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31 Hurtigruten MS Spitsbergen Cruise Reviews

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
Sail Date April 2019
We got a good deal with an inside cabin for the voyage from Kirkenes to Bergen, Norway. Our cabin was so clean & the bed was more comfortable than at home. The food was generous and varied. Hint, don’t expect to lose weight on this ... Read More
We got a good deal with an inside cabin for the voyage from Kirkenes to Bergen, Norway. Our cabin was so clean & the bed was more comfortable than at home. The food was generous and varied. Hint, don’t expect to lose weight on this ship! The breakfast was a buffet each day, with lunches generally too. Dinner at night was table seating at our reserved table. The food was quite varied each day. Even the buffet kept changing slightly. We tried to cut back on the food intake, but it was just too delicious! The crew was fantastic too, despite us enduring a storm at sea. We would go back tomorrow, although we would probably choose summer or spring, as we have now seen the winter view. Very very happy with this cruise. As a side note, the ship and captain performed brilliantly during the storm. Despite 10 metre waves & 136 km/hr winds, we felt very safe and secure. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This cruise was exactly as advertised! It's a working ship and has been in the business of transporting goods and people up and down the Norwegian coast for 125 years. There are many stops and you can get off a quite a few of them, ... Read More
This cruise was exactly as advertised! It's a working ship and has been in the business of transporting goods and people up and down the Norwegian coast for 125 years. There are many stops and you can get off a quite a few of them, if you like. We did some excursions through the ship and some on our own. All were excellent - even if there wasn't enough snow to do a few of them. (Mother Nature has her own rules!) Our cabin was amazing. We could lie in bed and watch the coast go by! The beds were comfortable and the suite was very roomy! The food was excellent! I have some food allergies and they made sure every delicious dinner was safe for me to eat. The buffet breakfasts and lunches were excellent. There were some staples and an assortment of varying foods by location or chef whim. The exploration crew wasn't quite as good as the crew on the Nordkapp. We did see the Northern Lights. Second night out of Bergen, around 10:30PM "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Northern Lights." :) Would recommend the Dinner with Vikings excursion as a MUST! The food and mead were incredible. The "show" was not only informative but interesting and well-laced with humor! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Went on this voyage to see the Northern Lights. NO Northern Lights. Hurtigruten advertise a free trip if you do not see them, but you have to have an inside cabin, pay through the nose for your food. A real advertising gimmick and not to ... Read More
Went on this voyage to see the Northern Lights. NO Northern Lights. Hurtigruten advertise a free trip if you do not see them, but you have to have an inside cabin, pay through the nose for your food. A real advertising gimmick and not to be trusted. The ship is ok, but you have to buy everything except for the air you breath. Meals are included and so is the ghastly coffee out of a massive tank. You need to take out a mortgage to come on this ship and I guess all of Hurtigruten ships. It was announced on one day that whilst we were on a bus trip that the chef had baked an apple cake for us. Then came the downer, you had to buy it! The so called expedition team are unimaginably boring. Just the two, and the so called leader went off on a four day jolly during the voyage. If there is to be an expedition team at least give them a personality even they have very little knowledge of where or what we might see. The internet provided all the info given during the so called team briefing.. The trips are very expensive for a ride on a bus and most the the little energy the expedition team had was trying to sell the trips. A very boring 12 days at sea with very rough seas for a lot of it. Stuff flying all over the place and a very very very rocky ship. Food was quite good except for the buffet if you were not like the Germans and queuing at the door as soon as it is open. They then grab the tables, just like towels, take huge platefuls of food not caring how they leave the dish for the next person. The buffet is not replenished to provide a decent amount of food for those who are not first in the queue. The ship cannot seat all of the passengers all at one time, so for lunch and breakfast there is often a queue, unless you are German of course, dinner is in two sittings . If you are allocated the late one at 8.15 it is horrendous as you then go to bed with a full stomach or have to sit up late on this sterile ship to let the food settle. All in all a complete waste of money for what is promoted as a memorable voyage of a lifetime. Will not be taking up the so called free trip for not having seen the Northern Lights, and will certainly not recommend Hurtigruten to even my worst enemy Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Went on an excursion to Boda and Saltstruam. It was in a bus, it was dark, we saw nothing but lights in houses and shops and factories. The rapids at Saltstuam did not happen Rushed back to bus back to ship. Worthless. Think twice before ... Read More
