birds (5 a.m. onwards) like me, or others who like to exercise late at night, couldn't use it whenever they wanted to. 2. Hot drinks: we bought a Hurtigruten mug to entitle us to all-day tea and coffee refills - well worth it. But hot chocolate wasn't included in the deal. Again, why not? I can't imagine that the provision of hot chocolate as well as coffee and tea would put too great a hole in the Hurtigruten bottom line. In fact, I'm sure that if hot chocolate were part of the deal many more people would buy the mugs, not to mention that it would be a very positive PR move.   Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2014
12 night Classic round trip voyage, Bergen to Kirkenes to Bergen  March 17th 2014 to March 28th 2014  Cabin 557 I accompanied my parents on this voyage, they had done the same trip in 2008 in June. i was therefore very well informed ... Read More
12 night Classic round trip voyage, Bergen to Kirkenes to Bergen  March 17th 2014 to March 28th 2014  Cabin 557 I accompanied my parents on this voyage, they had done the same trip in 2008 in June. i was therefore very well informed what to expect from a Hurtigruten voyage. The fact that this was not a glitzy cruise suited me fine! i loved the casualness of the whole trip. The ship was nowhere near full, but even if it had been at capacity, there were plenty of areas to sit quietly, to read, play cards, have a quiet drink etc. Quite often i would walk the entire circuit of the outside deck and not see anybody at all! The ship was spotlessly clean, warm and comfortable. My cabin on deck 5 with a window, was also clean, warm and comfortable, not luxurious, but perfectly adequate. The shower was particularly good with endless hot water and powerful too. The food was excellent. Fab breakfast, hot and cold buffet style, as was the lunch. Dinner was waiter service with the set menu listed in the morning. If any of the set menu was not to your liking, you could ask for an alternative without any problems at all. Restaurant staff were exceptional, all Norwegian. The only criticism would be that tap water was not available at meal times. Oh, and that i put on 4 pounds in weight! This voyage called in at 34 ports, with varying docking times from just 15 mins to 4 hours. Hurtigruten's ships are working vessels, and are used to transport goods up and down the coast, as well as the post. It was so interesting watching the expert loading and unloading etc on the short stops. The longer stops where we could get off and visit were great, particularly Alesund, Trondheim and Kirkenes. The onboard tour manager, Peter, was very informative, and had a great sense of humour too. We did two excursions out of the many available, have to say they are not cheap! we did the huskies sled ride at Tromso, which was brilliant, a really good long ride, and also the trip to North cape which was so dramatic as a blizzard was in full force at the time! I do believe we had all four seasons in our trip weather wise which just added to the atmosphere. We hoped we would get to see the Northern lights, and we were not disappointed, albeit only once. They were the icing on the cake of a fantastic trip which i would love to do again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2014
My husband and I have recently returned from a Bergen / Kirkenese / Bergen cruise on the Nordnorge. Everything about this cruise was amazing. The food was incredible with plenty of choice at the breakfast and lunch time buffets. As fish ... Read More
My husband and I have recently returned from a Bergen / Kirkenese / Bergen cruise on the Nordnorge. Everything about this cruise was amazing. The food was incredible with plenty of choice at the breakfast and lunch time buffets. As fish lovers we were in heaven (for both breakfast and lunch) but there was always a brilliant selection of other food including vegetarian and gluten free. The set evening meal which I have seen criticised in other reviews was local food. What else would you want to eat? Stay in England or go to Spain if you want English food! The evening menu was published each morning and you were able to ask for an alternative if a course did not suit your taste, It's hard to highlight an individual meal but the seafood buffet has to be the one - even though it was temporally abandoned when the Northern Lights were announced! The staff were so friendly and hard working. The cabins were clean with really comfortable beds. The ship's decor was beautiful and everywhere was spotlessly clean. The two jacuzzis were just wonderful. Health and Safety precautions were discretely in place and the general day to day organisation including disembarkation arrangements was impressive. I had read reviews where people had complained about the short stays in some ports but this just how Hurtigruten works. When it was just a short stay in a port it was always fascinating to watch the loading and unloading of goods and passengers. Clearly Hurtigruten is an important part of the Coastal Community and it was a privilege to be able to observe this part of Norwegian life. When the boats were in port for longer you had time to explore towns by yourself or take part in one of the well organised excursions. Our experiences of the Alesund Art Nouveau tour, the North Cape visit, Husky Sledging in Kirkenes and the Midnight Concert in Tromso were all excellent. I would recommend them without hesitation. Unlike more traditional cruises (which do not appeal to us) there was very little on board entertainment. Why would you want entertainment with all that wildlife and scenery? The Artic Circle ceremonies were fun, the DVD presentations informative and the Norwegian Sushi demonstration was delicious! What more can I say? Would just love to return! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2012
