We chose this cruise to celebrate our 10th anniversary and as a way to see a large part of remote Norway in a somewhat short amount of time wherein both my husband and I could sit back, relax, do what we wished to each day and not have to ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 10th anniversary and as a way to see a large part of remote Norway in a somewhat short amount of time wherein both my husband and I could sit back, relax, do what we wished to each day and not have to worry about the planning, logistics or stress of getting from place to place, figuring out meals or finding places to stay along the way. We chose Hurtigruten because neither of us are a fan of very "touristy" types of planned activities and destinations (including all-inclusive vacations and huge cruise ships), and with the smaller boats and the fact that they go to many of the smaller ports and towns that one would never see on their own without a boat and lots of time, and the whole operation seems to have a lighter touch on the communities they visit versus the huge negative impact that larger cruise ships seem to have on cities and cultural sites.
Despite the cost, we were honestly not expecting much since we had read that Hurtigruten also serves as a commercial transport ship, car transport and ferry in addition to the destination touring function they provide. And they do provide these services, but they are integrated so nicely into the seamless operation of the voyage that they only added to the experience for us, rather than detracting in any way. But from the moment we stepped on board, to the time we departed, we were absolutely delighted with the whole experience. The whole ship was immaculate! Our room was larger and more comfortable and nicer than we thought from the photos we saw on Hurtigruten's website. We were also conveniently located to the two very nice and clean and cozy outdoor hot tubs and the 7th floor deck, sun porch, cafe and bar. The staff were kind, helpful and informative; the excursions were well-planned and every one that we participated in went smoothly and without a single hiccup. The guides on both the excursions and the boat were knowledgeable about many things and made each evening fun with planned lectures and activities for all the guests.
And the food! It was all spectacular! Everything was fresh, deliciously prepared, plentiful, thoughtful, relevant to the regions and their food heritage, and beautifully spread. Of our nearly 3-weeks in the country, we only had a couple of other meals that topped the food we ate while on-board the ship, and this is saying a lot as we orient every vacation we take around trying to find the best cuisine that any place we visit has to offer.
Other than the cost of some of the excursions (they were all so expensive we were not able to participate in as many as we would have liked), and many of the other guests that were extremely pushy and rude - especially during mealtimes and queuing up to leave the boat whenever we docked - there really are no bad things to say about the voyage, the staff, the length of the trip (we wished we could have stayed longer), the route, or anything else and hope to be able to return again someday with others from our family to take part in a longer voyage or wintertime voyage when the country has other experiences to offer! Read Less