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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise as it was all about seeing and experiencing Norway rather than the "cruising" experience of lots of onboard entertainment and restaurants etc.There was constant beautiful scenery as a ship of this size is ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was all about seeing and experiencing Norway rather than the "cruising" experience of lots of onboard entertainment and restaurants etc.There was constant beautiful scenery as a ship of this size is able to sail quite close to shore and enter smaller fjords. The passengers were a mix of Scandinavians,British,Germans and few North Americans which added to the interest. The buffet food at breakfast and lunch was excellent quality and very wide range.Dinner was smaller and table service with very friendly and helpful staff. For us we liked the sauna,jacuzzis and small fitness room which were always always empty and available. Although there were 500 passengers there was no feeling of being crowded and always a quiet place to sit and look out. Deck 6 is open all the way round so you can do lots of walking here. All went smoothly and would love to do again. This ship gives a feel of being very modern and spacious. Very popular with over 70s and disabled guests.We were somewhat younger but very enjoyable for us too. You can find your own level:sit and relax reading or go to fitness room and walk round the decks-whatever suits! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We got a Valentines offer on the website for the 2nd person to go for £199 and ended up with a room on floor 3 with 2 portholes and twin beds. The cabin was cosy and a bit noisy at night when the ship stopped, but with earplugs in we ... Read More
We got a Valentines offer on the website for the 2nd person to go for £199 and ended up with a room on floor 3 with 2 portholes and twin beds. The cabin was cosy and a bit noisy at night when the ship stopped, but with earplugs in we got used to this quickly and it kind of added to the experience. We were very lucky with weather and it was sunny and warm with calm seas almost the entire time. The food was excellent with the best buffet I’ve ever seen each breakfast and lunch, and at night a posh gourmet meal made by the chef. The dinner was made of local produce and had stories about where it was from and the suppliers, and one night there was fully vegetarian (which anyone could request a meat version). The boat had one long stop per day, and we decided not to do any paid excursions, but we’re really happy to find you could get off for up to 6 hours each day and hike up a mountain to see an incredible view and explore small towns. We hopped of at even the shortest stops and it was cool to see what they all had to offer. Tromsø and Trondheim were particular favourites. The views from the boat were spectacular and big points of interest along the way we’re announced on loudspeaker or there was an activity/talk with the expedition team out on the deck so you could take it in. We loved standing out the front and watching the boat wind through narrow bits especially at night when it didn’t seem like the sun went down fully. We even got taken to the mouth of the Trollfjord one evening, which was expertly manoeuvred so we could take in this famous landscape. There were lots of comfy places to sit indoors to watch it all go by too, although the swivel chairs right at the front were hotly contested. Sometimes the best view was in the jacuzzi at the back. Even when it was absolutely freezing and the coldest, the jacuzzi was shielded enough to take in the views while bubbling away. You could even sit above the tub and it was refreshing. Before the journey I was worried that not opting for the excursions would mean our experience wouldn’t be so great, and that our cabin would be tiny and confining. However I absolutely loved every minute and was sad to get off! Word to the wise - don’t bother rushing on at Bergen early. Your cabin is already decided and upgrading you can ask about on the ship for a price. You might as well check in around 6pm and enjoy Bergen a little longer. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Excellent cruise, but you’ll have to remember this is not at traditional cruise but a coastal line on the norwegian coast from Bergen to Kirkenes and back again with several port calls each day. So in addition to cruise guests doing the ... Read More
Excellent cruise, but you’ll have to remember this is not at traditional cruise but a coastal line on the norwegian coast from Bergen to Kirkenes and back again with several port calls each day. So in addition to cruise guests doing the whole or parts of the roundtrip, there will be guests sailing form one port to another and shipping goods in and out in the different ports. MS Spitsbergen is one of the smaller ships of Hurtigruten - a perfect size. Good cabins with very comfortable beds. Serviceminded crew, excellent expeditionteam, great food and If the weather allows the most beautiful view in the world. There’s daily lectures with topics from the coast, history, geology, geography, nature. In the ports they offer different excursions you can buy in addition to the cruise. The whole roundtrip takes 11 days, and it’s possible to travel half the distance northbound or southbound or even shorter distance. The ports are: Bergen, Florø, Måløy, Torvik, Ålesund, Molde, Kristiansund, Trondheim, Rørvik, Brønnøysund, Sandnessjøen, Nesna, Ørnes, Bodø, Stamsund, Svolvær, Stokmarknes, Sortland, Risøyhamn, Harstad, Tromsø, Skjervøy, Øksfjord, Hammerfest, Havøysund, Honningsvåg, Kjøllefjord, Mehamn, Berlevåg, Båtsfjord, Vardø, Vadsø (only northbound) and Kirkenes. In June, July and August they sail into Geirangerfjord, and in September and October into Hjørundfjord. Both on the northbound route. Summary: Lovely ship. Excellent crew and expedition team. Flavourful and local food. Wonderful cabins and beds. Green and environmental profile. Outstanding scenery. The voyage of my life. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I have just returned from the round trip on Finnmarken. Hurtigruten provides an excellent voyage and some stunning scenery. Much has been said about the trips so I will not add to the many reviews. BUT, Hurtigruten and probably other ... Read More
I have just returned from the round trip on Finnmarken. Hurtigruten provides an excellent voyage and some stunning scenery. Much has been said about the trips so I will not add to the many reviews. BUT, Hurtigruten and probably other cruise lines MUST deal with the problem of mobile phone usage. WE witnessed people taking calls on speakerphone and coupled with their loud voices this was a massive distraction. It is time to have quiet areas so that those who are thoughtless and rude do not spoil the trip for others. We witnessed arguments almost every day with people saying don’t talk on your phone. Trips -very varied and interesting. Well organised. Food -buffet -pretty good and a very wide range Restaurant on flloor 7 -VERY good. For this on board the upgrade cost is only NOK290 Hurtigruten - you do a great job but please address the matter of the phone nuisance Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
I wanted to cruise the Norwegian coast and Hurtigruten provides a very safe experience. We were told if the weather is really bad, they ships wait it out until it's safe to proceed which is nice to hear after the Viking disaster. ... Read More
