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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
I had been meaning to travel with Hurtigruten for some time and wanted to visit Norway in winter, having been in summer several times. Being on the Nordnorge felt like being part of a small community. The staff were really friendly and the ... Read More
I had been meaning to travel with Hurtigruten for some time and wanted to visit Norway in winter, having been in summer several times. Being on the Nordnorge felt like being part of a small community. The staff were really friendly and the food excellent. I don't eat meat and was offered fish or vegetarian options. The staff seemed genuinely interested to hear if I liked the choice. The buffet at breakfast and lunch was really good too. I just loved seeing the cargo load and unload and wave to the other Hurtigruten ships as they passed. I wanted a lazy holiday due to having a really busy job and the lack of onboard entertainment and short hop passengers sleeping in the bar which other reviewers have moaned about were just part of the sea voyage experience and a plus for me. We had storms and rain but these were not the fault of Hurtigruten! We also had some wonderful sunny days and snow too. Just great. I will be back. If, like me, you love the idea of sea travel but hate idea of a 'ballgowns at dawn' cruise this is the ship for you. 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
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
This year, instead of hunting out Winter Sun for our New Year's break, we decided to go to the other extreme and look for snow, ice and Northern Lights. We booked a 12 day Bergen/Kirkenes/Bergen round trip on Hurtigruten's MS ... Read More
This year, instead of hunting out Winter Sun for our New Year's break, we decided to go to the other extreme and look for snow, ice and Northern Lights. We booked a 12 day Bergen/Kirkenes/Bergen round trip on Hurtigruten's MS Nordlys. Hurtigruten ships are not Cruise ships - they are ferries. But ferries with 'extra's'. There is little in the way of formal entertainment, but our ship had a very knowledgeable 'Tour Leader'. He was responsible for bookings for and co-ordination of shore excursions, as well as organising onboard activities. He had a dry sense of humour and spoke fluent English, French, German and Norwegian, switching comfortably between each depending on the Nationality of the guest. He also made announcements in multiple languages as we approached each port to tell us more about the destination, and announcements when there was something interesting to see outside (eg crossing the arctic circle, sea eagle ahead, spectacular rock formations, other Hurtigruten ships!). On New Years Eve the ship missed a couple of ports in the Lofoten Islands so that we could spend the evening in Hurtigruten's home port of Stockmarknes. We had a gala buffet for dinner and then they opened up the Hurtigruten museum especially for us to make an evening visit. At the museum they have a 'retired' ship in dry dock and it was quite eery exploring this ship in the dark. All guests were invited to celebrate the turn of the year out on the 'sun' deck with a glass of complementary fizz. The local fireworks were spectacular. Some guests were quite disturbed by the shortness of the days and the lack of light. For my part I had expected it to be worse. We were lucky that the days we spent North of the Arctic Circle were clear so we had the best light possible. OK it was never bright, but for 3 or 4 hours there was as much light as you would get on on overcast day in England, and when you are out enjoying snowey activities such as Husky Sledding it feels even lighter. Northern Lights are almost guaranteed at this time of year if the sky is clear. We were lucky enough to see them on 3 nights. They make an announcement if the officers on the bridge spot Northern Lights in the sky, so you have no excuse for missing them. Having said that, they weren't as spectacular as I was expecting, and to the naked eye lacked the vivid colours that you get when you photograph them. This may have been due to the full moon. The ship was very quiet - only around 200 passengers on the Northbound journey, which was enough to be sociable but meant that there were no crowds. On the way south there were less than 40 passengers. We could have had a table each at dinner!   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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
We have travelled with Hurtigruten before on their costal round trips a couple of times. We enjoyed these very much so we decided to take the plunge and go for one of the explorer voyages. We booked direct and received confirmation ... Read More
We have travelled with Hurtigruten before on their costal round trips a couple of times. We enjoyed these very much so we decided to take the plunge and go for one of the explorer voyages. We booked direct and received confirmation suggesting a two flight journey each way. When the paperwork arrived we had a three flight journey each way spanning a total thirteen hours not including first airport pre flight time. Arrival at Svalbard on night in the Raddison Blu hotel. Arrived around midnight, checked in and went to room. Our hearts sank! Annex accommodation comprising of a small unit. Main bed was a sofa bed large enough for one. Second bed was either a top or bottom bunk bed. Room, furniture and fittings looked tired, but at least clean. Curtains as thin as tissue paper so would not keep out midnight sun.No coffe, tea or milk provided. Transport to ship satisfactory. Embarkation a little long winded with queuing of around 40 minutes or more for some. Cabin was as expected. On deck three with window. A little small and very compact, but more than adequate. Clean and comfortable and v good housekeeping. Dining. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style with an excellent selection for all. Dinner was a mix of buffet or fixed menu. Again very good with alternative for vegetarians etc. Tea coffee and cookies available 24/7 No children's club or facilities due to nature of voyage. Non advertised or expected. Evening entertainment was very low key. Again due to type of voyage and other activities ongoing. Polar bear spotting or landings. Disembarkation. Well organised and efficient. Summary. For a once in a lifetime voyage to see the wild Arctic, this would be difficult to better. A wonderful experience on a well run efficient ship. Excellent crew and staff including all expedition team who were extremely knowledgable. A wonderful experience let down by the first night hotel accommodation and the more than expected number of flights to reach our destinations. Possibly a little on the expensive side.   Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
We are just home from a trip to Norway which featured a fjord cruise on the Trollfjord. My parents took a fjord cruise 35 years ago and raved about the incredible scenery; once again, my mother was right. My parents also commented on the ... Read More
We are just home from a trip to Norway which featured a fjord cruise on the Trollfjord. My parents took a fjord cruise 35 years ago and raved about the incredible scenery; once again, my mother was right. My parents also commented on the less that wonderful food; I am starting to think that my mother was never wrong! The ship is very nice and run by a very able and efficient crew. The public areas were lovely and well appointed. Embarcation was simple and efficient. We had purchased a mini suite, cabin 691, as we wanted a view from our room. I did not do enough research before booking and discovered that the two windows, one in the sitting area and the other in the bedroom looked out onto a walkway. We quickly discovered that the view was two-way; it became apparent that unless we did not mind people looking in on us, we would not have a view from the cabin. We upgraded to a larger suite, 818, which was lovely and offered a "bump out window" with two comfortable chairs. We spent hours marveling at the incredible scenery. This larger suite had a safe in it which I appreciated; the mini suite did not. There was a shower and a tub and a large walk in closet. A curtain separated the sitting area which had a couch, table, two chairs, and a desk from the sleeping area. The storage was more than adequate and the bed was very comfortable. I was surprised that the towels were both threadbare and in some cases ragged. My husband used the exercise area but had to wait one day as all of the equipment was being used by the crew. There were no towels or water available in the exercise area which suprised me but may just be a European custom. The cost of the original cabin and the upgrade came to $13,500 which is pretty stiff for a six night cruise. I blame myself for not doing a better job of researching; our travel agent did not help us at all with this or with anything else for that matter. We traveled with another couple who had booked an outside cabin; they upgraded also and had the suite across the hall. We explored several towns on our own and took the excursion to see the Sammi. We enjoyed all of these trips and felt that we got to know something of the country other than Bergen and Oslo. We are not fans of huge cruise liners and looked forward to this smaller ship. We have taken four or five river cruises which we loved and expected this to be comparable. We got the coffee and wine packages and thought they were worthwhile. The staff was all very helpful and efficient but I would not describe them as particularly friendly with the exception of two of our waiters, one Greek and the other Swedish, who were a delight. We tipped them at the end of the trip but did not feel we needed to tip the other staff. I used the laundry area; you buy tokens at the customer service desk. Figuring out the directions was an adventure even with the translations. We do not cuise to eat but do enjoy good food; I love to cook and collect cookbooks from the coutries that we visit. My husband is Italian and food matters to him as well. The food on the Trollfjord was a great disappointment for me. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style as were the first and last dinners on board. The food was plentiful but with the exception of the outstanding desserts, it was not good. Perhaps Norweigian food is not to our taste but we had excellent meals in both Bergen and Oslo before and after the cruise. The menu both set and bufffet leaned heavily toward fish and the sauces tended to be cream based. One day we were excited to find lasagna on the buffet but it was swimming in fat and poorly seasoned. Again, I may be just too fussy. Although there was a piano and a dance floor, there was no entertainment. The bartender told us that the cruise line found it too expensive to provide entertainment. Perhaps the fact that the passengers are generally older factors into this. We had read about entertainment on board but that may vary with the season. Overall it was worthwhile for the amazing scenery but I would warn anyone to be smarter about cabin selection and the food. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
