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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We choose this cruise due to its itinerary and it being a working ship. The experience is therefore different, there are several stops every day and it's an interesting way to get to know more about the local culture. We thoroughly enjoyed ... Read More
We choose this cruise due to its itinerary and it being a working ship. The experience is therefore different, there are several stops every day and it's an interesting way to get to know more about the local culture. We thoroughly enjoyed this trip, visiting so many different cities and seeing the Northern Lights on the last day. The crew was excellent, very professional and friendly. The food was outstanding, even very thoughtful for the evening meals. This was our first cruise and for that we have enjoyed it very much. Our cruise was one way from Bergen to Kirkenes. This included New Year's Eve on the boat, which again was thought well through to provide entertainment and the right atmosphere on boat. There are plenty of excursions to choose from, which we recommend that you do some of these, they are well planned and give a good insight. The Point of Interest Activities on the outside Deck are definitely worthwhile. The only word of warning is to choose your cabin wisely. We just booked a basic Polar Outside and were on Deck 3. Although it says the MS Nordkapp has been refurbished in 2016, so it's overall in excellent and modern conditions, the same doesn't apply for Deck 3. Our cabin was still old school. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
I have often thought about a Norwegian cruise, how pretty it would be. Friends went in September and I was completely smitten by their photographs and their experience. I perused Hurtigruten's web site and booked a date covering both ... Read More
I have often thought about a Norwegian cruise, how pretty it would be. Friends went in September and I was completely smitten by their photographs and their experience. I perused Hurtigruten's web site and booked a date covering both Christmas and New Year, and a class of cabin in my price range. I was not disappointed in my choice. The service on board was excellent from all members of staff. The MS Nordlys has the bonus of an on-board Expedition Team so as well as the Hurtigruten excursions, there were also walks or hikes with the Expedition Team, generally where the tours didn't go. On board there was a daily talk by the Expedition Team on topics such as The Sami People, Polar Expeditions, Folklore and Fairytales, along with general information about the next port of call and things to see and do. I didn't think the excursions were particularly good value for money but that could be because nothing in Norway is cheap. They were, however, very good. Those I went on were, with the exception of a nature and history walk with the on-board Expedition Team, Hurtigruten excursions. Sadly there is only time to do one excursion or expedition at stops en route so if doing both the northbound and southbound voyages its good to read the timings thoroughly before booking anything in case you miss out. For example, if you go dog-sledding in Tromso on the northbound voyage then you miss the city tour because on the southbound journey the stop at Tromso only has a midnight concert. So take the city tour northbound and do the dog sledding at Kirkenes! I didn't find it necessary to pre-book any excursions, they were all bookable on board but perhaps they get more booked out during different seasons. On the dates I travelled (25 December-5th January) the age range of Coastal Voyage passengers was mixed - one or two children, under 30's, over 30's and on to middle aged and older. Some travellers had a physical disability but they were all looked after whenever they needed help. Some locations were difficult for disembarking but their needs were well catered for, including using the car loading bay when the passenger ramp was too steep for them. Don't be deterred if you're disabled! Mealtimes are open seating with the exception of most dinners where you are allocated a dining time and a table at the outset of your Voyage. Most single travellers were put together, generally in groups of same language speakers - English, German etc spread out among the different sittings. Further down this review you will see that I have said I've done 2-5 cruises: my first was moving to Australia in 1971, the second and third were from Australia to New Zealand and from New Zealand to the UK. These were on large impersonal cruise liners. The Hurtigruten Coastal Voyage is not only an experience for travellers but is a working ferry for local people wanting to get from place to place easily and there is no comparison between the first 3 'cruises' and that which I have just taken with Hurtigruten. Without doubt the Hurtigruten Coastal Voyage is the most memorable and the most enjoyable for me - its casual and fun without too many frills, smart casual for dinner rather than stuffy "dress for dinner" or "dine with the captain". If you want posh, then you may find another company suits you better. I will definitely book more trips with Hurtigruten in the future and will definitely revisit the coastal voyage during another season. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
