2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2009
****17-day Grand Norway Vacation 4/21-5/7/09**** Summary:Fabulous!!!!  The city visits were great.  The train to Bergen wonderful.  The scenery was spectacular every day all day.Overview The voyage is billed as "The Most ... Read More
****17-day Grand Norway Vacation 4/21-5/7/09**** Summary:Fabulous!!!!  The city visits were great.  The train to Bergen wonderful.  The scenery was spectacular every day all day.Overview The voyage is billed as "The Most Beautiful Voyage in the World" and it would be very difficult to take issue with that statement.  Check out the book of that name published by Hurtigruten (ISBN 82-993154-3-1).  It provides detailed maps and descriptions of the voyage.  We bought it on board for about $20. Four of us (2 couples) left Washington Dulles on 4/21/09 for an overnight flight to Frankfort with connection to Oslo from there.  Our flight was delayed for over an hour at Dulles because of weather problems in the New York City airspace through which we were routed.  We arrived in Frankfort about an hour late, but made our connection to Oslo. Travel Note:  When checking in we were given the opportunity to upgrade to Economy Plus on both of the United Airlines transatlantic flights and we upgraded.  It made a tremendous difference.  4 to 5 inches more between seats is very significant! Oslo Found the Flytoget train at the Oslo airport with no problems and took it to the Oslo Central Station.  We used a cab to get to the Thon Stephon hotel.  Because of fatigue we had dinner at the hotel.  Everything is very expensive in Norway.  A hamburger and beer cost about $25.  Hotel was fine.  Breakfast (included) at the hotel was fantastic.  Free internet was available. Because of limited ambulatory capabilities, we took the Oslo Highlights tour from H&M tours.  It was $210 Kr ($30) with the Oslo pass.  We enjoyed the tour very much.  It was just enough for us.  We walked through the Vigeland Sculpture Park, stopped at the site of the new ski lift construction and visited the Viking Museum.  3.5 hours total.  We had lunch at an outside cafe right at the harbor.  We took a trolley to get back to the hotel, but we didn't communicate well enough with the trolley operator and ended up far from our hotel so we took a cab back.  We went to the Grand Cafe for dinner.  Very nice, but very expensive - about $70pp.  Note: the hostess at the Grand Cafe implied we had to check our jackets, but many other patrons didn't.  I think we got hustled for the check fee! Oslo to Bergen Train The train ride was an absolutely wonderful ride with spectacular and varied scenery.  The trip took about 5 hours.  We were in a very comfortable car that included hot drinks.  For some unknown reason, our companions were seated 6 cars back and didn't have the included drinks.  We all booked together - strange. MS Finnmarken We embarked on the MS Finnmarken from Bergen on 4/24/09 and returned to Bergen on 5/5/09. Ship: The Finnmarken is a beautiful, well appointed, well maintained and clean ship. There are lots of different places to hang out on decks 4, 7 and 8. General Internet No wireless capabilities were available.  The internet on board is excruciatingly slow and unreliable.  It costs 60 NOK ($9.00+) for 60 minutes.  You can not plug in a thumb drive, so you can't work off line and then connect and send emails in a blast format.  You must compose and send while connected using your minutes. I was not able to get much done with 60 minutes.  The connection bandwidth is only 256K and is actually slower since the bandwidth is shared. There is free internet access in the library in Kirkenes.  USB ports are available so you can prepare pictures and messages ahead of time. ID Cards At embarkation, we were issued ID cards (no picture taken).  If you wish to use the ID card as an on-board credit card, you must activate the ID by having it linked to a credit card.  This process could be done at the table where they sell wine upon boarding or you could do it later at the reception desk. You must show your ID card when entering the dining room for all meals and for disembarking and re-embarking at each stop.  You must plug an ID card into a socket next to the cabin door to activate the electricity in the cabin.  This becomes problematic if you want to charge camera batteries while you are dining or off the ship since each person needs their ID to dine or leave the ship. Charging batteries The cabin outlets are 230V.  There is one receptacle in the bathroom that can be switched from 230 to 115V for use with a razor or battery charger (Note: this receptacle only has power if the bathroom light is on!).  However, I strongly recommend bringing a converter.  The regular receptacles are round and accept a two prong plug, each prong being a cylinder with rounded tip (normal European receptacles I presume). Note: See ID cards above.  You can, upon request, obtain a special "electricity card" that you can substitute for you ID card to activate the electricity in your cabin.  This will allow you to charge batteries etc. while you are at the restaurant or off the boat. Food and drink: Food As has been reported elsewhere on CC, breakfast and lunch are served buffet style with about a 2.5 hour window for each.  Dinner is served and there may be more than one seating depending on the number of passengers aboard.  Meat and fish alternate as the entrEe for dinner.  The buffets are clearly European in style and content.  There was lots of cold meats and fish available for breakfast and heavy soups and hot entrees for lunch.  We had no complaints. Water program- The water program, described in earlier discussions of Hurtigruten cruises, has been discontinued.  You can buy a bottle of water for 19 NOK (approx $2.85), but our group found the tap water very good.  They also have flavored water for a higher price. We bought a couple of bottles of water from the snack bar so we would have water in the room and take on excursions and then refilled from the tap as needed. You have to ask to get your water glass refilled at all meals.  The staff is always busy so you have to get their attention and ask.  They are always very nice about it.  You can get your own at breakfast and lunch, but it would be awkward to do so at dinner since it is a served meal. Soft Drinks- Expensive!  Aproximately $5 for a .6 liter bottle of Pepsi Max (local version of Diet Pepsi). Alcoholic Drinks: Expensive:  A .6 liter draft beer cost approximately $10!  We did not buy any wine, but many did and I assume it is proportionately expensive. Cabins: We were pleasantly surprised with the amount of space in the "regular" cabins (deck 3).  There are two closets, each with two hang bars running front to back as opposed to the more common left to right (or visa versa depending on your preferences).  Each hanging bar will hold 5 or six garments.  Ample hangers were provided in our cabin.  Lots of shelf space behind doors and lots of open shelf space too. When the two bunks are in the down position for sleeping, there is still about 2 feet of aisle space between the bunks.  This was much more than we had visualized from looking at the pictures on the Hurtigruten web site.  A convenient shelf serves as a night stand and holds the phone.  The beds were comfortable.  Each bed has a duvet and there are two extra blankets in the closet. A large niche under a shelf provided enough room for our large 29" suitcase within which were placed one of our carry-on bags.  Our other carry-on slipped in on top, so we got 3 bags into the space.  Great! DW and I agree that this cabin provides more room then the standard cabins we've enjoyed on HAL.  Of course, there is not an option to have the beds together. Side Trips (Excursions):Geiranger Fjord to Alesund- Not to be missed!  We lucked out with beautiful weather.  It was a real hoot to see your ship sail away without you.  Of course, as we reached the top of the hill for our view of Alesund, there was the Finnmarken sailing back into Alesund!  Absolutely phenomenal scenery throughout the bus trip from Geiranger to Alesund.  We also stopped at a soft ice cream stand for the best soft ice cream I've ever had.North Cape- Also not to be missed!  Again, we were treated to crystal clear skies.  According to the guide, they only get about 15 such days each year!  The scenary from Honningsvag to the cape is gorgeous all the way.  On the way back, we stopped at a Sami home and souvenir stand.  The bus broke down, but the ship waited for us while a new bus was dispatched.  Got to know the guide real well.  Gregor was wonderful.Ice Hotel This excursion because the hotel melted!!!Lofoten We boarded busses in Svolvaer for this side trip.  The weather was not quite as good for this excursion, but we still enjoyed it thoroughly.  We visited a lovely fishing village with a very nice art gallery/gift shop.  