Went on an excursion to Boda and Saltstruam. It was in a bus, it was dark, we saw nothing but lights in houses and shops and factories. The rapids at Saltstuam did not happen Rushed back to bus back to ship. Worthless. Think twice before embarking on these very expensive excursions from a Hurtigruten ship. While I’m at it everything you buy on this cruise is so expensive you need to take out a mortgage to buy anything. Not even a biscuit is free. The buffet is terrible. The Germans push you out of the way to grab the food. They do not use the utensils provided. They are quite rude and loud. The buffet is not the most hygienic way to serve food because not everyone has the decency to respect hygiene and cleanliness near food.. Breakfast hot food is awful. If you are vegan forget 3ver having a hot breakfast. Eggs are served with bacon laying on top of them. I saw people picking up more bits of bacon that had fallen off the eggs. Very poor. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
+ Very nice, big, modern ship + Good common rooms + Great expedition suite cabin + Kingsize bed, big sofa + Great balcony, very large, with a perfect view + Sofa, safe, minibar, TV + Great breakfast buffet + Perfect ... Read More
+ Very nice, big, modern ship + Good common rooms + Great expedition suite cabin + Kingsize bed, big sofa + Great balcony, very large, with a perfect view + Sofa, safe, minibar, TV + Great breakfast buffet + Perfect lunch buffet + A lot of fish and seafood, very positive and delicate + Fitness room + Sauna + Jacuzzis + Ability to go to the very front deck of the ship + Nice places where the ship stopped (Tromso, Trondheim) - Dining: very small portions, not enough for teenagers and adult males - Main door of the ship under the cabin (very noisy) - Expedition team not very good informed - Very expensive activities that can easily be done at your own - Food at the bar too expensive - Sometimes due to excursions the lunch was moved to 10:30 in the morning! Very bad solution. Would be better to have lunch packages or the possibility to get food at the bar after the trips. - Service very poor - Entertainment: The team was not very motivating. No energy and no enthusiasm. Presentations old and not modern. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Overview The arctic archipelago "Svalbard" has always fascinated us. For this reason we have booked the trip with Hurtigruten. The tour operator attaches great importance to sustainability and environmental protection. This is ... Read More
Overview The arctic archipelago "Svalbard" has always fascinated us. For this reason we have booked the trip with Hurtigruten. The tour operator attaches great importance to sustainability and environmental protection. This is also reflected a little in the price - an Arctic trip is not cheap. The landscapes (geology, glaciology) are very impressive. The fact that in this harsh climate some life develops during the short summer months is fascinating. Lush green meadows, barren moonscapes, beautiful waterfalls and of course lots of snow and ice - that is Svalbard/Spitsbergen. We can recommend this trip because it is very relaxing (no internet for 9 days), but especially because it offers a good mixture of activities, lectures and observing the landscapes and wildlife. Wildlife If you go to this cruise to see polar bears or other wildlife, you'll probably will be lucky... Hurtigruten attaches great importance to sustainability and does not want to disturb the delicate habitat of the animals. Accordingly, everything can only be observed from a very great distance. Of course there are some lucky exceptions, but we have only been able to observe polar bears from a distance of at least 750 meters, for example. Unfortunately, the advertising gives the wrong impression here. With the right equipment you can counteract this a little. Embarkation/Disembarkation The whole process was ok. What was a problem in our opinion the time of disembarkation. We've arrived short after 0.05 o clock. We've waited 1 hour 20 minute to get from board to take the flight at 3.25 o clock. it was very pain and stressful to travel at this late hour. I would have payed 500 euro more to have an afternoon or early evening flight instead of the whole travel thing in the middle of the night... :-( Ship MS Spitsbergen was in 2016 completely renewed. The Ship provides following rooms: Explorer Lounge with Bar, Reception and Bord Shop, Restaurant (2 sittings - 18.00/20.00), Fitness, Jacuzzi, Sauna and on the top floor a large terrace area to observe the beautiful landscapes and animal life. Cabin The cabin was for its size generous and had everything you would expect on a ship. Dining The dining on the MS Spitsbergen was excellent. The Swiss Chef with his crew cooked on a very high level. You wouldn't expect that on a ship. Entertainment and Activities The Expedition-Team organized on each day an interesting program. Nevertheless they could have done different programs for all the different ages. The passengers ages vary from 25 to 90. So not all program points fitted for the young and vice versa. Service The Philippines on board were excellent. They are very friendly and good hosts. The Norwegian crew (Captain and his crew) were very professional, but in comparison to the Philippines rather inaccessible. Ports and Shore excursion On this trip (Spitsbergen/Svalbard) was only Port (Ny Alesund) accessible. All other stations were shore excursion by tender-boat. Some places were not so special, but what do you expect, when you're in the arctic :-) Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We've just spent 9 days on Hurtigrutens ms Spitsbergen on an expedition cruise circumnavigating Spitsbergen, Svalbard. Apart from the fact that expedition cruising is exciting, we were pleasantly surprised by the ship and its crew. ... Read More