We booked our cruise in New York City with a Hurtigruten Representative on the Richard With. We were not told about several things in advance as follows: Wine Package Water package Free single supplement. Lack of entertainment of any ... Read More
We booked our cruise in New York City with a Hurtigruten Representative on the Richard With. We were not told about several things in advance as follows: Wine Package Water package Free single supplement. Lack of entertainment of any kind on board. (In fact we were told that there was live music in the lounge.) As soon as you step on board the ship you are given a hard sell about the wine/water package. DO NOT BUY THEM. They are a very poor value. Incredible that you have to buy water. This should be provided by the cruise company. They have a policy to force you into this water deal. Staff stopped several passengers who had purchased water bottles off board. The wine package is expensive, not great wine choices and too much anyway to drink. But the water package is included gratis in the overpriced wine package. Everyone whom we spoke with was upset about the policy of not providing water and the fact that no details were provided in advance about this policy. I suggest that people do bring their own water on board. If enough people complain and bring on their own water, the company will have to abandon this absurd policy. Other friends wanted to accompany us but wanted their own rooms. When we enquired, we were not told that there was a free single supplement that could have been applied. As the ship was less than booked, it was Hurtigruten's loss as our friends did not book the trip. There is no entertainment on board. We were told the exact opposite so the representative was not up front about this. Off Board trips varied in interest and all were expensive. Most of them can be done independently by passengers when docked at ports. Some of several hours duration are better done with the company. Staff was very helpful and always available. The director of programs tried to bring us interesting films and provide history about the locations visited. But there should have been more of this provided. There are 2 hot tubs on deck and a very nice Sauna. So if you book, plan ahead and ask about all of these things. Plan to do some of the excursions on your own. You can always book guided tours on board as they were never full. If you just like cruising and are not very active, you can just stay on board. This was not our choice. Cabin and housekeeping were fine. Standard cabin, very small to share but well organized. Food quality varied. No choice for supper and most meat dishes were poor in quality. Fish sometimes dry and covered in sauce. Buffet breakfast and lunch were average to good. Good fish choices but usually only boiled eggs offered for breakfast. Last supper excellent as was a seafood buffet of extremely fresh and well prepared seafood. Overall, the cost of the trip without excursions was good. If you buy the excursions, the value goes way down. And unless you are sedentary, staying on board is extremely boring. I believe that you can plan to disembark in a port and pick up another or the same ship on the return. Worth enquiring about. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
We just returned from a Hurtigruten cruise from Bergen Norway to Kirkenes, a six night, five day cruise. We wanted to see that coast and that midnight sun on June 21 for some time. Friends in Germany had told us, “Not much rain in ... Read More
We just returned from a Hurtigruten cruise from Bergen Norway to Kirkenes, a six night, five day cruise. We wanted to see that coast and that midnight sun on June 21 for some time. Friends in Germany had told us, “Not much rain in Norway.” It was overcast and rainy the whole time. The fjords were beautiful. The rock formations were stunning even without the sun. We hadn’t booked any excursions, but planned on walking around the towns. Of course the weather wasn’t Hurtigruten’s fault. The ship offered a baptism by Neptune. Neptune “baptized” us all week! The ship made a big marketing deal of the midnight sun. Come to the top deck, camera-ready and special drinks for sale at midnight. We looked out our port-hole for the sun. No show, just overcast! We were there; the sun was somewhere in hiding. A number of travelers on the ship were disappointed in the company’s squeezing of every possible kroner out of us. Coffee was free and plentiful for breakfast. But to have it any other time, you were encouraged to buy a COFFEE PACKAGE. You got a small mug and paid the equivalent of $60 for five days of unlimited coffee. I mean, really, who drinks $12 worth of coffee a day? And no water at the table for lunch or dinner. Of course, you could buy mineral, sparkling water. Our friends traveling with us tried to bring their water from the room. It was confiscated by the smiling dining room greeters with the hand-sanitizing squirt. I heard one staffer say, the only thing free on the ship is the air. And the squirt! On the plus side, the staff were friendly and helpful at every opportunity. The Wifi was reliable in the public sections suggested. The food was good. The buffets had plentiful choices for breakfast and lunch. The dinner offerings were artfully presented and pretty tasty. They allowed a limited amount of wine in your luggage. I was glad they didn’t check. My litre and a half went a bit over. Read Less
36 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
My husband and I have never taken a cruise because we have no interest in being on a huge ship with thousands of people, Vegas-type floor shows, all-you-can-eat Midnight Buffets, large numbers of partying, art auctions and dressing for ... Read More
My husband and I have never taken a cruise because we have no interest in being on a huge ship with thousands of people, Vegas-type floor shows, all-you-can-eat Midnight Buffets, large numbers of partying, art auctions and dressing for dinner. I gave up booking a coastal Norway 'cruise' years ago because I could not find any which did not include these things. Then I came upon the Hurtigruten website, which goes to great lengths to explain it is NOT a 'cruise', but a coastal VOYAGE on a WORKING ship. Anyone considering a Hurtigruten trip needs to read up on what their trips are and understand the BIG difference. Their website goes to great lengths to educate people on what to expect, so do your homework and make sure its what you want. We booked the northbound 7 day journey from Bergen to Kirkenes, and in seven days it stopped at about 35 ports at all hours of the day and night. Some of these stops are a few minutes, some a few hours, and ran the gamut from large cities to tiny fishing villages. A variety of excursions are available at some stops but not all---most of the longer ones involve disembarking at one port and meeting the ship at another. The public areas of the ships allow for great scenery-watching in a variety of lounges with comfy chairs and sofas. There are about 3 large screen tvs throughout the lounge areas and all of them were crowded during the World Cup games. The dining room included large windows which also allowed great views during meals. There is a library and small childrens' playroom on board. The ship's outdoor pool and jaccuzzi were extremely popular, as was the indoor sauna! The water was more than warm enough and at the back of the ship, they're protected from the wind. There is wi-fi onboard (free) but it is spotty and does not include bandwith for doing anything other than emailing, browsing, etc. (Forget uploading all your photos!) The Wi-Fi virtually disappeared north of Tromso which really is NO surprise that far north. Food: We booked full-board but its expensive so think carefully about adding this if your budget is strained---NOTHING is inexpensive in Norway but you could certainly take your own breakfast foods onboard if you stocked up before boarding and when in certain ports (we enjoyed the grocery store in Trondheim in particular!) In addition, if you took a voltage converter and a hot pot, you could make instant soup, ramen noodles and tea/coffee. Ice is available in any of the bars and they also gave us the bag to put it in---not every cabin has an ice bucket but you could certainly use the sink. We had NO problem drinking the tap water on the boat and it was fine. The food in the cafe (open 24 hrs) was good and included salads, sandwiches, pastries made onboard (quite good!) and pizzas. A 12" x 9" ham and veg pizza was about $10, and bottled sodas about about $5 (USD) Our full board included breakfast, TONS of protein (bacon/sausages/scrambled and soft or hard-boiled eggs, various cereals including hot oatmeal/porridge, cold meats and cheeses and TONS of pickled herring and salmon), with a small bit of fresh fruit and veg. Various types of breads, ALL of them excellent, especially toasted. Their jellies/jams and marmalades were heavenly! Also included were coffee/tea and apple or orange juice. Lunch was usually a mostly-cold typical Norwegian buffet, again with tons of seafood, cold meats/cheeses and salads, with usually about half a dozen hot dishes. We enjoyed lunch the most since we're not seafood lovers. Dinners included local ingredients and the night's menu was placed on the table at breakfast so you knew what to expect. Again, mostly seafood but we simply told the dining room manager that we wanted no seafood and were served venision, etracote (steak) and lamb instead. There was always a soup of the day at both lunch and dinner. These were very well-prepared and we enjoyed them. The night before we docked at Kirkenes there was a HUGE seafood buffet with King Crab, Mussels and every kind of fish. And just ONE sitting instead of the usual two so the lines were longer. There was plenty to eat including ham and turkey so we had no problem finding enough things we liked. They also included several SPECIFICALLY gluten free and vegetarian items at every meal. If you're including dinner in your booking, you should think about whether you want first seating (about 6 or 6:30) or second (about 8 or 8:30). If you don't specifically ask for either the early or late seating, one will be assigned to you at check-in. if you're doing excursions you will want the later seating, although they keep track and know if you're getting back late you'll be at the second seating. Include any meal preferences in your original booking and check with the dining room hostess on your first day to make sure its been recorded. And check at breakfast what the dinner entree will be, and if its not to your liking, tell the dining room hostess. Now about the water/beverage/wine 'packages': This is a source of contention with a majority of reviewers on any number of travel websites. At lunch and dinner the dining room will not serve you tap water, nor can you bring in beverages not bought on ship (including soft drinks) We learned that you take your mug (if you bought one or it came with your cabin as ours did) to lunch and dinner and perhaps you walked in with it empty or already filled with something else. Ditto a water bottle you previous bought on the ship (and had previously emptied) We talked to other people who bought a few bottles of soft drinks on board, drank them, bought other softdrinks on shore and simply refilled the ship's bottles and took them to meals. We aren't huge wine-drinkers so we sampled no wines