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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
The Hurtigruten Classic Round Voyage with the Northern Lights Promise, 24 March to 4 April 2019 on the ship Polarlys. Did we see the northern lights? That is a good question! Although we had some good daytime weather, the sky was ... Read More
The Hurtigruten Classic Round Voyage with the Northern Lights Promise, 24 March to 4 April 2019 on the ship Polarlys. Did we see the northern lights? That is a good question! Although we had some good daytime weather, the sky was cloudy for the first nine nights. Since Hurtigruten promise that we will see the lights, I predicted to my wife that on the tenth night (2 April), when the forecast was for partly clear skies but we were already well south, we would see something inconclusive and Hurtigruten would claim that we’d seen them. This is exactly what happened. At about 11 pm the public address system announced weak lights. We went up on deck and at first saw nothing. Eventually we decided that a very dim static grey glow above a big bank of cloud must be what they were talking about. Hurtigruten’s “promise” actually says “100%. That’s how sure we are that the spectacular Northern Lights will make an appearance on your 12-day Hurtigruten voyage. If not, we'll give you another voyage for free”; this under a beautiful photograph of green lights. Accordingly, the next morning, since what we saw had been pathetic rather than “spectacular”, we enquired how to go about claiming our free voyage. They said: “No deal, the Captain says you’ve seen the lights”. The Captain refused to see us and no evidence such as a photograph was offered. But we spoke to others of the crew. They were all evasive and one was very rude. Up to this point we’d been quite happy with Hurtigruten over two trips (the other being a very good summer trip in 2014), but this behaviour, betraying a deep dishonesty pervading the company, really upset us. Initially we intended to complain higher up the company. But eventually we decided that we just couldn’t face the hassle. Life is too short and Hurtigruten have clearly briefed their staff thoroughly in their dishonest response. In any case we might well not have taken up the “free” voyage. The small print is very restrictive: only half the round trip (i.e. just 5 or 6 days), make and fund your own travel arrangements to and from the ports one of which will be Kirkenes in the far north, inside cabin, half board, book it within a month of returning, etc. It was not all a disaster and we enjoyed parts of the trip. We saw some fantastic scenery after new snow and enjoyed the food. Being near the equinox, there were around 13 hours of good daylight. But there were other hiccups beyond Hurtigruten’s control. At the start, the ship couldn’t get down to Bergen because of bad weather; so, having flown into Bergen, we had to fly on to Trondheim the same day, not arriving at the boat till well after midnight. The one excursion that we had booked, to the Northcape, was cancelled because of wind and snow. And I felt seasick a couple of times, not seriously but queasy enough to miss several meals! Friends who did the trip a couple of weeks before us also only saw vague white lights. On the other hand, the internet has many accounts of people who had a great time. So, in conclusion, it’s much more of a risk than Hurtigruten claim that you won’t see anything convincing, and don’t believe their dishonest promise that you’ll get a free trip. But you could well get lucky. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
The ship was renovated in 2016 and is newer and nicer than some of the other Hurtigruten ships. We sailed from Tromsø to Trondheim in March and the scenery was amazing all the way. We stayed at the Arctic Superior cabin which was quite ... Read More
The ship was renovated in 2016 and is newer and nicer than some of the other Hurtigruten ships. We sailed from Tromsø to Trondheim in March and the scenery was amazing all the way. We stayed at the Arctic Superior cabin which was quite small, but nice and comfortable. However, be aware that you risk to get a cabin on deck 5 with the panorama deck right outside your window with somewhat reduced view, as well as direct view into your cabin from the outside. There should therefore be more choices for this cabin category. Otherwise, the trip was an amazing experience but it should be said that we was extremely lucky with the weather conditions. The service was great and the staff are very dedicated to their work. They truly went the extra mile to take good care of the passengers. The breakfast, which we had included, was a very tasty buffét, with a wide selection of food. The food onboard was otherwise very expensive and we ate most meals in the ports along the way. I would absolutely recommend this trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Just returned from a 11 day Northern Lights voyage along the Norwegian coast to Kirkenes and back to Bergen - and it was mind blowing. I've returned relaxed, pampered and looking to book another cruise - with Hurtigurten. Never ... Read More