We've just spent 9 days on Hurtigrutens ms Spitsbergen on an expedition cruise circumnavigating Spitsbergen, Svalbard. Apart from the fact that expedition cruising is exciting, we were pleasantly surprised by the ship and its crew. The arctic superior cabin 621 is light and big enough but lacks drawer space and has no couch nor desk. The window blind adequately blocked out the 24 hr summer daylight. The large bed has a soft matress and plenty cushions. Sleep was never a problem but that also might be caused by the long active days. The restaurant is buffet for breakfast and lunch, diner is somewhat depending on the expedition schedule, sometimes free seating buffet, sometimes first and second seating table service with a fixed 5 course meal. Being norwegian there is a lot of fish every day but no worries there is meat. Give dietary preferences the first diner and they will automaticaly adjust the 5 course meals! Snacks and coffee/thee in the bar from 15:00 to 17:00 hrs. There is no roomservice. The ships crew/lobby are very nice and polite. The expedition staff consist of about 8 persons, mixed nationality -danish, norwegian, english, french- and spoke good english/german. Lectures were simultaneously translated for the german group using remote radio and earpeaces although that sometimes malfunctioned. There is at least one landing per day, sometimes two. Due to weather and ice, one scheduled stop had to be changed to a zodiac ice cruise. That was also the only real bad weather day. The rest consisted of clear skies to cloudy days with no precipitation. Jackets are provided and are yours to keep. Boots provided as well for the duration and are very good but heavy. We had a wonderfull cruise . Note. There was one passenger in a wheelchair who was accomodated by private zodiac cruises in between landings! Very nice. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We have sailed the Coastal Routes with Hurtigruten several times, always in the winter months and we have been to Alaska and Antarctica twice with other cruise lines. We enjoy the magnificence of glaciers and snow-capped mountains, plus ... Read More
We have sailed the Coastal Routes with Hurtigruten several times, always in the winter months and we have been to Alaska and Antarctica twice with other cruise lines. We enjoy the magnificence of glaciers and snow-capped mountains, plus the wildlife which comes as a package in these areas. Cold is ok, so where to visit next? The answer was found in the Hurtigruten Expedition “The Historic Sportsman’s Route to Svalbard – South”, sailing in June 2018 on MS Spitsbergen, a modern ship we have travelled on before. The journey to Longyearbyen from Manchester is a long one and a weary band of travellers arrived in the small, but very light and rather chilly hours of May 30th. A few hours’ sleep in the very basic Radisson Blu Hotel was followed by time to explore the small town independently, before lunch and a coach trip out to Camp Barentz and the excellent Svalbard Museum. MS Spitsbergen had been at anchor in the Adventfjorden all day, because the pier was taken up by the Aida Luna from Germany. Once she had left port, MS Spitsbergen was able to take her place and embarkation could begin. (We were at the front of the queue and had priority as Suite Passengers, but many of the other approximately 160 passengers were left literally out in the cold as the process was slow and made slower by the breakdown of the two computers.) In the evening we had a safety briefing and also information about the experience to come. We are NOT on holiday, we were told, but on an Expedition. How right that information was! Longyearbyen is at 78°13′N, 15°38′E. Here, at this time of year, the sun is high in the sky in the middle of the night. Our room had large windows looking out to the starboard side of the ship and we could sit on the bed, facing the windows or take advantage of the narrow balcony to take photographs for as long as we wanted. As we travelled north, enjoying the scenery continually passing us, we had to go to bed before it was time to get up again. For most of our journey, the sea was extremely calm, offering remarkable reflections of great clarity in some places. The conditions only became rougher as we left the Svalbard coastal area and headed across the open sea on our way south. Although interesting at times, it was never uncomfortable for us. Our first stop was at Ny Alesund, now a Science Station. Here the weather was definitely very cold and our new Hi-Viz jackets, which we could keep, were needed as well as many other layers underneath to combat the wind and light snow. We joined a guided tour of the settlement, which was well worthwhile. Afterwards it was good to return to the hot chocolate available on board ship. En route to Magdalenafjord in the late afternoon, we were allocated sturdy rubber boots, which we kept for the duration of the expedition. They were surprisingly comfortable and essential for entering and exiting the RIBs as well as exploring the terrain we visited. We were divided into five groups for using the RIBs, which rotated in order of priority so everyone had a turn at getting off the ship first over the course of the Expedition. The terrain at Magdalenafjorden was quite difficult, with deep, soft snow in places as well as small and larger boulders to negotiate. It was possible to go on a hike, but thankfully we had chosen not to join in, as I certainly would have struggled and there was not the option to turn back without a guard. On every landing, the Expedition Team went ashore first to ensure the site was safe and free of Polar Bears and to establish a secure area. They carried deterrents and rifles and it was not safe to be out of their sight. They also carried ashore emergency supplies of water, food and shelter in case of the unexpected, but thankfully it was never needed on our cruise. We continued north overnight to Moffen, where we arrived at 06.00. Here we had reached just over 80° North. We were able to enjoy the sight of Walrus on or near the beach, before turning back South to Monacobreen in Liefdefjorden. There we were taken on RIB cruises of around 40 minutes. The first explorers went incredibly close to the glacier face, but our guide was not initially so adventurous and our time ran out before our desired destination was reached. Glaciers abound in Svalbard and there was nearly always one to admire as we travelled. Mushamna was our last stop of the day. Our journey south also took us to Bruceneset, the Smeerenburg