We saw a 15-minute slide show of Lofoten scenery through the 4 seasons.  The scenery for the rest of the bus trip to meet our ship in Stamsund was varied and wonderful. Atlantic Road We added this trip when we found out the Ice Hotel was not available.  It was a good decision.  We boarded busses in Kristiansund, drove through the city, got on a ferry to cross the major fjord into Kristiansund.  There is an overland route to where we went, but it would have taken longer.  We stopped at a beautiful old stave church for a guided tour.  After touring through some spectacular valleys we arrive at a restaurant for a traditional dinner of baccalao, made from the dried cod fish we had seen in many places.  It was good, but we don't think we will be searching it out in local restaurants.  After dinner, we traveled over the bridges of the Atlantic Road stopping for pictures at one pull-off.  The rest of the trip was through gorgeous countryside to Molde where we rejoined the ship. For pictures, visit: picasaweb.google.com/rehildenbrand Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2010
The world's most beautiful voyage is how the Hurtigruten cruise line bills the coastal voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes. They are so right! We were on the Midnatsol the same time as karoggra who posted a review titled, Best scenic ... Read More
The world's most beautiful voyage is how the Hurtigruten cruise line bills the coastal voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes. They are so right! We were on the Midnatsol the same time as karoggra who posted a review titled, Best scenic cruise in the world. The voyage is rarely on open sea so you have scenery on both sides of the ship most of the trip. My husband and I were traveling on a tour arranged by travel agency so we had a pickup from our hotel to the dock. We arrived about 6 p.m. after an all day Norway in a Nutshell® tour. Check-in took seconds and we boarded with our carry-on bags. The cabin cards were handed to us as we entered the covered walkway to deck 6. The deck 6 entrance is only used at Bergen. Our bags were waiting at the entrance to our cabin. Since we were doing a round-trip and started at the home port, baggage handling was done by the ship crew. Ship: We had an starboard outside cabin on deck 4. It was 2 cabins away from the atrium where the elevators are located. All the traffic on and off the ship on the voyage takes place on deck 4 by the elevators so it was very handy. The ship has its own gangway which opens up on the side of the side. Stand on deck 5 and watch the gangway open sometime. It is very interesting. There are two other openings in the side of the ship further down for cargo and cars. The ship doesn't have to rely on port gangways which take time. The ship is very efficient getting in and out of ports. Some stops were for only 15 minutes. I learned how they did that visiting the bridge. The cargo hold is designed for pallets so the forklift trucks would be whipping around on the dock unloading or loading. At Stamsund, we had over an hour stay so while we were out walking around the village, the forklift operators were unloading mattresses and building supplies. There is another elevator near the back of the ship serving decks 4 - 8. It is handy for those in the stern of the ship. Public restrooms are available near the dining room on deck 5 and near the main elevators on deck 5 and 8. There is a conference area on deck 5 which is used for presentations or conferences. It is not an entertainment venue. We did have three slide presentations on the ship: The Royal Family, National Day and National Costumes. We are onboard for National Day, May 17. There was a parade around deck 9 with flags, banners, and national costumes. Cabin: Our cabin was very functional. We had a cabin with one twin bed under the window and one perpendicular to it. The bed under the window made into a sofa during the day. The beds are hard but still comfortable. The covers are duvets with a quilted liner. It was too hot for me so I just used the sheet. There was one extra pillow in the room and we asked for another. There are two wool blankets to use on the outside decks. Yes, we needed the blanket when lounging topside some days. You receive one bath towel and one hand towel to start. If you want a clean towel, leave it on the floor. There are no washcloths. I bought a few with me. There is a mounted container of hand soap/shampoo by the sink and in the shower area. To save room packing, I used Twitter @HurtigrutenASA to find out that there was a dryer in the bathroom. There is. The cabin has desk area with small mirrored cubbies on either size of the big mirror. There is a plug by the mirror which we used to charge the camera batteries and iPad. You will need a converter and adapter for the European style plug. The hanging closet had two sections (his and hers) with 5 hangers in each section. The clothes hang front to back rather than side by side. There were two sections of shelving in the main closet and two more big shelves by the desk. The suitcases fit under the bed. The bathroom was very functional and I liked it better than some of the US market ships I have been on. There is a step up to the bathroom. There is a small step down to the shower. It is designed to have an angle to allow more room. The curtain is long enough to keep the water in the shower area. The shower head can be kept mounted on the pole or used as a hand-held. There is a retractable clothes line. The floor can be heated with the switch on the wall outside the bathroom. There is a big wall cabinet with shelves for all your toiletries. I still had space in it after stowing everything. There is a towel bar by the sink with wall mounted cup holders. I found out that the inside cabins do have TV as well as the suites. No TV in the outside cabins. It was not missed. The telephone has some radio stations that you can listen to. There are 4 washing machines on deck 4 close to the rear elevator. You purchase a token from reception and they give you the soap. The dryer is free. There are posted instructions in English. The machines are labelled in Norwegian. We did two loads for about $10. What to do: If you take the round trip cruise you will receive a 130-page book with colored photos and an explanation of what you will see broken down by days. It is a great resource to read about what you are seeing along the way. The Tour Director does make announcements as described in three languages, English is always the second one. She gave us a heads up to what scenic wonder was coming our way so we could get to observation lounges or the correct side of the ship. You can turn off the announcements on the phone in your cabin. As mentioned, there are many lounges without any waiters to bother you about drinks. If you want a drink, you go to the bar and get it yourself. There was a tray for self-busing of cups and glasses in most lounges. We liked the forward lounges on deck 8 and 9 and the library on deck 8. The library has games and some English language books left by passengers. The deck 8 and 9 lounges have windows on three sides so you had a great view of the scenery. Deck 9 lounge is actually open to deck 8 lounge. It does get a little warm up there so we preferred deck 8. Deck 9 had three major sections, the inside lounge, the outside deck with glass walls to protect from the wind and the back deck. We liked to lounge in the back. The chairs are not loungers so if you want to put your feet up, use another chair. There are many teak round tables and matching chairs near the doorway on deck 9. The smokers were usually in this area. Food: I was more impressed with the food than other reviewers. The food presentation at dinner was very impressive. Two chef teams took over the buffet area (in the center of the room) to dish up the food. One did the sauce, one plated the entree and sides and another added the garnishes. We received a booklet with the menus for the trip so we knew what night we would have the reindeer or the salmon. I am not a great fish eater but I did enjoy the meals. Granted the breakfast and lunch buffets didn't vary much but they had a different hot breakfast item daily and hot lunch items. I discovered the hot oatmeal and added dried fruit and granola stuff to it. There was soft and hardboiled eggs very morning. I liked the whole grain breads. They did have a breakfast pasty item each day. They had a 6-slice toaster if you wanted toast. We learned to grab juice and water from the machine and stake out a table for the open seating breakfast. Than we headed to the buffet to stock up. Keep in mind the buffet is designed for the European market so expect cheese and cold cuts on the breakfast menu. Where else can you have cottage cheese and herring for breakfast. My husband was delighted with the 4-5 cheese selections