onboard. There were two kinds of beer sold in the bar/cafe, and they were about $15 for a 20 oz. glass, both Norwegian brands. Other random issues: Probably 90% of the ship's passengers were German---and about 99% of the passengers were over 55---only a few small kids. The Finnmarken has about 250 cabins and had consistently around 500 passengers all week during our voyage. Various day-trippers and locals going from point A to B. Lots of observation areas including several lounges with large-screen TVs. Keep in mind in you have a small cabin, which most passengers do, you're going to be hanging out in one of these areas to best view the scenery. Some of these people literally camp out ALL DAY right by the windows and only move for meals---but they leave coats and jackets on the chairs when they're gone. This can be frustrating if the ship is full and you'd like to sit by a window. The ship is seemingly obsessed with hand sanitizer. That includes requiring you to use it when you arrive for meals and placing it right by the gangway when you disembark and board. It might seem like a pain but to my knowledge they have not had the epidemic of the Norovirus like other cruise lines. If you go in summer (June/July in particular), there are almost 24 hours of daylight---the cabins include black out shades but light still comes in around them, so consider taking nightime eye shades. There are people on deck at ALL hours of the night because of this, but they are mostly watching scenery, taking photos etc., and none of them were loud of obnoxious. Regarding laundry, they had about 5 washers and 5 dryers which automatically dispense soap----free to use but read the directions on the wall first because they're very different from US machines. Two ironing boards with irons as well. Was great to pack only a carry-on and do laundry twice in our time onboard! Items you MUST take: Binoculars, sunscreen, moisturizer (the climate is VERY dry), earplugs (if you're a light sleeper), voltage adaptor, camera, clothes for every season including a medium-weight jacket (yes even in summer!), things you can LAYER make the most sense, but I'd recommend a hat and gloves all year! A rain poncho and as previously discussed, possibly a hot pot. There's also a detailed guide with all sorts of info about the various stops and scenery which you can buy onboard---its expensive so I'd try and find one of Ebay first. There were storage rooms for luggage and elevators going to all decks. The dining room staff was young and almost all spoke EXCELLENT English--many of them sounded American---all announcements are made in Norwegian, German and English, and handouts are printed in the same way. Excursions are handled in the same manner. The entire ship was spotless and the exterior windows were washed daily. Because Hurtigruten's vessels are significantly smaller than almost all other cruise ships, they go into places which the larger ships' passengers never see. The midnight sail into the tiny Trollfjord was outstanding and worth staying up for---a real classic case of a very competent captain 'strutting his stuff' and everyone loved it. Bottom line: Hurtigruten voyages are not 'cheap', and the ship is not luxurious by any means---if you need to be entertained by more than comfortable accomodations, adequate food, jaw-dropping scenery, interesting excursions and perhaps a book, YOU NEED TO BOOK ON A NORMAL CRUISE LINE. Some of the excursions were outstanding, specifically Geiranger Fjord/Trollstigen Pass, Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Lofotr Viking Feast, the Bird-watching Safari in Gjesvær (where we saw hundreds of Puffins, Kitiwakes, Sea and White-tailed Eagles and other birds as well as seals) We really loved the "Taste of Lapland" excursion with the Sami couple where we learned of their culture and got to pet their reindeer. 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
42 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2014
My husband and I, 2 English passengers, had all of our luggage stolen from a Hurtigruten ship after embarking at Bergen for the 12 day round trip. We feel we must highlight the incident and dangers to other current and future international ... Read More
My husband and I, 2 English passengers, had all of our luggage stolen from a Hurtigruten ship after embarking at Bergen for the 12 day round trip. We feel we must highlight the incident and dangers to other current and future international passengers, who will naturally expect in 2014 a certain level of security. Global passengers do not expect when sold a cruise that anyone off the street can board a ship, steal passengers’ suitcases that have been left unsafe in corridors or in unlocked luggage stores and walk off the ship with the suitcases completely unchallenged. There is no security. Hurtigruten are refusing to replace our stolen possessions, even after admitting that the suitcases were in their care and it is therefore their responsibility to put the situation right, as they were negligent by allowing a visitor to steal the 2 big suitcases and walk past the staff completely unchallenged. Norway had previously been our favourite country and we had visited 9 times including a previous Hurtigruten round trip voyage 5 years ago. We have had a very stressful last 2 years with a job and house relocation and a sequence of failed attempts to buy a house. I have a brain tumour and my health has been deteriorating. We have got married recently and this was our honeymoon. Knowing Norway and the sailing schedule, we expected a relaxing, beautiful, stress free 12 day voyage. Imagine our devastation just hours after boarding, when it became apparent that our luggage had been stolen. It seems that Hurtigruten’s poor security procedures had allowed a “visitor” to simply walk onto the ship, take our 2 large suitcases, containing a lot of brand new winter clothing bought specifically for this trip, then walk straight off the ship again without any of the Hurtigruten or Bergen harbour authority staff even questioning him. One of the suitcases was found by a Hurtigruten staff member at a nearby bus stop, it had been ripped open and virtually emptied. We were left with virtually none of our possessions. We checked in at the Bergen Hurtigruten terminal at around 17.30hrs on Sunday 16th March 2014 and the Hurtigruten staff took our 2 large suitcases. We then proceeded upstairs for the safety video, then boarded the ship on level 5. We expected that our luggage would arrive in the cabin later in the evening. We had dinner and then went to the 9pm information talk by the tour leader. By 21.40hrs our luggage still had not arrived and we phoned reception and were told not to worry as the suitcases were all on the ship and must have been placed outside the wrong cabin. My husband had already looked around the whole ship and all the corridors by this stage and it was clear to us that there was a problem. The ship set sail on time at 22.30hrs at which point our luggage still had not been found. They had searched the terminal and no cases were found. The ship turned around, back to Bergen after around 5-10 minutes. It seems an IT worker was returning to his flat from the ship and found 1 of our suitcases, ripped open and mostly empty by the bus stop. The other case was not at the scene. It was only at this point the ship realised that the suitcases had been stolen. The man at Bergen terminal then remembered a man had visited the ship at around 21.00 - 22.00hrs and left with 2 big suitcases, because he remembers saying goodnight to him when he handed back his visitors pass! The ship do not know where they left the cases for them to be stolen. It could be in the corridor, by the lift, by the reception, as they have no organised system. We were totally devastated by what had happened. We did not sleep at all that night. The hotel manager the morning after the theft told us not to contact our holiday insurance, because the suitcases were in the care of the ship and they would look after us. We had not left our cabin, as we were so upset and in shock. The Hotel Manager told us to have some lunch and then to get off at Alesund. They gave us some emergency funds to buy the essential items of clothing, such as underwear and thermal base layers for the extremely cold weather conditions of the voyage etc, but as we only had 2 hours in Alesund, a port we are unfamiliar with and we were in such a state we were only able to buy a few items and as the prices in Norway are very, very high, the emergency funds did not buy much. The Hotel Manager said that he would look into how Hurtigruten would make payment for the other stolen items that we would be unable to replace while in Norway. At his request we gave him a provisional list of stolen items that would need replacing, for him to give to the police when he reported the theft to them in Alesund. On the provisional police report they estimated the losses to be at least 40 000 NOK. We subsequently had a nightmare 2 weeks of stress and upset which was made worse by Hurtigruten staff. In particular we met with the senior vice president of hotel operations when we were in port in Tromso day 5 on Thursday 20th March 2014. We met him for about 15 minutes just before the ship set sail. He clearly had not prepared for the meeting. His inappropriate opening line was “I gather you have had some bad luck with your luggage”. It was obvious that he had no appreciation of what we had been going through. To describe the incident as bad luck is appalling, given that the theft was only possible through Hurtigruten’s negligent security procedures which allow anyone freely on and off the ship without being challenged. When I corrected his insensitivity he said, “I cannot defend the indefensible”. All questions that we asked him he deferred saying “I’ll have to get back to you on that”. Not the sort of behaviour and responses I would expect from apparently the senior vice president of a large company. On the morning of 22nd March the Hotel Manager explained to us that the Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations wanted us to provide another list of all the outstanding stolen items that required replacement this time with replacement values, so that Hurtigruten could look into how to pay us for these items. We spent the whole day compiling this list again. The internet on the ship is extremely slow and breaks up, which made it incredibly difficult to try and get replacement costs for some items. Having to spend a whole day doing this is clearly not going to be an enjoyable task to have to do while supposedly on holiday. On most days we had to spend time chasing the Hotel Manager for copies of paperwork, the police crime reference number, the Hurtigruten report, any progress or an update from the police (e.g. had they yet reviewed the CCTV cameras that we were told are present in the Bergen Hurtigruten terminal?) Some of the paperwork Hurtigruten still have not provided. At 22:00hrs on Saturday 22nd March we were appalled to then be given by the Hotel Manager an email from Senior The Vice President. In the email he wrote that “our policy for lost luggage is £500 per person as outlined in our terms and conditions” He “apologises for the inconvenience”. Again, this email shows no recognition or acknowledgement of the continued upset