I wanted to cruise the Norwegian coast and Hurtigruten provides a very safe experience. We were told if the weather is really bad, they ships wait it out until it's safe to proceed which is nice to hear after the Viking disaster. The cabins are small but adequate. I travelled with a friend but we chose to have separate cabins. 12 days together in one small cabin would have been difficult. The pace of the cruise was perfect and there were plenty of opportunities to get off the ship to explore even when the stops were short. I wouldn't recommend this cruise with children and I wouldn't recommend it to younger people. There is no entertainment on board although the scenery is compelling. We found a game of Rummy on board and we played it a lot. I became an expert. The food is great and there is plenty of it. Great choices and the food is very fresh and healthy. I didn't bother to purchase internet. About half the places had wi fi available, but it became more limited the further north you go. Sit outside any hotel and you can usually pick up their wi fi. Read the reviews before you purchase excursions. They are expensive but some are worth it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I really liked the character of the ship, the art work and the layout. I enjoyed the hot tubs so much and the upper decks. The cabin was nice, the only downsides I could call out are. * The air from the ceiling was strong, it blew down ... Read More
I really liked the character of the ship, the art work and the layout. I enjoyed the hot tubs so much and the upper decks. The cabin was nice, the only downsides I could call out are. * The air from the ceiling was strong, it blew down on the bed quite a lot. * There wasn't any evening entertainment in the lounges, no piano playing or quiz or anything, it would have been nice to have a couple of hours of entertainment some of the nights * The staff were setting up tables for lunch at breakfast hours, kicking guests off tables and making them move so they could set up for lunch which didn't start for 2 hours, incredibly rude and frustrating. Being told to find a new table mid-meal is shocking customer service. Besides that the ship, the views and the service and food was all very good. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
As a ferry Hurtigruten does an excellent job making on scheduled stops to ports up and down the Norway coast. However, as a cruise ship it disappoints. I booked an 11-day CRUISE on Hurtigruten Nordlys in April. However, it is not a ... Read More
As a ferry Hurtigruten does an excellent job making on scheduled stops to ports up and down the Norway coast. However, as a cruise ship it disappoints. I booked an 11-day CRUISE on Hurtigruten Nordlys in April. However, it is not a cruise ship, it is a FERRY that transports cargo, people (Norwegians) and their cars up and down the coast of Norway. Due to poor infrastructure road travel is not a choice, but airplane travel is lately becoming the preferred choice, both for people and cargo, necessitating Hurtigruten to fill its ships with cruise travelers. However, it is a ferry and operates as a ferry, stopping in many ports per day for anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes each (commercial) port. There were four days where we never stopped long enough to get out, and only five ports total with stops of longer than three and a half hours. So, most of the time was spent on the ship gazing at the lovely island and seascape that after a while became the monotonous seascape. My fellow cruisers were mostly from Sweden, Denmark and Germany and while we were all upbeat, I could see the disappointment on their faces. A cruise ship would take a more scenic route and stop at charming ports for several hours. While on board, it would offer many activities and entertainment, as well as be an actual charming cruise ship and not a passenger/cargo vessel. While the price of a ferry ride and a cruise may be comparable (some less), the drink and offshore tours are exorbitant. A single shot of scotch served on the rocks is 99K ($11.32), glass of prosecco 109K ($12.47). A 2-1/2 hour bus tour to see the Norway/Russian border at Kirkenes 1170K ($133.81). Ferry boat prices!!! These prices are far less on a cruise ship. Food was good, freshest and tastiest fish you could ever eat, buffet for breakfast and lunch and dinner was a set meal, although we were given local food with history and information to go with it, a pleasant experience. The crew was friendly and professional, the ship was clean, but that did not stop a norovirus outbreak on day six. I am glad had the ferry experience, however, 11 days was overkill. Four days would have sufficed. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because it advertised exactly what we were looking for and wanted something special to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary. It surpassed all of this. Embarkation and disembarkation was a very smooth event. Staff ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it advertised exactly what we were looking for and wanted something special to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary. It surpassed all of this. Embarkation and disembarkation was a very smooth event. Staff were helpful and friendly at all times during the voyage, The expedition team were fabulous, keeping us constantly informed with points of interests and gatherings. Nothing was too much trouble. Food was more than excellent and great to be offered Norwegian food with all the information and history that went with it. The cafe was open for 24 hours so with our package we could have tea and coffee any time of the day. We certainly needed a hot drink after being on deck to see the Northern Lights three nights running. Considering the ship is going in for refurbishment very soon it was still spotlessly clean which was very noticeable. I really hope it doesn't end up like an 'Ikea' ship. We didn't like the decor and furniture on the Kong Harold that we were able to visit. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
• Background Information We are a retired couple who have travelled a great deal; however, we’d never done a cruise being put off by the thought of thousands of people on the same vessel. A fellow traveller recommended Hurtigruten ... Read More
• Background Information We are a retired couple who have travelled a great deal; however, we’d never done a cruise being put off by the thought of thousands of people on the same vessel. A fellow traveller recommended Hurtigruten after doing one on MS Lofoten. We liked the idea of a smaller ship without the nonsense of casinos, bars, and stage shows. • Travel To Port of Embarkation Icelandair YEG – KEF – OSL. This is our preferred airline for travel to Europe. The service is excellent; it breaks up a long flight into tolerable pieces; it avoids the very large airports with their chaos and noise. On the return, we stayed a few days in Reykjavik, one of our favourite destinations. OSL – BGO was SAS, a good flight. • Hotel Info (if any) Outbound: Radisson Blu, Bergen. Nice hotel, great central location. Return: The Thief (aptly named) Oslo where we hoped to see a bit of the city, but by the we factored in the long train ride there an back, there was no time for any significant touring and the hotel was very, very, very expensive. It would be nice to figure out a way to avoid Oslo altogether. • Stateroom Very comfortable, much better than we expected. The HVAC worked perfectly as did the WC and shower. All better than many hotels. We are both pretty good sailors, but still appreciated a centre cabin, low in the ship. • Ship Info Very seaworthy and comfortable. Able to handle 3m seas with little wallowing or corkscrewing. The seamanship of the crew was astounding. We were able to moor and depart without the slightest bump or clank. We needed to look outside to tell whether we were underway or not. • Dining Excellent quality and variety. Sampling some of the local specialities with table service was an unexpected treat. More salads would be appreciated, though understandably this is a bit tricky at sea. • Activities We enjoyed watching the islands and fiords pass by along with exploring the many ports of call along the way. That’s what we came for and we were not disappointed. • Children's Clubs N/A • Service Table service was generally excellent. We particularly liked