As Cruisers go this was our first trip, & having read reviews first we had a good idea of what to expect, & therefore unlike some reviewers who seemed to travel blind we had no really unexpected problems. We are not lie on the ... Read More
As Cruisers go this was our first trip, & having read reviews first we had a good idea of what to expect, & therefore unlike some reviewers who seemed to travel blind we had no really unexpected problems. We are not lie on the beach & roast types or sit in a floating 5000 bed hotel & not know when or where you are, & Las Vegas style shows no thanks, there thats told you so now you know us. Our booking of the trip was no problem, a 15 minute or so phone call & we were reserved, not the suite I would have liked,( in the end I was glad we didn't get one) but the cabin was outside deck 3 & turned out to be just right. Having received the booking info & brochure & advice about pre booking tours we had plenty of time to bone up on the choices & do just that pre book. The invoice had been paid, but no problem I received an amendment, coughed up the extra & all was set. I did have some questions but a quick phone call & all was answered. I did get worried when the tickets hadn't turned up but a quick call & all was ok. So off we go, Titan Air Charter was quick & simple ( Stansted is Stansted). On arrival in Bergen our transfer was straight forward, our luggage taken care of once on the coach, it would appear at our cabin next so no more humping it around. At the port we sign in & get our Cruise Cards ( needed for access) sit through a 15 minute H&S video & shown how to wear a very fetching bright RED survival suit. Once on board we don't wait long to get to our cabins, what would they be like ( we are virgins don't forget). First impression,just right like Goldilocks not too big, not too small. All you need a loo, a shower,handbasin, plenty of hanging space & cupboards. The single beds were large enough & comfortable with crisp linen & the window a good size. Our luggage turns up & we settle in. And above all the cabin was clean!!!!!!! Its a few hours to go before we sail & we have dinner & exploring to do first. There is no cabin tea & coffee, but what is called a "Coffee Deal" at approx £30 a head you can drink yourself to death on basic coffee & tea for the whole trip. So at £2.50+ a cup you can soon recup ( get it recup) your layout. One deal we didn't go for as we are not surnamed Rothschild or Gates, was the wine deal at approx £400 for a bottle of wine each night for the trip :)- Ok the trip was billed as Northern Lights & sure enough on leaving port that first night we have a good display at around 11.00pm and to be honest as far as we were concerned that was the best display of the trip, not to say that others saw better, but our stamina started to wane after late calls over the intercom for the first few days left us a wee sleepy. We get some pictures of later shows, but these were better picked up by digital cameras than naked eyes, to which they appeared as green blurs. But we did get the chance to see constellations & galaxies hidden by UK lights, revealed by Norwegian darkness. Ok, lets cut this down you're getting bored, we had 4 excursions, Trondheim City Tour with a very knowledgeable guide Anna, a very enjoyable Viking Feast with tasty basic food & a wealth of information, a trip to North Cape again an informative guide & video, & finally a trip to the Russian border, a little disappointing not a lot of Russians or guard towers, just a Russian liquid waste lorry. Now homeward bound, no more lights but a couple of Sea Eagles, Troll Fjord & what I consider the best a pod of 6 Orcas all be bit only seen for 5 minutes,but great. Ok 3 more things, the food & the tour manager,captain & crew The food, well 3 square a day was good, Breakfast was help yourself always porridge, cereals, fruit, yogurt, smoked & pickled fish of at least 6 varieties, & for hot boiled eggs, mini franks & meatballs & variously fried egg & bacon, scrambled eggs,cheese, rolls, bread , toast& other things I have forgotten. Lunch was always a cold table with poached salmon, smoked salmon,gravlax, sild in various sauces, salads, sliced cold meats, cheeses. Plus hot choices always a vegetarian choice , & 2 meat options with rice or potatoes & a vegetable, also sauces to accompany your meal. And to round off, usually 4 or 5 desserts sometimes with ice cream, & always cheese & biscuits plus fruit. Dinner was a fixed 3 course meal which alternated fish & meat more or less, you can get a menu if you go on line I'm not going all through it here. Portions were sufficient, say no more, but nearly always very good. (food is very subjective) being a chef I can appreciate what goes on back of house, & even more so in restricted circumstances. Please DO NOT moan about getting fish every night it's not true, man cannot leave on BURGERS & CHIPS alone. The Tour Manager Eskild Ognes, a very versatile & patient man, with good British sense of humour & learning skills, ( he learnt how to pronounce SAUSAGES in 3 minutes) you needed to be there!!! The Captain,Bridge & Crew although we did not interact that much were always polite & communicative, the waiting/cleaning staff always friendly & helpful. Our voyage ( it's not a strict cruise) was fun, hard work, ( a lot of looking/watching) & eating. Would we go again, YES please. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2012