and distress that we have been caused. I think to describe the event as an “inconvenience” is rather flippant. Again, our luggage is not “lost”, but has been stolen whilst in Hurtigruten’s care through Hurtigruten’s negligence. Despite having requested a list of outstanding items and replacement costs, the Senior Vice President was clearly putting us through more stress and upset and obviously had no intention of even looking at this list. In his email he writes “ we are prepared to offer a further 10 000NOK in addition to the 20 000NOK you have already received from the ship to cover your losses. This is only on production of receipts”. It is incorrect and misleading to say we had already received 20 000 NOK to cover our losses. This money was given as emergency funds by the Hotel Manager for us to buy basic items, such as underwear. From this money we also had to buy 2 new suitcases, which cost more than 3000NOK by themselves. Obviously while 20000NOK is a large sum of money, it does not buy very much in Norway, given the very high prices, particularly for winter clothing and we were only able to replace a small number of our possessions. We are now left in a position, that even after replacing some items with the emergency money we are still more than a further 30 000NOK out of pocket. This does not take any account of the loss of holiday, time, extreme distress, anger and upset which also needs to be recognised and compensated. We feel that the easy theft of our suitcases has only been possible because Hurtigruten do not have adequate security measures in place to prevent anyone simply walking on and off the ship with passengers possessions or luggage and as such Hurtigruten are negligent and have failed in their duty to provide sufficient safekeeping of passenger luggage, having received the suitcases into Hurtigruten’s care. I feel the current outcome is extremely unjust and I ask you to put yourself in our positions……me with a brain tumour and deteriorating health and we have been looking forward to our honeymoon taking a beautiful voyage through our favourite country for potentially the last time together, then within hours of boarding the Hurtigruten ship, we are devastated to find that our luggage has been stolen due to negligent procedures on Hurtigruten’s behalf. We then have to endure 12 days of upset, stress, flippant remarks by a senior vice president, daily battles with the hotel manager to try and get information and answers. We have had to waste time providing documentation for Hurtigruten, yet they have been obstructive to providing us with the necessary paperwork. Despite days of chasing the Hotel Manager, he only provided us with the crime reference number 15 minutes before he got off the ship on Monday 24th March 2014, 3 full days before the end of the voyage. As a result of the theft we are thousands of pounds out of pocket and our honeymoon and holiday have been ruined. If this had happened to you would you feel that Hurtigruten have handled the situation well and would you be satisfied with their response, because we certainly are not? Since coming home we have emailed the CEO of Hurtigruten, but to date have not even had an acknowledgement of receipt of our email. Unfortunately bad things do happen occasionally, but the sign of a good company is how they react in these events to put matters right. Hurtigruten comes out extremely badly. Hurtigruten represents Norwegian heritage, people and country. We were told by the tour leader that Norwegians are compassionate. We have seen no evidence of this. Hurtigruten relies on foreign tourists and if this is how it treats it’s international guests that have paid so much money, it will soon have no guests when this story goes global. It is unbelievable that in 2014 Hurtigruten have no security measures in place to ensure the safekeeping of its global guests and their possessions. You would think after Norway’s Anders Breivik tragedy that Hurtigruten would have re-evaluated it’s security and risk assessments. At present any visitor is allowed on board completely unchecked. No checks of identity, passport, x ray of person or bags. It would be incredibly easy for a bomb to be left on board. The Senior Vice President that came on board to briefly meet us in Tromso, said that we should be reassured that they had immediately changed their protocol and that now any visitor leaving the ship with passengers’ suitcases would be challenged!!!! They have completely missed the point. We spent the entire voyage trying to resolve this travesty. What do you think we should do next? Perhaps you might think this security risk should be notified to the wider travel world, so prospective passengers can make an informed choice? Review of voyage and ship Nordkapp If you have stuck with reading this I will now objectively review the voyage and compare it to our previous one. 5 years ago we booked the same 12 day round voyage on Finnmarken. A couple of weeks before departure I phoned customer services to book some excursions. I was shocked to be told that I could not book the excursions, because the voyage had been cancelled, but they could not tell me anything else, as I had booked through a travel agent. Immediately I phoned the travel agent who phoned Hurtigruten who said everything was fine. I made the travel agent phone again and this time Hurtigruten said it was cancelled, as the ship was going into dry dock as an emergency. To cut a long story short, after a lot of inconvenience and bother we rearranged our lives and rescheduled the voyage on another ship in the fleet, the Midnatsol. When we arrived at Bergen airport at 10pm from Gatwick we waited and waited for our prepaid / prebooked transfer that never arrived. We got a taxi to our prebooked overnight hotel. When we went to get our transfer from the hotel to the quay in the afternoon, yes you guessed it, it never turned up. However the hotel reception told us to stay put as the ship was stuck in very rough seas and would not be arriving in Bergen until very late at night or the next morning. We had another night in the hotel and embarked very early the next morning and because of the late schedule all passengers just walked their own luggage on board. I so wish we had done this on the latest voyage. 5 years ago we had booked a mini suite at the front of the ship on promenade deck 6, which Hurtigruten promised us and our travel agent would not have passengers standing in front of. Yes you guessed it again – any cabin on the promenade decks have passengers walking by or at the front have passengers standing in front of your windows or looking in your windows. We therefore moved to a fantastic MG category cabin deck 8 with floor to ceiling windows. This cabin was wonderful, but at the price it should be. The Captain told us that Finnmarken was going in for a planned session in dry dock to have a helicopter pad fitted and they had known about it for months. No one can deny that the scenery on this voyage is amazing and unfortunately at the moment there is no other way of doing this voyage apart from Hurtigruten. However, Hurtigruten have massively increased their prices and so booking a suite this time was out of the question. This time, even on a 2for1 offer, our tiny, basic outside cabin was £118 per person per night including flights. Remember that whilst reading my factual review and see if you think that is value for money for you, especially compared to what else is available on the market. Outside Cabin 641 Nordkapp -sheets never changed for entire 12 day voyage. Housekeeping do not do anything, except empty bin and change small, thin, hard towels. They knock and immediately enter cabin, never waiting for you to answer. The same staff clean the cabin toilets and then serve the dinner in the evening - awful shower gel and hand wash which is very drying, but also not refilled unless you requested it (was lovely Lux 5 years ago) - very small cabin with only 2 plug sockets - extremely small shower room - well lit and big picture window, which is the same size on all decks - only 3 hangers in limited wardrobe space due to small cabin size - cannot get into cabin until 6pm in Bergen, but have to vacate cabin at 10am for Bergen departure at 2.30pm and have to leave suitcases outside cabin night before between 9pm-4am (for anyone to steal some contents or entire suitcase while it docks at other ports during night and allows visitors on board). They tell you that you have to vacate cabins by 10am, despite the ship not arriving in Bergen until 2.30pm, because of the short turn around time and then do not allow embarking passengers on until 6pm – compare this to all other proper cruise ships and this is a joke isn’t it? - luggage including hand luggage can be left in unlocked luggage room, which anyone can get in to, however they have now kindly put a sign up to say it is at your own risk and at your convenience. Perhaps they should say left at your own risk and for the convenience of others!!! Food The food 5 years ago on Midnatsol was fantastic and a highlight of the voyage. From the very first meal on Nordkapp, when we did not know we had had our luggage stolen we commented how poor the food was. The “hot” food is barely lukewarm and would not pass food temperature standards. Food was continually recycled. I do not waste food at home, but I would not serve last night’s haddock cold for lunch, let alone when passengers have paid this amount of money. Every meal was then seen again undisguised at the next meal or even the one after that, Dinner had 2 sittings 6.30 or 8.15pm, but we were given our time, not asked. We had 8.15pm, drinks orders were taken first, then you are served 3 small courses without choice and it was all over by 9.05 or 9.15pm at the latest if you were the last to be served. If you have a food intolerance or dislike etc you can tell them, but expect it to be ignored. My neurologist has banned me from having caffeine, so no chocolate puds or sauces. A blue, plastic sign was put at my place setting to make it clear to staff of special need and to pay attention. Numerous times this was ignored, so on the last night, fed up with complaining, I stuck my big blue, plastic sign in my chocolate pud and left it on the table whilst my husband ate his desert – this was wasted on the stupid waitress who just cleared the table to hasten us out of the restaurant, which was their only priority. Couples and groups are incompletely served, so half of the table will have their meal, whilst the others wait some time. After dinner tea and coffee you have to make yourself on deck 7 mid (restaurant deck 4 aft), but you are only allowed a set time to have it, i.e. 8.15pm dinner allowed 9-10.15pm only. No decaf tea available and the decaf coffee was horrible. Much of the food we could not eat due to it’s extremely high salt content and it is also very fatty. The buffets at breakfast and lunch were never replenished, even if you asked. Again a definite strategy was noted to cut costs. The buffets were very messy and serving spoons had to be fished out by passengers’ hands, a real hygiene issue. If you wanted a lunch pudding or cheese you had to get it at the beginning of your meal or there were none left. Breakfast and lunch tea and coffee available in the restaurant was made with lukewarm, frothy water, nicknamed by other guests as tea-o-cino. At the Captain’s gala dinner the Captain’s table was completely empty and the reverse thrusters were going for the entire meal whilst hovering outside a port – very unpleasant. However, the Brits’ biggest complaint was that now, unlike 5 years ago, they refuse to serve tap water and you have to pay 25NOK about £2.70 for a 500ml bottle of water and with the amount of salt in the food you need a few bottles. They have also stopped you taking in their own mug from the coffee package deal, in case you are smuggling in water. Lounges The ship was not full, but there was insufficient seating. Dreadful singer/pianist in deck 7 lounge where after dinner coffee available – probably to stop you hanging around and drinking the coffee. In the words of Simon Cowell he certainly made it his own and managed to ruin every smash hit song he sung. Excursions None of them were value for money or great. However you have no alternative way of doing them, as the time in ports is so limited. As we were so depressed and as we felt this was our last time together in Norway we did these trips: Bodo – sightseeing & Saltstraumen – nice scenic drive, but waste of time seeing tidal current by bus, so would give this a miss. On board price 390 NOK= about £43, 2.25 hours Tromso – Huskies. We have mushed huskies many times in Finland before. In Tromso you are not allowed to mush yourself, it is very sedate and slow. Some dogs were very slow, so the groups kept bunching up and then we all ended up stopping many times. The scenery was lovely and there was a long, scenic bus drive to get there but unguided. 