As someone who wanted the opportunity to see the Northern Lights, and could only go in school holidays, it was by chance that we were away over Christmas. The ship was beautifully decorated, and the staff led a Christmas service before we ... Read More
As someone who wanted the opportunity to see the Northern Lights, and could only go in school holidays, it was by chance that we were away over Christmas. The ship was beautifully decorated, and the staff led a Christmas service before we left Bergen. We went with my 9 and 12 year old son (and 77 year old Grandma) We've done long distance train travel before so I wasn't worried about activities specifically aimed at the children. They loved the cabin bunks and the jacuzzi was a hit. The food was much more varied than I'd thought. Yes, lots fish-based, but presented in different ways and I like that fact that the boys ate the same as us. We booked an off-shore excusion everyday (apart from Dec 25th when nothing ran, but we walked and explored instead). It was good to explore the towns by foot and to get off the boat for a while. Our excursions were: Trondheim city, Viking evening, Sami adventure, North Cape and husky sledging (at the Snow Hotel where we also stayed one night). My only criticism is that there was quite a lot of driving in the middle 3 activities. This was good as we saw more of the Norwegian towns, but the Viking evening in particular felt a little rushed at the end. We were lucky enough to see the Lights several times and it was quite fun waking the boys up in the middle of the night after a call that the lights were there! Both my eldest and I have said that we would like to see the Fjords in summer. It was amazing to experience the Polar Night and see everything in icy majesty, but we did miss seeing what the fjords are really like. The Hurtigruten staff were like our Norwegian family, our youngest in particular was greeted by name by some members of staff. We didn't get a chance to explore Bergen before departure as we missed one transfer bus and the next broke down before it got to us. However this did mean that we got straight on board. At Kirkenes it was a little complicated which bus we needed to take, but I am really glad that we didn't fly straight home. At the Snowhotel the boys could sledge and play in the snow, something they hadn't previously been able to do. Norway in winter is a magical place. The only other boats we saw were fishermen or once a day the Hurtigruten coming south. I would thoroughly recommend this trip. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
Word of mouth from friends and positive reviews led to us taking this cruise. Knew it was not going to be a 'luxury' cruise and a working ship. The Hurtigruten booking staff were excellent to deal with online and will do other bookings ... Read More
Word of mouth from friends and positive reviews led to us taking this cruise. Knew it was not going to be a 'luxury' cruise and a working ship. The Hurtigruten booking staff were excellent to deal with online and will do other bookings e.g. rail and transfers etc. Embarkation and disembarkation done well. The scenery is stunning and seeing Northern Lights on 4 separate occasions makes it a fine 'bucket list' experience. However, from our perspective, the on board meals were very bland and the dining experience, especially on a full ship is not great and it can get crowded in the dining area at breakfast and buffet times. Norway is so expensive hence the ship prices are very dear to our standards which detracts from the experience but this was not a surprise. The mini-suite we had was fine and again what we expected. We did the return journey but,to be honest, the return leg was a bit boring as the same ports are revisited but it was relaxing if that's what you want. My average score would have been higher if the meals had been better and the prices on board not so prohibitive but my advice is to do it - as it is a good experience but not one for those who enjoy fine dining or a luxury cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This is the worst cruise in my cruising life. Paid for a suite and get as the prisoner meal, eat it or go to deck 7 paid for your favorite meal.that was not people who paid for expensive room and get the hopeless meal. Don't expect ... Read More
This is the worst cruise in my cruising life. Paid for a suite and get as the prisoner meal, eat it or go to deck 7 paid for your favorite meal.that was not people who paid for expensive room and get the hopeless meal. Don't expect live entertainment in other luxury cruise. You will get bore after 3 days. Tour desk officer are very rude, junior promise multi excursion get discount, she can overwrite it and said no discount. Ports and shore excursions, it is a delivery ship or just like ferry cruising.you will pay for expensive and not worth while excursion.norwegian monopoly these sector for northern light and yet, you won't get the best northern light photo.reason: cruise is moving and tilting, even you have tripod, your northern light pictures is not as sharp as land tour for northern lights. We have joined land tour in jan 2017 in tromso as what we have compare the image.if you want good northern light, fly to tromso and join the northern light chase from the side lane of radisson blu hotel. Stay away don't get regret like us. WE JOINED WE LOOSE You listen to my advice you win. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