at breakfast and lunch. He reports that they were mostly soft, all delicious, but no cheddar. You won't find tacos, pizza, or hamburgers on the menu. If you want french fries, go to the snack bar and pay for them. The soups were excellent. I like smooth cream soups and these were excellent. Who knew asparagus soup could taste so good. The desserts were good and don't miss out on the slab ice cream at lunch. I didn't discover that until day 4! Coffee: The coffee came out of one of the machines where you press a button and you get a cup of coffee. It is strong! I would have a cup with breakfast and than take another cup out to the lounge. Coffee was not provided at the table for dinner. The coffee machine is located on deck 8 by the bar. After dinner you go for coffee. If you want coffee between meals, you pay 25 KOR ($3.85) for a cup. They do have a coffee plan which is good for an entire year! You pay 209 KOR ($32.20 at this time) for a red metal lined mug which allows you to get coffee or tea for the trip. If you were a commuter and traveled frequently, it would be a good deal. We opted not to do that and were fine with the free coffee after meals. Water: Although there are signs on the dining room table for purified water for 19 KOR, we found out that you just ask for tap water and they bring a carafe of water (no ice) to the table. They do that at lunch and dinner. I brought my own water bottle with me which I refilled from the bathroom sink. The water is nice and cold and tastes like bottled water. Tours: We went on the following excursions: (Northbound) Trondheim Folk Museum, Tromsø City Tour (Polaria and Arctic Cathedral), and (Southbound) Tromsø Midnight Concert [the ship arrives at 11:45 p.m.], Lofoten Islands countryside tour, Trondheim City Tour (includes Nidaros Cathedral). We might have gone on more tours but they are not cheap. My husband says, the Folk Museum could have been skipped. I did the Bridge Tour to see the Captain and the Bridge on day 11. I found it very interesting and worthwhile. That is posted in the daily program. Shopping: The gift shop on board has a very nice selection of Norwegian products. We ended up doing most of our souvenir shopping on board. There is a nice gift shop at the Polar Bear Club in Hammerfest right by the dock. By the way the public library is across the street and has free wi-fi. There is a nice gift shop and ice bar in Honningsvåg close to the dock. Internet Access: There are 4 computers on deck 8 by the library. There is a 40 KOR ($6.22) charge per hour of use. I used my iPad and iTouch with the wireless that is available in the public areas. It is satellite so the reception is dependent upon a good signal so don't expect much when in the fjords or when there are mountain ranges on both sides of the ship. The mountains do impact reception. Deck 8 or 9 is the best. There is no coverage in the cabins and deck 5 is not as strong as deck 8. Thanks to the purser who helped me get the wi-fi started on my new iPad. Staff: The staff are great. All are Norwegian and most switch effortlessly from Norwegian to English to German. The staff work 22 days on and then 22 days off including the captain. We did see some new faces over the course of the cruise. There is not a culture of tipping so we didn't have to worry about an add on for tips like most cruises. There is a big wooden bowl by the head waiter's desk at the entrance to the dining room. There is a small sign that it is for TIPS with Thank You in several languages. We left the rest of our Norwegian money in the tip bowl. The staff are helpful, have a ready smile, are efficient but are not fawning. Since the Hurtigruten line does ferry and cargo service besides us tourists, they have some systems that are not the same as a regular cruise line. What you won't see: no towel animals, no nightly program in your room, (pick it up in the announcement area on deck 8), no turn down service, no free between meal snacks, no singers and dancers (singer and keyboard in the lounge deck 8 in the evening), and no rah rah cruise director. What you will find is a comfortable trip in the midst of spectacular scenery with plenty of time to relax and read or look out the window. As Americans, we were in the minority. The prominent groups were Norwegian and German. The weather was good for most of the trip. The last few days were overcast with clouds hiding the mountain tops. We had clear skies for a good part of the trip and enjoyed the midnight sun. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2011
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
a newish boat - tiny cabin with just enough storage space for one - we lived out of our suitcases stowed under the bed. The outside cabins with portholes appeared a bit larger but not really value for money. Mainly continental ... Read More
a newish boat - tiny cabin with just enough storage space for one - we lived out of our suitcases stowed under the bed. The outside cabins with portholes appeared a bit larger but not really value for money. Mainly continental breakfasts, with eggs, chipolata sausages - not really up to English standards, but reasonable. other meals mainly fish and pork, one shellfish buffet and reindeer meat once. Great soups, bread, salads and desserts. We had reserved settings for quite a few meals which meant we were forced to sit with people even if we didn't care for their company - also some people forced to sit at a table for 2 even if they wanted to sit by other people.No choice of menu at most dinner times- mainly fish which was sometimes like cardboard - probably defrosted - shame as there should have been plenty of fresh fish in Norway. Missed chicken and had lamb only twice. The staterooms were great, plenty of space and seats, lovely sundeck and 2 outdoor hot tubs - not for the faint hearted, but well used, sauna and gym were great. The bar was expensive +++ - entertainment by a couple of singers so-so, but welcome as a diversion at the end of the day. 21£ for a mug with unlimited tea and coffee from the cafeteria/bar - but as it cost 2£ for a single cup it seemed worth it to buy the mug. £5.70 for a 1/2 pint of beer which was half filled with foam! We went on a lot of the tours to break up the day - the city tours were a waste of money, as well as the one to the Russian Border. The best were to the Svartisen Glacier, though you had to walk a mile to get to it from the bus, The Geiranger Panorama was good too. Not to be missed is the Midnight concert in Tromso Cathedral, The North Cape, and the Sea Eagle Safari. People who did a walking tour of Trondheim were disappointed, as well as the trip into Hammerfest. We went to the Lofoten Islands - it got dark early and was raining, so was awful esp as the guide couldn't speak English. Couldn't go on the Vega trip (out of season - shame)- others said the trip to Svolvaer and the Atlantic road trip were good - though the guide had limited English on the latter which wasn't so much fun. Met some great people, read a lot of books - they had a small library to which I added a couple of books. A very expensive trip, but worth it in the end. The ship was clean, cabins cleaned every day. The waiters were a bit rude sometimes - someone asked for jam -and he said - its there, cant you read, and on another occasion one of them was ride to another guest in front of us - affluence breeds ennui and arrogance! Check your bills carefully - we ended up being overcharged by over 1200K - 120£ - and so did almost everyone else. The barman charged us for the more expensive drinks instead of what we had actually bought, and one doesn't usually expect this in a crowded bar, so you tend to sign the cruise card chit without checking - big mistake, only put right at the end after a load of hassle and queuing. 6 nights would have been perfect - but we'd have missed the concert and the sea eagle safari so comme si comme sa In all a good experience and I would recommend it to people who don't want too much in the way of entertainment etc - one has to be mindful of the fact that it is but a glorified ferry and not expect too much. We felt that we could have done with spending 2 nights in Bergen or Kristiansund which looked like vibrant fun places Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2012
Hurtigruten, literally translated as "the fast route" is a combination tourist cruise ship, local ferry boat, and a cargo ship that travels the coast of Norway. There are 32 ports. Passengers are discouraged from ... Read More