Glacier, Bamsebu, the Recherchefjorden and Gnalodden. Kayaking was available in some locations for small groups. We finally left Svalbard to visit Bear Island on the way back to Norway. The intention had been to land on the small beach, but the sea was too rough, so we had RIB cruises once again to take us nearer to the cliffs populated by many sea birds. We finally arrived at Honningsvag after a rough night in the open sea, where the rolling of the ship meant we occasionally felt ourselves slide down the bed, despite the use of the ship’s stabilisers. The experience overall was not particularly unpleasant however; the seas were not very big, but the ship is comparatively small and feels the movement. The plan was to dock in Skarsvag, a small fishing village, but the weather meant that was not possible. Honninsvag suited us better and this time we found the attractive small Church was open. We were also able to visit MS Vesteralen, the ship in port as part of the Coastal Route schedule. Our last port and destination was Tromso, followed by another very long day of delayed flights to reach home again, but the experience of Svalbard was worth every inconvenience. The Expedition was quite hard work because we were frequently busy or preparing to be busy; dressing up for shore excursions took some time! The weather was mainly cold but dry, with some snow on occasions. Boarding and getting out of the RIBs could be strenuous, but there were plenty of staff to assist us and even some more physically limited passengers were helped efficiently and patiently. Occasionally we chose not to disembark and we enjoyed the location from the comfort of the ship instead. The days could start early and finish late; there was always something to see outside. We were lucky enough to see Polar Bears on three occasions, two males and a mother with her two year old cub. It was surprising to see how high they climbed up the slopes; one also slid down again on his stomach and rolled in the snow. All were at quite a distance, the closest being the first, who was occupying a projected landing site. On this occasion we had decided to use the hot tub while everyone else was ashore, but we were quickly surrounded by all the other passengers viewing the bear, so we gave up, fetched our cameras and joined them. The landing was abandoned, but nobody minded. As we left Bear Island and the continental shelf, we were told to look out for whales and we did indeed see a Humpback. On the previous expedition, we were told, a Blue Whale was seen. Walruses were ashore or in the water at two locations we visited and sea birds were frequent and numerous companions. Dolphins also made occasional appearances. The scenery was wonderful, if repetitive, as dark mountains with snowy tops and glaciers in between followed one after another. There was almost always one more photo to take before drawing the curtains for the night. We always have a balcony when we cruise, because of the ease of getting outside to see whatever is passing. On most Hurtigruten ships, this means a suite is required. We had already spent Christmas 2016 in the port rear suite, but this time we chose to book the starboard side suite nearest the stern because the layout of the room was better for us and it was also the cheaper option. We were very happy with our choice and the suite category offers several advantages too. Hurtigruten ships naturally have a great many fish dishes on their menus. The evening meal is often a set meal, but if the kitchen is advised on embarkation, other options are available, so we don’t have fish on board. The only meal I thought was poor quality was a vegetarian alternative when the first alternative was a spicy meal. The cauliflower cheese was watery and unappetising and I was told that a vegetarian passenger found nearly all her meals disappointing. Breakfast and lunch are buffets with plenty of choice and on the Expedition, the first three or four evening meals were also buffets, which I prefer. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This ship is amazing, extremely friendly and well laid out. (we were on deck 6). Food is out of this world and the views last the whole of the voyage. I don't think this will ever be bettered. We had blue skies, snow, amazing ... Read More
This ship is amazing, extremely friendly and well laid out. (we were on deck 6). Food is out of this world and the views last the whole of the voyage. I don't think this will ever be bettered. We had blue skies, snow, amazing clouds, northern lights (3 times). The excursions are expensive but i didn't hear anyone complain. We did the huskies in the north, Kirkenes, which was great in blue skies. I was told the sea eagles and the snow scooters were great, just expensive but as i said no one was complaining. As far as clothing take the full works, and if you have the snow boots with furry insides take them as they gripped the snow much better than my walking boots. You must take gloves and a hat and layers as you will want to go out on deck to take pictures. (we went early April). The fitness room is small but as most people don't use it it is fine. We met and made friend with many people from all counties, lots were from Germany and it is great as they speak good English and are very friendly. Don't believe any of your weather forecasts on the i phone Apps as they were only correct on the day. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We boarded MS Spitsbergen in Bergen. We arrived In Bergen just after 2pm and the Hurtigruten bus picked us up at 3pm to take us to the ship. The staff at the check in counter was extremely friendly and the safety talk beforehand was also ... Read More
We boarded MS Spitsbergen in Bergen. We arrived In Bergen just after 2pm and the Hurtigruten bus picked us up at 3pm to take us to the ship. The staff at the check in counter was extremely friendly and the safety talk beforehand was also informative. Seeing the ship we were blown away. embarking was smooth and effortless. we did not get off again to explore Bergen as we were fascinated with the ship itself and the surrounding views. We also knew coming back we had a day to explore the city. The ship was beautiful. inside and out. and being a smaller ship it meant fewer people. so we got to know the faces and some names and we knew the staff and crew. apart from a couple of days of rough sailing it really was a smooth trip. The cabin was warm and comfortable. it allowed easy access to the restaurant, the gym, the viewing decks and explorer lounges. The TV had lots of channels but ours always seemed to be on the bow camera. the beds were comfortable and the little that i did sleep (too much excitement)was a good sleep. The announcements in the cabins was clear, i do feel they may need something for the bathroom because i missed a couple when i was in the shower. cabins were vacuumed and tidied every day. The food at meal times was fantastic. so much variety in the buffets, and everything was tasty. we literally couldn't stop eating! the set menu at dinner was lovely and we enjoyed how they made things to fit the theme for the day. we could not eat any meat but the chef always surprised us with the dishes he prepared for us, so it didnt feel like we were eating the same fish all the time. the chocolate brownie dessert was my favourite! Entertainment in the form of on board lectures, talks, presentations were great. it seemed there was always something to listen to while we were sailing. We enjoyed the arctic circle ceremonies, it was so much fun. Service is 5 star. everyone is friendly and willing to help and share information. The excursions left us with so many wonderful memories. It was well organized and gave us a good taste of the different parts of northern norway. all the tour guides were knowledgeable. We did husky sled in Kirkenes, Snowmobile from Kjollefjord to Mehamn, Midnight concert in Tromso, Taste of Vesteralen, Tram ride and city tour in Trondheim, Arctic coastal walk in Bodo and a dip in the arctic ocean in Vardo. I saw all the ports on the cruise and it was interesting seeing passengers getting on and off, goods being loaded or offloaded. each port was so different and so beautiful. we saw the northern lights twice, the first was a spectacular show, the second more subdued. i had to pinch myself to make sure i wasn't dreaming. I would love to do this cruise again, Norway is an amazing country to explore, the mountains and fjords breathtaking to see. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We chose it initially to see the Northern Lights. We had heard that the coast of Norway is beautiful and it certainly is. Hurtigruten provided an epic expedition cruise beyond our expectations. The Expedition ship Spitsbergen is ... Read More
We chose it initially to see the Northern Lights. We had heard that the coast of Norway is beautiful and it certainly is. Hurtigruten provided an epic expedition cruise beyond our expectations. The Expedition ship Spitsbergen is perfect for cruising the Arctic and the cabin was very comfortable with a large window so you would not miss anything. Breakfast Lunch and Dinner were all perfect and very well presented. Every day we had talks on the history of the areas and people that we were going to visit. In the 11 day cruise we docked at 34 ports on the way up the Norway coast from Bergen to Kirkenes and back. Not all the passengers of up to about 300 were on the cruise for the whole journey as it is used like a bus service so you can hop on and hop off. We are now looking at booking our next Expedition Cruise possible to Spitsbergen for Polar Bears and the midnight sun Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
The cruise was quite good, embarkation and disembarkation the best we have had on any cruise. Our room was a great size and the staff very nice. The food was not very good, it was the same every breakfast and lunch with 1 or 2 things ... Read More
The cruise was quite good, embarkation and disembarkation the best we have had on any cruise. Our room was a great size and the staff very nice. The food was not very good, it was the same every breakfast and lunch with 1 or 2 things changing no variety and it look very mushy. Dinner always look very pretty but did not taste like it looked. The protein was dry, tough or over cooked. Drinks very expensive and the wine packages do not save you any money. The excursion are vdery expensive and in most cases not worth the money. We onkly went on 1 excursion and it was excellent hoswever people we spoke to were dissapointed in a numnber of the excurison they went on. The cruise director was quite boring when talking about the excursion.l We have been on a number of cruises and after we have heard what the excursuin is about we add some to our list. In Hurtigruten cruise director this wasnot the case if anything we learnt nothing about the up and coming excursion. The ecursiun we went neither or the cruise directors had even been on it so how can they even explain what you would see and do. Very dissappointing. We also feel that every major port you should be given a map of the area with some of the local sights maked so when walking around on your own you can visit them and also get around. We everytime in port went to a tourist info centre. As a benefit when you have the food tasing on the deck 8 a drink should be included. The sound system is inaudible especially in the dining room. Loved that the laundry was 24/7 Chairs in the loiunge very hardto get in and out of especially as most people were of retirement age Whilst we seem to have a lot of negatives we did however enjoy the cruise and more than likely use Hurtigruten again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
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
I chose this cruise, as I had always wanted to go on a cruise, but also wanted to see the Northern Lights, this cruise fitted both criteria. I loved the cruising, and also the ship not being very oversized, made it friendly and people very ... Read More