What an amazing journey! So different from a 'big ship' experience - you get really up-close-and-personal to the Norwegian coast with Hurtigruten, visiting so many ports of call, and expertly navigating the myriad of islands and fjords of ... Read More
What an amazing journey! So different from a 'big ship' experience - you get really up-close-and-personal to the Norwegian coast with Hurtigruten, visiting so many ports of call, and expertly navigating the myriad of islands and fjords of the coast - amazingly close, almost reaching out to touch some of the cliffs or to shake the hands of locals. Could not fault the food, service and staff on board - so refreshing to see Norwegian staff, as the talk about their home country with such pride. Enjoyed learning about the Northern Lights - and Hurtigruten have their Northern Lights Promise of a free voyage if the Lights do not appear (some small print does apply) - but we were treated to an spine-tingling event on several nights. Asking the Expedition team how they rated the Lights we saw, they said "about a 6 or 7 out of 10" - so I can't wait to go back and see what a 10/10 experience would be!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
One of the most wonderful travel experiences of my life. Amazing service on board, super attentive, friendly crew. The spacious, comfortable and clean cabin. High quality all inclusive service, excellent food with a great variety every ... Read More
One of the most wonderful travel experiences of my life. Amazing service on board, super attentive, friendly crew. The spacious, comfortable and clean cabin. High quality all inclusive service, excellent food with a great variety every day. Norway is an amazing country with wonderful people, it is a pleasure to travel that country, and the northern lights are undoubtedly one of the unique shows of the world. If you want to see them, make sure that there is no full moon for a better experience and pray that it is not cloudy, we had a single night clear at times :( I can't wait to come back!!!!!! The cabin great,Comfortable, with good space. A nice window, beautiful bathroom. 10 points The food incredible, a lot of healthy options, the drinks are great and we have the option with free coffe all day (choose it!) The excursions are expensive (A LOT) but worthy. PLEASE DON'T MISS IT, IS A GREAT COMPANY!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
It is known as a magic area. we embarked in Kirkenes ( North of Norway) and sailed along the coast with stops in many ports. Some are long enough to disembark for some moments or made an excursion longer and join the ship later on his ... Read More
It is known as a magic area. we embarked in Kirkenes ( North of Norway) and sailed along the coast with stops in many ports. Some are long enough to disembark for some moments or made an excursion longer and join the ship later on his way. In the period we chose (15 to 21 of sept) the daylight was average from 6-7 am to 7-8 pm so some part of the landscape was not visible. Or it is necessary to make the return cruise because what is by night for north to south cruise is daylight for south to north. This type of cruise has to be choosen accepting bad wheather ( we had about 3 days bad and 3 nice) Bergen is 300 days a year rainy... Anyway many landscape are spectacular by cloudy wheather. Polar lights are not guaranted. Regarding excursions it is necessary to analyse the bad wheather risks to decide because they do not easily cancel and refund. Regarding the cruise itself check the price they propose for the flight and transfers because if something happens with the flight company and if you have booked the ticket yourselves ( as it happened to me because of an SAS strike) they will not refund or make a credit, or postpone your trip. You loose it. They do not care So I hade to buy an expansive last minute ticket to join Kirkenes in time. For the trip we sailed on Polarlys who is a renewed nice ship. Cabins ( first price) are small but confortable, with private bathroom. Dining room is very nice with very good food ( of course fishes but not only) Service is quite OK and not to long for diner which is served at our table. They arrange table in order you are besides your friends or at the same table They are some interesting conferences or lectures proposed in 2 languages ( English and German) The excursions, depending of the wheather may be fantastic or may be somehow sad if it rains to much; But that is the fortune!! North cape one is beautifull and very nice because we joint the boat by 3 to 4 hours bus across north of Norway. In winter it is perhaps more spectacular but more expensive. We travel alone without any children. At this time it is more or less only retired people, some very old, and even some handicaped. I do not know if I would do it again. I think not I would better go with a mix of fast boats between ports and rent a car to go deeper in the country that Hurtigruten coastal express cannot do except with very expensive excursions. Roads are very nice. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2017
I invited my whole family to this cruise. We where 16 persons all together including six grandchildren. We are very satisfied with the boat and the arrangement . However since 7 of us came from Gothenburg we had to arrange air ... Read More
I invited my whole family to this cruise. We where 16 persons all together including six grandchildren. We are very satisfied with the boat and the arrangement . However since 7 of us came from Gothenburg we had to arrange air transportation to Oslo. This could not be arranged by Bengt-Martin in Sweden. On our last day on board we found out that it should be difficult to have time to catch the last flight to Gothenburg. Therefore we needed to change the flight from Bergen to Oslo and get earlier flight. This turned out to be a very difficult thing since the person in the reception did not want to help. After long discussion at last in any case we could rebook our flight tickets. Since this was a bad exception we must say that all other persons where very helpful. We where all very impressed by the fantastic food served on board. Read Less
64 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
I am certain there are many reviews of the Hurtigruten cruise from Bergen to Kirkenes - I will try to provide some more details than I have read online and to give some advice I could have used while traveling. First things first - ... Read More
I am certain there are many reviews of the Hurtigruten cruise from Bergen to Kirkenes - I will try to provide some more details than I have read online and to give some advice I could have used while traveling. First things first - this is an exceptional experience, due to the scenery, the graciousness of the Norwegian people an the staff on board as well as the ease of traveling into some distant regions in comfort. Second - and for some of you this may be important - this is different from other cruises you may have taken on more traditional cruise lines such as I and my wife had taken on Oceania and Regent. If you need the luxury and the larger suites - absolutely need - that these lines offer Hurtigruten will disappoint you. The food and the staff are first class; the suites tiny less than half in size what experienced on Oceania and Regent; there is a very small gym and no entertainment. The open areas are quite large and accommodative of groups, stretching out and otherwise spending little time in your cabin - after all, at it’s heart, the ship is a ferry and there are passengers getting on and off for shorter trips along the way. Third - while the crew and many of the passengers speak English, a significant majority of passengers are Norwegian and German with a majority German. This is not an issue - just a heads up. Some details. • Food - excellent, truly and are picky, my wife’s hobby is cooking and she does not eat red meat. The breakfast buffet is huge - no custom omelets, but everything else - lunch was most usually another large buffet and dinner was a fixed menu, with made for my wife and another traveling companion who did not eat red meat and if you love fish, tell them you do not eat meat. Beer and wine are extra, the wine selection is limited and I would avoid the wine package, you will do better buying wine and beer night by night. If you like beer, try the local lager that translates into Polar Bear. A good deal of the cuisine was modernized Norwegian - cod, what they call stockfish, Arctic char, salmon, reindeer and so on, lots of root vegetables prepared in a superior way to what we see back in the States, Desserts are limited excellent and the Norwegians take cream seriously! One caution - you need to reserve a time, you cannot do it online, and if you are traveling with other people you must make sure you reserve your table with them. It is not a perfect system - they should let you do this online - and we ended up eating at 8:30, later than we would have preferred but it was the only time available to be able to be seated with our friends and even then three other people sat with us. Not a big deal, just a heads up. • Billing - make sure you register your credit card in reception to make sure all your expenses can be paid for with your room key card, from tours to Diet Coke, this greatly simplifies things. When you settle up, if you of not need your kronor you can pay part of your bill in kronor and the rest by credit card - but you have to do this the evening before you leave the ship. • Expense - Norway is a shockingly expensive country if you have not bothered to read about the country before this review. And this cruise is not cheap - but you get what you pay for. After a day or two a small bag of potato chips costing thee bucks and a beet costing twelve is something you do not care about. If you are on a tight budget you can easily avoid extra expenses, especially if you do not drink alcohol. That said, despite your budget, you will miss too much if you do not take tours in certain places, and you will waste money if you take tours you should not, and I will discuss these in a minute. • Staff - the staff is excellent service staff with typical Scandinavian reserve. They are also professionals paid by Norwegian standards - other cruise lines have day to day staff from many countries dominated by poverty and, to our taste, are almost too deferential. The staff on the Hurtigruten could easily be your neighbor or son in law and we found this to be a very pleasant surprise. That said, they do follow their own rules - if you are in your room when the housekeeper comes by, the best you will do is fresh towels, he or she will not come back to do your room. When you are the last to be sitting in the dining room, they will not hesitate to ask you to move to one of the common rooms so the staff can prepare for the next day’s work - and so on. • Line up eating times with people you are traveling with • Rooms - the rooms are beyond small - a large person has to squeeze between the end of the bed and the wall. The bed is quite comfortable. The bathroom is also very, very small, the shower fast and furious - a great shower with no shortage of water as hot as you want it to be. There is a flat panel and satellite TV with a few English language channels, including one or two news channels depending on where you are. Do not plan on spending time in your room, other than for sleep and a nap. And if you save money by getting a cabin without a porthole - they are not large but did let in light - well, good luck to you. • WiFi - the ship has by far the best WiFi - actually the whole country does - and it is very cheap, roughly five or six bucks a day. If you have an international data plan, you will discover Norway’s telecom company has placed cell towers along the fjords and more than half the time we were cruising I could get a signal on my phone and with my own AT&T data plan. • Common areas - there are several common, open areas to relax, look outside hang with groups. A lounge with day food next to the dining room; a larger lounge on the seventh desk with more food and lots of seating; a bar in the front of the chip with dozens and dozens of chairs and tables, a fake fireplace and great views as it is in the front of the shop and glass all around. On one of the decks in the rear of the ship there are portable deck chairs and there is standing room in the front of the ship on deck five, a great place to take in the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen and I have been very lucky to be able to travel to many parts of the US and the world. • Excursions - there are yours available at most stops, and are typically brief as the ship works on a ferry’s schedule. What I write is based on our experiences and those of others we traveled with. Before specifics, be aware, the city tours are, for the most part, unnecessary if you have a tour book or there is a decent discussion online, such as sites in Tromse or Trondheim. And some of the tours or experiences you would normally avoid as they seem to “corny” or “touristy” are actually worth it. So please, read online reviews. The Viking feast - total kitsch, but worth it. Crab Safari - excellent, fun, great guide/fisherman, by far the best crab we have ever eaten, one hour out of the water, and my wife is the crab queen of Baltimore! The River Safari was a hoot and worthwhile. The Sami tour was also worth it but disappointing insofar as there was virtually o discussion of the current life of the Sami - and if you are not interested in indigenous peoples an cultures, you should take a pass. The best tour was the Nordpak tour - a great guide, incredible views, you will never get further north on Continental Europe, our favorite by far. The Russian border your had thumbs up because of the tour of the underground shelter used during the war, a thumbs down because the only thing at the border are order guards. As I wrote earlier, the city tours are hardly worth the expenses • Special experiences - If you sleep through Troll Fjord you missed the whole point of visiting this far side of the world, we did it at night and I will never forget being ten meters away from the side walls of a fjord in the dead of night, just spectacular. Crossing the Arctic Circle (you get a free certificate!). The Nordpak tour was worth the whole trip; eating the special apple pastry prepared on our last night outdoors in the late evening was another highlight (of course there was a charge for this); and overall the impact of the Gulfstream changes your view of the Arctic. Farming in mid-September 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle and on the Nordpak tour you are in a place that never gets below ten degrees Fahrenheit, forty miles inland it can get forty below. • Not so special experiences - the aforementioned city tours and the cities themselves - Alendsun, Tromse and Trondheim are nice, with great coffee and pastries, and some nice shops, but if you have traveled there is nothing that will make you say “wow!”. And please check times - in Trondheim everything but the cathedral was closed until 11:00, the ship was there for but three hours and leaving at noon. Kirkenes is an industrial city destroyed during the war with absolutely nothing to do on your own in the city. We stayed, and did the crab safari, if you do not want to one of the tours, be prepared to move on right after you dock. • Activities - on board there are virtually no activities - there is a sauna, two hot tubs on our ship, both shut down waiting for inspection, and that is about it. • Good coffee - do not laugh, my wife and I get nervous before cruising, what if we do not like the coffee? On board the coffee is more than adequate. • Beauty - there is constant beauty you never tire of - every hour of every day. And a sense of wonder that the sun is shining, you are wearing a light sweater and your 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle - this is mid-September. • Bergen to Kirkenes is enough time for most of us - a six day or so journey - many passengers were doing the round trio, I am glad we did not as the ship stops in places we had already visited. • Northern lights - due to the time of year and cloud cover we never did see the Northern lights. You can download an app to help you predict when you might get a shot at seeing the if you stay up past your bed time! Read Less
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