Hurtigruten, literally translated as "the fast route" is a combination tourist cruise ship, local ferry boat, and a cargo ship that travels the coast of Norway. There are 32 ports. Passengers are discouraged from getting off at many where stops are only 5-10 minutes long. The point is to see the scenery. The voyage is scheduled so that the northbound trip at night passes places seen in daylight on the southbound voyage, the bottom line being you get to see the entire Norwegian coast on the round trip cruise. It is hard to imagine any cruise with scenery that can match the coast of Norway whose rugged mountains plunge into the sea. We spent our waking hours in the Panorama Lounge, looking at the scenery & reading-- note: the lounge chairs are by Ekornes, the most comfortable chairs we have ever encountered on any of our dozen or so cruises. Breakfast & lunch were buffets, the unwarranted famous Scandinavian smorgasbord. Norwegian cuisine leaves much to be desired, featuring lots of fish (mostly very fresh) cheese, eggs, and great deserts. One lunch dished up 7 different salmon dishes, but the worst of generally dismal restaurant scene was that dinner was a full service set down meal, a monumental waste of time to eat mediocre food. Standard cabins are Very small and Very basic. However, once you compare the view from the Panorama Lounge to what you can see from your cabin, you will spend all your daylight hours in the Lounge, and that can get up to 24 hours a day once you pass the Arctic Circle in summer. We had a suite which was very nice, and very expensive. Bottom line: We are going to do this again, and probably again after that. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2012
O.K it's a few years since we cruised from Bergen to Kirkeness and return to Bergen via the Lofoten Islands. Disappointment comes if you expect to be on a typical cruise ship. This is a ferry that takes passengers. The line has been ... Read More
O.K it's a few years since we cruised from Bergen to Kirkeness and return to Bergen via the Lofoten Islands. Disappointment comes if you expect to be on a typical cruise ship. This is a ferry that takes passengers. The line has been operating for more than 100 years and began as a ferry that took a few passengers. Now it seems things are reversed and the main income is from passengers. This creates a problem as they don't seem to be sure what area they should concentrate on. The ship may call at up to 6 ports a day, but some of the stops are only about 15 minutes. Major towns (there are no cities) may mean a few hours. This upsets folk who did not do sufficient research when booking the trip (it is not a cruise). People hop and hop off the ship and it's not unusual to see young people curled up in the most unusual places in their sleeping bag. REMEMBER, IT IS A FERRY. If you see it as a wonderful adventure you will love it, especially the Lofoten islands. But if you expect the level of service and all the bits and bobs that go with a Holland America cruise you will be disappointed. We found the meals to be reasonable and the shore excursions to be very good. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2013
To sum up, I've put the summary first you can also read the more in depth view after, if the mood takes you. If you want reasonable size cabin with half decent facilities don't choose this cruise, unless you can afford the much ... Read More
To sum up, I've put the summary first you can also read the more in depth view after, if the mood takes you. If you want reasonable size cabin with half decent facilities don't choose this cruise, unless you can afford the much larger cabins at much larger prices. If you are after fine dining don't choose this cruise, we found the food very good but may not be to everyone choosing. If you are after entertainment in the evening don't choose this cruise, there isn't any apart from piano man in the bar. If you want Hurtigruten to fuss after you don't choose this cruise, it's not in the Norwegian make up to be concerned that you are enjoying yourself and being looked after they are not bothered. If something goes wrong don't expect an apology so don't choose this cruise. If you are adventurous and want something totally different you want amazing scenery Summer or Winter within a stones throw, choose this cruise. You can get 24 hours of sun in the Summer and 24 hours of darkness in the winter so in winter you won't see so much of the amazing scenery. In the Winter you may be lucky and see the Aurora Borealis. You may also get rough seas 40ft waves and 80mph winds and you will get freezing cold temperatures along with a trip into the Arctic Circle. The choice is yours! would we go again, the answer is yes! but we would try and get a two for the price of one offer if they come up, then it would be value for money at £888 each for 6 nights, compared to other cruises it's expensive. Hurtigruten are relying too much on the scenery, summer and winter and selling it as a working ferry but they want cruise liner prices without delivering the service. They need to go on some customer service courses or experience another cruise line to see what's on offer. The management certainly need to change their attitude, the staff on the ship were always very polite and helpful. We booked a trip on the M/S Nordkapp the Voyage North for our 40th wedding anniversary we did not expect anything but hoped we might get a bottle of wine on the night of our anniversary. We should have known better, this would not be the trip of a life time. At the time of booking I paid Hurtigruten to have a car pick us up at the airport and take us to the ship I advised them of the flight number and arrival time, touchdown 20:00 hrs, and what time I expected to exit the terminal 20:30hrs. When we reached Bergen and stepped out of the terminal on time, no car, nothing, we waited and waited, going in and out of the terminal in case we had missed someone carrying a notice with our name on, nothing. I phoned the number provided several times and got no reply. Eventually someone did answer only to hang up on me when I explained why I was phoning. Then an employee from the Flybusen company asked if we had a problem I explained to him and he said it happens all the time with Hurtigruten, people missing the departure of the ship. with his help we got a bus to the Hurtigruten terminal and just made the departure at 22:30. Because we were late we got none of the information given to other passengers. after a expensive coffee we decided to go to bed. We knew the cabins were not going to be palatial but we expected them to be clean! that was another mistake, when I pulled down the bed I was going to sleep on I looked at the pillow and it was filthy it looked like someone had played football with it and the actual pillow in side the case was stained yellow all over really gross. We were both so tired by this time I just threw the pillow against the door to block out the light coming in through the gap at the bottom of the door, I'm still not sure if any of the bedding was changed before we got there all the sheets were creased but that may be because the beds fold up with the bedding trapped against the cabin wall, how the pillow was so dirty I don't know. When we awoke in the morning we were able to see what we missed on our arrival in the cabin, well it was a sorry sight tatty to say the least, we had one chair to sit on which was far from new, the the top of the back of the chair was frayed where so many hands had gripped and rubbed along it with stuffing coming out, with the seat section well worn, along with the very worn carpets. Then we come to the bathroom, adequate, but small and old, the shower worked with just enough water to feel clean. Toilet seat was broken moving around very much when the sea was rough, a skill just to sit on it in such conditions, then there was the sink, when first we looked, it seemed as though it had not been cleaned but it was just old and stained, with the surface all crazed with small cracks making it look worse. We had booked the trip in the hope of seeing the Northern lights, no guarantees, and as luck would have it we did not, they said we had the worst storm in ten years, staying in Trondheim for an additional 12 hours to let the worst of the storm to pass, so for most of the cruise it was very overcast, these are small ships 11,000 tonnes compared with the big cruise liners of 100,000 + tonnes. Once we had gained our sea legs the rough weather was not a problem in fact it was different, something to talk about, you must expect bad weather in the North Sea in the winter months if you want gentle cruising don't choose this trip. Hurtigruten do say they are a ferry for the Norwegian people which they are, 11 ships, constantly going up and down the coast stopping at 34 ports on the way North and the same again coming South. We missed out on 14 of the ports due to the adverse weather conditions but it was not a big deal, many of these were docked at when we would be asleep. The views of the Norwegian coast were stunning and that was the other reason for the voyage, which didn't disappoint us. My wife and I found the food to be generally very good breakfast was not always a big choice, if you slept