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46 Hurtigruten Nordkapp Cruise Reviews

The route is very scenic, so well worth the trip. However, much of the interest of the trip is in the places you stop and what you see. The company's "excursions" are all extras and very expensive ones at that, some well ... Read More
The route is very scenic, so well worth the trip. However, much of the interest of the trip is in the places you stop and what you see. The company's "excursions" are all extras and very expensive ones at that, some well over $100 for a few hours. With ingenuity and research you can do much better. You will get no help from the crew. Maps of upcoming destinations were kept locked away until the very day of the stop. If you asked for one ahead of time, a crew member would unlock the drawer and pull one, and only one, out, explaining that if they put them out ahead, people would get confused. That seemed unlikely to me. All of the maps they do put out are available from Norway's tourist Info offices. So I suggest you contact the Norway tourist info offices before your trip and ask for maps of the major ports where you will have time. When we tried ask questions that would help plan how to use our time off the ship, the crew at the reception/excursion/shop, particularly, the short woman with short reddish brown hai,r was not only unhelpful, but sometimes gave misinformation. An example, when asked about hikes at Urke, she said it was in the country so you could just get off and walk anywhere. I discovered that there were several marked hikes, some of which were short enough to do during the stop. But you needed to know which direction to go, depending on whether you wanted to walk up a steep slope for a good view or a more level walk along the river valley. There is an Info office there, but ideally you contact them ahead of time and ask about hikes in the area. Another example, one in our group did some research on line and found that for the North Cape (which is spectacularly beautiful), which you get to from Horingsvag, there is a regular bus that takes you there and back for about 1/3 the cost of the Hurtigruten "excursion." It goes and returns at exactly the time the ship is in the harbor, so you get back with plenty of time to board the ship. Check out bookfinnmark.com, look there for transportation, then North Cape. The bus leaves from the tourist info office, which is right next to the parking lot where Hurtigruten buses leave from. It's a very comfortable bus, very nice driver, beautiful ride, with reindeer along the way, and the spectacular cape at the end. The staff person selling excursions warned us that they would not be responsible if we got back late and that the bus might break down. Actually, it seemed to be as new a bus as those Hurtigruten used. Allesund is another stop where the most interesting thing is simply to go for a walk around the town, using the tourist info map marked routes that show off what is described as the art nouveau buildings. You don't need an expensive excursion that goes to the same area. As for the food, the dinners were often skimpy, although there is plenty of food at the serve yourself breakfasts and lunches. But I found the food incredibly salty. After a day or two, I asked for less salty food, which they accommodated for dinner. For other meals, you can choose to avoid the saltiest things, e.g., soups. Unlike the Hurtigruten cruise I took to Antarctica in 2005, everything is extra. On that earlier trip, they served coffee, lattes, etc. any time the bar was open, which was a good chunk of the day. Shakes, burgers, etc. were also available for no extra charge. Afternoon cookies and other goodies appeared everyday. Not so now, at least with the Nordkapp. They didn't even serve coffee with dinner, much less a cappuccino or latte. You had to go to the coffee shop to get coffee, but that did not include lattes. I wish I had brought some non-fat dried milk and instant coffee along. They did not serve reduced fat or notnfat milk in the lattes you had to buy. For breakfast, there is a self-service machine that makes pseudo lattes and cappuccinos, but they are minimally drinkable, lukewarm. I would have been better off with dried milk and instant espresso. All that said, I would still recommend the trip. The scenery is fantastic. Just come prepared so you can arrange your own excursions and have a passable latte. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
SMOKING POLICY - everywhere on outside decks except in one small area. This is EXTREMELY disappointing. You step outside to get fresh air and to see the natural sights the ship is passing, only to be bombarded with smokers and the cigars ... Read More
SMOKING POLICY - everywhere on outside decks except in one small area. This is EXTREMELY disappointing. You step outside to get fresh air and to see the natural sights the ship is passing, only to be bombarded with smokers and the cigars and pipes were even worse. Hurtigruten is heads up for smokers and does not have a good policy. In such a well regulated and natural country this policy surprises me greatly. Half the ship smoking, half the ship nonsmoking would at least be fair, but to make all the decks smoking is really a bad policy. CABIN on Deck 3 are not renovated. My bathroom had a very moldly smell in the small bathroom. My bed was uncomfortable and hard. Staff put another mattress on top of the hard mattress for a softer sleep. Deck 5 and 6 have been renovated, so try to get a cabin up there and also on the starboard side away from the noise of the cargo doors which open and close at various ports all thru the nights. Restaurant - food is very good. Except - evening meal there is no choice. One set meal and that is it. Too bad if you don't like fish. Servings at dinner time are small and staff refuse to give seconds. Our wait staff rudely said there was not enough food on board for us to have a little extra desert. This was disappointing see the meal was fish and unfortunately my travel companion does not eat fish. STAFF - Tours are constantly pushed on the ship. When we asked for some info for independent travellers we were told to take a tour. The staff were not willing to give out info. Maps were available. Tours are very expensive. THE CRUISE - the scenery along the coast is beautiful. Stops in ports are very short therefore giving a very rushed feeling. Most ports only 15 or 30 mins. A few ports stop for 3 hours. Taxis are at the dock to wisk you off to some sight. NORTHERN LIGHTS - I was extremely lucky to see one night of fantastic Northern Lights. But then being out on deck watching the lights and having smokers stand next to me smoking. Many German travellers on board were smoking (did I mention cigar and pipe). Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We were looking for a celebratory cruise experience for a first time cruising older couple and the Hurtigruten north Norway expedition cruise delivered big time. We were delighted to be part of a working ferry service in an incredibly ... Read More
We were looking for a celebratory cruise experience for a first time cruising older couple and the Hurtigruten north Norway expedition cruise delivered big time. We were delighted to be part of a working ferry service in an incredibly interesting part of the world along the north Norway coast and fjords. Hurtigan combines the working ferry element with excellent cruise service including a great cabin, dining, including locally sourced and inspired fare, and service. The expedition team were informative, engaging, and fun. The working ferry element is fascinating with the ship maneuvering into often tiny and picturesque harbours to load and off load a variety of local passengers, cars, mail and freight. Some stops are just half an hour but you can still walk off to grab a few photos since the terminals are right in the middle of town. At least once per day the ship remains in harbour for several hours and allows for organized shore excursions or more detailed personal exploring -- we did the latter and had great fun. Crossing the Arctic Circle and the Lofoten Islands were the highlights. We embarked at Bergen, which is a terrific destination in itself and well worth an extra night or two, and disembarked at Kirkenes where we flew home with a seamless transition to the airport. Part of the adventure is meeting a variety of Norwegians who were themselves on holiday, or heading to their summer camps or cottages, or travelling to or from their homes on the north coast. You can join or leave the ship anywhere but the six day one way package is excellent for cruising. You can do it in either direction, or stay aboard for 12 days and do both ways. We recommend that prospective cruisers read the Hurtigruten website material carefully to ensure that the combination of a working ship with excellent adventure cruise experience is suitable to you. It worked for us big time as it did for other and much more experienced cruisers who we met. Many thanks Hurtigruten and MS Nordcapp! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We chose this cruise as part of a eight-day tour of Norway. We enjoyed every minute of the cruise. The ship was well maintained and had been recently updated. Our cabin on Deck 5 was larger than expected, and the staff was very helpful. ... Read More
We chose this cruise as part of a eight-day tour of Norway. We enjoyed every minute of the cruise. The ship was well maintained and had been recently updated. Our cabin on Deck 5 was larger than expected, and the staff was very helpful. The breakfasts were outstanding -- a large buffet each morning. Several dining options for lunch and dinner. The panoramic view from the upper deck was great for seeing the coastline. Plenty of opportunities to take photos. Enjoyed visiting Alesund along the way. Boarding was made efficient by excellent staff. Although we were told not to expect a typical cruise line since the Nordkapp is a working boat, we found it to be clean, comfortable and better organized that many cruise lines we have used in the past. Enjoyed meeting other couples visiting Norway for the first time. Very relaxing and stress free. Would highly recommend to anyone visiting Norway. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Did the round cruise Bergen-Kirkenes-Bergen. Weather disappointing as we left and arrived back in Bergen. Further up coast the scenery was magnificent with the snow. Ship very comfortable with good clean cabins. Plenty of room to empty ... Read More
Did the round cruise Bergen-Kirkenes-Bergen. Weather disappointing as we left and arrived back in Bergen. Further up coast the scenery was magnificent with the snow. Ship very comfortable with good clean cabins. Plenty of room to empty your entire suitcase and put things away. Crew very friendly and helpful. Food was exceptional, in quality and variety. Breakfast and lunch was buffet, extremely plentiful. Downside was evening meal. It was set dinner and by the time it was served it was barely warm. Waiters were great keeping their balance when the boat was rocking badly! Beware, excursions!! They are extremely overpriced, especially the walking tours, which you can easily find yourself as ship docks in centre of towns and towns are small. One walking tour was £45 for 45 minutes. Main public area was the Kompas Explorer Bar, but even though staff kept saying that the best seats shouldn't be reserved, the Germans thought it didn't apply to them! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We loved every minute of the Hurtigruten Northern Lights cruise and would have done the full 11 day return trip had we known how fabulous it would be. With 2 kids aged 13 and 15 we overnighted at the Hotel Oleana in Bergen to have the ... Read More
We loved every minute of the Hurtigruten Northern Lights cruise and would have done the full 11 day return trip had we known how fabulous it would be. With 2 kids aged 13 and 15 we overnighted at the Hotel Oleana in Bergen to have the whole next day to sight see before embarking between 4-6pm. They happily provided a late checkout and it is a 5 minute taxi ride to the Hurtigruten terminal. Boarding was very straightforward after arriving at 5pm and having a safety demo and luggage was transferred straight to rooms so we could explore and find dinner. We had 2 adjacent minisuites, 602 and 606, giving extras such as earlier room access, wine package, tea/coffee facilities, bathrobe/slippers to keep if you like, 2 large windows per room, excellent wifi and more space than we needed. Pack a nice bottle or two to enjoy in your cabin. Beds were extremely comfortable, temperature good and easily adjusted, heated bathroom floors helped dry out clothes, 606 is bigger with the addition of a sofa bed if you have a bigger family but both have room for a desk and sitting area and a heavy curtain room divider should you want to keep different hours! Dinner is staggered sittings, 6 and 6.30pm as the ship was not at capacity, buffet for breakfast, lunch and first dinner and set 3 course meal otherwise (all good experiences). The menu is out at breakfast so you can request options or choose to pay an upgrade fee and eat at the a la Carte area which was fabulous food, beautifully presented and definitely worth treating yourself to. The Nordkapp was revamped in 2016 and all spaces were elegant, spacious and inviting. Deck five is open right round for doing your laps and the gym looks near new. 2 hot tubs at the rear, a café to play games or listen to evening stories or music selections from Martin or some live music from the multitalented Johann, a viewing deck and bar, a second café, shop, lecture room with daily talks on aspects of the cruise (they could do with making these a little more substantial, we would have loved to have learnt a little more about the ship, the geography, culture etc). Excursions were fun, especially for the kids, (we did the dogsledding, snow mobiling and viking feast-the weakest) but all ports were close to the town centre and maps available on board made it easy to tour around by yourself. The greatest strength of this cruise lies in the breathtaking scenery passing by every window every minute of every day and the lovely snow kissed towns and villages along the way. We can't wait to come back and do it again in summer. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We took a 6 days cruise, North from Kirkenes to Bergen. We love it. Saw the "northern lights" and the fjords of Norway. We took the mini-suite and it is the only way to go. The lower cabins are tiny. For the size, it was more ... Read More
We took a 6 days cruise, North from Kirkenes to Bergen. We love it. Saw the "northern lights" and the fjords of Norway. We took the mini-suite and it is the only way to go. The lower cabins are tiny. For the size, it was more than adequate, better than Princess. The bed was superb. For the price of the mini-suite, you get free wine ( a bottle a day if you want) and mineral water. You also get to take home new robe and wool blanket. You also get late check out. Highly recommend cabin #605 for its location and little noise when they dock. Food is great, much better than Princess and sometimes better than Oceania. Selections for the breakfast and lunch was great norwiegan foods for all tastes, Dinner was one selection, but individual crafted by the ship chef. You can see her work. Did not have a bad meals. They did fish dishes the best. Very little fry dishes, so heallty. The ship did rock a little when it leaves the fjord and get into open seas. But this is only for a few hours. Since it hold only 300 passengers, we have only 150 it was never crowd. Love it. This is a cruise line that is waiting to be discover. Will do it agian in the summer. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose the Hurtigruten cruise line as the best way to see the Norwegian fjords. We arrived Bergen where we had 1 1/2 days prior to boarding the Nordkapp. Bergen is a delightful city. The embarkation was the quickest and most simple we ... Read More
We chose the Hurtigruten cruise line as the best way to see the Norwegian fjords. We arrived Bergen where we had 1 1/2 days prior to boarding the Nordkapp. Bergen is a delightful city. The embarkation was the quickest and most simple we have ever experienced. The cabin we had was an "L" class. It was quite small, with two slightly larger than cot size beds. One of which folded up during the day to make a couch. There was a third pull down bed which we didn't use. The bathroom was small but well designed. The meals specialized in serving local products. The menu often included fish of some sort. The buffet always had lots of fish, lots of vegetables, excellent cheese and tasty bread. I was a bit disappointed that desserts didn't feature Norwegian pastries. Finally decided that was because such pastries were for sale at their bakery! The Nordkapp is an Expedition ship. There were 4 ship employees who led different activities and excursions throughout the cruise. All of them were personable and well versed in the area. We were with a tour company, Vantage, so we had our own tour guide...Mat...who was excellent. Therefore, we only interacted with the ships 4 activity leaders during the on board activities. There was usually some lecture or presentation daily by these 4. Some were better than others. Since the Nordkapp is a working ship, the port stops were often quite short. We did have time in several ports for in depth exploring. The Northern Lights appeared several nights. There is definitely a trick to getting good pictures of the lights. Unfortunately, we didn't know what it was so our pictures were disappointing. If you desire photographs of the Northern lights, I suggest you study up on it before the cruise! We had researched the Hurtigruten vs a regular cruise ship for this trip. We knew basically what we were getting into prior to boarding. It was quite an adventure and we enjoyed it greatly. However, it is not a cruise for everyone. The open sea stretches were a bit rough in seas that a large cruise ship wouldn't even notice. There were often times with nothing but beautiful scenery to keep you occupied...which we thoroughly enjoyed but might have bored other folks. It helped to have a good book and to find friendly folks who play bridge. We found the ships employees to be helpful and pleasant. The rooms were lacking tissues and hand lotion...so bring your own. All in all it was a great adventure during which we met fine folks and made many wonderful memories! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We have cruised on small luxury liners and large. This cruise was so much more. Every minute of the cruise offered spectacular scenery along the west coast of Norway between the barrier islands and the mainland. The ship stops in the towns ... Read More
We have cruised on small luxury liners and large. This cruise was so much more. Every minute of the cruise offered spectacular scenery along the west coast of Norway between the barrier islands and the mainland. The ship stops in the towns and villages from Bergen to beyond the Artic Circle. Hurtigruten is the ferry line that has brought passengers, mail, and cargo up this coast since the 19th century. Today, they are still a ferry line, but about 80% of their revenue is cruise passengers. This trip is not for people who want a party ship, it is for travelers who want to see spectacular scenery, visit charming villages, take hikes with members of the knowledgeable and entertaining exploration team, learn the history and culture of the rugged Norwegian people, see the engineering accomplishments of modern Norway, enjoy local food, see the Nothern lights (we saw them 4 times on our voyage), meet people from around the globe, and actively participate in the experiene. The ship is not fancy, but has recently been refurbished and was very comfortable for a cruise in Northern waters. There are lots of thoughtful choices like comfortable seating next to large windows and heaters and glass covering on parts of the exterior decks. The lectures and activities were fun and informative and always delivered in three languages: Norwegian, German, and English. One of our few criticism is too many public announcements that went on forever as they were delivered in three languages. Most cabins are very small. We elected a larger (twice the size) mini suite with two large picture windows and a comfortable seating area. Bathrooms are small, but few people spend much time I. Their staterooms, the rest of the ship is made for lounging, viewing, and socializing. If you love nature, beauty, and a bit of adventure (although you could just find a comfortable chair by the window and take in the view, then this cruise is for you! PS -- None of the categories below fit this cruise. I'd call it a "cruise of beauty and exploration." Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Having done this voyage over 40 years ago the changes were enormous. The infrastructure (roads, bridges and tunnels) have changed the passenger profile, and the ships are modern and carry far more "tourists". This trip should ... Read More
Having done this voyage over 40 years ago the changes were enormous. The infrastructure (roads, bridges and tunnels) have changed the passenger profile, and the ships are modern and carry far more "tourists". This trip should not be confused with a "cruise", it is a working boat which carries a large number of tourists, and that is its unique attraction, along with gaining access to smaller ports and channels than the cruise liners we saw in Bergen, Alesund, Trondheim and Tromso. The Restaurant staff were very helpful, appropriately attentive to allergies etc. We found the selection at breakfast good, the buffet lunch very generous and the evening meal, although a set menu, very well cooked, varied and well presented. The use of local produce and suppliers was commented on by other passengers. Other reviewers have commented on "re-cycling", which we saw as entirely appropriate and avoiding unnecessary waste. The evening meal portions were not large, but with open access breakfast and lunch that is appropriate (and with the sedentary nature of the trip more than adequate). The allocation of tables had obviously been carried out with some thought, and we found ourselves on a table with other English-speaking passengers. There was no "entertainment" on board, except for a couple of "crossing the circle" sessions on the aft deck, drinks in Trollfjord and a demonstration of Salmon filletting. We have suggested that maybe a couple of "information evenings" would be appreciated. A Couple of evenings there was some "entertainment" in the bar... As we were not expecting any organised entertainment we were not disappointed. Entertainment was created by the scenery, the stops in ports and the opportunities for photography, reading and relaxing .... A large number of passengers were to be seen with their binoculars or cameras at all times of the day (there being no night for about half the trip!) The majority of tourists seemed to be from Germany, with many from Norway (most of whom spoke English!) , a few British and a very small number of Australians and Americans. All announcements were therefore in Norwegian, English and German. (and French when the crew were aware of French-speakers among the "tourists". The tour-guide(s) were extremely helpful, and knowledgeable. We went on several of the organised excursions in order to see some of the surrounding country, see wildlife etc., and found them very good (albeit a little contrived at times, but understandably so). Beware that the ferry has a tight timetable to keep to, so if it is due to call at a port for 15 or 30 minutes, it will leave on time even if it arrives late ... and that is with or without passengers (although the tour guides did work hard to account for everyone), and I am not aware that we left anyone behind. The only aspect which we would urge caution on is for those flying to and from Bergen Airport. The airport is undergoing major work and the "bus stop" is some way from the terminal . The buses are scheduled to depart every hour for the town, but the day we arrived there was a wait of 1hr 45mins between buses, with no way of knowing what was happening, and on return Norwegian Air would not allow check-in until 2 hours before scheduled flight time, leaving us with bags and only a small coffee shop for 2 hours. Overall, the trip delivered what the literature said it would, the service was excellent, and to add to it the weather was excellent (although as advised we did need winter wear at the northern extremes). Of course, Norway is an expensive destination anyway Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
My husband and I, 2 English passengers, had all of our luggage stolen from a Hurtigruten ship after embarking at Bergen for the 12 day round trip. We feel we must highlight the incident and dangers to other current and future international ... Read More
My husband and I, 2 English passengers, had all of our luggage stolen from a Hurtigruten ship after embarking at Bergen for the 12 day round trip. We feel we must highlight the incident and dangers to other current and future international passengers, who will naturally expect in 2014 a certain level of security. Global passengers do not expect when sold a cruise that anyone off the street can board a ship, steal passengers’ suitcases that have been left unsafe in corridors or in unlocked luggage stores and walk off the ship with the suitcases completely unchallenged. There is no security. Hurtigruten are refusing to replace our stolen possessions, even after admitting that the suitcases were in their care and it is therefore their responsibility to put the situation right, as they were negligent by allowing a visitor to steal the 2 big suitcases and walk past the staff completely unchallenged. Norway had previously been our favourite country and we had visited 9 times including a previous Hurtigruten round trip voyage 5 years ago. We have had a very stressful last 2 years with a job and house relocation and a sequence of failed attempts to buy a house. I have a brain tumour and my health has been deteriorating. We have got married recently and this was our honeymoon. Knowing Norway and the sailing schedule, we expected a relaxing, beautiful, stress free 12 day voyage. Imagine our devastation just hours after boarding, when it became apparent that our luggage had been stolen. It seems that Hurtigruten’s poor security procedures had allowed a “visitor” to simply walk onto the ship, take our 2 large suitcases, containing a lot of brand new winter clothing bought specifically for this trip, then walk straight off the ship again without any of the Hurtigruten or Bergen harbour authority staff even questioning him. One of the suitcases was found by a Hurtigruten staff member at a nearby bus stop, it had been ripped open and virtually emptied. We were left with virtually none of our possessions. We checked in at the Bergen Hurtigruten terminal at around 17.30hrs on Sunday 16th March 2014 and the Hurtigruten staff took our 2 large suitcases. We then proceeded upstairs for the safety video, then boarded the ship on level 5. We expected that our luggage would arrive in the cabin later in the evening. We had dinner and then went to the 9pm information talk by the tour leader. By 21.40hrs our luggage still had not arrived and we phoned reception and were told not to worry as the suitcases were all on the ship and must have been placed outside the wrong cabin. My husband had already looked around the whole ship and all the corridors by this stage and it was clear to us that there was a problem. The ship set sail on time at 22.30hrs at which point our luggage still had not been found. They had searched the terminal and no cases were found. The ship turned around, back to Bergen after around 5-10 minutes. It seems an IT worker was returning to his flat from the ship and found 1 of our suitcases, ripped open and mostly empty by the bus stop. The other case was not at the scene. It was only at this point the ship realised that the suitcases had been stolen. The man at Bergen terminal then remembered a man had visited the ship at around 21.00 - 22.00hrs and left with 2 big suitcases, because he remembers saying goodnight to him when he handed back his visitors pass! The ship do not know where they left the cases for them to be stolen. It could be in the corridor, by the lift, by the reception, as they have no organised system. We were totally devastated by what had happened. We did not sleep at all that night. The hotel manager the morning after the theft told us not to contact our holiday insurance, because the suitcases were in the care of the ship and they would look after us. We had not left our cabin, as we were so upset and in shock. The Hotel Manager told us to have some lunch and then to get off at Alesund. They gave us some emergency funds to buy the essential items of clothing, such as underwear and thermal base layers for the extremely cold weather conditions of the voyage etc, but as we only had 2 hours in Alesund, a port we are unfamiliar with and we were in such a state we were only able to buy a few items and as the prices in Norway are very, very high, the emergency funds did not buy much. The Hotel Manager said that he would look into how Hurtigruten would make payment for the other stolen items that we would be unable to replace while in Norway. At his request we gave him a provisional list of stolen items that would need replacing, for him to give to the police when he reported the theft to them in Alesund. On the provisional police report they estimated the losses to be at least 40 000 NOK. We subsequently had a nightmare 2 weeks of stress and upset which was made worse by Hurtigruten staff. In particular we met with the senior vice president of hotel operations when we were in port in Tromso day 5 on Thursday 20th March 2014. We met him for about 15 minutes just before the ship set sail. He clearly had not prepared for the meeting. His inappropriate opening line was “I gather you have had some bad luck with your luggage”. It was obvious that he had no appreciation of what we had been going through. To describe the incident as bad luck is appalling, given that the theft was only possible through Hurtigruten’s negligent security procedures which allow anyone freely on and off the ship without being challenged. When I corrected his insensitivity he said, “I cannot defend the indefensible”. All questions that we asked him he deferred saying “I’ll have to get back to you on that”. Not the sort of behaviour and responses I would expect from apparently the senior vice president of a large company. On the morning of 22nd March the Hotel Manager explained to us that the Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations wanted us to provide another list of all the outstanding stolen items that required replacement this time with replacement values, so that Hurtigruten could look into how to pay us for these items. We spent the whole day compiling this list again. The internet on the ship is extremely slow and breaks up, which made it incredibly difficult to try and get replacement costs for some items. Having to spend a whole day doing this is clearly not going to be an enjoyable task to have to do while supposedly on holiday. On most days we had to spend time chasing the Hotel Manager for copies of paperwork, the police crime reference number, the Hurtigruten report, any progress or an update from the police (e.g. had they yet reviewed the CCTV cameras that we were told are present in the Bergen Hurtigruten terminal?) Some of the paperwork Hurtigruten still have not provided. At 22:00hrs on Saturday 22nd March we were appalled to then be given by the Hotel Manager an email from Senior The Vice President. In the email he wrote that “our policy for lost luggage is £500 per person as outlined in our terms and conditions” He “apologises for the inconvenience”. Again, this email shows no recognition or acknowledgement of the continued upset and distress that we have been caused. I think to describe the event as an “inconvenience” is rather flippant. Again, our luggage is not “lost”, but has been stolen whilst in Hurtigruten’s care through Hurtigruten’s negligence. Despite having requested a list of outstanding items and replacement costs, the Senior Vice President was clearly putting us through more stress and upset and obviously had no intention of even looking at this list. In his email he writes “ we are prepared to offer a further 10 000NOK in addition to the 20 000NOK you have already received from the ship to cover your losses. This is only on production of receipts”. It is incorrect and misleading to say we had already received 20 000 NOK to cover our losses. This money was given as emergency funds by the Hotel Manager for us to buy basic items, such as underwear. From this money we also had to buy 2 new suitcases, which cost more than 3000NOK by themselves. Obviously while 20000NOK is a large sum of money, it does not buy very much in Norway, given the very high prices, particularly for winter clothing and we were only able to replace a small number of our possessions. We are now left in a position, that even after replacing some items with the emergency money we are still more than a further 30 000NOK out of pocket. This does not take any account of the loss of holiday, time, extreme distress, anger and upset which also needs to be recognised and compensated. We feel that the easy theft of our suitcases has only been possible because Hurtigruten do not have adequate security measures in place to prevent anyone simply walking on and off the ship with passengers possessions or luggage and as such Hurtigruten are negligent and have failed in their duty to provide sufficient safekeeping of passenger luggage, having received the suitcases into Hurtigruten’s care. I feel the current outcome is extremely unjust and I ask you to put yourself in our positions……me with a brain tumour and deteriorating health and we have been looking forward to our honeymoon taking a beautiful voyage through our favourite country for potentially the last time together, then within hours of boarding the Hurtigruten ship, we are devastated to find that our luggage has been stolen due to negligent procedures on Hurtigruten’s behalf. We then have to endure 12 days of upset, stress, flippant remarks by a senior vice president, daily battles with the hotel manager to try and get information