We chose this trip as an opportunity to see some Norwegian fjords and to go to North Cape. Starting in Bergen gave the opportunity to arrive by the Oslo Bergen train and leave with a rental car. Embarkation was easy. We had a cabin with ... Read More
We chose this trip as an opportunity to see some Norwegian fjords and to go to North Cape. Starting in Bergen gave the opportunity to arrive by the Oslo Bergen train and leave with a rental car. Embarkation was easy. We had a cabin with en-suite on deck 6, one of only three on our small section of the companionway so no outside noise. The cabins are compact but lots of room under the double bed for suitcases. We had a tea/coffee package which gave us a kettle, important as we always carry our own good quality coffee. Deck 5 has the larger windows but cabins on this level look on to the outside promenade deck with compromised privacy. Deck 4 is all services/restaurants Deck 3 lower priced cabins, Deck 2 all crew. Deck 7 is the inside viewing and outside sun deck. There is a bar on this level.
There are 2 small gender specific saunas on deck 2, though in all the times we used them we were the only people in them, and a small fitness room on deck 7, similarly underused.
We took a full meal package, on this length of trip I don’t think you can have anything else, but not the wine package which is overpriced for very average wines.
Breakfast and lunch are free seating buffets. Dinner is allocated seating at either 6.00/6.30pm or 8.00/8.30pm with a set menu. You need to advise them if a vegetarian option is required. The breakfast and lunch buffets were diverse. Lots of fish, naturally, and excellent sweets at lunch time, the breakfasts more European in style (meats/cheeses) though wide cooked variety as well. Fish was often the main course at dinner, but different each night. Allocated seating means the same dinner companions each night, however as a significant number of people don’t sail the full round trip you get a change when yours are replaced by new arrivals.
This trip makes 34 stops, some, in the small ports are very short, under an hour, and in the larger ports up to three. The boat picks up and drops off passengers at every port, and, depending on how far they are going may or may not take a cabin. This can be a problem in that as there only a finite number of seats on the viewing deck seats fill up quickly. The boats has a capacity of 591 passengers, many more than the seats available, some people try to reserve these with clothing but you can be firm with this.
Hurtigruten advertise widely in Germany, our trip was at least 75% German, 20% English speakers and a very small number of other nationals. This means that on any trips off the ship there will be a German coach and an English coach, there is no need for a Norwegian coach as all Norwegians seem to speak excellent English. Trips vary from very short, a couple of hours or so, to all day trips were you disembark at one port and rejoin the ship at another; the costs rising accordingly.
The trips we took, bird watching at Honningsvåg, breakfast at Nordkapp (you get to see an excellent Stave Church before reboarding at Hammerfest), the midnight concert in the Artic cathedral at Tromsø were all worthwhile but we felt than others would be far too short to appreciate what you were seeing, and involving too much coach travel. Of course at most stops there is an opportunity to walk around by yourself, but be aware that all ports are working ports and not photogenic fishing villages. This means there are containers and warehouses, fish processing plants not trendy bars where old salts can tell you tales of the sea.
Because the ship is stopping so often, it meanders between islands, there is little open sea except around Nordkapp where the possibility of big swells from the Barents Sea can make life uncomfortable for some.
Overall we thought this trip was well worth the cost as it gives an opportunity to reach out of the way places, though not as active as we would have liked. This was our first cruise on this size ship, our only other experience was to Antarctica on an icebreaker with an emphasis on kayaking. Read Less