in there was even less. Midday meal was between 12:00 and 14:00 help yourself a good selection of hot or cold dishes always plenty of fresh seafood which was really good. Evening meal, there were two sittings 18:00 and 20:00 although with I guess maximum 150 passengers when we were sailing, all could have been accommodated at one sitting and according to the specs, the ship has the capacity of 622 passengers with 456 beds (you have to guess the number of tatty the beds out of the total) If you do choose this type of cruise there is no entertainment to speak of, one man with a synthesiser cranking out a variety of tunes and songs in a bar that feels quite soulless but that's probably because it bankrupts you to have a few drinks in the bar and not many people were prepared to pay the Norwegian prices for booze, small bottle of beer £8.50 glass of wine £9.00 they say it's to stop the Norwegian youth from drinking but there were no Norwegian youth on the ship . What's wrong with giving international passengers duty free privileges, you have to pay by charging drinks to your cabin number, they also advertise duty free for travellers in the on board shop, so it could be done. That may have made the evenings more enjoyable, remember the further North you go in the winter months the shorter the days, it does afford a greater chance of seeing the Northern lights but it shortens the time for the views of the passing scenery so the evenings can seem to be quite long.   Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2014
We left Bergen at 10.30pm just as the sun was setting - beautiful. Our cabin was small and compact with 2 single beds but there was plenty of cupboard space to fit all our clothes and cases. We found that we had enough room for the 2 of us ... Read More
We left Bergen at 10.30pm just as the sun was setting - beautiful. Our cabin was small and compact with 2 single beds but there was plenty of cupboard space to fit all our clothes and cases. We found that we had enough room for the 2 of us to be comfortable and the beds were comfortable. We were able to adjust the room temp so we were able to get a good night's sleep. The shower was the best pressure of our trip. We enjoyed all the meals on board with buffet breakfasts and lunches all with good variety and a set menu for dinner. The bread rolls which were baked fresh every day on the ship were a particular favourite of my husband's. We had lovely weather during our voyage - it was overcast with sunny breaks on the first couple of days but once we had crossed the Arctic Circle we not only had 24hrs daylight but also 24hrs sunshine! The voyage itself was smooth sailing and we sailed close to the coast all the way. It didn't matter which side of the ship you were on as the Norwegian coast was on one side and a continuous line of islands on the other side. We either spent our time looking at the scenery passing by on Deck 4 where there were plenty of window seats or the Panorama lounge on Deck 7. Our cabin was on deck 5 the Promenade Deck so if we saw something we wanted to photograph we could quickly go to our cabin grab our cameras and go outside. The coast was beautiful with snow capped mountains most of the way and lovely little villages. Whenever the ship stopped for 30mins or more we would disembark and go exploring. We went on 3 of the organized excursions including Svartisen Glacier excursion which was excellent - the reflections on the fjord were spectacular. We also went on the North Cape excursion and the Russian Border excursion from Kirkenes where we disembarked. It was good to go on the Russian Border Excursion because we were able to put our cases in the bus storage and at the end of the excursion the bus dropped us off at our hotel in time for us to be able to check in to the hotel. We found the Polarlys to be spotlessly clean and the crew were always ready to check that all the passengers entering the restaurant participated in the hand hygiene. We enjoyed our voyage so much that my husband wanted to stay on the Polarlys and sail down the coast instead of disembarking at Kirkenes! The majority of the passengers were German with some Norwegian, British, American and other Europeans. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
This trip on the Finnmarken was a re-run of a similar cruise we had made several years ago on the M/S Lofoten. Onboard entertainment was limited mainly to port lectures but as we had travelled this way previously and also matured in age ... Read More
This trip on the Finnmarken was a re-run of a similar cruise we had made several years ago on the M/S Lofoten. Onboard entertainment was limited mainly to port lectures but as we had travelled this way previously and also matured in age we were happy to relax with a book or watch the scenery drift by. The cabin on Deck 3 (N4) was larger than many others on the higher decks as the outside decks reduced the length of the cabin. It was on the same deck as the shore gangplank and one deck up to the dining room. The food was acceptable and the staff very helpful. When you have to join a queue to thank your waiter at the end of the trip you have some idea of how attentive the staff were. This is not a cruise ship but a working ship that makes several stops up and down the coast. Some port calls are long enough to go ashore and although we only did one excursion (ice hotel) we did go ashore whenever possible and enjoyed the local scenery. We were well aware what to expect from this trip and and overall enjoyed the experience. Sadly we made the mistake of taking the transfer package, London/Bergen /ship at £660 for the two of us. Checking the Norwegian Air Shuttle web site against our tickets we discovered that the top airfare on those dates meant the coach element of this package was going to be very expensive to make up the difference. The figures went even further adrift we discovered that transfer coach tickets, port to airport, were being sold onboard at £15 each sector. On our return I took this up with Hurtigruten, supported by a copy of the airline quote from their web site. The answer I received back the company was that they work on a contract price. This is now history, the deal is done and Hurtigruten have their money. I was not convinced by their response and would suggest to anyone contemplating this deal to do your homework first. Taxi cost less than £30 to the port, this plus the airfare would still been cheaper than the package price. 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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Our trip from the U.S. middlewest started off abysmally with two flight cancellations, by American and Scandinavian airlines. It took two days for us to finally reach Bergen, and consequently we missed the Norway in a Nutshell tour which ... Read More
Our trip from the U.S. middlewest started off abysmally with two flight cancellations, by American and Scandinavian airlines. It took two days for us to finally reach Bergen, and consequently we missed the Norway in a Nutshell tour which we had booked. This was not the fault of Hurtigruten, of course, but it did not put us in a good mood to begin with. When we landed in Bergen with a Hurtigruten "Arrival Package," we had no instructions on how to reach the bus. We asked the driver of another bus, and he indicated our bus would be "down there." We dragged our bags to this location, but no Hurtigruten bus and no idea if it ran every hour, three times a day or what, or even if we were standing in the right spot at all. Exhausted by our trip over, we gave up and paid another bus line to take us into the city. The package for transportation from hotel Raddison Blu Norge to ferry terminal was no better. We had no idea when or where to wait, and neithr did anyone at the hotel desk. The desk was obliging enough to call Hurtigruten in U.S. to inquire about it, and the fellow who answered said he would get right on it and leave a message at the hotel for us. No message ever arrived. Just by chance we spotted a Hurtigruten bus on the street , and asked this driver about it. He told us when to go to pickup spot but again, this was rather wrong. We checked out of hotel and were sitting in lobby surrounded by baggage when I Hurtigruten diver showed up and spotted us by our luggage tags. He said drivers automatically called for passengers in hotel lobby FOR EVERY RUN. No one had ever told us this!!! That's quite a bit on our arrival, but if you take arrival package, be sure to get directions straight before you leave home!!! We would have been far better off , and saved $$$, by taking the regular airport bus into town and a taxi to terminal. Contrarily, our transportation packages in Oslo when trip ended went perfectly because we had gotten directions from a knowledgeable employee in advance. The rest of our trip went well. A few pointers: There are