I chose this cruise, as I had always wanted to go on a cruise, but also wanted to see the Northern Lights, this cruise fitted both criteria. I loved the cruising, and also the ship not being very oversized, made it friendly and people very relaxed. The food was excellent, buffets for breakfast and lunch and twice in the evening, evening otherwise was served. The meals served were outstanding, tasty and varied, portions not oversized, which is another thing I really loved. Drinks were expensive, but are dear in Norway, not a problem for me, drank water most of the time. I did have free tea and coffee all day, which I enjoyed. The excursions were wonderful, all the guides were very knowledgeable and I learned a lot about the history of Norway over the time. The only thing I will asked the next time I go, I would have like a kettle in my room, as I always drink tea, before I get up. I will do a similar cruise again, and definitely book with Hurtigruten. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We were recommended by friends. We booked directly with Hurtigruten and found their headquarters team very helpful during several phone conversations. The Spitsbergen has been recently upgraded and offers a gym, hot tubs and sauna. There ... Read More
We were recommended by friends. We booked directly with Hurtigruten and found their headquarters team very helpful during several phone conversations. The Spitsbergen has been recently upgraded and offers a gym, hot tubs and sauna. There was a buffet style breakfast and lunch with hot and cold options and most evenings a designated table, waiter service meal. The food - without exception - was excellent. Fish was served most lunchtimes and evenings either as a starter or main course. If like me you aren't keen, you can ask in advance to have an alternative which was most often meat, but sometimes I was given a vegetarian starter which was lovely also. As this is a working passenger ferry there is no need to dress formally for dinner. Most people wore their daytime clothes for the evening meal. Bar prices are prohibitive! If you buy a couple of drinks - beer, wine or spirits - you will not get much change from 230 NOK (approx. £23.00). Actually the ships's bar prices were very competitive to the prices in the towns. This is Norwegian Govt. pricing. The service, in every respect was exceptional. All the staff spoke excellent English. They wewre friendly, courteous and helpful. The itinary looks very busy but in practice, many of the stops in port happened late in the evening orvery early in the morning and offered little time for sight seeing. A 15 min sop was not unusual. This is because it is a working passenger ferry and follows a strict timetable. Some people on our trip had expected a cruise experience and itinary and were a bit disappointed. We felt that the frequent stops added a new and interesting dimension eveni though often we were seeing towns from the top deck and after dark. The excursions we joined were very good (although I wouldn't recommend Bodo and saltstraumen in the winter months as their is little to see and the visit to the rapids was curtailed because it was getting dark). The highlights for us were Kirkenes and a Taste of Vesteralen. The scenery in winter is breathtaking and heart achingly beautiful. We did see the Northernn Liights. We feel we must go back again. It is not enough to restrict yourself to seeing such beauty just once in a lifetime. I would certainly use Hurtigruten again. Disembarkation was problem free. Do book the Hurtigrutuen coach transport to and from Bergen airport. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
I took this cruise from Bergen to Russia and back. Went in October so I could experience the northern lights but yet have full daylight and the northern lights did not disappoint! As we headed north into the Arctic Circle we had several ... Read More
I took this cruise from Bergen to Russia and back. Went in October so I could experience the northern lights but yet have full daylight and the northern lights did not disappoint! As we headed north into the Arctic Circle we had several nights that were truly spectacular . As for the ship itself, spotless and the staff was excellent . This is a small ship with no casinos and noshows or are any entertainment . Breakfast and lunch or buffet and the food was spectacular from King crab to prawns lamb and local cheeses . The ship I was on had a great sauna with a wall window for a view also had a small gym and too hot tubs on the after which were spectacular enjoying the views . Where do I go on the ship again yes would I go to Norway again 100% yes truly a spectacular country . Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This cruise was everything we hoped for and more.The weather was wonderful,the scenery was fantastic and we saw the Northern Lights.The ship was wonderful-not too big,modern and comfortable.The ambience on board was wonderful even though ... Read More
This cruise was everything we hoped for and more.The weather was wonderful,the scenery was fantastic and we saw the Northern Lights.The ship was wonderful-not too big,modern and comfortable.The ambience on board was wonderful even though the big brown chairs in the lounge were a bit too low for my liking.The food was great and service from all the crew was impeccable.We booked this cruise hoping it would be the trip of a lifetime and it was-perfect in every way.Norway is expensive and the prices of excursions and drinks on board reflected this-but we only intend doing this trip once and we did get what we paid for-quality.-worth every penny/krona-though I have to say we were very fortunate with the weather All arrangements re flight to Bergen,transfers,excursions,timings were perfect-no delays and efficient-we particularly liked the Norwegian Air-luggage allowance-2 x 20KG hold luggage plus cabin bag per person!. It was fun.-expect the unexpected! We met plenty of like minded people on board-this is not a cruise where you go be be entertained-we went for the experience and scenery--we were not disappointed Read Less