300 dogs with lots of dog mess and smelly protective suits. £139 UK prebook or 1350NOK on ship Honningvag – Skarsvag fishing village and Christmas house. Too many passengers and very expensive for what it is – unguided minibus to village then one lady walking you round her tiny fishing village and back to her small house for waffles and glog. 440NOK (£48.50) 3 hours Kirkenes – Huskies – again not allowed to mush yourself. Faster pace than Tromso, but the sleigh we were on for the 2 of us was the same sleigh used for one in Finland, so very uncomfortable. Much shorter track with a huge stop in the middle waiting for the rest of the group, as it is the same route out, as back, so although in total time it was similar to Tromso, the distance travelled was far less. However with this one you can visit the Snow Hotel and see the 4 reindeer in the distance. For those of you who have done this trip before it is now at a completely different location. £129 2.5 hours or 1250 NOK Hammerfest – trip cancelled Tromso midnight concert – very nice, but only 50 minutes, so expensive at £49 booked in England or 480NOK on board Sea Eagle safari – I personally had difficulty with this, as it is contrived – guaranteed sightings because they feed the eagles every day, so it is learnt behaviour and not natural. This to me will ruin the food chain. £88 2 hours or NOK 850 Ambassador Loyalty Club Total rip off. The promised 5% discount on further voyages is not allowed if voyage is on 2for1 offers, nor 5% discount off excursions for the same reason (work that one out). We did however get a small bowl of fruit in the cabin on arrival. Sea Conditions Both 5 years ago and on this last voyage we had extremely rough seas out of Bergen overnight. We have done 20+ cruises and never taken seasickness tablets or suffered, but on Hurtigruten ships in rough water you have the feeling of being in a washing machine whilst laying down – very unpleasant. There were quite a few proper sailors amongst the UK passengers on this voyage and they had to lie down and take tablets. Day 2 was also very bad – breakfast time was horrendous, as was late dinner. The crew told us that the previous voyage was the roughest they had ever known in 5 years and they could not dock at many ports. Summary This is sold as a cruise, but it is not a cruise. It is a ferry pretending to be a cruise and mis-selling to the global cruise market. If you know of another cruise where there is no security of the passengers and their possessions, lukewarm food, buffets not replenished and dishes left completely empty, tap water not provided, sheets not changed for 12 days then I stand corrected. Remember you can have all this for £118 per person per night when it is on a half price special. The Senior Vice President of Hotel operations must be so proud!   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2014
We had just returned from a cruise on P & O's Oriana in search of the Northern Lights. This trip had been less than successful not least because when we did see the lights for a brief 15 minutes in Alta, I could not capture the ... Read More
We had just returned from a cruise on P & O's Oriana in search of the Northern Lights. This trip had been less than successful not least because when we did see the lights for a brief 15 minutes in Alta, I could not capture the event on my bridge camera. We spotted a very good deal for a six night trip from Tromso to Kirkeness and back with Hurtigruten with free flights from Manchester to Tromso and two nights in the Radisson Blue in Tromso one at the start of the trip and one at the end. We were determined to see the Northern Lights on this trip having been disappointed on the 11 night Oriana trip. Having arrived in Tromso in mid afternoon we looked in a brochure in the hotel lobby to find possible trips in search of the Northern Lights. A company offering exactly what we were looking for was located in an office immediately behind the hotel so we called in and booked the trip at 900 krona each about £95 so not cheap. This was to be a five to six hour coach trip starting at 7.30 in the evening. Before we set off the weather did not look encouraging. We started with a short talk in the office where nearly a full coach load of expectant customers listened to the guide. He explained what the evening was all about and told us we would drive around may be even up to the border looking for the Lights.He also mentioned the weather was not good and we might struggle to find or see the lights and any one wanting to cancel could have a full refund. It was overcast and threatening rain. When we got on the bus the guide again reiterated that we would be lucky to see anything given the weather and anybody who wanted to cancel could have a full refund. Such a contrast to the P & O trip which under much the same circumstances there was never any suggestion before or at the start of the trip that we could cancel and get a full refund.Very disappointing. We got very lucky it has to be said as the clouds parted about twenty minutes in the the trip and the bus parked up and we all got off the bus and set up our cameras and started taking pictures. I had bought a new camera especially for this trip and was pleased that it worked well and I got some good shots. The bus then moved on to a second location where we got some nice night pictures across a lake but did not see clear sky. We then drive on for a good hour before the bus stopped at another location where again we had a good view across water to mountains and the lights of a small villages. This time after half an hour the clouds parted again and we got a glimpse of the Northern Lights amongst the stars. We had cocoa and biscuits and then set off back to Tromso, a two hour drive. The trip did exactly what it said on the tin and everyone arrive back at the hotel very satisfied. We boarded the Richard Witt a Hurtigruten Ferry in the afternoon. This is not a cruise ship but definitely the best ferry we had ever been on. Forget cross channel ferry this Hurtigruten ship is in a whole different category. The ship had started off in Bergen and Tromso was just one stop on a trip up to Kirkenes. Our cabin was small but comfortable for the three of us, two bottom beds and one pull down pullman. The bathroom was a good size. We had a half board basis which meant breakfast and an evening meal. Breakfast was a help yourself buffet. No sign of Noro Virus on this ship. The selection of food was quite good with eggs, not much bacon, the ubiquitous Norwegian meat balls and frankfurter style sausages plus lots of really nice bread, butter and margarine, cold meats and cheese. The ship called in at several small ports on the way up to Kirkenes but also had to miss some out because of rough weather. We stopped at Hammerfest on the way north, in the middle of the night, which was covered in snow and looked quite magical but too much light to see the sky which was overcast in any case. We had to miss out Havoysund before arriving at Honningsvag. We had been to Honningsvag a couple of years ago on a midnight sun trip on Grand Princess. Quite a contrast in the winter with thick snow everywhere. I bought a pair of ice spikes for my boots which made progress a lot easier for walking about. This was a three and a half hour stop which was rare because most port stops were only 15 minutes or 30 minutes so not really enough time to get off the ship and explore. The evening meals were of a good standard but there was no choice so you had to eat it or leave it. Fortunately we found all meals were tasty and enjoyable although there was an accent on fish dishes which we do not eat that often. One night we had a fish based buffet with king crab and lobster tales as the star. We missed out on the lobster tales as we were late getting to our table and they had all gone. There were plenty of crabs legs but it was hard work getting the meat out. There was also an halibut stew which was really really good. We got in to Kirkenes first thing in the morning and had three hours to explore. Quite a remote place and not particularly picturesque. We walked the mile in to town and then out again. A little disappointing compared to Honningsvag and Hammerfest. One evening during diner the announcement came over the speakers that the Northern Lights were giving a show in the sky. So 90% of the diners left their tables and rushed outside to look and take photos. We managed to get some good pictures even though the ship was moving along at about 15 knots. Even taking 4 to 8 second exposures produced a result and enhanced the green colour of the lights although stars ended up as squiggles but this did not spoil the pictures of the Northern Lights even showing a little of the curtain effect you sometimes get with the lights. Boarding and leaving the ship was very straight forward. No security, no x-ray machines a very laid back attitude. This is Norway, so they seem to have a laid back attitude towards security. Nice for the passengers but is it too relaxed? Cruise card as usual for onboard spend and when leaving or returning to the ship. Prices on board were sky high. A glass of red or white wine cost 82 kronas. A beer was about 72 kronas. The cheapest bottle of wine was about 40 kronas. They had a wine deal for the three nights at 1700 kronas. That's over £180 for three bottles of wine! We had a glass of wine a couple of times but it certainly cuts down your alcoholic intake for a cruise. Having a bottle of wine with a meal is usually a given for us on a cruise. To be fare, alcohol is very expensive on shore in Norway as well. We arrived back in Tromso at midnight and were off the ship really quickly with the luggage transferred to the hotel for us. Very efficient. We were in our room by midnight 30. All in all a very good experience. Would we do it again. Yes, but with a major cruise line like P & O or Princess or even Cruise & Maritime. Hurtigruten is a very good company and the Richard Witt is an excellent ship but she is not a cruise ship and prices on board are way too high even by cruise ship standards.   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
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2014
It's clear from the Hurtigruten website, as well as reviews, that this is a coastal ferry not a cruise liner. in my view this is a very well appointed ferry with comfortable seating in all lounges. Cabins are snug, but we had plenty ... Read More
It's clear from the Hurtigruten website, as well as reviews, that this is a coastal ferry not a cruise liner. in my view this is a very well appointed ferry with comfortable seating in all lounges. Cabins are snug, but we had plenty of room on our N category cabin on deck 3. Reception staff and tour manager are helpful. At no point were we unable to find a seat in the lounges. The food is variable: eggs at breakfast are often cold, and the evening meal could never be described as hot: more likely tepid ad portions are small. Having said that, the quality of the food is acceptable and at breakfast and lunch there is plenty of choice and free seating. Evening meals are fixed menu. I'm not keen on fish so ordered the vegetarian option in advance. Apart from one meal, the veggie options were fine. The one exception was when I had mashed potato with a side of boiled potatoes! Do take lots to do though, as there is a lot of time spent on the ship. We took cards, board games and lots of reading. The scenery is lovely but there are the odd rainy or windy days where it's not pleasant out on deck. There are little ceremonies when the Arctic Circle is crossed in either direction - a bit of fun. Shore excursions we really enjoyed were the taste of Vesteralen: stunning scenery, snow hotel in Kirkenes where you can also see the huskies and reindeer, and the North Cape - travelling in convoy with a snow plough at the front. . The only let-down was Hammerfest which isn't really much of a tour and I'd suggest you do your own thing. Polaria in Tromso is very small: don't expect a large exhibition. It's easy walking distance from the ship so you can do it independently. We'd done Arctic Cathedral on a previous visit to Tromso, but those who attended the midnight concert enjoyed it. In Svolvaer make time to visit Magic ice Sculptures and the SS WW2 museum - both only 5 mins walk from the ship. Alcohol is prohibitively expensive: the cheapest wine I saw on the menu was the equivalent of £38 per bottle. If I had one grip, it would be that you can't even get tap water at the evening meal. Unless you buy wine, your glasses are cleared off the table. Buying wine includes a free water bottle though. However the tap water in the cabin is drinkable and we took our own kettle, tea and coffee and powdered milk, which is a lot cheaper than the coffee deal for £36 over 11 days.   Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
We chose one of their more modern boats as my husband can suffer with seasickness so wanted one with the best stabilisers. We booked virtually the day the trip was released as we specifically wanted a cabin with a balcony and there are ... Read More
We chose one of their more modern boats as my husband can suffer with seasickness so wanted one with the best stabilisers. We booked virtually the day the trip was released as we specifically wanted a cabin with a balcony and there are only 5 on that boat. We booked MG 775 and friends booked M2 782 next door. We stayed a few nights in Bergen first so caught a cab down to the Hurtigruten terminal where we walked straight up to the check in desk no queues and checked in and were given our room keys and dinner seating and table. We had requested a table for the 4 of us by a window and that is just what we got and on the starboard side of the boat which is on the mainland side as you go north, not that you could see anything but lights at night. The safety presentation was supposed to start at 15.50 but in the end the video did not start till 16.10 but that was the only timekeeping issue we had with the. As soon as that was finished we could board. Cabins were not supposed to be ready till 6pm but at about 4.45 we went to see if we could find ours and it was ready and our bags were outside the door which was a bonus. The cabin was a big seating area with a sofa and two chairs as well as a low table. in the entrance way was a big wardrobe section, the safe though stood on end rather than on it's side - watch out for it as the lid swung down on my fingers causing a big painful cut that needed medical attention on board (very swift and well managed). There was a separate desk with a bottle of sparking wine and two champagne glasses and a bowl of fruit, in the wardrobe were dressing gowns and slippers. Our friends in 782 had similar perks but I understand that is not in all cabin grades. The bedroom was a separate 'room' divided by a curtain and had a porthole but you could lie in bed and see straight out of the glass wall that was one whole side of the cabin looking out over the balcony. We did not draw our room curtains or the main ones on that side in either cabin even at night as it was beautiful to watch the stars at night or see the floodlight ports. The downside was that you could not watch TV from the bed not a huge deal but my husband does like to do that. There were a couple of channels that showed a webcam from the front of the boat and others that showed it's position on route. The bathroom in 775 had a small bath with a shower over it and a hotel style hairdryer. According to their website the suites have internet access - I presumed that meant wifi but no you had to go and get a cable from reception... In this modern day with phones and netbooks not great at all. We did have a small netbook for downloading photos onto but it was as slow as dial up so gave up on that plan. Wifi was supposed to be on deck 5 towards the front of the ship but we found by the first set of stairs on deck 7 we could get good signal, so you would often find us sitting on the bottom steps there if we wanted access! The balcony was huge with two chairs and a small table, a few nights we sat out watching the snowy dark scenery float past with a glass of wine or two. LHR sell wine boxes just the size of your duty free allowance and Hurtigruten did not seem to mind that you brought it on board and stored it in our fridge/mini bar in our room. Sadly our cabin on day 2 developed rising damp in the carpets... and electrical issues so we had to move, we were offered a 'larger' cabin on the 8th deck but wanted the balcony so they moved us to 780 (and hoped to fix the issues before Tromso when someone had booked 780 so they were going into 775... 780 is quite a bit smaller in the lounge area and only had a shower not a shower over the bath as 775 did. However for going northbound at that time of year 780 is better as the main coast line is that side and the sunrises are also that side. The balcony was amazing as I could run out in my PJs if I wanted to take a quick couple of photos and run back in it was well worth it as you are so sheltered back there. Our friend's cabin 782 although not as large and just with a shower was great as well with the balcony for taking photos from, they could see both sides but not as clearly as you could from ours, sometimes the perfect side on view was what I wanted. We did not go for the wine package but did take the tea/coffee deal. The coffee was strong so I either watered it down a bit or drank tea (great selection inc some fruit teas). The mugs kept drinks really hot but were not huge. We attended the welcome on board talk which was good, no selling of trips that was another session which we did not go to as we had already booked what we wanted to do. The manager did say that you could not drink your own alcohol outside of your cabins and that the coffee mugs changed colour if you put anything else in them, which got a big laugh. Just for experimental purposes you understand I tried and can report it was as big a joke as we all thought. We explored the ship which had a small café, shop, bars and lounges, laundry (tokens from reception - 4 machines and 4 tumble dryers you got a detergent gel pouch in the cost) a small gym, men's and women's saunas and two outdoor Jacuzzis. We used one of them most nights despite the cold they were boiling hot and a lovely place to sit and watch the stars. One had a windbreak round it that we favoured the most, the dressing gowns and slippers were perfect for that. The food in the restaurant was good, breakfast and lunch free seating and a bit of a scrum at times. Dinner was two seatings and buffet on the 1st and last nights. If you pressed P1 on your phone you could hear all the announcements in your cabin day and night including in the middle of the night if the NL were spotted. The weather for our whole trip was perfect hardly a cloud in the sky day or night and they were spotted every night but the first one. So cue a mad rush up to deck 9, what I did not realise is that unless they are strong displays they look a bit like funny cream clouds that at time had a green tinge to them. Through your camera with a long enough exposure you got green! Although with the boat moving and the long exposure not great pictures. Some nights we could see them from our balcony's so no mad dash upstairs as we would watch from there. Every day the team on board would post a brief for the next day with times and things to watch out for and would announce when you could see them and on what side. We were only late into a couple of ports and only by a few minutes but we always left on time so if you do get off make sure you are back in time! In some ports it felt like Norway was closed for the winter so as much as we enjoyed it I would not do it again at that time of year. They had a brilliant pianist and singer in one bar and we sat and listened to him a couple of times. When we past by the entrance to Trollfjord and through a really really narrow gap the ship stopped and floodlight the land on either side which was beautiful. We took a couple of excursions the North Cape one - I will review that separately but it was amazing the weather was stunning and the views breath-taking! We also took the Viking feast one again I will review separately good but not amazing, our guide though on that was outstanding we learnt so much from him on the coach journeys. With hindsight we would have done the trip in Bodo to the aircraft museum as there was not much to see or do there. Overall a fun trip, if I was being honest I am not sure I would do it again in the winter to see the NL just go to Tromso and be there as many days as you can. We wanted to see the fjords so would want to go back in the summer and rent a car and explore that way. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
My wife and I have just returned from a wonderful holiday chasing the Northern Lights with Hurtigruten it was superb.The weather was super 10 days of sunshine which helped to highlight the magnificent scenery we encountered throughout the ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from a wonderful holiday chasing the Northern Lights with Hurtigruten it was superb.The weather was super 10 days of sunshine which helped to highlight the magnificent scenery we encountered throughout the cruise.The crowning glory was our sightings of the Aroura Borealis on no less than 5 consecutive nights varying from fleeting glimpses to 2 nights of full blown spectacle a never to be forgotten experience. The ship was beautifully maintained and all the lounges had excellent seating.The cabins were on the small side but comfortable, the food was good with plenty of choices at breakfast and lunch,and evening meals were varied.We read the details of the cruise before we booked and were fully aware that the boat was working boat with frequent ports of call sometimes during the night was meant some noise at times.The staff were really good very pleasant and helpful.I realise that everything was in our favour, but it was a great holiday and would wholeheartedly recommend it.Our only complaint is regarding one of the off boat trips which my wife took which was the sled ride from SoTromso.She found the sled extremely uncomfortable it did not seemto be on runners unfortuneatly following the ride she suffered with her back for a couple of days.When we went on the trip to see the ice Hotel in kirkenes she thought the sleds there were much more substantial. So if people were contemplating a sled ride Kirkenese would be recommended. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
We travelled on Richard With and had a wonderful time Hunting the Light. We had five nights of sightings and have some super photographs that we are well satisfied with. The passage to Kirkenes and back is not a cruise - it is a journey ... Read More
We travelled on Richard With and had a wonderful time Hunting the Light. We had five nights of sightings and have some super photographs that we are well satisfied with. The passage to Kirkenes and back is not a cruise - it is a journey on a well appointed ferry and must not be confused by those booking the trip. There is no cruise style entertainment at all - coffee is served in a bar up on Deck 7 where a pianist plays - that is all that happens, the rest is up to you and your fellow passengers. it is a wonderful visual experience but you must know what your are booking if you wish to avoid disappointment. Stops at ports are short and sweet - some as short as 20 minutes, some extend to 6 hours at the most. The food is wonderful if you like open Scandinavian type buffets - we do so it is great - but if you do not eat fish or are a vegetarian, your choice is limited. Dinner is served with no choice expect if you pre-warn and book a veggie type meal. Here comes the warning! Now the line are not serving tap water in flasks as they have done for years but are now asking you to buy mineral water to drink in the Dining Room. You get free mineral water if you have bought a wine package at Norwegian prices but not if you do not. Buying a minimal amount of water can add up to £60 to your on board account. This is not shown in the brochure nor is it told to you on booking. 'Be Warned' and expect to pay to have a glass of water with your meals. The staff are very pleasant and helpful. Their main role has been for many years running a state supported ferry service for the Norwegian traveller - they are not cruise passenger orientated, they are efficient and dedicated to make everything run to time. It is a superb experience both in winter and summer - but I urge anyone booking to know what it is they are booking and not complain if it turns out to be different to what they expext. Do your research and ask all the questions. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
It's not comfortable.people need to be under no illusion. The ship is a Ferry! But I think the descriptions in brochure are very fair. We had the best outside cabin and the bunks are very narrow. The cabin is not somewhere we wanted ... Read More
It's not comfortable.people need to be under no illusion. The ship is a Ferry! But I think the descriptions in brochure are very fair. We had the best outside cabin and the bunks are very narrow. The cabin is not somewhere we wanted to spend any time. We went with hopes of seeing the Northern Lights and were lucky. There were glimpses from the ship. We were in Tromso overnight but did not pay £90 each for a trip to view them. We caught a local bus to a country park and saw the lights from there. £9 all in! The buffets on board are excellent but the waited on dinners are a waste of time. There's a lot of fussing and ceremony for tiny portions and usually cold ones. I would say book Breakfast and Lunch. Take snacks for evenings! You can take a Travel kettle and teabags etc.Also take mugs. The 'deal' of buying a mug and being supplied with endless tea or coffee is very expensive for a toilet roll inner sized mug!! The interesting part of the voyage is that the ship is really a working ferry and foot passengers and local people use it a lot. It does go into small inlets and ports that bigger ships can't reach. I think a Summer cruise would be more value for money because the wildlife and scenery would be visible!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
We had a fantastic trip and loved every moment. Sure it's not an ocean cruise ship, more like a ferry in terms of accommodation, but we knew this before we left and it was all part of the adventure. We knew the cruise was called ... Read More
We had a fantastic trip and loved every moment. Sure it's not an ocean cruise ship, more like a ferry in terms of accommodation, but we knew this before we left and it was all part of the adventure. We knew the cruise was called "Hunting the Light" but had read the reviews before we left and knew that not all trips would see the Northern Lights. However we observed them 5 times on the trip, the first day being Christmas Day - it was amazing and the best Christmas Present ever. We observed sea eagles on the trip and also minke whales from the front of the ship whilst sailing up one of the many fjords. We took an excursion to the North Cape which was well worth the experience despite it being dark when we got there, (due to the disappearance of the sun for the Arctic Night) to stand there at the top of the Cape felt like a real achievement. However our postcards, which we posted from there, to receive the North Cape stamp, did not arrive until almost two weeks later and the stamp was hardly visible, bit disappointed. This is a working ferry service which serves the north of Norway therefore passengers should be aware that we made 65 scheduled stops, some for approximately 15 minutes through the day and night, but the captain seemed to do this with the utmost ease and minimal noise. On longer stops you can get off the ship and explore the towns. For some passengers this was disappointing as they were closed for shopping having locked up for the Christmas Holidays, not a problem for us as we strolled the streets and viewed the different Christmas decorations. Our best buy before we left home was a pair of ice spikes for our boots which were invaluable when walking in some of the towns as the paths and roads were very icy. At Kirkenes, the most southerly point of the trip, we took the dog sledding experience, very exhilarating if not a little whiffy and extremely bumpy, wouldn't have missed it as it was all part of the experience. Friends went on the snowmobiles and were absolutely thrilled that they took another excursion, night snowmobiling a couple of days later which they said was well worth the money. There were plenty of excursions on offer for the cruise, they were expensive, but again we had done our research before leaving home and knew that the cost of most things in Norway would be far more expensive than in the UK. Travelling back south we also took the midnight concert excursion to the Arctic Cathedral in Tromso. It was snowing which really added some ambience to a wonderful Arctic experience. The tour guide on the Richard With was Anna Olivia Wallinder, what a lovely person. Full of enthusiasm, knowledge and a speaker of many languages. She even coerced passengers into singing in a Christmas Choir, performing to the passengers and crew on Christmas Eve and to a sister ship in dock with us on New Years Eve, another memorable experience. In fact, all of the crew on the Richard With worked very hard, were very helpful and made us feel welcomed. Cabins were small, we had only 1 wardrobe and not really enough storage space for all our thermal indoor and outerwear, but comfortable and adequate for the journey. However next time I will take some lighter summer wear as well as winter wear as the Richard With indoors was very warm and with the winter clothing on, far too warm to be comfortable (I had to buy a tshirt from the North Cape to wear for a couple of days). Food in general was good, a bit samey sometimes but I find this on a lot of cruise ships when catering for large numbers, self serve buffet for breakfast and lunch with hot and cold selections and a set meal for dinner, which consisted of three courses of mainly Norwegian dishes. Some meals were not to my taste and the staff were helpful in offering me an alternative. There is no dress code for dinner and most passengers arrived very casual but tidy which created a very relaxed atmosphere, with the exception of New Year's eve where most passengers wore their only "dinner outfit". We did find the that our internal time clock did get disorientated due to the Arctic night, only about 3 hours twilight at lunch time. But then again we had researched this so weren't totally shocked by the lack of light, but we were extremely grateful and humbled when we saw it again. Embarkation and disembarkation were reasonably smooth, although there was a short delay before boarding. The terminal missed out by not opening the café as most passengers had arrived a couple of hours earlier and a drink would have been much appreciated. I think there was a machine but instructions were too complicated for us to work out and many of us did not have small amounts (coins) in Norwegian Krona to use. All in all a fantastic Christmas & New Year Adventure which we would highly recommend for anyone who wants an alternative to an Ocean Cruise, getting dressed up for dinner and having entertainment on board. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2013
I was part of the Astronomy Voyage on this 12 day on the Hurtigruten Cruise so will break into 2 parts. Cruise- The embarkation process from the Hurtigruten building was painful. We were advised to be there from 2-4pm and staff would be ... Read More
I was part of the Astronomy Voyage on this 12 day on the Hurtigruten Cruise so will break into 2 parts. Cruise- The embarkation process from the Hurtigruten building was painful. We were advised to be there from 2-4pm and staff would be available to assist. I arrived at 3pm and there was no one there till 5pm and we didn't get through the check in process till 6pm. There were minimal seats and no refreshments available so there was lots of standing around waiting. Safety briefing was comprehensive. Cabin was very clean and comfortable. Mattress was not, but a new topper was put on the bed once I asked reception.The beds were very narrow for someone use to sleeping in a queen size bed. Standard or room cleaning very high. Towels in bathroom were small and very worn. Only wall soap provided which was a bit harsh. Hair dryer provided. No tissues provided which would have been nice and no tea/coffee making facilities in cabin which would have been nice. You can purchase a mug which entitles you to free tea/coffee from the lounges at any time, but it would have been nice to have one in cabin when you get up. I don't drink coffee, but was told it was satisfactory and the tea provided was Twinings brand, and a good variety of choices. Food was exceptional. Breakfast was a buffet style with lots of choices of both hot, cold, fruit, cereals and yoghurt. Hot chocolate was exceptional. My only complaint was there was no toaster to toast the beautiful choices of bread there were. Lunch was a buffet as well with both hot and cold choices. Dinner was a set menu and table service. There was only once choice but if you didn't eat something and let them know prior in the day, they will make you something different. Only having one choice bothered some, but was fine with me. Lots of fish on offer!! They had a traditional Christmas buffet one night which was beautiful with lots of seafood and traditional Norwegen foods. Staff were very helpful and always friendly. Everyone from the captain to the housekeeping staff said good morning when they passed. Excursions were a mixed bag. Lots were not available and they need to update their list. Some were very expensive for the length of time they were and seemed very rushed. All were costly. The 2 outstanding ones were the trip to the Northern cape (which has a great gift shop) and the dog sledding. We had lots of fresh snow that afternoon and falling as we did it which was beautiful. Entertainment- well there isn't much to speak of. There was a singer in the upstairs bar and TV's in the lounge area, but was nothing other than this. The ship has a large auditorium where they could have put on an evening movie for those wanting to do something other than drink or talk. Astronomy Voyage- Dr John Marsden was the astronomer on board. This man is passionate about his profession and was a dynamic and interesting speaker. Some things tended to go over my head at times, but for the most part it was informative and interesting. The trip was coordinated by Inger Carter who is a native of Norway and provided us with lots of useful information on Norway and the life of its people that we would otherwise not have got. She also took those in the group on a short walking tour of the area when stopped in port. Often things had to be shuffled around to fit in with other groups who were on board and she did this brilliantly by keeping all of us informed of any changes. A job very done by all and we were lucky enough to see the northern lights 4 nights in a row. In a nutshell, this was a trip of a life time. It was not cheap, but I think as an experience, it was worth it. It would have been nice to see some extra touches like shampoo and tissues in the bathroom as the suite's had and tea and coffee making facilities in cabins. They definitely need to improve the check in process.   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
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2013
My partner and I went on a Northern Lights Cruise with Hurtigruten along the coast of Norway. We had been planning this for some time and were really looking forward to it. Norway is a beautiful country but the 'cruise' was very ... Read More
My partner and I went on a Northern Lights Cruise with Hurtigruten along the coast of Norway. We had been planning this for some time and were really looking forward to it. Norway is a beautiful country but the 'cruise' was very disappointing. If you are planning to go with Hurtigruten to Norway make sure you know what you are booking. There were so few passengers on our trip that the majority of the excursions were cancelled. It is the trips that make the holiday special so it was nowhere near as special as we thought it would be. It was very frustrating to be in such a beautiful country but not able to get off the ship and spend any time exploring. The cruise was more of an expensive ferry hop between ports - many of which were arrived at during the night or for very short - half hour stop offs in ports a significant away from the towns. The crew on the ship were great and the food was good but I would never travel with this company again. We did write to Hurtigruten with feedback but they were not interested. Instead of recommending Hurtigruten we are telling all our family and friends to be very careful if they are thinking of travelling anywhere with this company. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2013
Our vacation began in Amsterdam, where we spent two days, then flew to Bergen aboard a KLM airliner. We had researched and prepared for our cruise for a long time, watching Norway through available webcams before we left, checking weather ... Read More
Our vacation began in Amsterdam, where we spent two days, then flew to Bergen aboard a KLM airliner. We had researched and prepared for our cruise for a long time, watching Norway through available webcams before we left, checking weather forecasts. Nothing could have prepared us for the 9C-13C weather we had for the duration of our trip, July 13 to July 24. In retrospect, our last minute decision to throw a warm winter coat in our luggage was a wise one. Thank God we did. After arriving in Bergen, we were picked up by the Hurtigruten bus (I bought a transfer) but the driver never bothered to check our vouchers. Check-in at the cruise terminal was very quick and efficient, as is the Northern custom. We received our documentation, cafeteria information, our bags were taken and delivered directly to our cabins. Orientation and safety program upstairs. We were hoping to go out and see the city, especially the Floyen mountain funicular, but we didn't end up having any time for that. Our first lunch aboard was excellent: abundant varieties of seafood, smoked fish, salads, etc. Dessert was memorable throughout. The first thing my husband did was buy Hurtigruten mugs for coffee and tea. We hadn't planned on it, but weather told us what to do, and it turned out to be another wise choice: we used them thoroughly every day of the cruise. The many Germans, few Australians, Norwegians traveling locally--all seemed to use them too. I had prebooked four excursions: Geiranger fjord, Scenery and Huskies, Bird Safari, and North Cape Southbound. We enjoyed them all, though there turned out to be no visibility in North Cape it was still very much worth it. The husky farm showed an informative film about the dogs, then let us pet them and take pictures. They are surprisingly friendly. The bird safari took us by boat to a cliff where we saw puffins, sea eagles, cormorants. Geiranger fjord was spectacular, even with the wind and rain. The real highlight, of course, is the fjords. Even in bad weather they are spectacular. Took over a thousand photos on camera and iPhone. The weather created some choppy moments, especially when the ship goes out into open sea. I had read about it but to experience it is another matter. On the return trip, southbound, we got lucky. The sun came out and deck 9 became a popular spot to bask in the Northern sun. The scenery turned more green-blue and yellow all around. We crossed the Arctic Circle twice, saw the sun at midnight, and on the way back to Bergen, with nicer, warmer weather at our backs, were able to go ashore more and see some smaller towns, when MS Midnatsol was making stops for an hour, half-an-hour at a time. The towns in these ports are wonderfully picturesque. The crew works very hard on the ship. A few days into the cruise we realized that the waitresses from the restaurant also clean the cabins during the day, and work 22 days in a row. They came from parts of Europe, nearby Sweden to distant Slovakia. Hilde and Bjorn were in charge of excursions and daily flyers (collect all 35 ports of call). They were very helpful, suggesting what to wear and what to expect on certain excursions. Hilde knew every landmark, making the trip much more informative than a mere pleasure cruise. At the end, we stayed on for three more days in Bergen. The weather warmed up (24C) without a drop of rain. I booked a one-day Norway In A Nutshell excursion. If you have the chance, go on this one. It takes you to the one-of-a-kind Sonjo fjord , via three trains, bus, and boat. You will not see anything this spectacular. We explored Bergen for two days, visiting Grieg's house in Troldhaugen, a beautiful place to learn more about Norway's Dvorak. Another wonderful experience was buying a one-way ticket up Mount Floyen, walking down on foot, with its unforgettable views and natural scenery, weather permitting. The art museums in Bergen are a great place to see first-rate works without the crowds in Amsterdam, for example. The only negative of the whole trip would have to be the NOK, the Norwegian crona. Everything in Norway is going to be very expensive if you're using dollars. We just wanted to salute Hurtigruten and MS Midnatsol for the unforgettable cruise and a give a big thank you to everybody who made it a special one for us. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2013
Nothing more far from the propragrand published by Hurtigruten company ".. Through our enlightening and eventful adventures the true diversity of our landscape, history and culture bacomes aparent..."In 6 days from Bergen to ... Read More
Nothing more far from the propragrand published by Hurtigruten company ".. Through our enlightening and eventful adventures the true diversity of our landscape, history and culture bacomes aparent..."In 6 days from Bergen to Kirkenes you will visit 37 diferent harbours, many of them during 15 to 30 minutes, near ten during the first hours of early morning. Each arrival will wake you up beacuse the noise ony the approximation, docked and departure of the ship. Named the "express of the coast" the cruiser leave and pick up any kind of merchandise, something thet company forgets to explain when you buy the tickets. All the cruiser is focus on the Hurtigruten convenience never focus on the costumer The meals, excurssions, cities visits and the scarce events planned during the trip are designed to maintain the express of the coast time schedule. So, it was one day necessary to take breakfast between 8-10 o'clock and get the lunch between 10,30 and 12!!!!. Interesting villages like Standsund or Svolvaer must be visited in 28 and 42 minutes, because we had docked 6 other harbours in the same day. The worst event in the trip was the cancellation of the whale watch principal excursion based on the dangerous broadcast announcing a windy day and tidal waves. They lied because internet broadcast didn't confirm their expectations and the day passeed by no wind nor brave waves. The truth was that they had no enough costumers interested in that excurssion and because that decided cancelled. I'll never accept a lie about one event that I have flieght more than 4.000 km. just to enjoy the sea wildlife. Hurtigruten .... never... never more. Read Less
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