Zarah, Jorgen, Kristin, & Marte who all seem perpetually in a good mood. I was only snarled at once by a server who shall remain ever nameless. Housekeeping was variable. At the start, our cabin was made up by early morning; later, it seemed to take much longer. We were happy to participate in the programme to skip days for environmental reasons, though later we had to abandon this as having the room serviced was the only way to get the tiny waste basket emptied. We would have done this ourselves except that dustbins are rare on this ship. • Entertainment There were a number of lectures and films about folklore, history, nature, geography. These were all excellent, both content and presentation. An educational dimension is very appealing and one of the reasons to go on a cruise such as this. I have a special interest in both the energy business and the environment so the talk on North Sea O & G was particularly à propos. Something that needs attention is the canned music that filled the lounges and bars at times. This was really bad, screechy R & R and popular music, at times so loud that we had to leave. No one seemed able or willing to turn it off or down. On a relaxing, nature-themed cruise, maybe Grieg or Sibelius or some of the other fine European composers? • Port & Shore Excursions We enjoyed visiting the various ports on our own. We did not participate in the organised excursions seeing them as both expensive and rushed. Besides, we are from a Northern country where snowmobiles, X country skis, snowshoes are not a novelty. • Disembarkation Very efficient. The ship was cleared in 20m. Nothing was lost or broken. The buses were all waiting. No improvement needed • Summary This was a very enjoyable and relaxing cruise. We would not hesitate to use Hurtigruten again; the quality is first class. A little more information on some of the peripheral details would be nice: transportation options to-from airports, location of the Hurtigruten mooring, tips on packing, &c. Most of this we had to figure out ourselves and our travel agent did not do a very good job of finding this out. Still, we’ll know what to do next time. Finally, French language services would be appreciated. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
In wanting to see the Northern Light, we opted to take Hurtigruten's guarantee of their experience, vs going to Iceland. When we booked this cruise we were unaware that the ship serves as a cargo & ferry ship. It stops at ... Read More
In wanting to see the Northern Light, we opted to take Hurtigruten's guarantee of their experience, vs going to Iceland. When we booked this cruise we were unaware that the ship serves as a cargo & ferry ship. It stops at countless ports. This isn't your topical cruise. There is no casino (we don't gamble, so okay for us) or entertainment, nor is there food available without purchasing it (VERY EXPENSIVE), other than the included breakfast, lunch & dinner. Yet with that said, we have no regrets having taken this trip. Things we disliked: 1. Too short of time in ports to enjoy excursions (too rushed). 2. Last minute notices on activities or lectures. 3. They discourage you from tipping individually. (Though tipping is not really customary) Things we liked: 1. Small ship, so not that many people on board. 2. Because there wasn't entertainment, it was relaxing (not noisy of music or people). 3. The dining service was outstanding. Every server was pleasant, efficient and friendly. 4. The entire cruise was scenic as we travelled through the fjords. Norway has the most beautiful coastline (yes, prettier than Alaska). 5. We saw the Northern Lights as promised ---the MOST SPECTACULAR experience!!! (Personally, I don't believe anything can top that experience in our future vacations). Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This cruise was amazing. We signed up for the "Astronomy Cruise," which featured British astronomer Professor John Mason. He was an incredible teacher and loved by all! It was a subgroup of about 80 of us. We gathered daily for ... Read More
This cruise was amazing. We signed up for the "Astronomy Cruise," which featured British astronomer Professor John Mason. He was an incredible teacher and loved by all! It was a subgroup of about 80 of us. We gathered daily for lectures on the Northern Lights in particular and astronomy in general. He is a captivating lecturer! The group developed a lovely connection and we spent many hours on the top deck Aurora hunting. After a disappointing 7 nights of clouds and snow we were rewarded with 2 nights of magnificent displays which fully satisfied any bucket-list cravings! Beyond incredible! We also did many of the excursions and they were better than we expected: Favorites were the Husky dog sledding in Kirkenes, the Sea Eagle safari, the 2 fishing villages with an incredible art gallery at the end of the world, the Midnight concert and the Viking dinner. We also did the Vesteralen excursion, and a few hikes which were nice. We thought 12 days might feel like too much but the time flew by, and since we had a suite, just sitting in our huge bay window watching Norway go by was an eternal delight. We stayed in suite (room 823) which was HEAVEN!! If you can splurge on a suite it's worth it! The rooms are tiny! All the suites look great. I was disappointed we did not get one with a balcony but it would've been too chilly to use it much anyway. The food was great -- tons of options. If you have food requirements you need to be persistent and remind them repeatedly, but they are eager to please. We universally loved all the staff we encountered. (Reports of rudeness in other reviews are a mystery to me.) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
This was given to me as a 70th birthday present because it involved the Norwegian coast, which I had always indicated I wanted to see. My wife also chose this cruise because it wasn't a typical one: it offered an Astronomy Voyage, ... Read More
This was given to me as a 70th birthday present because it involved the Norwegian coast, which I had always indicated I wanted to see. My wife also chose this cruise because it wasn't a typical one: it offered an Astronomy Voyage, with an expert lecturer on the Northern Lights and other night sky phenomena (Dr John Mason), and with other interesting talks, information points and excursions handled by the two-woman Expedition Team. The ship was obviously comfortable and well-appointed, but wasn't a great block of flats on a hull, like many modern cruise vessels, and it combined very good facilities for passengers with an element of working ship, delivering cargo at a lot of ports (34) along the way. Our cabin was small, but very comfortable and well-designed: it became a home from home! The organisation of the cruise from start to finish was absolutely faultless: e.g. embarking and disembarkation - including management of our luggage - were handled with the utmost efficiency and with no needless hanging around for passengers. Throughout the voyage, we were kept informed of what was happening through clear - and audible! - announcements. Two minor problems with cabin equipment were immediately remedied. Excursions were handled with the utmost efficiency by the Expedition Team and those ashore, making everything worry-free and enjoyable. The food was plentiful and tasty, without the ridiculous waste and excess which one gathers are the norm on some cruises. Breakfasts involved a good range of items, though the quality of a couple of them (eg scrambled eggs and porridge) could be a bit variable. The lunch buffets had an element of Norwegian comfort food about them, which we found agreeable. Evening meals involved a set 3-course menu, which some might find restrictive, but most of the dishes served were excellent with a lot of locally-sourced ingredients. Prices for drinks were high, especially for those with weakening sterling bank accounts! The scenery was simply breathtaking, with constantly changing vistas of snowy peaks coming down to the sea and of islands, many with small and picturesque settlements on them: it will live in our memories for ever. The experience of the late winter Norwegian coast, including settlements in the Arctic Circle, was simply magical. And we saw the lovely Northern Lights - with one amazing moment when the night sky filled with a burst of extraordinary light. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We had always wanted to travel on the Hurtigruten, and so we booked with the Richard With because it had recently undergone a re-fit. Getting to the ship was so simple. We left from Cardiff airport to Bergen where the coaches we ... Read More