We have for many years wanted to undertake the Norwegian Coastal Voyage from Bergen all the way to the Russian Border and back. We also wanted to arrive in Bergen by ship from the UK but alas cheap air fares have caused the demise of the ... Read More
We have for many years wanted to undertake the Norwegian Coastal Voyage from Bergen all the way to the Russian Border and back. We also wanted to arrive in Bergen by ship from the UK but alas cheap air fares have caused the demise of the ferry from Newcastle-on-Tyne-so we flew British Midland from London Heathrow to Bergen (Business Class)-very civilized. As this was to be a very special trip including the celebration of our 40th Wedding Anniversary we opted for the Owners Suite on one of the most recent Hurtigruten ships. There are in fact two owners suite's-we chose the one which has a slightly larger floor plan due to less space devoted to stairways. Firstly we spent a night in Bergen at the Admiral Hotel with lovely views across the harbour to Bryggen before boarding our ship. However when we arrived at the Hurtigruten Terminal to board, we were met by the news that our sailing had ben delayed due to "technical issues"-in fact we ere delayed by 24 hours due to two out of the three bow thrusters having failed, and requiring replacement before sailing. Hurtigruten generously offered to refund 2/12 of our fare in recognition and this cheque for in excess of £3,000 was waiting for us at home on our return. Once on board we were quickly shown to our beautiful suite which consisted of a large double bedroom, a very large lounge with dining table and chairs, 3 seater sofa and two large easy chairs, desk, fully stocked mini-bar and TV, plus a bathroom with full size bath, walk-in shower, WC, underfloor heating, and an entrance lobby with a second WC for "visitors". The best feature of all was a marvellous "terrace" running half the width of the ship with proper ships deck chairs and table. We opted for breakfast being served in our suite daily, with enough left over for lunch-so that we only visited the restaurant once a day-where we were allocated Table 1-by the window with a commanding view of the whole restaurant. Food at dinner was good-with a different fixed no choice menu each evening, charmingly served by mainly Norwegian staff. The only time this arrangement differed was the first evening which was a "free-for-all" buffet which was most unpleasant due to some very aggressive fellow guests helping themselves to as much food as they could possibly eat!! The ship was very well appointed with umpteen different lounges and quiet areas. We only went on a few excursions as we wished to enjoy the luxury of the boat, albeit getting off the boat to visit the numerous ports of call was no problem at all. The midnight concert in Tromso Cathedral was a highlight, with the Midnight Sum shining brightly at 1.30 in the morning.Other excursions included bird watching at the North Cape, the Sea Eagle Safari and the only disappointment being the Lofoten Islands excursion which consisted of being driven by coach around the islands to a rather poor gallery, and to various parking areas full of camper vans from all over Europe. We found all the staff very friendly, especially the lady who ran the gift shop, selling hand made Scandinavian souvenirs and craft items. With the suite came two of the coffee cans which allowed you to unlimited tea and coffee throughout the ship. We had lovely warm sunny weather for the first three days, but further north at Kirkenes it turned very cold (4 degrees centigrade at mid-day in late June) and the sea became very rough for 24 hours. I certainly would not like to venture along this coast in Winter! After arriving back in Bergen we had 3 further nights at the Admiral Hotel which proved to be a comfortable and well located place to stay, before flying back to London Heathrow. Overall a very enjoyable trip, albeit a very expensive one. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2012
We sailed from Bergen to Tromso, and were disappointed with our Hurtigruten experience. The food was very average and extremely over priced for the quality. The cabins were nice enough, although as a couple you stay in separate single ... Read More
We sailed from Bergen to Tromso, and were disappointed with our Hurtigruten experience. The food was very average and extremely over priced for the quality. The cabins were nice enough, although as a couple you stay in separate single beds unless you go for a deluxe cabin. The staff were not very helpful. Trying to book the trip to begin with was very difficult on the Hurtigruten website and we ended up having to call them from Australia to try to book the trip, the whole process took about 45 minutes on an international call. We were given incorrect information regarding meals on the boat, which the staff on the ship would not help rectify once we were there, and when we complained we were given the email address of head office and told to email them rather than speak to anyone on the actual boat! The port docking times were usually short (1 hour or less) with the occasional 3 hour stop. We stopped in Trondheim from 6am until midday - there is nothing open in Trondheim before 9am - not even McDonalds. The age group on our ship was very specific- all seniors, it seems the boat definitely caters for a specific demographic. The scenery on the trip was lovely, although difficult to see due to extreme weather conditions. We found the scenery on the train from Oslo to Bergen to be just as beautiful. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2012
Since this was our first cruise ever, our experience may be different from some seasoned cruise travelers who may have different expectations of what a cruise is. As travelers we are fairly independent, like making arrangements for ... Read More
Since this was our first cruise ever, our experience may be different from some seasoned cruise travelers who may have different expectations of what a cruise is. As travelers we are fairly independent, like making arrangements for ourselves, and tend not to do bus-tours or group travel. We selected this cruise because we wanted to see the Northern Lights and this cruise provided the benefit of seeing gorgeous scenery in case the Lights didn't happen. We weren't in it for the ship, so a gussied-up ferry suited us well. For those of you who are deciding if a Hurtigruten cruise is for you, let me start by saying what it is NOT: uber-luxurious. There is no casino. The main entertainment was one guy playing an electric piano singing songs of the 50s - 90s in a mix of English and Norwegian each evening in the bar. There are two hot tubs on deck, a sauna and a very small workout room. There's reliable wifi near the internet cafe and they had 4 slow-ish computers for free usage. The Midnatsol holds 'only' 1000 people. I'd say 90% of the people on board (as cruisers, those not just using the boat as local transportation) were retired. It was mainly a mix of people from Germany, Norway, and the UK with a few North Americans. It's not cheap on board or on land in Norway - if you haven't been before, prepare for sticker shock. It's much more expensive than you think possible. A sandwich lunch for two with soft drink or bottled water is easily $50. All that being said, our cruise on the Midnatsol was absolutely wonderful. The staff were friendly and aimed to please. Even when disgruntled used-to-luxe cruisers complained ("the dinner portions are too small" was a gripe we heard from a couple of men) the staff smiled, apologized and brought a second plate of 1,000 calories for them. Breakfast and lunch are buffet and open seating, dinner is plated and served at your assigned table at either 6:30 or 8:30. The head waitress very pleasantly switched our seating time for the other one when we asked. Food at breakfast included eggs, potatoes, sliced meats, cheeses, smoked fish of at least 3 or more types, fruit, 3 juices, coffee, tea, homemade hot chocolate, rolls and several types of homemade breads, cinnamon rolls, and more I'm forgetting. Lunch included homemade soup, fresh green salads, pasta and bean salads, breads, sliced meats and cheeses, smoked fish, two or three hot entrees (some recycled from the night before but it worked), a hot vegetable or two, potatoes, fruit and at least 4 different types of homemade desserts. Our last evening was a seafood buffet banquet with shrimp, prawns, lobster, crayfish, mussels, crab, fish and more cooked several ways. Almost overwhelming and all delicious. Again, breakfast and lunch were buffet style so you could have as much or as little as you wanted. You won't go hungry and you won't be starved for choice. There was a reliance on cream sauces and dairy desserts at dinner, so the lactose-challenged should be aware, but vegetarians were well catered to and I overheard people asking for special requests at the reception desk that sounded like they wouldn't be a problem. Fish was served about every other evening. They had a decent wine menu (if you don't mind taking out a second mortgage on your house to pay for it). You could also buy a wine package for the trip. Our cabin was a mini-suite, and we were glad we spent the extra for it. Big marble bathroom, plenty of closet/storage space, mini-fridge, coffee & tea making facilities + two free all-you-can drink mugs, fruit+wine basket, television in the room, and a tour of the bridge. We were on deck 6, which was the promenade deck, meaning that people could see in the room, so be aware of that. We could control the temp in our cabin and the bathroom had underfloor heating. Bar soap, shampoo, lotion, shower cap, washcloth were all included, not sure they are included for smaller rooms. The shore excursions (we did 4) were all worth the money and very well organized. If you go in winter, don't miss the dog-sledding. It was a real highlight. The ship also provided fun diversions like the Arctic Circle contest and ceremony with King Neptune; fish chowder for the hardy souls up on deck at 11PM one night watching the Northern Lights dancing; a free lecture by an on-board astronomer for all passengers; and a local saxophonist playing up on deck. If you get seasick, bring something for it. The ship does have stabilizers but there are are times when you're out in the open sea and you will definitely feel it. We were lucky enough to see the Lights 5 nights of our 6 night trip. As amazing as they are, the scenery going by was just as spectacular. I wish we'd gone for the full round trip instead of just the north-bound journey, because you get to see all the sights during the day on the south-bound trip that you missed at night going northbound. Guess we'll have to go back! We'd definitely travel with Hurtigruten again. Read Less

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