Just returned from a 11 day Northern Lights voyage along the Norwegian coast to Kirkenes and back to Bergen - and it was mind blowing. I've returned relaxed, pampered and looking to book another cruise - with Hurtigurten. Never will I grace Royal Caribbean, or Princess again No casinos, no spas, no entertainment crews - it was education, relaxing and no hard sell. Cabins were basic, clean and well thought out, Bathrooms small and efficient. Staff were incredibly professional and charming Its a working ship, and the dress code was refreshingly casual..no dressing up for dinner. We loved every minute of it and the food was amazing. Fresh, locally sourced, not a french fry, burger, hot dog, pizza or hot dog in site. Excursions were expensive, but worth every penny - and no more expensive than the private ones which you can arrange independently Yes, alcohol is expensive, but this is Norway, and the prices on the ship were cheaper than the mid range hotels in Bergen. Embarkment and disembarkation were incredibly fast - we were in our hotel in less than an hour of leaving our deck - straight into a taxi. Tips - bring a kettle if you don't buy the premium package - learn how to use your camera for photographing the northern lights ( we had 6 nights of this spectacular) - bring a pair of slippers, good books, knitting/craft/watercolours - something to do when you are sailing along do at least 3 expeditions ( we did dog sledging, the ice hotel and the marble mines. All were incredible) Ignore the moaning minnie reviews. There are hundreds of thousand of people who have done this voyage. final words, don't hesitate book it! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We enjoyed our cruise very much. It was very good for the liver as alcohol prices were so high we hardly touched a drop, and given the Norwegian economy, the same can be said for all the excursions. However, having said that, we had ... Read More
We enjoyed our cruise very much. It was very good for the liver as alcohol prices were so high we hardly touched a drop, and given the Norwegian economy, the same can be said for all the excursions. However, having said that, we had wonderful R&R, saw the Northern Lights in all their glory, saw a bit of local life and enjoyed the fabulous scenery. Of the ship itself, the food was amazing, the crew wonderful and overall, it was very comfortable. In particular, we would like to commend the 'reception captain' who was particularly helpful in resolving issues about our cabin. On this issue, we feel that 'polar exterior' cabins with a view of a lifeboat, should be marketed at a separate price. There were also some very entertaining on board lectures etc We have a few (hopefully helpful) comments to make. 1 We did think that the quay side reception was poor.. 2 receptionists took a long time to process at least 3 coachloads of passengers who stood in a queue for up to (in some cases) an hour. Further, in the reception 'lounge' (after check in), there was no water available we heard. 2 The night visit to Trollffyord was very disappointing. A great deal was made of the fact that the ship would shine its lights down the fiord, but in the event, it was deemed that the moon was so good that this was unnecessary. HOWEVER, NO-ONE TOLD THE PASSENGERS!!! Those of us who were waiting on the beam of the ship (very limited space up front) saw absolutely nothing. It would have been nice if the ship had manoeuvred to allow everyone to see, but the most important thing was that there needed to be a commentary by the (otherwise) excellent on board entertainments' team. Bit of a waste of time from our point of view. 3 We found the food delicious but somewhat over salted. One can add but you can not take away! 4 Would like to see better lighting in top lounges Deck 7 (for reading at night). I'm all for dimmed (romantic?) lighting, but it does not suit everyone 5 The so called 'Captain's Dinner' on the penultimate evening (for which some, especially ladies, dressed up) was a bit of a farce. It consisted of 4 officers saying 'Lovely to see you - "cheers" and a quick 'march' round the dining room 'waving' (and no more) at all the tables. To make that occasion in any way worthwhile, we feel the officers should have stopped at individual tables for a few moments' chat. If you bill this sort of event in this way, it needs to be more of an occasion - or not do it. However, the latter would be a great pity. The crew were fun and it would have been nice to have SOME social time with them. 6 It would be good to be able to buy the tea and coffee package on board. 7 I would have liked to have used the Jacuzzi but could not access it as the approach was too icy and there was nowhere to change. 8 It would be nice if the top deck 'cafe' could sell one flavour of sugar free ice cream. We repeat, we enjoyed the trip and felt it was good value for money. We hope the above is helpful. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
see northern lights an cruise the fords did 12 day cruise with full board food was great for fish lovers but im a meat eater they gave me meat every nite at dinner was no problem thou some people didnt ask not much to do on board ... Read More
see northern lights an cruise the fords did 12 day cruise with full board food was great for fish lovers but im a meat eater they gave me meat every nite at dinner was no problem thou some people didnt ask not much to do on board read play cards amuse ur self scenery was great as was weather northern lights were a bit of dissapontment saw sum seems people complained about prices on ship but all of Norway is as for cabin cleaning u needed to put card out to get room cleaned or they did nothing last day is worst u leave room by 10am ship docks 3pm so u just try an kill time did two tours very pricey walked mostly at ports of call pfm309 dining crew was great did best to accomadate u food for the most was warm or cold needs to be hotter they have a nerve charging for tea an coffee Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise for the Northern Lights but mother nature chose not to participate, which is nobodies fault & a chance you take. The disappointing part was the cost of excursions & drinks. We only did 1 excusion as our ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the Northern Lights but mother nature chose not to participate, which is nobodies fault & a chance you take. The disappointing part was the cost of excursions & drinks. We only did 1 excusion as our other was cancelled.Check if your package includes tea & coffee, as a lot didnt have this.Not to mention the hours sitting onboard spent playing cards or reading, as nothing else to do. There were occasional lectures but not regularly. The staff in every area were fantastic, with smiles & ready to answer any questions you may have. We regularly used the walking track on deck 5 & loved that we could at least get some fresh air exercising, however didnt like that our room was on the same deck which we felt limited times our blind could be up. Could not fault the food, smoked salmon is the best we have ever tasted & loved trying local food most days. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose to travel on the Hurtigruten classic round trip 12 day voyage to see the coast of Norway, many ports of call and hopefully the northern lights. We were fully aware that the Ms Polarlys is a working ship but were extremely ... Read More
We chose to travel on the Hurtigruten classic round trip 12 day voyage to see the coast of Norway, many ports of call and hopefully the northern lights. We were fully aware that the Ms Polarlys is a working ship but were extremely underwhelmed by the experience. Virtually all of the times of visits to ports of call were cut short as the ship nearly always arrived late but always left on time? This meant that we were on the ship for very long periods of time. This might have been bearable had there been things to do on board and food and drinks available at affordable prices. This could not have been further from the truth. The ship is essentially a ferry and other than a few on board talks and films there was really nothing else to do. Full board was included with our cruise however be aware that the meals are set menu. In Hurtigruten's case this means set menu with no choice of alternative. We only ate one meal in the main restaurant, it was not to our liking and was of very small portions and clearly concocted as cheaply as possible. That first evening I complained about the lack of choice which was not taken well. I went through the ranks both on board the ship and with Hurtigruten in the UK and Norway, all this took almost 24 hours but the response, although consistent if nothing else was that I either pay NOK220 per person per day to eat in the a la carte restaurant or put up with the set menu. I contacted the cruise agent I had booked my trip with and they paid the supplement for me to have some choice of food and eat in the a la carte restaurant. With the exception of a small handful of staff on board the vast majority are at best indifferent towards the passengers and in many cases down right rude. From moment one we felt like an inconvenience to the crew on board and both the standards and service on board left much to be desired. Most of the crew on board the ship did nothing for the reputation of Norway or it's people and should be ashamed of themselves. Our cabin (524) was okay but the servicing of the cabin was hit and miss and on some days did not happen at all. The cost of everything on board the ship is outrageously expensive and other than the basic meals in the main restaurant this means absolutely everything. It is my opinion that the Hurtigruten philosophy is to charge as much as they can possibly get away with for as little as possible in return. There are other ships now offering similar routes, Hurtigruten did have exclusivity on the Norwegian coastal route up until a couple of years ago but thankfully this is no longer the case. The one and only positive was that after our cruise agent resolving the dining issue the food in the a la carte restaurant was very good and our waitress Mona was fabulous. Needless to say we would absolutely not recommend Hurtigruten to anyone else after our dismal experience on board MS Polarlys for 12 long days! Any ratings I have given I this review for dining relate to the main dining restaurant as this is the included option. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Highly rated on other review sites. Looked unusual and good value at around £100 a day. (2018 prices). Turned out better than expected. All flights and transfers were included. Where else could you stop 66 times in 12 days? The ... Read More
Highly rated on other review sites. Looked unusual and good value at around £100 a day. (2018 prices). Turned out better than expected. All flights and transfers were included. Where else could you stop 66 times in 12 days? The Hutingruten is a working ferry so this allowed us to get a real flavour of Norwegian coastal activities. Several major stops were over 3 hours and since Norwegian towns are not too large it was possible to see all major points on interest by just wandering around. Thanks to some forethought, maps were provided at major stopping points. Extensive organised trips were available and those who went on them gave glowing reports. No problem with the language as all the crew speak English. This ship carried special crew members called an Expedition Team who lead some of the more adventurous trips. Extremely attractive , very knowledgable, and competent in at least 4 languages between them. Lectures, information films and expedition briefings were held throughout the trip - even the Captain explaining the aids to navigation through the many islands (23,000) along the coast. The dress code is very casual, no dressing up at all although you might change for dinner if you would like. No pressure! No caberet (thank goodness) - bring your cards, play games, read books, or talk with other people on the trip. Ladies or gents - bring your knitting or crochet or contribute to the ship's blanket, by making granny squares. Or just sit and admire the ever changing view. Try this trip if food is your thing as much of it is loaded on board freshly every day and reflects the local cuisine in the main evening meal. Buffet breakfast and lunch cater for a wide range of tastes and as much as you can eat. Every meal has been superb. The service cannot be faulted. Most people go teetotal for the trip as alcohol in Norway costs twice as much as in the UK. Mobile phones work without any extra charge; internet access is available on various reasonably priced packages. We saw the Northern Lights! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We are only now on our 4th day on cruise and everyday a wonderful experience!! Excursions very good! Boat wonderful, clean, modern and with every facility needed. The staff excellent especially the expedition team! Food is ... Read More
We are only now on our 4th day on cruise and everyday a wonderful experience!! Excursions very good! Boat wonderful, clean, modern and with every facility needed. The staff excellent especially the expedition team! Food is outstanding! You definitely don’t need to upgrade to a-la-cartevoption! Every dinner different and food from area served with wonderful descriptions of dinner options on menu. Most beautiful views outside everyday!!! You sail by the most beautiful little towns, villages, mountains and through fjords. You are warned well on advance when you will be in open sea passages and with stabilisers on the boat the rough seas are handled very well. The crossing of the arctic circle this morning was a joyious occassion and the ceremony thereafter very good. The only complaint is passsengers who is selfish when it comes to seating in explorer lounge.... the staff requested not to reserve seats. Suggestion would be that passengers should be told not to sit and sleep on chairs... only to use it if they are watching and filming the views. The boat is beautiful and the explorer lounge lovely! I will highly recommend the cruise! Well done Hurtigruten!!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We took this wonderful cruise to celebrate our 25th anniversary. From the very first day the scenery was stunning! The food was world class! We enjoyed the informative sessions scheduled most days concerning the Vikings, troll legends, the ... Read More
We took this wonderful cruise to celebrate our 25th anniversary. From the very first day the scenery was stunning! The food was world class! We enjoyed the informative sessions scheduled most days concerning the Vikings, troll legends, the gas/oil industry, and norway's fishing industry etc. The excursions may seem at first expensive, but so worth the money. We especially loved the North Cape rib boat, the hiking with huskies, and horse back riding in Lofoten. When in Tromso we went with the expedition team leader Jan for a terrific hike up a mountain with great views and even got up close to reindeer at the top. Overall the cruise was so well run....Marco the head of the expedition team had unlimited enthusiasm and kept us well informed on how to maximize our cruise and the various points of interests along the way. The ship was very comfortable, well maintained, and very clean. We worked out in the gym every other day, and used the hot tubs every evening! And as if this was all not enough, we were blessed with 2 amazing nights of the northern lights!! Read Less
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