We had always wanted to travel on the Hurtigruten, and so we booked with the Richard With because it had recently undergone a re-fit. Getting to the ship was so simple. We left from Cardiff airport to Bergen where the coaches we waiting to take us to the ship. Unfortunately there were only two people on reception when we arrived at check-in and so we had a long time standing in queue before we could board. The cabins on the Richard With are compact to say the least and can be very noisy during the night as the ship calls at lots of ports during the nights. When it comes to dining, both breakfast and lunch are buffet style with plenty of choice, and dinner is served to you on most nights. Be prepared, if you don't like fish you may find you have little choice. If you usually travel on a larger cruise ship you may be disappointed because there is no entertainment, with just the expedition team giving a daily talk on the weather and what to expect tomorrow. There are many varied excursions on offer which, although quite expensive, take you to many places that you wouldn't visit on a 'normal' cruise. We had pre-booked our excursions which meant everything was paid for before the trip. However, one of our excursions was cancelled due to bad weather and so the ship gave us a letter to take to our travel agent to receive a refund for this trip. There were three of us on the trip, each paying £149 for this particular excursion. It is now over three weeks since we returned from holiday and, despite chasing our agent for the refund, they keep telling us that they are waiting for the ship to refund them before they can refund us. Has anyone else had this problem? What do we do to get our money back? Overall we enjoyed our holiday on the Hurtigruten, but trying to get our money back has left a bad taste in the mouth. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
The Hurtigruten Classic Round Voyage with the Northern Lights Promise, 24 March to 4 April 2019 on the ship Polarlys. Did we see the northern lights? That is a good question! Although we had some good daytime weather, the sky was ... Read More
The Hurtigruten Classic Round Voyage with the Northern Lights Promise, 24 March to 4 April 2019 on the ship Polarlys. Did we see the northern lights? That is a good question! Although we had some good daytime weather, the sky was cloudy for the first nine nights. Since Hurtigruten promise that we will see the lights, I predicted to my wife that on the tenth night (2 April), when the forecast was for partly clear skies but we were already well south, we would see something inconclusive and Hurtigruten would claim that we’d seen them. This is exactly what happened. At about 11 pm the public address system announced weak lights. We went up on deck and at first saw nothing. Eventually we decided that a very dim static grey glow above a big bank of cloud must be what they were talking about. Hurtigruten’s “promise” actually says “100%. That’s how sure we are that the spectacular Northern Lights will make an appearance on your 12-day Hurtigruten voyage. If not, we'll give you another voyage for free”; this under a beautiful photograph of green lights. Accordingly, the next morning, since what we saw had been pathetic rather than “spectacular”, we enquired how to go about claiming our free voyage. They said: “No deal, the Captain says you’ve seen the lights”. The Captain refused to see us and no evidence such as a photograph was offered. But we spoke to others of the crew. They were all evasive and one was very rude. Up to this point we’d been quite happy with Hurtigruten over two trips (the other being a very good summer trip in 2014), but this behaviour, betraying a deep dishonesty pervading the company, really upset us. Initially we intended to complain higher up the company. But eventually we decided that we just couldn’t face the hassle. Life is too short and Hurtigruten have clearly briefed their staff thoroughly in their dishonest response. In any case we might well not have taken up the “free” voyage. The small print is very restrictive: only half the round trip (i.e. just 5 or 6 days), make and fund your own travel arrangements to and from the ports one of which will be Kirkenes in the far north, inside cabin, half board, book it within a month of returning, etc. It was not all a disaster and we enjoyed parts of the trip. We saw some fantastic scenery after new snow and enjoyed the food. Being near the equinox, there were around 13 hours of good daylight. But there were other hiccups beyond Hurtigruten’s control. At the start, the ship couldn’t get down to Bergen because of bad weather; so, having flown into Bergen, we had to fly on to Trondheim the same day, not arriving at the boat till well after midnight. The one excursion that we had booked, to the Northcape, was cancelled because of wind and snow. And I felt seasick a couple of times, not seriously but queasy enough to miss several meals! Friends who did the trip a couple of weeks before us also only saw vague white lights. On the other hand, the internet has many accounts of people who had a great time. So, in conclusion, it’s much more of a risk than Hurtigruten claim that you won’t see anything convincing, and don’t believe their dishonest promise that you’ll get a free trip. But you could well get lucky. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose a 12 day cruise that took us from Bergen up to the Russian border and back. Bad weather intervened on the return journey so we were stuck on board for most of the time and there's not much to do other than read, gaze out at ... Read More
We chose a 12 day cruise that took us from Bergen up to the Russian border and back. Bad weather intervened on the return journey so we were stuck on board for most of the time and there's not much to do other than read, gaze out at snowy mountains, doze and eat. We would choose a shorter trip next time and fly back from Kirkenes. Snowmobiling at Kirkenes was brilliant helped by glorious morning sunshine. Dog sledding was also worthwhile. Excursions are eye wateringly expensive but if you're only doing these things once..... The ship was fine and the crew were very good. It is a ferry however and it stops everywhere along the coast taking on board cargo and passengers who use the ship like a bus service. Don't expect the luxury of a cruise ship and grab a seat before the locals come on board otherwise you'll have to revert to your cabin. Food was excellent. Wine at a minimum of £53 a bottle is extortionate especially when compared to £15 a bottle on shore. Shame we were not offered a drinks package although unless the wine was heavily discounted I suspect we would have declined. Made for a tee-total holiday which was no bad thing. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
So the ship is a working ferry and it desperately needs a refurbishment. Scuffed carpet, stuffing coming out of chairs in the lounge etc. Coffee machines that don't work. The ship made roughly 20+ stops but most of them are for only ... Read More