two dinner sittings, 6:30 and 8:15, and we were given no choice. We were assigned to 8:15, which we surely did not want. We are not Spanish! I asked right off if we could switch. The dining room hostess seemed skeptical, but it did work out. They give no attention to language when making table assignments. We were placed with a German couple who were nice but spoke zero English, and vice versa. The next night we landed an engaging English couple who had been marooned in the midst of Germans. Food is marvelous, especially the desserts, and I lived on wonderful smoked salmon. We had an ordinary outside cabin on deck 3,and I can't imagine why anyone would ask for more. We were in it only to sleep anyway. Ship's public venues and appearance are all very nice. There were only 310 passengers on our run, with ferry's capacity of 628, so there was plenty of seating in lounges, etc. There is no entertainment provided at all, and no background music in lounges!!!, thank goodness. All very quiet and restful. Most of other passengers were Northern Europeans. As to clothing, it was mid-May, and at all times indoors I wore a heavy sweater, long-sleeved shirt under that and tank top below that. On land excursions I was glad to have a wool scarf and wooly cap. We took the Alesund, Trondheim and North Cape excursions. Could have walked around Alesund on our own, but I didn't know how close the quay was to central city. The other two stops require the arranged excursion. My husband thinks the photos in brochure are misleading. The dramatic fjords are around Bergen, not further north, and at the time we took the trip, mid-May, the ferry did not enter Greiranger fjord nor was an excursion offered to it . Really we did not see any big fjords at all. Hotel Radisson Blu Norge in Bergen in Bergen and Radisson Blu Scandinavian in Oslo were fine Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
Viking Star Cruise departure May 16th from Bergen, Norway Taking the Viking Star Cruise was a trip of a life time for us. We are not people who constantly cruise and looked forward to this cruise since we booked it in August of 2013. ... Read More
Viking Star Cruise departure May 16th from Bergen, Norway Taking the Viking Star Cruise was a trip of a life time for us. We are not people who constantly cruise and looked forward to this cruise since we booked it in August of 2013. We had previously taken the Viking river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam in June of 2013 and enjoyed the atmosphere of a small ship with 120 fellow passengers. The Viking Star was well designed for comfort and beauty. The smallest detail was given considerable consideration for the comfort of the passengers. Being the maiden voyage of the ship we were prepared to accept problems. Our cabin 3097 provided all the storage and room required for the two of us. We enjoyed the view from our veranda on the back of the ship both in ports and while cruising. The only problem we had, and considered it part of a maiden voyage problem, was the lack to heat in our room for the first three days. The mechanics came each day when we complained and did their best to correct the problem. We found all ship personnel were very respectful and friendly. Karen and Jay who cleaned our cabin worked very hard and went out of their way to please us. The evening of May 17th my wife tripped on a low platform in the Winter Garden where there was no barriers and was badly bruised. Viking Star’s staff were very attentive as were the doctor and nurse in the medical centre. As the ship was being christened on May 17th and it was Norway’s National Day, resulted in the cancellation of the scheduled trip to Flam. (A visit to Oslo was added to our itinerary to replace the tour to Flam) We flew to Bergen three days in advance of embarkation and made arrangements to do “Norway in a Nutshell” a 12 hour tour by train, bus and boat to Flam and train back Bergen. This was a highlight of our trip and we certainly recommend this be part of the Viking Star planned tours. We would highly praise the ships’ entertainers. It was a pleasure to relax in the evenings and listen to Laura on the piano, the Classical trio, guitarist Laszlo and especially the Torshavn Trio. The musical entertainment in the theatre was light whimsical shows. The lectures in the evenings were interesting. We especially enjoyed the ones presented by Major General Sir Robert Corbett on his life in Berlin. The food on board was excellent either in the Restaurant or the World Café. The evening of our reservation at the Chef’s Table, the menu was shell fish which my wife cannot eat, so we had to cancel our reservation and did not rebook. There was no choice for other entries. Our disappointments were with some of the excursions both complimentary and the ones that were at an additional cost. Our chosen complimentary tour in Oslo of the Akershus Fortress & Norwegian Resistance Museum was cancelled the evening before the tour. This was a disappointment, but we visited the Viking ship museums in its place. Berlin Your Way, a complimentary excursion did not turn out as we expected. We enjoyed seeing the German countryside during the 4 hour bus ride to and from Berlin. The expected 3.5 hours on our own to tour of Berlin was cut back to 2.5 tour because of road construction. We had planned to take the Hop on/Hop off tour in Berlin At our first stop a tour guide came aboard to give a driving tour of the city. She could not tell us where our bus would be at the end of the tour, so we could not go off on our own. It was very difficult to see the places she was pointing out on the bus and we were not told if these places were on the left or right of the bus. This part of the tour of Berlin was extremely disappointing. We were dropped off at Check Point Charlie for an hour to get our own lunch, and there was not much to see in this area. Some of the excursions that were at an additional cost were over-priced. At Stavanger we wanted to visit the Oil Museum. The entrance fees to the museum was approx.. $19. Can. each. Cost of a walking tour and a visit the oil museum on a Viking tour was $99 each. We did the complimentary walking tour of the city, then walked a short distance and toured the oil museum by ourselves saving approx..$150. The guided walk through Helsinki cost $59 each and did include coffee and a pastry stop. The pastry was excellent. There was no warning that this was a fast paced walking tour. Our tour guide walked very fast, we did not feel there was time to stop to take photos along the way without having to run to catch up with her. She never looked back to see if we were keeping up or if we had all got across the street on a green light. One lady on our tour walked with a cane and another lady had arthritis in her feet, both had difficulty in keeping up with this guide. At one point I stayed back with them when the lady guide got out of sight ahead of us, and my wife ran to catch the guide and request that she slow down and wait for the slower people, but she didn’t slow down. There were 2 people missing when we left the Church in the Rock and she only waited a few minutes and left without them. The Waterways of Stockholm cost $89 each. This tour was on a “Hop on/Hop Off” boat that regularly tours Stockholm harbor – regular tour tickets are less than $40 a couple. Everyone who booked this tour was put on one boat forcing most people to sit three in each seat, or some sat in the back outside with no wind protection which was a cold place to be that day. It certainly was not an enjoyable tour, and was overpriced at $89 each. Some people we met on board booked and enjoyed a private 2 day tour of St. Petersburg with fewer people in a small van, costing much less than the Ultimate St. Petersburg 2 day tour offered by Viking costing $399. The tour “Palaces & Villas of St. Petersburg, costing $149 each was our choice for the 2nd day. It was an excellent tour and worth the price. Lunch was included. In St. Petersburg there were 4-5 cruise ships in the dock at St. Petersburg all much larger than the Viking Star and holding many more people. On our complimentary tour of the city, it was so crowded with buses and people, our bus found it hard to find a place to park long enough for us to get off to take photos. On the whole we enjoyed the cruise of the Viking Homelands, but we really preferred the smaller River Boat cruise with fewer people. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
My mother and I traveled to Bergen end of May 2015 and took the MS Midnatsol up to Kirkenes for a seven day voyage. It was on my mothers bucket list (she is 80, I am 46). I did plenty of research ahead of time and had a pretty good idea ... Read More