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
Sail Date October 2017
The Hurtigruten trip with MS Spitsbergen was definitely one of the best holidays we ever had! Besides the beautiful landscape of the Norwegian coast, the size of the ship was perfect (small), the interior was modern, the food was very ... Read More
The Hurtigruten trip with MS Spitsbergen was definitely one of the best holidays we ever had! Besides the beautiful landscape of the Norwegian coast, the size of the ship was perfect (small), the interior was modern, the food was very delicious, the daily information of the upcoming stops and tours were helpful, the littele events, presentations and gimmick were funny and exciting, and, most important, the crew was always friendly and open for a small chat! The variety of vegetarian food could have been a little bigger (it sometimes was only the usual side dishes). We did the following excursions: - Art Nouveau walk in Ålesund: was informative but a bit rushed - Husky farm in Tromsø: very nice and cute, with puppies, background information, cake and coffee - Nordkapp: impressive landscape, extra stop at Sami and Reindeer, good stories from guide - Russion Border at Kirkenes: with Shelter and view point; ok but not a must-see - Midnight concert in Tromsø: amazing - Evening hiking on Lofoten: was ok but a near road was noisy all the time; 1.5 h car drive for 2 h hike was ineffective; you should be fit to join. Weather was great, 20°C and sunny in the start, later around 5-10° and very windy. Many nights with northern lights. The ship was quite shakey during the open sea passages. We had two extra nights in Bergen before an one after the cruise. The embarkation and welcome on board was without problems. The disembarkation took a little longer dur to low battery of the fork lift. :-) Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We wanted to sea the Norwegian coastline from Kirkenes to Bergen. We got to Kirkenes from Oslo by SAS and did not spend any time in Kirkenes before embarking. The embarking went smooth easy The ship in not one of the biggest in ... Read More
We wanted to sea the Norwegian coastline from Kirkenes to Bergen. We got to Kirkenes from Oslo by SAS and did not spend any time in Kirkenes before embarking. The embarking went smooth easy The ship in not one of the biggest in Hurtigruten but that is why we love it so much. Just over 200 passengers is perfect. The Ship has a history that is kind of intriguing. The cabin we stayed in was amazing, and we love the local foods being served at dinner, and also the fact if you have allergies or you do not like what is on the menu you can get some other choice, but you have to ask for it. The service of the Staff is why we came back for our second trip on this vessel. To dine aboard MS Spitsbergen is unstressfull and the food is varied and tasty. The waiters are so sweet and cheerful, and they are always smiling and giving 100% service! There are so many Ports that we stop at and loads of different shore excursions so there is truly something for everyone. Best of all is the Norwegian coast, the dramatic nature, glaciers, the tall montains and all the places people do live along this amazing coast. Fresh, clean, wild, untouched nature at it's best. We did miss some better chairs up on deck 8, they are to low and should have had a higher/longer back so that you can lean back and enjoy the sun. Some blankets would also have been nice. This is not our last trip with Hurtigruten MS Spitsbergen, we will be back again! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was an arctic cruise to North-west Greenland, to complement our arctic experience of many years. The layout of the ship ms. Spitsbergen is well designed but the interior decoration is tasteless.There are not enough tender boats, ... Read More
This was an arctic cruise to North-west Greenland, to complement our arctic experience of many years. The layout of the ship ms. Spitsbergen is well designed but the interior decoration is tasteless.There are not enough tender boats, tendering to shore meant endless waiting for your group to be called, embarkation (by tender boat) was very slow. The dining room has great views on three sides and is a pleasant place to be, but unfortunately it is closed in between the meals. The kitchen is the type of smart budget cooking, I admire the chef for his imagination, although there is much the same every day.The waiters are very nice but highly unprofessional, totally ignorant about food and wine.The expedition team was invisible, did not operate as a team, each member doing his own thing and more busy with themselves than with the passengers, particularly during excursions. Lectures were good but too few and they were repeated several times instead of offering new ones. Of the many interesting arctic subjects only a few were covered this way. And very disappointingly passengers were not allowed on the bridge (only once as an exception. In short, all this was very mediocre and not at all like our tip on the Fram to West Greenland some years ago. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We cruised around Iceland over eleven days, stopping at small ports and islands, sometimes twice in a day, and enjoying rubber boat trips to bird cliffs, etc. Absolutely no problems over embarkation and disembarkation, and the transfers ... Read More
We cruised around Iceland over eleven days, stopping at small ports and islands, sometimes twice in a day, and enjoying rubber boat trips to bird cliffs, etc. Absolutely no problems over embarkation and disembarkation, and the transfers from/to the airport were on time and trouble-free. The ship was compact - 121 passengers in all - yet had all that we needed in terms of facilities, including a training room and outdoor jacuzzi for those who wished. The cabin was equally compact, but the double bed was superbly comfortable and the en-suite entirely adequate. There were two lounges and one restaurant, with a bar in one of the lounges. Dining was at specified tables on some evenings, but for breakfast, lunch and 'buffet' evening meals the seating was open. The food was invariably good, with a few 'themed' cuisines such as 'South American' or 'Italian Style'. There was no 'entertainment' in the sense of shows, but every evening there were talks about what we had seen, or what we were to see the following day, and on one evening the crew pt on their own show for us. Books and games were available in the panorama lounge. There was an excellent range of excursions, which were impeccably organised, whilst the crew were well trained in ensuring safe transfers into and from the tenders when at anchor rather than alongside a jetty. For anyone interested in seeing this fascinating country it was a superb cruise - the only thing they didn't organise for us was an eruption of any of the volcanoes! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We booked this voyage hoping to see The Northern Lights and we did. 4 nights out of 6 the Aurora was there in all her glory. 12 sightings in all. That's what I call success! We've cruised on 'cruise ships'; Celebrity ... Read More
We booked this voyage hoping to see The Northern Lights and we did. 4 nights out of 6 the Aurora was there in all her glory. 12 sightings in all. That's what I call success! We've cruised on 'cruise ships'; Celebrity & Holland America. We knew The Spitsbergen was not a 'cruise ship' and having read some reviews here we were a tad nervous. The ship exceeded our expectations. She is modern, warm, comfortable and spotlessly clean. The staff (mostly Norwegian) are professional, efficient, friendly & helpful. The food was local, delicious, varied, plentiful and beautifully presented. If you don't like fish you'd be best to ask for the Vegetarian/Vegan menu in advance. The daily bulletin's are comprehensive and Hurtigruten go to great lengths to make sure you don't miss out on any of the beautiful scenery & points of interest. You can set your cabin phone to receive 'Northern Lights announcements' throughout the night. Our first 'alert' came at 10.30pm on Day 3 and it said "Ladies & Gentlement, Hurtigruten proudly presents the Aurora Borealis"....brought a tear to my eye. To see 'everything' takes a bit of effort, be prepared to get out of bed, put on ALL of your clothes and go to Deck 8. Even during the day, make the effort to go 'on Deck' to see all the points of interest. We were surprised how many passengers did not do this. Don't expect 'Entertainment'. The scenery is your entertainment and there's no shortage of it. There are some 'activities' organised that you should not miss: The crossing The Arctic Circle Ceremony has to be done and remember to post your postcards with the ship's arctic crossing postmark. The various tastings of fresh seafood served on Deck 8 are delicious. Look out for the Arctic Circle marker around 7 am on the port side and there are many more points of interest that are all worth the effort. Don't miss the Trollfjord lit up by the ship's searchlights. The ports visited are small and in winter, very quiet. Don't expect too much. But there's enough in the main ports to warrant a wander around. Bergen, Trondheim & Tromso are the key 3. Also, get off in Svolvaer the Capital of The Lofoten Islands during the 1 hour stop here. It's interesting even during the 15 to 30 minute stops to watch the local passengers come & go. And watch the cargo too, we saw 'windows' being loaded, fridge/freezers, a snowmobile, fresh produce...and of course 'Post'. We did one organised excursion from Honningsvag to The North Cape. It was amazing to be standing at the most northerly land point in Europe and see the impressive sculpture. The drive, in convoy behind the snow plough is an exhilarating ride not for the faint hearted. Hurtigruten is a well oiled machine and everything from embarkation to disembarkation went smoothly & safely. Some tips: 1. Do not underestimate how cold it can be when you are on the open deck late at night and the ship is moving. You must take quality thermal underwear & several layers of it. Ski (padded, thermal) trousers would be ideal and a quality wind/waterproof jacket (long) with a hood. You'll also need a hat, 2 pairs of gloves, thermal socks, a scarf and snow boots plus ice grips. 2. Comfy, lounge around clothes for in your cabin make all the difference. Fleecy Pyjamas would be ideal for this. I took a mini hot water bottle and I needed it when I came back in from the open deck!! 3. The Northern Lights are notoriously difficult to photograph. We downloaded an app from the I-store called Northern Lights and used it to take photos on an I-phone 7. We're pleased with the quality. Our fancy cannon camera didn't register the lights at all. 4. Go to the welcome meeting & the disembarkation meeting; it's useful information. 5. Take a small amount of local currency. Enough to tip (if you want) your cabin/dining staff. Or to buy a coffee or postcard in ports. Credit cards are accepted everywhere 6. Take a good moisturiser and hand cream. The cold & sea air dries you up in seconds! 7. It's warm on board so take a layered approach to your packing. You do not need anything 'dressy'. Jeans & a light jumper are more than fine for the dining room. We would definitely travel with Hurtigruten again in the future for this type of adventure voyage. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
MS Spitsbergen Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.6
Dining 5.0 4.5
Entertainment 3.0 3.3
Public Rooms 3.5 4.5
Fitness Recreation 3.0 4.0
Family 2.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 4.3
Enrichment 3.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.6
Value For Money 4.0 4.0

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