So the ship is a working ferry and it desperately needs a refurbishment. Scuffed carpet, stuffing coming out of chairs in the lounge etc. Coffee machines that don't work. The ship made roughly 20+ stops but most of them are for only 15 minutes so you cannot get off. I was able to get off in Alesund (gorgeous), Bodo (gorgeous), Trondheim (gorgeous) and Tromso (gorgeous) and Honningsvag (gorgeous). Very disappointed that we stopped in the Lofoten Islands in the middle of the night. We disembarked in Kirkenes. Cabin was an outside but it is incredibly cramped and I was the only person in it. Heaven help 2 people in the cabin. I opted for no cleaning service during the 6 days. The bed was uncomfortable but the bathroom floor was heated which was nice and the shower had excellent pressure and hot. Our tour group (from Australia) had full board but were still charged for coffee/tea outside of meal times which was just money grabbing by Hurtigruten. I'm a vegan and my food choices were very easy at breakfast and lunch because it was a buffet but dinner was a different matter. The first night I was given a chickpea curry which was extremely good and I had such high hopes however dinner for the rest of the cruise was hideous. A vegetable patty EVERY night. I cannot even look at a veggie patty now. The chef didn't even try to come up with something different or interesting for me. There was absolutely nothing to do except sit in the lounge and look at the scenery, which was beautiful, but after a while got very boring. There was one large jigsaw puzzle and a library. I also found that people hogged the chairs in the lounge all day, every day. Each night there was a talk by the Expedition team but it was really just to spruik the ship tours which were all very expensive. A lot of our group chose the NordKapp (North Cape) tour. When I confirmed my booking, I was told that the price I was looking at was the old price and the staff hadn't had time to change the pricing sheet. Our tour leader was ropable and quickly sorted it out so that we paid the advertised price, not the "new" price. The Expedition staff were not particularly helpful. The NordKapp excursion was wonderful and the bus follows a snow plough all the way to the Cape. My tip is to go and see the film first and then go down to the globe. If you do it that way, you are likely to get less people in your globe photo. I have the globe with no people in it (yay!). There is plenty to see there and the scenery is fantastic in winter. Recommendation: if you want to see the Northern Lights, don't do it by ship. Go to places like Tromso and Kirkenes and do trips out each night to hunt them. Stay in Kirkenes at the Snowhotel and take a dog sled ride, snowmobile ride, meet the reindeers. Stay in either a Gamme cabin (fabulous) or in the Snowhotel igloo itself. The one night in Kirkenes was a better experience for me than the entire 6 day cruise. Thank heavens I didn't have to do the return cruise! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We wanted to celebrate my 70th birthday, to put behind us a challenging year, and to learn about a country and locality that we wouldn't normally see. The first thing to say is that if you like cruising with all the associated ... Read More
We wanted to celebrate my 70th birthday, to put behind us a challenging year, and to learn about a country and locality that we wouldn't normally see. The first thing to say is that if you like cruising with all the associated comforts and amenities of cruising, don't choose the Hurtigruten Atlantic Fiords trip. The business of Hurtigruten is to supply all of the large and small coastal communities between Bergen in the south of Norway and Kirkenes in the north with life's essentials and to enable Norwegians to move up and down the coast. The Kong Harald is a 'ferry with benefits' and up to 400 passengers that have subsidised the service for many years; there were from the UK, Germany, France, Australia and North America. That said the crew, food, and organisation of shore side activities were very good. What's more Mother Nature may let you see Aurora Borealis but be prepared for disappointment - take a good camera! We travelled on the round trip between 7 and 18 March. Our cabin was on the 6th deck and had a double bed, 'bijou' shower, toilet, wash room, coffee facilities and TV. We saw some of the other cabins on lower decks and were please we paid for up grade. It had the additional advantage that we weren't disturbed by the overnight docking and freight handling which can occur up to four times: some passengers on the lower decks said it could be noisy. Food was good especially the fish and self service for breakfast and lunch. If you have deep pockets there was a good selection of wine at £40-50/bottle and £10 for a half pint (Norway is notoriously expensive). We were very lucky with the weather. It was brilliant with clear skies, calm seas and snow capped landscape - but it was COLD and there was always a breeze so the outside temperature was much lower than the air temperature. We raided Trespass and Mountain Warehouse who were very helpful with what is meant by layering up - and we were glad of their advice. There was no 'entertainment' such as may be expected on a cruise but there were daily briefings about next day excursions. We had pre-booked six that would give an insight into the communities and ways of life of the residents but if you are into snow trekking and off-piste activities there were options but remember, the whole of the ships life is governed by its departure time from port. Would we repeat the journey in either winter or summer (more expensive)? The answer is no. For us there were too many passengers and it was difficult to get away without spending more time in our cabin. The scenery is spectacular in Winter and Summer if that is your thing. Norway is an interesting country with a total population half that of London. It has large oil & gas reserves that it sells and invests the income. The primary business of the coastal communities is fishing and processing, shipping and tourism. Look out for the spectacular bridges and some of the longest road tunnels in the world. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We went to try and see the northern lights which luckily for us did make an appearance on at least 2 nights of our trip. Embarkation and disembarking work really well especially embarkation. The expedition team on board were fantastic. ... Read More
We went to try and see the northern lights which luckily for us did make an appearance on at least 2 nights of our trip. Embarkation and disembarking work really well especially embarkation. The expedition team on board were fantastic. Bjørn, Robin and Caterina worked well together and Caterina is very knowledgeable, the Norwegian way times were informative interesting and amusing with Bjørn and Robin having laugh with the passengers. The food in the dining room is outstanding. Very impressed with the level and quality of the food served. The service in the restaurant with drinks could be improved. We found it hard to even get water on a few occasions as at lunch and dinner drinks are brought to you and not available for self serving. Most of the excursions we did were nice. The Vesteralaen tour was the outstanding tour for us. Fantastic scenery, although the scenery throughout the cruise is great. If you miss one scenic view in just a minute or two another fantastic scenery sight comes into view. You could take photos all day long if you wanted to and I’m sure some probably did. I would not hesitate to go again given the chance in a different season although I would thoroughly recommend going at the time of year we went. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Hurtigruten? That’s not a real cruise is it? We started our long-planned Hurtigruten Norwegian cruise travelling by rail from Oslo to Bergen. The train journey across the mountains made a fitting start to the cruise – the ... Read More