My mother and I traveled to Bergen end of May 2015 and took the MS Midnatsol up to Kirkenes for a seven day voyage. It was on my mothers bucket list (she is 80, I am 46). I did plenty of research ahead of time and had a pretty good idea of what to expect. Starting with embarking that was a long process.. We got there early and waited over two hours. A little disappointing but oh well. From previous reviews seems they can't get that right.. The trip from Bergen to Kirkenes makes like 40 stops. Some longer then four hours, most less then one hour. This is a ferry, although a pretty nice one and they have a route and supplies to deliver along the way so they keep a pretty strict schedule. Some of the main scenery was late at night, like Trollfjord was at 1am, STAY UP FOR THAT. It's the prettiest part of the cruise. My mom didn't want to stay up that late and wishes she did. When they say there is cool landmarks and scenery to see, make sure you see it. As a lot of what you will see all looks the same. There was NO entertainment on this ship. They advertise it though your entertainment is out the window. It rained the first few days and although the scenery was pretty the ports started to look the same toward the end. The Fjords though were breathtaking and I will have forever memories about that. They let you bring your own alcohol on board (they say two bottles each but they don't patrol it). You can drink in your room but I brought a flask on some days and was frugal that way sneaking vodka into my soda (which was still expensive). The drinks on board though rival on shore (at least bars towards the ship) I stopped in a pub in Tromso and paid more for a beer then I would have on the ship. The water on the ship they say is ok to drink, I drank it and didn't get sick. BUT we did buy the water package (it was like $40 american for a bottle at lunch and dinner) and refilled the water. On the last day I opened a water bottle that I refilled and it smelled like rotten eggs so FYI. The water tasted fine but was pretty gross a couple day off water smelled horrible. They had free WiFi on the ship, and a nice computer area in which you could use their computers. The WiFi was better on the main decks of course but I have T-Mobile and their unlimited data international, Norway has great country wide coverage so i was able to stay connected to friends and social networking via Norway's Wireless Network ( Thanks T-Mobile for great rates ) and the ships WiFi when on the main deck. The food was good although I don't eat seafood; I was able to tell the staff and they brought me a special meal for dinner and the sit down lunches we had. I usually had Chicken for most meals. I actually lost weight on this cruise with all the walking on the ship and the healthier food I ate. All the food was really delicious included the bread and fruit. The last night we had a fire on board and we were woken up at 4am. We had to divert to a port where they checked it out and we made it to Kirkenes on time to make our flight. We were tired and some of the people we were with couldn't go back to their room for hours (5 hours) and the ship didn't even offer any type of credit for the inconvenience (they returned back to Bergen on the ship). They were pretty upset with that. But a fire is a fire. We did do a few excursions (I got really seasick on the Puffin Cruise stay away from that one if you get seasick). We also did the Viking Dinner and I ordered the Chicken instead of the Lamb and it was delicious as well as the mead. I would say that was the best excursion as the drive, the people and scenery was really nice. Otherwise when we had hours in a port we just walked around and shopped.. It was a great experience going on this cruise. Wish there was more entertainment but I made my own. We had a mini suite and it was well worth it for the extra room we had . Norway is a very nice country, can't wait to go back. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
Beautiful new ship, tasteful decor, very comfortable cabins. Good size balconies. Staff were exceptional and often knew your name when you came to the dinning room. Good variety of choices for eating. Well trained knowledgeable ... Read More
Beautiful new ship, tasteful decor, very comfortable cabins. Good size balconies. Staff were exceptional and often knew your name when you came to the dinning room. Good variety of choices for eating. Well trained knowledgeable staff . Nice to have free beer and wine with meals. Spa area with mineral pool, sauna and cold room were fun to try. Included tours gave you an overview of the cities. Local guides were very knowledgeable. Nice small areas on the ship to get together with friends or relax. Theatre shows should have two performances per night as they were very popular. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
DINING -- We liked the buffet so we could pick portion sizes. We also liked having "healthy" options. FITNESS & REC --- we didn't use the fitness room, but we were glad it was there. The last morning I sat on a ... Read More
DINING -- We liked the buffet so we could pick portion sizes. We also liked having "healthy" options. FITNESS & REC --- we didn't use the fitness room, but we were glad it was there. The last morning I sat on a recumbent bike outside with an expresso and watched Stockholm come to life. PERECT ENDING. ENTERTAINMENT --- O.K, That was WAY better than expected. It was well worth staying up at the end of a full, rewarding day. During the day I liked that the music was relaxing. ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES -- Definitely a big deal for me. I especially liked the talks about amber and the one on Peter the Great. SHORE EXCURSIONS -- Another big factor in choosing a cruise. On the Oslo bus tour we visited the ski jump/ museum with the zip line & statue of the dog. I looked at the statue of Fridzjof Nansen and made a note to look him up when we got home. The man was incredible! It was like i'd never heard of Lewis & Clark! I suggest the guides talk more about him( maybe the Port talk did and I missed it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2015
We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. Not only was the ship beautiful, your staff was fantastic. We have not been on a cruise where the staff was so genuially polite and pleasant. The food was fantastic. Even though we did not ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. Not only was the ship beautiful, your staff was fantastic. We have not been on a cruise where the staff was so genuially polite and pleasant. The food was fantastic. Even though we did not partake of the dining room settings, the World Café was perfect for our needs. We scheduled this cruise two years before the sail date, and we could hardly wait. Other than a few snafu's with overcharges and not being refunded, as of this date, we still had a great time. Our only concern, was that not having been on a Viking cruise, I didn't realize how energetic the shore excursions were. I was able to find some suitable for our health and activity level, but the one tour in Germany, to the Schwerin Castle, was almost a disaster for my husband. He came very close to suffering a seizure due to not being allowed time to rest. He missed a few excursions after that one, due to concerns. Would recommend this tour for our friends. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
Many great things about this ship and the itinerary. The ship itself is a wonder and seems very uncrowded. The staff was very accommodating and friendly. I did have a couple of issues that may be a problem for others. The free ... Read More
Many great things about this ship and the itinerary. The ship itself is a wonder and seems very uncrowded. The staff was very accommodating and friendly. I did have a couple of issues that may be a problem for others. The free excursions are good for free, but you are really paying for them and at that point some (Bergen, Tallinn) are good, some not so good. The pools.....they are incredible, but....5'8" deep and only ladders to enter and exit. So you cannot just stand and talk in the pool. Except in the spa....which was really, really, really amazing. Do that daily. The fancy restaurants.....both ok, neither memorable. The free beer and wine was very acceptable quality. Overall, I gave it a 5, because I feel overall it was a five. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
We have been on several ocean cruises and have enjoyed many aspects of them, but this cruise was the best overall. The ship was spacious with many areas where you could go relax and have some quiet time or visit with friends. The rooms ... Read More
We have been on several ocean cruises and have enjoyed many aspects of them, but this cruise was the best overall. The ship was spacious with many areas where you could go relax and have some quiet time or visit with friends. The rooms were spacious, quiet and had good storage space. Crew members always said hello whether they were just passing by you in a hall or working in an area. When we lingered after a delicious meal talking to new friends and the crew were cleaning up, they would insist that we could stay as long as we wanted. If you went to any area more than once they would remember you and your name. The meals were wonderful . Our favorite place became the cafeteria since it was open for longer periods of time and we could eat have friends come in and sit and visit with them while they ate. Once I was just wanting a very simple salad and the chef immediately produced one. The entertainment was great. One of the best were the musicians who moved to different areas to perform without becoming obtrusive. All of them were very talented. The shore excursions were well planned. When on one excursion involving a train ride the train employees went on strike, the trip went on buses without any delay. I could go on and on. But I will end with this. It didn't matter whether you were in the least expensive room or the most expensive room, the crew treated the passengers the same. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Truly the MOST money grubbing and mercenary organisation I have ever encountered. Combine this with an appalling military attitude to PAYING clients-customers and you have Hurtigruten. At dinner last night we were served by slamming down ... Read More
Truly the MOST money grubbing and mercenary organisation I have ever encountered. Combine this with an appalling military attitude to PAYING clients-customers and you have Hurtigruten. At dinner last night we were served by slamming down our food in front of us . Service I do not think this organisation comprehend the term. Ask for water and be sold very expensive bottled water as the normal and perfectly acceptable fresh water is not allowed in the dining room. The price of wine and beer will blow your mind. 11 pounds for a glass of beer !! I actually found my main course hiding behind a piece of carrot. All 3 courses were MINISCULE and VERY ordinary. I THINK OUR WAITER MUST BE ON COMMISSION. She became quite unpleasant when she realised we did not require the company wine deal. After travelling along several beautiful fjords including the Geiranger the aspect has become GREY and boring, not to mention very cold considering this is the height of summer. My cabin is of the size of a matchbox, with lovely concrete based beds. 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. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Overall we would give Viking top marks for their first try at ocean cruising. The ship was extremely well designed and very stable in some rough seas. More stable than on large ships that we have cruised on. The lounges were comfortable ... Read More
Overall we would give Viking top marks for their first try at ocean cruising. The ship was extremely well designed and very stable in some rough seas. More stable than on large ships that we have cruised on. The lounges were comfortable and intimate with very attentive service and very reasonable drink prices. Even on our one day at sea the ship didn't feel the least bit crowded. The specialty restaurants were very good and the World Café had the same dishes as the regular restaurant but in a more casual setting. The service here was outstanding. The lectures on each port were very informative and entertaining. The shore excursions were very well organized and the guides excellent. With the ship being much larger than the regular river cruises, which have enjoyed so much, there was not quite as intimate a feeling but that is too be expected. We would certainly sail on this class of ship again for the right itinerary. Well done Viking. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We choose Viking because we had already done the Danube and had a wonderful time. We began with an extended stay in Iceland and ended with an extended stay in Barcelona. The service, hotels, etc were exceptional. We had to intercept the ... Read More
We choose Viking because we had already done the Danube and had a wonderful time. We began with an extended stay in Iceland and ended with an extended stay in Barcelona. The service, hotels, etc were exceptional. We had to intercept the boat in Copenhagen as this new boat had a problem as it was coming from St. Petersberg. Viking not only accommodated us with extra nights in Bergen, flew us to Copenhagen and gave us credit on a future trip so we are headed to France for two weeks with extra nights in Paris. The food was exceptional, especially the Chef's Table. If you like seafood this is the cruise to be on. What impressed us the most is that the boat only housed about 910 passengers We did not want to be on any boat bigger than this. At no time did we feel overwhelmed with the number of passengers. Viking has so impressed us that we are also booked a trip to China and Tibet with them and we are looking into other future trips with Viking as well. Choose your shore excursions carefully. Most were very good, a few we could have probably learned more by ourselves but since we had not been to these cities before we definitely got a good introduction to the history and sights. Entertainment and various talks were great. We were disappointed with the "flamenco" dancers; wee saw better dancers in the courtyards on shore. Personally I was glad to see that there was a "Friends of Bill" meeting on board but they could have had one meeting a week instead of one every two weeks especially on a long ocean cruise. For me it was not an issue but for one passenger who was traveling with several friends who drank a lot, she definitely needed someone to talk to. Perhaps there could be some other way for recovering people to identify themselves to each other. 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
Sail Date: May 2016
We have been on river cruises with Viking and decided to try this Viking Homelands itinerary. The Viking Star is a beautiful ship and never felt crowded even with 930 passengers. Our cabin was huge and very comfortable with a king bed ... Read More
We have been on river cruises with Viking and decided to try this Viking Homelands itinerary. The Viking Star is a beautiful ship and never felt crowded even with 930 passengers. Our cabin was huge and very comfortable with a king bed and large bathroom. On our big screen TV we could access the "Port Talks" and information about excursions, in addition to the written Viking Daily, plus the menus for all the restaurants. The excursions were wonderful, and the staff did a good job of getting everyone off the ship in a timely manner. The guides on the optional tours were excellent. We felt that overall the guides on the included tours were not as knowledgeable, but still did a good job. The food was excellent. Our only complaint was that the included wines in the Restaurant and buffet areas were only passable. We did eat at the "Chef's Table" with it's set wine pairings and menu. One of the wine choices seemed very odd to us, and when we expressed our views, we were told that all the wine pairings are decided at the corporate level, so there cannot be any deviation. Mamsen's Restaurant was wonderful with decent pairings. This is only the second ocean cruise we have been on. We love the intimacy of the river cruises and felt it was hard to meet new people all the time on the Star with open seating at all restaurants and different assigned groups on the excursions. So we've signed up for another river cruise. We'll consider an ocean cruise when we are not as mobile as now. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2016
Itenerary was just what we were looking for on our 1st trip to Scandinavia. Plus added ports in Germany,Poland,Estonia and St Petersburg. Pre cruise stay in Oslo and train across to Bergen was definitely worth the added time/expense. ... Read More
Itenerary was just what we were looking for on our 1st trip to Scandinavia. Plus added ports in Germany,Poland,Estonia and St Petersburg. Pre cruise stay in Oslo and train across to Bergen was definitely worth the added time/expense. Ship, cabin, staff and dining were all beyond superlatives. Organization was down right amazing to get that many people to all the different shore tours with what seemed like flawless ease. A real highlight after a long day by train to Berlin and back to be welcomed by the entire crew on the dock from Capitan down to cabin attendants. Not to mention the wine and music. Ports and shore excursions were all top notch with local guides that all seemed to be really excited to share their homeland. Can't really judge the entertainment and activities as we were more interested in the comfortable bed and luxurious linens after exploring all day. Only our fourth cruise but hand down the best. Looking for our next adventure with Viking Ocean Cruises Read Less

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise