1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Hurtigruten
  4. Polarlys Review
  5. Polarlys Cruise Reviews
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
2 Helpful Votes
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
Sail Date: March 2019
Hurtigruten? That’s not a real cruise is it? We started our long-planned Hurtigruten Norwegian cruise travelling by rail from Oslo to Bergen. The train journey across the mountains made a fitting start to the cruise – the ... Read More
Hurtigruten? That’s not a real cruise is it? We started our long-planned Hurtigruten Norwegian cruise travelling by rail from Oslo to Bergen. The train journey across the mountains made a fitting start to the cruise – the occasional village or small town hugging the riversides and the individual wooden dwellings dotted amongst the snow giving a foretaste of the sights along the coast. Before boarding the train, booked directly with NSB, we had stayed the night at the perfectly located Comfort Hotel Grand Central, the nearest hotel to the station. In fact, so near it’s actually part of it. That it was integrated into a large food hall with several restaurants meant we only needed a few paces to find an excellent evening meal. The hotel itself was modern, quirky and very comfortable. Our first hotel in Bergen was the Zander K, adjacent to the rail station. Another modern boutique hotel with so many interesting design features they even had their own book for sale giving full architectural and design features, including the amusing example of their curtains. Knowing that Bergen is known as the rainiest city in the world, they thought guests who had travelled to Bergen just to see the rain might be disappointed if it stayed away, so they designed the net curtains with raindrops so if it happened to be dry outside you could close the curtains and pretend it was raining. Brilliant! Checking into our ship, MS Polarlys, was easy and our cases were delivered to our cabins. The ship was smart and unpretentious, being recently refurbished in Scandinavian style with no sign of the usual American cruise ship bling. One aspect that will be a shock to large-ship cruisers is that there were never, ever, any queues for the lifts. True, on a couple of occasions, we had to share a lift with two other people but over the twelve days I could cope with that. The ship is small enough that nowhere was very far away and large enough to offer all the facilities that were needed. Bars and cafes offered a choice of dining and refreshment venues and all were open and airy. Public floors are surrounded by windows - no art galleries, photo shops or casinos to block the views - these ships are purpose built to see the amazing scenery and they do that extremely well as the ship glides (usually!) on steely-blue seas past dramatic snow-covered mountains. The Scandinavian crew were friendly, welcoming and genuinely enjoyed being part of the Hurtigruten team. Many were multitasking – you were as likely to see the restaurant manager clearing tables as you were to be served by someone who was cleaning the rooms earlier in the day. Food, brought on board fresh at several stops during the trip, was a highlight and it was not unusual for the evenings fish course to have been loaded just hours earlier (and probably caught just a few hours before that!) Mealtimes varied between buffet or fixed menu, the later giving a chance to try local specialties that one may not have chosen if given the choice. Dried clipfish, curried herring, baked reindeer and battered cod tongue were some of the mouthwatering delights – even if you don’t believe me! Despite the fixed menus, special diets and tastes were catered for without issue. Here was one example where the seemingly effortless organization of the company really shone. We had been prompted to advise allergies and dislikes when we booked some 16 months before sailing and had added to the list in the intervening period. We were amazed that without further notification on our part that the dining staff placed alternative meals in front of those with food concerns. “We know you don’t like cherries, so have replaced the cherry sauce with a raspberry compote. Is that OK?” And yes, they knew what language we spoke too!! Drinking water was plentiful and cold, wine and beer equally cold but rarer. Everyone has something to say on alcohol prices but in practice the prices of wine and beer are similar to those charged on the larger cruise ships - probably even cheaper as there is no added 18% ‘service charge’ that Celebrity charges. Dress code on board was simple: Casual for breakfast, casual for lunch, casual for dinner and at all times in between. Preparing for dinner was simple – you didn’t need to. I have to admit that once I did comb my hair before going into the dining room, but I soon got used to not bothering with all that palaver. Booking ‘Select’ full board meant we received unlimited tea and coffee during the voyage and free water flowed freely. Wi-Fi was as almost as good as our fibre broadband back home (unlike the usual cruise ships) and was included in the fare. Rooms were compact, but our Artic Superior had plenty of storage (do take a couple of trouser hangers though if you need to) and tea & coffee facilities were provided. The bathroom was even more compact but perfectly adequate and the tap water was as good as any bottled variety. We had chosen a rear starboard room on Deck 6 as the most advantageous position - opposite side to the gangway and cargo openings (which are on the port side on every Hurtigruten ship), above the walk round deck and high so as to be untroubled by the sound of the engines, which were actually as smooth and quiet as any large cruise ships with just some, not unexpected, noise when manouvering with bow thrusters. Lectures on places visited, Nordic myths and way of life were short, informative and professionally delivered and there was a well-equipped shop with everything from postcards to Norwegian woollens and jackets. The ship makes multiple stops en route, some for a few hours, some for 10-15 minutes. We were able to combine a bit of DIY sightseeing in several ports in combination with longer (albeit fairly expensive) excursions at others. ‘The Artic Capital Tromso’ was a guided tour around the town to what would have been a magnificent view from the top of the cable car had it not been snowing so heavily. Back into the city for a visit to the modern cathedral with its magnificent stained glass and then to Polaria, billed as the ‘world’s most northerly aquarium’, an interesting building but only managing a passable impression of a Sea Life centre. ‘The North Cape’ excursion, was, like all the other days off ship, a day for donning thermals – it’s rather chilly at the most northerly point of Europe, being minus 16°C when we were there. Travelling in convoy for the last few miles led by a snow plough with a rescue vehicle bringing up the rear added a certain piquancy to the excursion. ‘Husky Dog Sledding’ at Kirkenes was a bucket list item not to be missed. The setting was awesome: clear blue skies, bright sun but with the temperature nudging minus 20 it was definitely big coat weather. The bumpy ride behind the eager huskies was over far too quickly especially in view of the eye-watering cost, but the dogs were in their element and amazing to witness ‘in action’. At the ‘Midnight Concert at Tromso Cathedral’ we were privileged to hear soprano Anne-Berit Buvik, Pianist Ole Bolås and cellist Georgy Ildeykin. Breathtaking perfection. ‘A Taste of Vesterålan’ took us on an extended coach trip through the magnificent countryside, with a view to die for at every turn. A short service at a remote ancient church was a surprising pleasant and unexpected experience. Consistently rated as the best Hurtigruten excursions - if you do no other excursions make sure you do this one (but do all the others too). ‘Trondheim and Nidros Cathedral’ gave us a taste of the town and its magnificent cathedral even if the visit to the latter was curtailed due to time constraints. The Hurtigruten ship may arrive a little late into port but they always endeavour to leave on time! ‘Bergtatt Marble Mine’ was the destination of our last excursion but for many a secondary reason for this particular trip was travelling on the Atlantic Coast Road. Like the rest of Norway, it did not disappoint. Every day on this cruise gave us more memories to take away: A large pod of pilot whales playing close by the ship, sea eagles flying as close as you would like them to, wild reindeer unconcerned at our passing by. Being driven on roads of sheet ice as if this was normal (clue: it is there). Brightly painted, wooded houses in picture postcard isolation. Towering snow-covered mountains rising from the fjords like giant mythical guardians. The Norwegian people: hospitable, welcoming and justly proud of their country. Sadly, our Winter Wonderland cruise had to come to an end. Disembarkation (by deck, top down, starting with our deck 6) was swift and with taxis waiting outside the terminal we were inside our chosen hotel (The Hanseatic, in the old town) probably before the last passengers had left the ship. This hotel, chosen to contrast with our earlier Norwegian hotels, was in an ancient building but fitted with all, very modern, conveniences. The beds were just as dreamily comfortable as at the other hotels (and ship), and the staff welcome just as warm and friendly. After a morning sightseeing (and Norwegian wool buying!) we made our way to the airport to catch our KLM flight to Amsterdam and then home, the next Hurtigruten ship already boarding her passengers for their voyage north. I hope they all enjoyed it as much as we did. Hurtigruten? That’s not a real cruise is it? No, it’s something far better! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
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
5 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
2 Helpful Votes
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
3 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
10 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
6 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
3 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
6 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
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I had heard about Hurtigruten and wanted as authentic an experience as possible. It allowed us to see a lot of Norway quickly an easily, from the North Cape (northern tip of Europe), through the beautiful coastal islands, and down to ... Read More
I had heard about Hurtigruten and wanted as authentic an experience as possible. It allowed us to see a lot of Norway quickly an easily, from the North Cape (northern tip of Europe), through the beautiful coastal islands, and down to Bergen. The trip definitely delivered on this basic requirement. We flew up from Oslo to Kirkenes for the southbound journey the morning of embarkation and arrived after the main group had been processed, so it was easy for us. The ship is quite large but not huge. Public areas very attractive and well laid out. The fifth level has an outside walkway all around the ship of .155 miles in length, and is great for getting some exercise. (There is also a small but well stocked workout room.) Our cabin was small but not too claustrophobic. Nice large window. Blackout shade came in handy, given the midnight sun! Food was mostly boring and bland. Desserts were the best representation of what is good about Norwegian cuisine, with a heavy emphasis on local berries. Very little fresh food to be found. For some reason, raw veggies were only fully available at breakfast. No salad dressing. A nice selection of cheeses but bread and rolls were uniformly boring. Costs for extras is very high. This ship does not provide human entertainment (beyond people watching!), and that is fine because the scenery is top notch! The "lectures" were not particularly professional and illuminating and that area needs to be beefed up. Most ports were tiny villages, nice for a quick walk. A couple were larger cities, nice for a longer walk, especially Tromso and Trondheim. We participated in 3 excursions. Breakfast at Northkapp was mostly bus ride through arctic terrain plus the actual Northkapp station,. Our guide on the English language bus was terrific. Worth it to say you've done it and for the many views of reindeer, at our time of year complete with babies. Taste of Vesteralen was again an opportunity for some great views. Not sure if any better than would have been on ship, but we did get some inland scenery which was nice. The description mentions some cultural opportunities including visiting an old church. What we were not told was that we would be told to sit down and then the priest began a service. We should have been told this in advance and not required to participate. The guide was a local and she told us some colorful stories. Finally, the Sea Eagle Safari was very cold but a lot of fun! We saw several sea eagles, many many gulls, and gorgeous scenery from the vantage point of a small boat. Service on the ship was overall efficient but not very friendly. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
My second Hurtigruten cruise, this time to experience the midnight sun. We didn't actually get sun at midnight North of the arctic circle, but I found the continuous light really fascinating. I was travelling independently and ... Read More
My second Hurtigruten cruise, this time to experience the midnight sun. We didn't actually get sun at midnight North of the arctic circle, but I found the continuous light really fascinating. I was travelling independently and found it easy enough to get a taxi from Bergen airport to Hurtigruten and back. The majority of people also had some English. Didn't need cash as everybody used card machines. For me a great trip. Lots to see with all the port stops. Wonderful food and crew. For myself and my brother our dining experience was enriched by our waiter who as well as serving us efficiently found the time for some jokes and excellent wit! Very efficiently organised and mainly very informative excursions. And of course Norway is such a beautiful country to see. Remember that this is a working ship that doesn't provide evening entertainment apart from the wonderful dinners and views. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
About 5 years ago I went on the same cruise in January up the coast of Norway all the way to the Russian border, everything gleamring in the snow. It was so beautiful that I wanted to see it in the summer, and wasn’t disappointed. ... Read More
About 5 years ago I went on the same cruise in January up the coast of Norway all the way to the Russian border, everything gleamring in the snow. It was so beautiful that I wanted to see it in the summer, and wasn’t disappointed. Totally different but stunning all the same. The Hurtigruten Line is very well organised. Joining the cruise in Bergen and disembarkation at the end is done with military precision. The facilities on board are a delight and the food is a dream. Both breakfast and lunch are buffet style but I defy anyone to be unable to find suitable food wherever in the world you come from. Dinner was a set menu with allocated tables. The service staff are quick and efficient and friendly. I can only report on my own cabin experience but I was more than happy. I was fortunate to have an upgrade from inside to outside cabin with a window. I suspect it was because it was my second voyage with Hurtigruten Cruise line. The cabin was well equipped but I did take a little travel kettle, tea and coffee and dried milk. I like a cup of tea as soon as I rise in the morning. The excursions are numerous and, again, well organised. As for entertainment it’s not like the big cruise ships by any means, there are regular lectures about everything Norwegian, from wildlife, oil production, myths and legends, fishing etc. These lectures are entertaining and well presented. There’s the Crossing the Artic Circle ceremony attended by King Neptune, which, if you dare to participate, ends with you having a jug full of cold water and ice cubes tipped down the back of your neck, so beware. The one thing I will say is that Norway is a very expensive country to visit. You have to be prepared for high prices for anything on board over and above the full board costs already paid for. Having said that it is a wonderful experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
I always wanted to go on this cruise and finally booked it as there was no surcharge for a single cabin. In the beginning, I was a bit disappointed as the weather was rather cloudy and rainy with limited visibility. Fortunately, the ... Read More
I always wanted to go on this cruise and finally booked it as there was no surcharge for a single cabin. In the beginning, I was a bit disappointed as the weather was rather cloudy and rainy with limited visibility. Fortunately, the weather changed on day 3 and the trip became one of the best I ever did. Great landscape, nice excursions (Northern Cape, Husky sleigh tour and midnight concert in Trondheim), a variety of people to spend time with, very interesting presentations on various aspects of Norway and first-class delicious food! I appreciated the easy-going atmosphere (no fashion shows at diner). Food was delicious and deserves 5 stars. The cabin was as expected, not too big, but with everything you need. My cabin was with restricted view, means there was a rescue boat in front of the window. I made an excursion to the Northern cape, a Husky adventure in Kirkenes where we also visited the Snow Hotel and the Midnight concert in Trondheim. Organisation was good and I enjoyed them all. There is lots more on offer, however they are all quite expensive for Non-Norwegians. The staff was very friendly and helpful. I particularly liked the expedition team as they were giving regular presentations on various subjects on Norway - very informative and interesting. Overall, it was an impressive experience with Hurtigruten and I will most probably go again to experience a different time of the year. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We wanted a smaller vessel, with no theatres, no shows, or constant entertainment, and no dinner dress code. Booked with Hurtigruten the Bergen -Kirkenes - Bergan Trip. Hurtigruten is a working supply/postal vessel which also on some take ... Read More
We wanted a smaller vessel, with no theatres, no shows, or constant entertainment, and no dinner dress code. Booked with Hurtigruten the Bergen -Kirkenes - Bergan Trip. Hurtigruten is a working supply/postal vessel which also on some take small numbers of cars. It goes where other cruise lines cannot get to. The booking online was very easy, and you can phone them if you want to check any details, very helpful. Embarkation in Bergan was quick and easy, with our luggage being delivered to our cabin. Cabin was small, ( but expected it to be) with double bed, but had plenty of storage space, it was surprising comfortable. I was worried about the bathroom being of large frame and limited mobility, but again although small did not give me any problems, the shower, what can I say, it was wonderful, have stayed in hundreds of hotels and this shower would be in my top 10, the heat setting once set stayed constant, and the flow never faltered. Everything was very clean, you can have your room refreshed everyday if you want, (new towels, tea coffee etc, but you can also opt out of any day and Hurtigruten will make a donation to charity for each opt out, and of course the environment savings. Dining, fabulous food, expect to put on a bit of weight, hot and cold buffet breakfast and lunch, 3 course set menu at dinner. Dinner and some lunches you have a set table number, and time, breakfast open seating. There is also an al a carte restaurant where you just pay the difference if already on a full board option. The crew were outstanding, helpful, friendly, and very efficient, they made the holiday feel very special. The size of ship and number of guests meant you could get away from everyone and read a book if you want but still get to recognise fellow travelers. The expedition team give interesting and humorous lectures and informal meetings, like the arctic circle crossing, waving competition (against another ship), line dancing, all good fun. We did a number of the excursions although they seemed expensive were well worth the experience, Norway is an expensive country. Would certainly recommend the Midnight Concert at Tromso for the singing and playing of Norwegian folk songs and music (but do not expect to tour the cathedral as time is limited just to the concert) Overall we had a memorable experience, and will certainly Book again. But for anyone looking at Hurtigruten, they are an excellent company but remember this is a ferry service so will be calling at ports over night and loading unloading cargo, this is part of the experience and with everything else makes the holiday unique. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
I choose this cruise because I wanted to see the fjords of Norway and it was magical. The people working on board was smiling and very helpful. The food was excellent. The cabin was small but very clean. There were lots of different ... Read More
I choose this cruise because I wanted to see the fjords of Norway and it was magical. The people working on board was smiling and very helpful. The food was excellent. The cabin was small but very clean. There were lots of different excursions some more expensive than other. I did travel on my own but I talked with other people. The wheater was cold because I traveled in marts so take this in consideration if you like it a little warmer. I love the cool wheater and snow but one of the excursions were cancelled because of to much snow. The ship is small but it is nice because you get to know other people and meet them every day. I would have liked a quiet zone for relaxing and reading, but I do not know if any ships have a quiet zone! Norway is a nice place and the norwegians are very nice as well. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We choose this cruise primarily to see the Northern Lights. In that respect we were very lucky as the lights appeared on 7 of the 12 nights aboard. We elected to take the round trip which entailed sailing North from Bergen for 6 nights ... Read More
We choose this cruise primarily to see the Northern Lights. In that respect we were very lucky as the lights appeared on 7 of the 12 nights aboard. We elected to take the round trip which entailed sailing North from Bergen for 6 nights and then the same route back (albeit the time at which we called into the ports on the Southerly return journeyt differed from the outbound journey and therefore gave an opportunity to visit different places in each direction. Our main reason for doing the round trip was to maximise our chance of seeing the Northern Lights. As it turned out we saw the lights on 5 occasions on the Northerly trip but only 2 times on the return but this was probably because we encountered more cloudy conditions on the South bound journey. Apart from the sheer wonder of the Northern Lights the beauty of the Norwegian coastline and the comfort of the ship Polarlys was an added bonus ! We travelled from London via a Hurtigruten charter (operated by Germania). The flights were fairly standard charter airline stuff but being a Hurtigruen charter made it a very seamless embarkation and disembarkation process. Hurtigruten staff met us all at Bergen. all we had to do was collect our baggage at the airport, put it into a Hurtigruten coach and then it was carried onto the ship and put into our cabin. The same seamless process happened on the return and really made the whole process easy and comfortable. We choose to book a suite because of recommendations from friends and reviews elsewhere and we were very happy with our choice. We also booked a wine package which included a bottle of wine and water each night and unlimited tea and instant coffee (in the coffee shops) during the day (you could also take the wine away to drink in your cabin if you didn't want to finish it during the meal). Be warned, most things, and especially alcohol, are expensive in Norway - a Starbucks coffee is 95 Kroner and a glass of wine is 135-150 Kroner a glass. The prices on or off the ship are much the same. Norway is a very rich country and people are well paid (even in jobs that in other countries are generally lowly paid) but the flip-side is that prices are high for most things and therefore Norwegians probably have a somewhat lower purchasing power than elsewhere. We booked this cruise many months ahead but these trips appear to be very busy (apparently the Polarlys is currently fully booked until October 2018) and getting our preferred dates was not easy. We wanted to get a cabin on the 6th level where there is no walkway outside the window but settled on Level 5 where there is a narrow walkway past the cabin windows but in the end this was perfectly fine and in fact very convenient when wishing to get out on deck quickly. There were usually at least 2 or 3 excursions going on at each significant stop (over, say, 1.5 hours) which covered everything from horse riding, city walks, dog sledding, visiting a marble mine etc. We are not hugely keen on organised excursions and only went on 2 such excursions during the cruise but found the many small ports that the ship called in at very interesting and easy to just wander around ourselves. Even those ports where we stopped for only a half hour were opportunities to watch the fork lift trucks loading and unloading cargo of all shapes into and out of the ship. Most people who went on these excursions seemed to be very happy with them. Entertainment on the ship was fairly low key consisting of a (usually) daily lecture on some aspect of the cruise or Norway (everything from Norway Myths and Legends to How to navigate via Lighthouses). The few practical events included 'How to filet a salmon' and 'Line dancing' (so something for everyone) as well as various on-deck activities including a ceremony for crossing the Arctic Circle. The public rooms are all decorated in beautiful Scandinavian style and for (I believe) 500 passengers there is plenty of room for just lounging in comfortable chairs and watching the magnificent scenery going by. There was a range of age groups on the cruise but on the whole the greater group was probably in the age 55+. There was a well equipped small gym on the boat (but didn't appear to be much used). It was, of course, very warm on the ship and generally a t-shirt with maybe a light sweater was perfectly adequate. In March we found the outside temperatures varied quite a bit (as of course they do elsewhere). The coldest spot on our cruise was Kirkeness although this wasn't the most Northerly point we visited. As an example of the variance the town of Trondeheim was -9 degree Celsius North bound with very snowy pavements but 2 degrees above freezing 1 week later. Layered dressing is therefore the best approach. Our cabin phone had an intercom that could be left active all the time so that you hear all the ship announcements and this was also the way that you could be alerted by the crew if during the night the Northern Lights were showing. When you get up from a warm bed in the middle of the night and go out onto a cold deck in the arctic the effectiveness of your warm clothing will be severely tested ! We were delighted with the beauty, cleanliness and order we found all over Norway. Norway is only a small country of 5 million people but they appear to have a genuine desire to minimise their impact on the planet as well as keep their own country clean and unpolluted and we will certainly consider a return trip but probably next time during the summer (when I think the country will look wholly different from its winter guise) Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Joined the ship at Bergen northward bound to Kirkenes. Cabin was small however adequate for our needs. Breakfast and lunch was buffet style with a massive collection of both hot and cold dishes beautifully presented. The evening meal was ... Read More
Joined the ship at Bergen northward bound to Kirkenes. Cabin was small however adequate for our needs. Breakfast and lunch was buffet style with a massive collection of both hot and cold dishes beautifully presented. The evening meal was by way of a fixed menu which focussed on locally produced products. The service was of an extremely high standard. The food was definitely in line with what is on offer with many of the more well known large cruise ships. The onboard entertainment consisted mainly of informative talks about the villages and fjords. Games, books and puzzles are provided in the cafe on level seven where there are lovely seating areas to sit and watch the world go by. Likewise comfortable seating is provided on level four in the bar area where you are able to sit and view the stunning coastal scenery. The scenery and weather was dramatic as the ship progressed northwards across the Artic Circle until finally reaching Kirkenes where the stunning setting, snowy landscape and the 2nd sighting of the Aurora Borealis completed the magic. A truly amazing sight never to be forgotten. Would definitely recommend the snowmobile trip which was so different and exciting. You are taken out into the wilderness and are given time out to capture the awesome sights on camera.....most precious memory for me. The husky sleigh ride is amazing. Before you set off you are introduced to the huskies and also the baby huskies which is just fabulous. This is one trip I would definitely recommend to friends and family. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the northern lights. We saw the northern lights but so much more. The scenery was spectacular, the weather was kind to us. The crew could not have been more helpful. they were efficient, polite ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the northern lights. We saw the northern lights but so much more. The scenery was spectacular, the weather was kind to us. The crew could not have been more helpful. they were efficient, polite and friendly. They seemed to genuinely enjoy their work. In general the service was excellent. There was a good choice of activities on board but plenty of time to relax and enjoy the views. Some of the excursions were not quite as interesting as we were expecting, partly because of the short daylight hours which meant we were out and about in the dark. We learned lots about the history of Norway, some politics and lots about fish! Embarkation went smoothly but on the return journey the airport was chaos which was a shame. It was a jolt to the reality of air travel at its worst. We would definitely travel with Hurtigruten again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I thought the classic round trip would give me the best opportunity to see the Northern lights. Overall the trip exceeded my expectations. The ship was very good and run in an efficient way. The staff were very hardworking, particularly ... Read More
I thought the classic round trip would give me the best opportunity to see the Northern lights. Overall the trip exceeded my expectations. The ship was very good and run in an efficient way. The staff were very hardworking, particularly the restaurant waiter service. Their language skills & friendly service were excellent. I cannot fault the choice and standard of food. Yes the excursions are expensive- book them before you go - they do cost more on board. Yes the port stops are relatively short but the towns are small. Yes you’ll spend more time on board. Lots of ladies did knItting or crafts. There’s a couple of big jigsaws on board to work on collectively. It’s easy to spend time chatting to your fellow travellers and taking a walk outside around the deck - be sociable ! The presentations were varied and very interesting. Ultimately, seeing good displays of the Northern Lights on 5 nights was the icing on the cake. I did have a disappointing start to the trip. My cabin smelt strongly of fish ! I did manage to get a can of air freshener from the reception but they weren’t that sympathetic and the smell was bad for the first 3 days. I’ve suggested to Hurtigruten that they supply plug-in fresheners in the cabins. Otherwise take your own, just in case. I’d definitely do the trip again at a different time of year when the scenery will be different and longer days. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose a cruise for the first time this holiday as I have a disabled foot, yet still the instinct to roam beyond my usual experience, and I also enjoy to sketch and paint as we go! We chose the 'Classic Round Voyage' with ... Read More
We chose a cruise for the first time this holiday as I have a disabled foot, yet still the instinct to roam beyond my usual experience, and I also enjoy to sketch and paint as we go! We chose the 'Classic Round Voyage' with London Gatwick flights - to Norway's Fjords and the hoped for Northern Lights. We are not used to travelling in groups, especially of our own age, but were quickly aware of most peoples shared enthusiasms and friendliness. The ship was a stimulating space as Jan's Lectures and the whole excursions teams advice was enticing. We attended an Art Nouveau walk and later a Viking Feast in a traditional long house which enacted a gentle pageant, feasted us all, and allowed us to have a brief interaction with their authentic artefacts, before we exited through the snowy night past Vikings holding flames aloft! Our favourite excursion was a husky pulled sled ride in Kirkeness, involving eight very keen husky dogs, an enthusiastic Musha and a great circular ride through a frozen landscape of woods and all across a frozen Fjord and back through the woods. We were warmed by an open fire and some hot juice and took in the skilled artwork within the Ice Palace and a visit to the Reindeer. The difference in currency meant most things on offer had to be carefully weighed up, but without too many bought in extras the cruise was brilliant as three meals a day where Breakfast and Lunch were a wide variety of buffet style locally sourced fresh fishes, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, bakeries, cereals, soup and imaginatively cooked dishes. Dinner was served to us at set tables and included a small booklet advising us of where the food was originated, by whom and what history and tradition of the foods on this menu brought to us. These Dinners were carefully balanced and a delight to indulge in, equivalent to any multi starred restaurant. We witnessed the Northern Lights five times in all and each that bit more spectacular. The 'know how' on adjusting our cameras was very useful and successful. During the day-time we walked some of the calories off around the windy deck, and used the opportunity to take many photographs of the passing mountainous landscape. Our comfortable above water cabin had a double bed and plenty of clothes storage space, a kettle for teas and coffee and an en suite shower and loo. We peeped out from behind two lifeboats and then went on deck to view the panoramic scene for real. The idiosyncratic team culture was such a success as they seemed to have agreed that whatever it took they would make it the best they could, and it was! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Wanted to see Northern Lights - Hurtigruten recommended by friends, and YES we did see the lights for several nights. But, be aware, the lights do not look bright green. Often they are no more than white cloud. Only when you photograph ... Read More
Wanted to see Northern Lights - Hurtigruten recommended by friends, and YES we did see the lights for several nights. But, be aware, the lights do not look bright green. Often they are no more than white cloud. Only when you photograph the sky do you capture the green colour. It is very exciting when you get your first green images! Polarlys is an expedition boat so has an expedition team on board giving talks on photographing the northern lights, facts about Norway, myths and legends, the Vikings, oil and gas......Excellent lectures cabin 550, level 5. Arctic superior. Near an outside door so we could very quickly collect camera and tripod and get outside. (There are announcements when the lights are showing) Very comfortable double bed, plenty of cupboard space to completely unpack and store case under the bed. Good shower. Tea and coffee making facilities (nescafe) The package included free tea and coffee from the cafes on board all day. Fantastic food, buffets at breakfast and lunch. Set meal at dinner, served at your table. You can change the main meal if you do not like it. I am lactose intolerant and having told the head waitress, my meals were modified every night - different sauce/potatoes if they had milk in them. That service was very impressive Free tap water was available at every meal ( I think it is UV treated water so no need to buy the water package) Beer, wine all about £10 a glass Good public seating areas both up in the panoramic deck 7 lounge and on deck 4. However, people do 'reserve' their seats by leaving books etc on the chairs when they go off for a meal. Possibly not quite enough seating where you can get a good view. However we never had a problem - lectures to go to etc Excursions are expensive. We did Taste of Vestalen - very good; North Cape, also excellent; Russian border - ok ( old video shown in the bunker - sound quality not that good); midnight concert in Tromso - fantastic Overall, great trip, good value for money - our package inclusive of the flight Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
The ship is a typical Hurtigruten ship. All the staff are very nice, the ship is not too big, the cabins are small, but dining is excellent. The weather was very good, the sevice also good. The trips to IceHotel is nice, the guide ... Read More
The ship is a typical Hurtigruten ship. All the staff are very nice, the ship is not too big, the cabins are small, but dining is excellent. The weather was very good, the sevice also good. The trips to IceHotel is nice, the guide also, Vesteralen trip very good, also to northcup. Good and helpful explanations. Wir haben die ganze 12 tägige Reise sehr genossen, das Schiff war die MSPolarlys, es hat alles bestens geklappt, vom einchecken bis zur Kabinenvergabe, Hilfe war immer da. Die Excursionen waren vielfältig, man konnte gar nicht alle buchen. Der Kapitän war sehr umsichtig und hat uns gut durch den Orkan Friederike gebracht, die Mannschaft war auch sehr nett zu uns. Dadurch, dass der Wind vom Süden kam, waren die Wellen nicht so hoch, die Windstärke war 46/m/sek. Beaufort hört mit 12 auf (32 m/sek.). Am besten war das tägliche Essen, frischester Fisch und Garnelen und Krustentiere standen am Programm, auch Rentier, Lamm, Steak, Schwein usw. Toll gekocht. Wir fahren wieder mit Hurtigruten. Read Less
Polarlys Ratings
Category Editor Member

Find a Polarlys Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise