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10 Hurtigruten Midnatsol Cruise Reviews

Antarctica was on our bucket list for a long time. This was a beautiful and truly unspoiled nature. We loved Antarctica. The expedition was great but don’t book or plan to book the optional excursions unless you plan to be ... Read More
Antarctica was on our bucket list for a long time. This was a beautiful and truly unspoiled nature. We loved Antarctica. The expedition was great but don’t book or plan to book the optional excursions unless you plan to be disappointed. When we made our initial booking we were told we could book the optional excursions until the sailing date. Called 2 weeks later to book and were told had to be once we got to the ship and after rushing onboard to book were told to wait and hear a lecture and was a random lottery. Did not get any of our excursions we wanted after much anticipation and daily disappointments as the cabins of who was chosen were displayed. Did not register for camping because was told had to be at least 15 years old but on the night of camping we saw young kids age 9 and 11 go camping Finally got photo cruising last night and it was disaster and crew/staff didn’t care. Photographer was great and tried his best to make it nice but kept getting redirected from bridge and didn’t get any worthwhile time out of ship Left feeling like given misinformation and disappointed Landing are fantastic but time constrained. You will be on land for 1 hour a day approximately There are good lectures on board But seating is difficult There see not enough seats in the auditorium for everyone so get there early Dining- food was good but repetitive. The breakfast and lunch are exactly the same everyday of the trip. Meals are Buffett style and seats are limited at prime meal times Service was excellent. The crew went out of their way to make sure my teenagers had something to eat even if it was cooking just French fries only for them The lectures are the only activities on board. No show. No casino. Bring card games or books to enjoy during downtime Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Voyage (Bergen>Kirkenes>Bergen) 30 July – 10 August MS Midnatsol Overall a very good but also memorable trip – however, it was memorable for the wrong reason. Malfunction/break down of ... Read More
Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Voyage (Bergen>Kirkenes>Bergen) 30 July – 10 August MS Midnatsol Overall a very good but also memorable trip – however, it was memorable for the wrong reason. Malfunction/break down of machinery/equipment on ships impacts adversely, to a greater or lesser extent, on passengers. The ship operating company, in this case, Hurtigruten, can be judged by how they deal with such situations. The voyage of MS Midnatsol was due to arrive in Bergen on 10 August. On the penultimate evening there was an electricity failure affecting the cabins and air conditioning which, we were told an hour or so later, had been repaired. On the morning of the final day we found we were docked at Alesund and were informed that the onward cruise to Bergen (our final destination) was cancelled. One would have thought Hurtigruten, as a long and very experienced operator, would handle the situation quickly and efficiently. In reality, it was a nightmare. There was a complete lack of information as to how passengers would be taken to Bergen. We were repeatedly told by the staff that they were waiting for Hurtigruten HQ to inform them of solutions. If there was a leader handling the case on the ship, it was not evident. The Captain was neither seen nor heard at any time. The staff were evasive, disorganized and, sometimes, offhand in handling passenger queries. It was not until the late afternoon of the final day we were informed that coaches, departing at different times, would take us to Bergen. A meeting was convened with all passengers concerned to give details of this. The meeting descended into chaos, as the staff responsible created confusion and even panic situations as they disseminated the information on the coach departures. Throughout the day, the staff repeatedly said they worked very hard to get passengers to Bergen – I have no reason to doubt that – but it was the amateurish way the whole matter was dealt with by Hurtigruten and their staff that made a bad situation worse. We are not aware of an official apology being made for the inconvenience caused. Eventually, more by luck and persistence on our part rather than by good management on the part of Hurtigruten, we boarded a coach which departed at 17.45 for the journey from Alesund to Bergen with each passenger given a bag containing a sandwich, an apple and a bottle of water. After dropping passengers off at a number of hotels in central Bergen we eventually reached the airport at approx. 03.30, too late to check into the airport hotel we had booked, as we had to check in for our early morning flight at 04.00. A great pity that what was otherwise a very good holiday was soured by this traumatic experience on the final day. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Going to Antarctica was top on our bucket list so we were expecting great things. The itinerary was excellent and the ship's crew were concerned at all times for our safety, which was excellent. The itinerary was good and we were ... Read More
Going to Antarctica was top on our bucket list so we were expecting great things. The itinerary was excellent and the ship's crew were concerned at all times for our safety, which was excellent. The itinerary was good and we were excited to meet the penguins. At embarkation we should have had our medical forms taken off us as we checked in, however this was not done but we were asked to deliver them to a different place the same day. However, we did as requested but the ship mislaid our forms. Having told us that they hadn't received them on the first sea day, and we told them that we had handed them in as requested we heard nothing until the ship was about to sail from Stanley to Antarctica a number of days later when it was insisted upon that we had a medical from the ship's doctor. We were given no apology. The ship itself is comfortable with plenty of pleasant spaces to sit and read or just take in the sites. The cabins are rather compact and the beds not as comfortable as we hoped. The evening dinners were too fancy, no one would go on this trip for the food but would expect good wholesome food. Some of the meat was uneatable. The expedition team were excellent with exceptional knowledge especially in giving their lectures and were always available to answer any questions passengers may have had. The ports of call were good and the shore excursions on the whole were good, but some were very expensive for what you received. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Came on board to accompany a friend and to see the beautiful landscape of Norway. Get ready for many non smiling passengers. The staff can be found doing multiple job assignments. Your room can be attended to by the wait staff. I ... Read More
Came on board to accompany a friend and to see the beautiful landscape of Norway. Get ready for many non smiling passengers. The staff can be found doing multiple job assignments. Your room can be attended to by the wait staff. I was happy that our server was attentive to special dietary restrictions. Most speak English fairly well and one guide spoke 6 languages. He seemed like the most kindhearted individual. Turned off by a hostess who felt like she needed to admonish an infraction in dining policy. Needs training in customer service. What was a fairly pleasant boring but beautiful cruise was tainted by her caustic approach in addressing us. Best thing on the ship was the salmon. If your looking to be entertained, this is not for you. The weather was cold and rained a lot. Darken the windows when sleeping since it was light for 23 hours. Bring warm clothes and a good water repellent jacket. Dress is very casual. Water is a premium. Need to bring water from restaurant if you want it in your cabin. Coffee is only served in morning at breakfast, but available on deck 8 with purchase or package. Ice is a commodity. Had to get my own ice daily for my water from the bar. Norway is not cheap. Everything is expensive. Cashed in US dollars for Krones at reception and was shorted each time. Asked if there was a fee and replied no, but get ready to pay a hidden rate(not the true exchange rate at time). There is a laundry facility available, but clothes take a long time to dry. Can’t beat the remarkable views traveling by water. Salmon the best, staff mostly helpful. Passengers- depressing. Sorry Norway, land of my ancestors. You need to lighten up. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I knew this was first cruise of the season, but it was marketed to me as limited to 300-350 people. That made sense for an expedition cruise to Antarctica. Limitations on numbers of people on land at any time creates logistical issues. ... Read More
I knew this was first cruise of the season, but it was marketed to me as limited to 300-350 people. That made sense for an expedition cruise to Antarctica. Limitations on numbers of people on land at any time creates logistical issues. Add to that the early season, and it made sense to have a limitation. Unfortunately, Hurtigruten booked over 400 people on the ship. Made it into a shakedown cruise - too many people to fit in the auditorium; too many people to land efficiently; too many people who didn't fully understand the nature of landings in Antarctica. Items on schedule that then appeared to be a surprise as someone had to scramble to get them going. All expedition staff unavailable during landing days, because every single one was needed to try and get the landings and cruisings done. No one seemed to understand the logistics of moving so many people (particularly so many elderly people) on and off the ship on the zodiacs. It was simple math to figure out that the stated departure time would not sync with the landings and cruisings. Schedules when both a landing and a cruise were available sometimes ruled out lunch for certain groups. With two dinner seatings, there didn't seem to be any attempt to check on people's preferences. I actually wrote on my passenger info form (sent out very late, with an email that I had not returned -couldn't return a form that was never sent to me) that I wanted early seating, but was assigned to late (was able to change). Some tables were assigned to people to sit alone (???), others had one single man, one single women - not traveling together (???), but when it was asked it we could broadcast a meeting in the bar area for single travelers to meet each other (not for hooking up, but to simply meet others traveling on their own), was told not appropriate. A shake down cruise is the best description I can provide. Off ship excursions are substantially overpriced. If you are traveling with a group, suggest you try to book directly or accept that Hurtigruten will be charging at least double the actual cost. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
There were four of us visiting Norway Winter chasing the Northern lights on this working ship Interesting experience 3 of us very experienced travelers The ship was well presented similar to other cruise ships decorated for ... Read More
There were four of us visiting Norway Winter chasing the Northern lights on this working ship Interesting experience 3 of us very experienced travelers The ship was well presented similar to other cruise ships decorated for Christmas. The food was average but we did appreciate this was in winter the buffet dinners were not that good so much fish but it was Norway.The service staff in the dining area seemed like they had enough and the service was average other than the head female waitress who was training new staff. I was so sick of fish I requested no more for meals when there was a fixed menu this improved the food. We purchased a wine package OK but not a good selection of wines middle of the road at the best staff no real understanding of wines. The off the ship tours were disappointing expensive but not very interesting but it was in winter. We purchased a mini suite which was allocated at the back very noisy and the room vibrated not happy with the cost and poor allocation we requested a room change. We were aware the ship was very quite with many empty rooms we were shown a very poor Room half the size of our room with the staff saying this is the only room on the ship ! Very unhappy with being treated as a fool. Our friend paid for a suite and that was very nice. The most disappointing part of the experience was the poor customer service from most staff especially front desk and head tour director no such thing as customer service in fact they were rude and dismissive. The cleaning staff were good. We did see the Norhern Lights just amazing made the poor customer service and average food worth it as this was a very expensive cruise. If we booked again we would do this under our own planning use the ship to go from town to town in single trips then book Nothern lights sight seeing in Kirkines as private tour. We had been traveling in Europe of many yeas this trip first in Norway not a good introduction to customer service very disappointed all 4 of us . The scenery even in the dark was amazing but we enjoyed the Norway in a nut shell train experience so much better than this cruise as the customer service during this experience was so much better. We were charged 700 k over our costs this was managed very badly as they had no idea why we were told lucky you found it was we do not do refunds The cruise felt like we were a captured audience who were on a working ship and we just had to put up with the poor service. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was our 25th cruise with various companies & this was a totally different experience as it is 'a working ship' it is a cruise ship, a car ferry, a daily passenger ship with people using it as we would a train or a bus ... Read More
This was our 25th cruise with various companies & this was a totally different experience as it is 'a working ship' it is a cruise ship, a car ferry, a daily passenger ship with people using it as we would a train or a bus getting on at one stop & off at the next stop and also a cargo/mail - ship during the full cruise from Bergen & back again (12 days) it calls at 32 ports It was a totally different experience, we embarked at Tromso after flying direct from Newcastle - ship sailed right up to the Russian border & returned the same way to Tromso (4 days) where we disembarked & stayed for 2 nights in Raddisson Blu Hotel for 2 nights before flying home to Newcastle - only 52 people on this trip from Newcastle On arrival at the port in Tromso (after a city tour) we were told the ship would be late in arriving due to storms the previous 2 days - the sea level was too high to dock safely - so after numerous attempts to dock it finally happened 2 hours late. We had to wait while literally hundreds of passengers disembarked, some on trips, some to walk around & some with their cases to stay. it was chaotic as the stairs were very steep as we manhandled our luggage aboard Finally we reached our cabin which was small (as we knew ) with 1 single bed & 1 sofa which pulled down to convert to another single bed - wardrobe space was minimal only space for 6 hangars, a few shelves & other small storage areas - not a lot of space especially when bringing thick clothes the bathroom floor was heated which was great if you needed warming up, we took own kettle, tea, coffee etc & packet soups for a quick lunch as we knew prices on board were astronomical - beer