Hurtigruten? That’s not a real cruise is it? We started our long-planned Hurtigruten Norwegian cruise travelling by rail from Oslo to Bergen. The train journey across the mountains made a fitting start to the cruise – the occasional village or small town hugging the riversides and the individual wooden dwellings dotted amongst the snow giving a foretaste of the sights along the coast. Before boarding the train, booked directly with NSB, we had stayed the night at the perfectly located Comfort Hotel Grand Central, the nearest hotel to the station. In fact, so near it’s actually part of it. That it was integrated into a large food hall with several restaurants meant we only needed a few paces to find an excellent evening meal. The hotel itself was modern, quirky and very comfortable. Our first hotel in Bergen was the Zander K, adjacent to the rail station. Another modern boutique hotel with so many interesting design features they even had their own book for sale giving full architectural and design features, including the amusing example of their curtains. Knowing that Bergen is known as the rainiest city in the world, they thought guests who had travelled to Bergen just to see the rain might be disappointed if it stayed away, so they designed the net curtains with raindrops so if it happened to be dry outside you could close the curtains and pretend it was raining. Brilliant! Checking into our ship, MS Polarlys, was easy and our cases were delivered to our cabins. The ship was smart and unpretentious, being recently refurbished in Scandinavian style with no sign of the usual American cruise ship bling. One aspect that will be a shock to large-ship cruisers is that there were never, ever, any queues for the lifts. True, on a couple of occasions, we had to share a lift with two other people but over the twelve days I could cope with that. The ship is small enough that nowhere was very far away and large enough to offer all the facilities that were needed. Bars and cafes offered a choice of dining and refreshment venues and all were open and airy. Public floors are surrounded by windows - no art galleries, photo shops or casinos to block the views - these ships are purpose built to see the amazing scenery and they do that extremely well as the ship glides (usually!) on steely-blue seas past dramatic snow-covered mountains. The Scandinavian crew were friendly, welcoming and genuinely enjoyed being part of the Hurtigruten team. Many were multitasking – you were as likely to see the restaurant manager clearing tables as you were to be served by someone who was cleaning the rooms earlier in the day. Food, brought on board fresh at several stops during the trip, was a highlight and it was not unusual for the evenings fish course to have been loaded just hours earlier (and probably caught just a few hours before that!) Mealtimes varied between buffet or fixed menu, the later giving a chance to try local specialties that one may not have chosen if given the choice. Dried clipfish, curried herring, baked reindeer and battered cod tongue were some of the mouthwatering delights – even if you don’t believe me! Despite the fixed menus, special diets and tastes were catered for without issue. Here was one example where the seemingly effortless organization of the company really shone. We had been prompted to advise allergies and dislikes when we booked some 16 months before sailing and had added to the list in the intervening period. We were amazed that without further notification on our part that the dining staff placed alternative meals in front of those with food concerns. “We know you don’t like cherries, so have replaced the cherry sauce with a raspberry compote. Is that OK?” And yes, they knew what language we spoke too!! Drinking water was plentiful and cold, wine and beer equally cold but rarer. Everyone has something to say on alcohol prices but in practice the prices of wine and beer are similar to those charged on the larger cruise ships - probably even cheaper as there is no added 18% ‘service charge’ that Celebrity charges. Dress code on board was simple: Casual for breakfast, casual for lunch, casual for dinner and at all times in between. Preparing for dinner was simple – you didn’t need to. I have to admit that once I did comb my hair before going into the dining room, but I soon got used to not bothering with all that palaver. Booking ‘Select’ full board meant we received unlimited tea and coffee during the voyage and free water flowed freely. Wi-Fi was as almost as good as our fibre broadband back home (unlike the usual cruise ships) and was included in the fare. Rooms were compact, but our Artic Superior had plenty of storage (do take a couple of trouser hangers though if you need to) and tea & coffee facilities were provided. The bathroom was even more compact but perfectly adequate and the tap water was as good as any bottled variety. We had chosen a rear starboard room on Deck 6 as the most advantageous position - opposite side to the gangway and cargo openings (which are on the port side on every Hurtigruten ship), above the walk round deck and high so as to be untroubled by the sound of the engines, which were actually as smooth and quiet as any large cruise ships with just some, not unexpected, noise when manouvering with bow thrusters. Lectures on places visited, Nordic myths and way of life were short, informative and professionally delivered and there was a well-equipped shop with everything from postcards to Norwegian woollens and jackets. The ship makes multiple stops en route, some for a few hours, some for 10-15 minutes. We were able to combine a bit of DIY sightseeing in several ports in combination with longer (albeit fairly expensive) excursions at others. ‘The Artic Capital Tromso’ was a guided tour around the town to what would have been a magnificent view from the top of the cable car had it not been snowing so heavily. Back into the city for a visit to the modern cathedral with its magnificent stained glass and then to Polaria, billed as the ‘world’s most northerly aquarium’, an interesting building but only managing a passable impression of a Sea Life centre. ‘The North Cape’ excursion, was, like all the other days off ship, a day for donning thermals – it’s rather chilly at the most northerly point of Europe, being minus 16°C when we were there. Travelling in convoy for the last few miles led by a snow plough with a rescue vehicle bringing up the rear added a certain piquancy to the excursion. ‘Husky Dog Sledding’ at Kirkenes was a bucket list item not to be missed. The setting was awesome: clear blue skies, bright sun but with the temperature nudging minus 20 it was definitely big coat weather. The bumpy ride behind the eager huskies was over far too quickly especially in view of the eye-watering cost, but the dogs were in their element and amazing to witness ‘in action’. At the ‘Midnight Concert at Tromso Cathedral’ we were privileged to hear soprano Anne-Berit Buvik, Pianist Ole Bolås and cellist Georgy Ildeykin. Breathtaking perfection. ‘A Taste of Vesterålan’ took us on an extended coach trip through the magnificent countryside, with a view to die for at every turn. A short service at a remote ancient church was a surprising pleasant and unexpected experience. Consistently rated as the best Hurtigruten excursions - if you do no other excursions make sure you do this one (but do all the others too). ‘Trondheim and Nidros Cathedral’ gave us a taste of the town and its magnificent cathedral even if the visit to the latter was curtailed due to time constraints. The Hurtigruten ship may arrive a little late into port but they always endeavour to leave on time! ‘Bergtatt Marble Mine’ was the destination of our last excursion but for many a secondary reason for this particular trip was travelling on the Atlantic Coast Road. Like the rest of Norway, it did not disappoint. Every day on this cruise gave us more memories to take away: A large pod of pilot whales playing close by the ship, sea eagles flying as close as you would like them to, wild reindeer unconcerned at our passing by. Being driven on roads of sheet ice as if this was normal (clue: it is there). Brightly painted, wooded houses in picture postcard isolation. Towering snow-covered mountains rising from the fjords like giant mythical guardians. The Norwegian people: hospitable, welcoming and justly proud of their country. Sadly, our Winter Wonderland cruise had to come to an end. Disembarkation (by deck, top down, starting with our deck 6) was swift and with taxis waiting outside the terminal we were inside our chosen hotel (The Hanseatic, in the old town) probably before the last passengers had left the ship. This hotel, chosen to contrast with our earlier Norwegian hotels, was in an ancient building but fitted with all, very modern, conveniences. The beds were just as dreamily comfortable as at the other hotels (and ship), and the staff welcome just as warm and friendly. After a morning sightseeing (and Norwegian wool buying!) we made our way to the airport to catch our KLM flight to Amsterdam and then home, the next Hurtigruten ship already boarding her passengers for their voyage north. I hope they all enjoyed it as much as we did. Hurtigruten? That’s not a real cruise is it? No, it’s something far better! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This Cruise has been on our "Bucket List" for the past ten years. Earlier this month we eventually boarded the Hurtigruten, Finnmarken and was pleasantly surprised. Being under the impression that this is a ... Read More
This Cruise has been on our "Bucket List" for the past ten years. Earlier this month we eventually boarded the Hurtigruten, Finnmarken and was pleasantly surprised. Being under the impression that this is a "working" ship, we found the amenities being similar and equal to that of other "Commercial/Passenger Liners. Calling at most of the small towns on the Coast Line, makes this a wonderful experience, however the "time spent" at some of there ports do not allow Passengers to get off. The food and selection thereof was great as well as the "Norwegian 3 Course Dinners". The Dog Sledding and Snow Mobile Excursions is a must, as this was a thrilling experience. If your budget allows it, book a Cabin with a balcony, as we could view the "Northern Lights" from our balcony as appose to going to the outside decks. The only letdown is the fact that you have to pay for coffee and tea, which other Passenger Lines offers this free. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
To see the Northern Lights was on our bucket list. We were not disappointed! On our third night, we received notification that the lights were visible. We threw on the warm clothing and rushed outside, only to be greeted by Nature's ... Read More
To see the Northern Lights was on our bucket list. We were not disappointed! On our third night, we received notification that the lights were visible. We threw on the warm clothing and rushed outside, only to be greeted by Nature's miracle. As we sailed up the coast of Norway, we were treated to this phenomenon every night! We were also treated to many marvelous fjords along Norway's coast. This cruise is definitely not for those who are looking for the amenities offered by the large cruise lines; entertainment, pool, cuisine, etc. But don't get me wrong, the smaller ship and friendly staff of the Finnmarken were in fact superior than some of the other many cruises we have been on. This was a once in a lifetime experience for us. We would definitely recommend the Hurtigruten round trip Bergen to Bergen trip to anyone! Thank you Hurtigruten, for the fabulous memory! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
My husband and I went to Iceland years ago but didn't see the lights so decided to take this cruise. Having seen some negative comments we were somewhat concerned but our travel agent convinced us that the company was good. The whole ... Read More
My husband and I went to Iceland years ago but didn't see the lights so decided to take this cruise. Having seen some negative comments we were somewhat concerned but our travel agent convinced us that the company was good. The whole trip was outstanding. Yes we saw the lights which I had been wanting to see since I was 10 and said I would die happy if I did see them BUT everything went like clockwork! We did lots of excursions including dog sledding, snow mobiling and horse riding which gave me my confidence back after a few falls. The scenery was breath taking, cabin was clean, warm and beds comfortable. My husband who normally sleepwalks slept like a baby with all the sea air. Excellent and fresh food was always on offer and so much choice and very polite and friendly staff which we couldn't fault at all. The expedition team worked so hard all the time to make sure everyone was happy and all the transfers and trips left on time. It was the absolute trip of a lifetime and blessed with four evenings of northern lights entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
I am the third passenger of cabin 618. At first I wanted to watch the Northern Lights but I wasn't that keen on travelling by boat(!) . Nevertheless I have to admit that I will never regret my choice. Everybody on board was nice ... Read More
I am the third passenger of cabin 618. At first I wanted to watch the Northern Lights but I wasn't that keen on travelling by boat(!) . Nevertheless I have to admit that I will never regret my choice. Everybody on board was nice and welcoming and helpful. The boat was clean and comfortable. The food was delicious and abundant and the waitresses and waitors always ready to help us. There were a lot of different excursions to please anybody, the entertainment and the activities on board were diverse and good as well. There was no fly in the ointment since the weather was sunny all over the journey except on the first day and the last day! I personnally had a problem when I set foot on board and the captain and the clercs at the reception did all their best to help me and I thank them for their compassion and their effective help to find me a solution which would suit me( and my dream!) I had always wanted to see the Northern Lights and I'm glad I had been able to make my dream come true. For sure I will recommend this cruise ( I've already started doing it!) To finish I'd like to add a few words about our French guide Anne Guillaud . She happened to be very competent and effective and humane. She answered all our questions and she gave us very instructive lectures every day and she also helped me personnally beautifully when I needed it. She IS an experienced guide who knows Norway, its cullture and its history . Thank you for reading me .M.B Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We went on recommendation from a friend. The cruise is designed for the older person and not really suited for families, certainly not for teenagers. The ship is smaller than a traditional cruise ship but this leads to a more ... Read More
We went on recommendation from a friend. The cruise is designed for the older person and not really suited for families, certainly not for teenagers. The ship is smaller than a traditional cruise ship but this leads to a more personal and friendly atmosphere aboard the ship. There is no traditional entertainment, however the lectures and gatherings are brilliant, entertaining and informative. The ship is also a working ship calling at 34 ports, sometimes at night which can lead to some noise as cargo, cars and passengers may be embarked/ disembarked. Our cabin was on deck 5 on the starboard (right hand) side, which was ideal as all loading/ unloading was on the port (left) side so any noise did not disturb us. The ship had a well fitted exercise room, which we used, male and female saunas, and outdoor hot tubs. The restaurant was superb, with excellent choice of breakfast and lunch buffet and set, mainly traditional meals for dinner. Breakfast and lunch are sit anywhere whilst dinner is set times and tables. There were 6 sittings for dinner ranging from 6pm to 8.30pm, I would advise that you request early or late dinning when making a booking. However we were allocated an 8pm sitting which was far too late for my digestion but when asked for a change we were reallocated a 6.30pm slot sharing a table of 6 with charming company. We did get to see the northern lights on 3 nights although this is obviously dependant on climatic conditions. The excursions off ship that we did were great and well worth what on the face of it looks to be a lot of money. The pick was getting off the ship in the dark early evening and snowmobiling over the mountains, stopping to possibly seeing the northern lights and then continuing to pick up the ship in the next port. Alcoholic drinks on board are very expensive, however at most ports where you could get off the ship for a few hours there were bars or supermarkets where alcoholic drinks could be obtained. Although supposedly not permitted we had no problems taking some on board. In Norway you are allowed 1 litre of spirits and 3 litres of wine duty free, and as you pass through the duty free shops at the airport on the way in you can pick up some supplies to get you started. Overall a brilliant trip which was more an adventure than a holiday, with lots of downtime to relax and chill out and admire the passing scenery from the observation lounge. We are going back in the summer to see how it all looks in the midnight sun Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We have recently returned from the Hurtigruten Norwegian Classic round trip, on board MS Richard With, 21st February – 4th March, including flights from UK (Manchester). To summarise – this was a fantastic trip, the experience of a ... Read More
We have recently returned from the Hurtigruten Norwegian Classic round trip, on board MS Richard With, 21st February – 4th March, including flights from UK (Manchester). To summarise – this was a fantastic trip, the experience of a lifetime. However it was not perfect – but the few negatives were massively outweighed by the positives. The charter flights (from Manchester) and the transfer to the port, all worked well and seamlessly. I’ve seen some comments about transfer issues – we had none. Checking in took some time (but we arrived together with a plane load of people!) but after that getting to the cabin, and getting luggage delivered, was all great. The cabin, number 568 (P2D, Arctic Superior: Outside cabin. Double bed. Situated on deck 5) was small but very comfortable. Reasonable storage and good shower. We had a window, and people were able to walk past (and look in?), but that was never a major issue. Cabin included tea / coffee and WiFi. Meals were overall very good. Breakfast and lunch were buffet format, with plenty of choice. On a couple of occasions we had to queue waiting for a table, but never too long. For evening meals, which were table service at a set time, we were placed on a table for six. We probably would have preferred a table on our own, but as it turned out, we were sat with two other couples, who were really decent, friendly people. So no worries there. If you wanted to change your evening dining time, the restaurant team would try to accommodate you. We saw a long queue of people wanting to change, and I guess some people did not get the changes they wanted, but it worked fine for us. The evening meal was a set 3 course menu. I really would have liked some choice, but I understand the reasons they keep it relatively simple. The evening meal daily reflected the region we were in, and was – generally – very good. Portions were not over generous, but ample for most. And if you had an intolerance or specific requirement – they do try to accommodate this. The ship – Richard With – was refurbished last year. It is certainly smaller than the mega ships operated by Royal Caribbean etc. but overall – the ship was great. There were a few rough periods at sea, and the ship movement reflected this. So it got a bit uncomfortable (for me) at times. We were impacted by the weather – we were in the port of Bodø for 15 hours, which disrupted the sailing schedule and excursions. On another occasion – it was too rough to dock in Mehamn, and again we missed one of our “highlight” excursions (Snowmobile Trip Into The Polar Night) which was massively disappointing. And we were only told after we had all dressed and were ready to disembark at 0045 in the morning. I guess you have to accept there may be (will be?) weather disruption in the Norwegian Sea during February, so be prepared. But possibly they could have told us sooner about our cancelled Polar Night excursion. We did experience a lot of weather. From the gale force winds mentioned above, to blizzards, to bright sunshine, to calm smooth seas – we had everything. Kept the voyage and scenery interesting. One item to note – the two hot tubs on deck 6 – we made use of these. There is something exhilarating about being in a hut tub when it is snowing! Bit chilly when you get out though!. As most reviewers note – drinks are expensive. Beer starts at about £11 for 600 ml (just over a pint) and wine starts about £48 per bottle. Drinks packages were available – and quite a number of people bought these – but they were expensive and did not seem justified to us. So we drank sparingly (and slowly) which I guess may not be a totally bad thing! As I noted, our excursion plans were disrupted significantly by the weather, in that the two we pre booked were both cancelled. But the excursion team tried hard to re book alternatives. Excursions were very expensive. We eventually did the Husky Sledge Adventure and A Taste of Vesterålen. The Husky sledge adventure included a quick trip to the Kirkenes Snow Hotel, which was a bonus. And the dog sledding was a fantastic trip – a great memory. We booked the Taste of Vesterålen at the last minute, and really enjoyed it. Despite the heavy snow (hence limited visibility) it was an interesting and informative trip. The church at Trondenes is beautiful and interesting, as is the museum close to the church. And driving over the bridge in Sortland as the Richard With is sailing along the sound below was a really memorable moment. We did see the northern lights on two nights (but we were told they were actually visible on three). I guess the displays we saw were not the most spectacular on record – but we did see them. Some people managed to get some good photos (and to be honest – some the photos looked better than the lights in the sky). But it is magical to see the Aurora Borealis. Regarding taking pictures, I only go to grips with setting up my (basic) DSLR on the last night of the lights, when I did get some reasonable pictures. So trying to work out camera settings on a windy, freezing cold, moving deck in the dark is definitely not the best approach. I tried it – not effective. Sort it out ahead of time, and use the settings and tips sheet the excursion team provides. The excursion team were great. Always enthusiastic, knowledgeable and helpful, they were around to help and advise, often with good humour. And in three languages if required! We did not attend all the meetings and presentations, and frankly some did drag on a bit. But certainly the three man team added a lot to the experience of the voyage. The scenery is a massive highlight. They do sell this as the most beautiful cruise on the world – quite a claim. But the scenery is stunning. Because it is a coastal cruise, you are sailing along the coast, and in and out of islands, sometimes through narrow channels, for a lot of the voyage. So the scenery changes constantly. As does the weather. Which gives an incredibly beautiful, ever changing view from the ship. Really incredible. And we did manage to see sea eagles, porpoises, reindeer, cormorants, many sea birds. So – in conclusion – this Hurtigruten round trip is a great experience – so long as you accept that it is not a gin palace luxury cruise on a mega ship. Read Less
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