wine £8 each, we also took own alcohol on board - there are no checks as it was so chaotic & also took thermal mugs which we used to take to lounge areas with wine etc mugs were available at breakfast time so just carry one out of restaurant & use in cabin etc Restaurant - breakfast - lots of cold meats etc & a small selection of hot food which varied tea & coffee & fruit juices Dinner - ship wasn't very full so there were 2 sittings (staggered) 7 pm & 7 30 pm - I think just so that all passengers didn't expect to be served at the same time - when ship is full there will be 2 normal sittings - the main meal is a set meal unless you are vegetarian etc & organise with ship before you go (there are menus on their website) the exception was 1 night when it was a buffet including lots of seafood, as we were on the second sitting the queues were horrendous & I was determined to try King Crab - however we waited for at least 20 minutes before more appeared - what a disappointment there was very little meat in the pieces I selected & didn't have much taste (normally I love crab) There is no free water with dinner you have to buy bottles but there are drinks packages 1 - water 2- water & wine which was included in our package @ a cost of £160 this included for 2 people - 2 small bottles & a bottle of wine to compliment the meal being served sometimes red sometimes white - this could be changed at your allocated table - cheapest wines £40 bottle, if changing check the price in the wine list as waiters will suggest a dearer wine - however whenever you change you have to pay 1 NOK - our total bill to pay on departure was 2 NOK as we changed 2 bottles of red for white as I don't drink red wine Lounge areas - lots of seats as ship wasn't full, best place to sit is on deck 9 Take coats after dinner & wait for announcement to see the Aurora & go straight out - just be prepared as sometimes they don't last for very long - we were lucky saw on all 3 nights but last one was the best but only green colours unfortunately sometimes day / night there were demonstrations & snacks on deck 9 outside It was an experience but we will not cruise again with Hurtigruten again mainly due to the cost of food & drink on board & the lack of help with our luggage even though we knew we had to carry our luggage on board this is why we only had 1 case it was still difficult & my husband is still ok to handle luggage normally but not this time due to all the stairs to be climbed there were 2 old people both with walking difficulties & had 2 large cases & lot of hand luggage & they struggled getting on the ship even with help so if going on this cruise line think about the weight & number of cases etc to carry on board TRAVEL AS LIGHT AS POSSIBLE Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Overall a good experience for my first cruise however there were some areas which concerned me. The staff were extremely supportive with a special diet. The deck near the hot tub became extremely dangerous due to water spilling from ... Read More
Overall a good experience for my first cruise however there were some areas which concerned me. The staff were extremely supportive with a special diet. The deck near the hot tub became extremely dangerous due to water spilling from the hot tub and freezing. When I informed the staff about this, it was exactly the same later. I had fallen but there was little recognition of the danger. The singer in the bar was very loud making it impossible to talk to friends without shouting. Some low background music would be good in some areas. I am not sure whether it was the rudeness of some of the passengers, but some people were made to feel unwelcome in the viewing areas. It appeared to be used as a library rather than a viewing area where friends could meet and discuss the views. I was extremely disappointed about the lack of opportunity to get off at the Lofoten Islands due to the lateness of our evening meal. I would have thought that the evening meal could have been brought slightly forward in order that the one hour visit was available to all. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
The ship and the staff are first class. Spotlessly clean, very friendly staff and very helpful and polite always. Breakfast was amazing lots to choose from with fruit, dried fruits, cereals, yoghurt, bread, eggs, cheeses, coldmeats, ... Read More
The ship and the staff are first class. Spotlessly clean, very friendly staff and very helpful and polite always. Breakfast was amazing lots to choose from with fruit, dried fruits, cereals, yoghurt, bread, eggs, cheeses, coldmeats, fish, hot dishes and plenty of tea and coffee and juices. The evening meal on the other hand was dissappointing on all occasions. Firstly the second sitting because we were half board was at 8.30pm far too late. Then when we were served the food was luck warm and the portion sizes very small. On the evening when they did what looked like a spectacular buffet of seafood, the seafood was tasteless apart from the mussels. The excusions were like herding cattle and on occasions rushed and we seemed to hang around alot waiting. We saw some wonderful scenery, the North Cape was spectacular, we saw the northern lights which was fantastic, the husky ride was the absolute highlight but do the one at Tromso it is a much bigger operation and you get a long ride. The trip up the mountain in the cable car above Tromso was great but again we had to hang around waiting to go home, should have been back at the hotel for 10pm and didnt get back until after 11pm, and we had all had enough. But the meal at the top of the mountain was very substantial and tasty. Lots of great restaurants in Tromso and I would recommend eating there if you can afford it, it cost us about £250 for 4 people with alcohol. Overall we loved the experiences, but not the cruise or on board food. Which considering you are paying £400 per night per couple the food should have been exceptional. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Hurtigruten—the largest cruise line you never heard of. Norwegian owned and operated, the line owns a fleet of 16 cruise ships, most of which travel up and down the west coast of Norway. The line also offer cruises to Greenland and ... Read More
Hurtigruten—the largest cruise line you never heard of. Norwegian owned and operated, the line owns a fleet of 16 cruise ships, most of which travel up and down the west coast of Norway. The line also offer cruises to Greenland and Antarctica. Our Cruise We took one of the 12-day Norwegian coastal cruises that both started and ended in Bergen, Norway, stopping about 30 times along the way. Most stops were of short duration, with no passengers exiting. There were about 10 longer stops where, at prices ranging from $40 to about $200 per person, we could take and "excursion" to see various attractions. One that we took, and the best by far, involved a fast, open air pontoon-like boat ride to a remote location to view sea eagles. Taking these excursions can easily add $500 to $1,000 per person or more to your cruise cost. There is very little to do on the ship except eat and sit around (inside or outside) enjoying the scenery, so you more or less have to take some of the excursions. The scenery varies from breathtakingly beautiful (fiords, mountains, farms, forests, small villages) to downright boring (barren hills, rocks and crags, not unlike the surface of the moon). The small villages and farming areas are quite picturesque. In addition to the excursion information furnished to passengers when they sign up for the cruise, there is a daily schedule of excursions, scenery sightings and shipboard activities (principally eating) posted by the tour director's desk, and copies are available for passengers to take. Our cruise began on September 1st and ended on September 12th. This was early enough in the season for us to enjoy unusually good weather. (We saw rain only three times, with only one of longer duration.) For the first three days, as we traveled northward, it was warm enough for passengers to sit on the open top deck in shirt sleeves. At "Nord Cap" (North Cape), the northernmost land point in Europe, the temperatures had dropped to the low forties, and a fierce wind created a wind chill factor much colder. It was surprising to us to see how modern and developed even the small villages are in terms of urban amenities and services—even at the top of the world in Kirkenes. The larger cities are like any other large city in Europe. There were many nationalities aboard the ship, but the passengers were overwhelmingly European, including Norwegians, Swedes, Germans and English. Announcements over the ship PA system (which were irritatingly frequent) were given in three languages—Norwegian, German and English. We encountered very few Americans on the ship (about 10), and at the dinner meal (the only meal served restaurant style; breakfast and lunch were served buffet), we were seated by ourselves at our reserved table.. Our Ship Our cruise was aboard the MS Midnatsol (Midnight Sun), the newest vessel (2003) in the Hurtigruten fleet. It is attractively decorated, with much use of wood in walls, floors and furniture, and in a style akin to updated art deco. The ship was kept spotlessly clean. It was easy to learn the layout and to get around in, with elevators and stairs between decks both fore and aft. The public areas are located on decks 5, 8 and 9. The dining room, gift shop and fast food restaurant are on deck 5. Deck 8 has an open lounge in the front, with windows extending up to the ceiling in deck 9. Three-quarters of deck 9 is an outside deck with chaise lounges, a bar and two jacuzzis. There is a larger bar and lounge on deck 8, with live entertainment after about 7 PM. Deck 8 also has a self-service coffee/tea bar—at five bucks a cup! At the start of the cruise passengers are offered an opportunity to purchase a "coffee/tea deal," where for one price you get a Hurtigruten metal mug and all the coffee or tea you want at the self-service bar for the duration of the cruise. We bought it, but I don't remember the cost. Unfortunately, the coffee was virtually undrinkable (somewhere between snake venom and battery acid), so I ended up with just a high-priced mug. My wife made out: she drank lots of tea from the large assortment of tea brands available at the self-service bar. Our cabin (inside; no windows; the cheapest) was small but very efficient. It included one fulltime single bunk style bed and a sofa that converted into a second bunk style bed. Both were hard but comfortable. There was a mirrored ladies make-up station, a small TV with 8 cable channels, a closet and other storage. The shower was small but quite adequate, except for its propensity to oscillate between hot and cold. For $350 more we could have had the same cabin with a window, but we decided against it because we knew from prior cruises you spend so little time in your cabin. Eating on the Ship The food we ate was in stark contrast to the sumptuous fare we had on an Oceania cruise to the Caribbean two years ago. Norwegian food, like the Norwegians themselves, is hardy. There was heavy emphasis on seafood and (usually seasoned) boiled potatoes at nearly every meal. Cold cuts, cheeses, pickled fish and beets and regular pickles were featured at breakfast and lunch, which were served buffet style. There was also coffee and tea available. The coffee was fresh made and very good, unlike the coffee at the self-service bar. Various mostly forgettable desserts were available with lunch and dinner. To my great disappointment, pastries were never served, even at breakfast. The dining room is decorated like the rest of the ship, with neo-art deco furnishings. The silver service is spartan, usually only four or five pieces. The tables are covered with attractive oilcloth tablecloths, with heavy paper napkins. Hardy. Both lunch and dinner have two seatings, with reserved seats at both. Tables are assigned by table number, and we always sat at the same table. Water in a spring-capped bottle is served at lunch and dinner, if you had purchased the "water deal" at the start of the cruise. There is also free water available, but you would have to wait for refills. A "wine deal" was also available at the start of the cruise, whereby you would receive one bottle of wine at each dinner, specially picked by the head chef to accompany the menu. We passed on that deal since my wife doesn't drink wine. I probably wouldn't have purchased it anyway because of the high cost. On the wine menu, prices started at $65 per bottle and ranged on up to about $115 per bottle. I don't believe these were particularly premium wines, either. Only the dinner meal is served by the staff, restaurant style. But even then they work the tables in order, starting at the first table with each course. At breakfast and lunch you serve yourself and the staff merely cleans up or takes special orders for the bar. I should say here that the staff were nearly all very friendly and accommodating, and most could speak Norwegian, German and English. One peculiar and unsavory practice at each meal occurred when you were through eating. The waiter or waitress would scrape any leftover food off your plate onto another dirty plate while standing at your table. As with other cruises and tours we have taken with people from other countries, we were again amused and entertained by the European custom of eating with both handknife in the right and fork in the left—making it seem to take twice the effort. No doubt Europeans are just as amused at our style of eating. Costs No comment on our cruise would be complete without a note about the high costs in Norway. To start with, our Bergen hotel (the Neptune) which we stayed in two nights, one each at the beginning and end of the cruise, cost $300 a night! It was in the process of being redecorated, but not really upgraded. I would compare it to an older Holiday Inn Express. We understand that the cost of living in Norway is among the highest in the world. Believe it. After checking in to our hotel we went for a walk abound Bergen, a truly beautiful city. We stopped at a cafe with outdoor seating overlooking the bay and fish market (a big tourist attraction). I had a hamburger and beer and my wife had a small pizza and a coke. Total cost: $85! Welcome to Norway. My wife looked at some gorgeous knit sweaters, but at $300 and up we had to pass. As might be expected, costs on the ship are even higher. For example, at one dinner we ordered Pepsis at $7.20 each, and at another meal I ordered a local beer which cost over $8. One of the reasons for the high costs is Norway's sales tax, which is 25% on almost everything! Conclusion Despite any negative comments above, we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. If we had to do it again, we would probably take the 7-day instead of the 12-day cruise. One of the factors that influenced us to go for the 12-day cruise was the very high cost of our airfare—almost $2,700. This cost would have been the same with either cruise. Moreover, we would have had the added cost of airfare and associated costs from Kirkenes to Bergen if we had taken the 7-day cruise. We had to take a three-legged 24-hour flight as it was (Bergen to Amsterdam to Detroit to Denver) just to keep the fare under $2,700. Another leg would have made it even worse. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
Midnatsol Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 3.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 5.0 2.9
Public Rooms 3.0 4.4
Fitness & Recreation 1.0 N/A
Family 2.0 3.1
Shore Excursions 2.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 2.0 N/A
Service 3.0 4.2

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