and answers. We have had to waste time providing documentation for Hurtigruten, yet they have been obstructive to providing us with the necessary paperwork. Despite days of chasing the Hotel Manager, he only provided us with the crime reference number 15 minutes before he got off the ship on Monday 24th March 2014, 3 full days before the end of the voyage. As a result of the theft we are thousands of pounds out of pocket and our honeymoon and holiday have been ruined. If this had happened to you would you feel that Hurtigruten have handled the situation well and would you be satisfied with their response, because we certainly are not? Since coming home we have emailed the CEO of Hurtigruten, but to date have not even had an acknowledgement of receipt of our email. Unfortunately bad things do happen occasionally, but the sign of a good company is how they react in these events to put matters right. Hurtigruten comes out extremely badly. Hurtigruten represents Norwegian heritage, people and country. We were told by the tour leader that Norwegians are compassionate. We have seen no evidence of this. Hurtigruten relies on foreign tourists and if this is how it treats it’s international guests that have paid so much money, it will soon have no guests when this story goes global. It is unbelievable that in 2014 Hurtigruten have no security measures in place to ensure the safekeeping of its global guests and their possessions. You would think after Norway’s Anders Breivik tragedy that Hurtigruten would have re-evaluated it’s security and risk assessments. At present any visitor is allowed on board completely unchecked. No checks of identity, passport, x ray of person or bags. It would be incredibly easy for a bomb to be left on board. The Senior Vice President that came on board to briefly meet us in Tromso, said that we should be reassured that they had immediately changed their protocol and that now any visitor leaving the ship with passengers’ suitcases would be challenged!!!! They have completely missed the point. We spent the entire voyage trying to resolve this travesty. What do you think we should do next? Perhaps you might think this security risk should be notified to the wider travel world, so prospective passengers can make an informed choice? Review of voyage and ship Nordkapp If you have stuck with reading this I will now objectively review the voyage and compare it to our previous one. 5 years ago we booked the same 12 day round voyage on Finnmarken. A couple of weeks before departure I phoned customer services to book some excursions. I was shocked to be told that I could not book the excursions, because the voyage had been cancelled, but they could not tell me anything else, as I had booked through a travel agent. Immediately I phoned the travel agent who phoned Hurtigruten who said everything was fine. I made the travel agent phone again and this time Hurtigruten said it was cancelled, as the ship was going into dry dock as an emergency. To cut a long story short, after a lot of inconvenience and bother we rearranged our lives and rescheduled the voyage on another ship in the fleet, the Midnatsol. When we arrived at Bergen airport at 10pm from Gatwick we waited and waited for our prepaid / prebooked transfer that never arrived. We got a taxi to our prebooked overnight hotel. When we went to get our transfer from the hotel to the quay in the afternoon, yes you guessed it, it never turned up. However the hotel reception told us to stay put as the ship was stuck in very rough seas and would not be arriving in Bergen until very late at night or the next morning. We had another night in the hotel and embarked very early the next morning and because of the late schedule all passengers just walked their own luggage on board. I so wish we had done this on the latest voyage. 5 years ago we had booked a mini suite at the front of the ship on promenade deck 6, which Hurtigruten promised us and our travel agent would not have passengers standing in front of. Yes you guessed it again – any cabin on the promenade decks have passengers walking by or at the front have passengers standing in front of your windows or looking in your windows. We therefore moved to a fantastic MG category cabin deck 8 with floor to ceiling windows. This cabin was wonderful, but at the price it should be. The Captain told us that Finnmarken was going in for a planned session in dry dock to have a helicopter pad fitted and they had known about it for months. No one can deny that the scenery on this voyage is amazing and unfortunately at the moment there is no other way of doing this voyage apart from Hurtigruten. However, Hurtigruten have massively increased their prices and so booking a suite this time was out of the question. This time, even on a 2for1 offer, our tiny, basic outside cabin was £118 per person per night including flights. Remember that whilst reading my factual review and see if you think that is value for money for you, especially compared to what else is available on the market. Outside Cabin 641 Nordkapp -sheets never changed for entire 12 day voyage. Housekeeping do not do anything, except empty bin and change small, thin, hard towels. They knock and immediately enter cabin, never waiting for you to answer. The same staff clean the cabin toilets and then serve the dinner in the evening - awful shower gel and hand wash which is very drying, but also not refilled unless you requested it (was lovely Lux 5 years ago) - very small cabin with only 2 plug sockets - extremely small shower room - well lit and big picture window, which is the same size on all decks - only 3 hangers in limited wardrobe space due to small cabin size - cannot get into cabin until 6pm in Bergen, but have to vacate cabin at 10am for Bergen departure at 2.30pm and have to leave suitcases outside cabin night before between 9pm-4am (for anyone to steal some contents or entire suitcase while it docks at other ports during night and allows visitors on board). They tell you that you have to vacate cabins by 10am, despite the ship not arriving in Bergen until 2.30pm, because of the short turn around time and then do not allow embarking passengers on until 6pm – compare this to all other proper cruise ships and this is a joke isn’t it? - luggage including hand luggage can be left in unlocked luggage room, which anyone can get in to, however they have now kindly put a sign up to say it is at your own risk and at your convenience. Perhaps they should say left at your own risk and for the convenience of others!!! Food The food 5 years ago on Midnatsol was fantastic and a highlight of the voyage. From the very first meal on Nordkapp, when we did not know we had had our luggage stolen we commented how poor the food was. The “hot” food is barely lukewarm and would not pass food temperature standards. Food was continually recycled. I do not waste food at home, but I would not serve last night’s haddock cold for lunch, let alone when passengers have paid this amount of money. Every meal was then seen again undisguised at the next meal or even the one after that, Dinner had 2 sittings 6.30 or 8.15pm, but we were given our time, not asked. We had 8.15pm, drinks orders were taken first, then you are served 3 small courses without choice and it was all over by 9.05 or 9.15pm at the latest if you were the last to be served. If you have a food intolerance or dislike etc you can tell them, but expect it to be ignored. My neurologist has banned me from having caffeine, so no chocolate puds or sauces. A blue, plastic sign was put at my place setting to make it clear to staff of special need and to pay attention. Numerous times this was ignored, so on the last night, fed up with complaining, I stuck my big blue, plastic sign in my chocolate pud and left it on the table whilst my husband ate his desert – this was wasted on the stupid waitress who just cleared the table to hasten us out of the restaurant, which was their only priority. Couples and groups are incompletely served, so half of the table will have their meal, whilst the others wait some time. After dinner tea and coffee you have to make yourself on deck 7 mid (restaurant deck 4 aft), but you are only allowed a set time to have it, i.e. 8.15pm dinner allowed 9-10.15pm only. No decaf tea available and the decaf coffee was horrible. Much of the food we could not eat due to it’s extremely high salt content and it is also very fatty. The buffets at breakfast and lunch were never replenished, even if you asked. Again a definite strategy was noted to cut costs. The buffets were very messy and serving spoons had to be fished out by passengers’ hands, a real hygiene issue. If you wanted a lunch pudding or cheese you had to get it at the beginning of your meal or there were none left. Breakfast and lunch tea and coffee available in the restaurant was made with lukewarm, frothy water, nicknamed by other guests as tea-o-cino. At the Captain’s gala dinner the Captain’s table was completely empty and the reverse thrusters were going for the entire meal whilst hovering outside a port – very unpleasant. However, the Brits’ biggest complaint was that now, unlike 5 years ago, they refuse to serve tap water and you have to pay 25NOK about £2.70 for a 500ml bottle of water and with the amount of salt in the food you need a few bottles. They have also stopped you taking in their own mug from the coffee package deal, in case you are smuggling in water. Lounges The ship was not full, but there was insufficient seating. Dreadful singer/pianist in deck 7 lounge where after dinner coffee available – probably to stop you hanging around and drinking the coffee. In the words of Simon Cowell he certainly made it his own and managed to ruin every smash hit song he sung. Excursions None of them were value for money or great. However you have no alternative way of doing them, as the time in ports is so limited. As we were so depressed and as we felt this was our last time together in Norway we did these trips: Bodo – sightseeing & Saltstraumen – nice scenic drive, but waste of time seeing tidal current by bus, so would give this a miss. On board price 390 NOK= about £43, 2.25 hours Tromso – Huskies. We have mushed huskies many times in Finland before. In Tromso you are not allowed to mush yourself, it is very sedate and slow. Some dogs were very slow, so the groups kept bunching up and then we all ended up stopping many times. The scenery was lovely and there was a long, scenic bus drive to get there but unguided. 300 dogs with lots of dog mess and smelly protective suits. £139 UK prebook or 1350NOK on ship Honningvag – Skarsvag fishing village and Christmas house. Too many passengers and very expensive for what it is – unguided minibus to village then one lady walking you round her tiny fishing village and back to her small house for waffles and glog. 440NOK (£48.50) 3 hours Kirkenes – Huskies – again not allowed to mush yourself. Faster pace than Tromso, but the sleigh we were on for the 2 of us was the same sleigh used for one in Finland, so very uncomfortable. Much shorter track with a huge stop in the middle waiting for the rest of the group, as it is the same route out, as back, so although in total time it was similar to Tromso, the distance travelled was far less. However with this one you can visit the Snow Hotel and see the 4 reindeer in the distance. For those of you who have done this trip before it is now at a completely different location. £129 2.5 hours or 1250 NOK Hammerfest – trip cancelled Tromso midnight concert – very nice, but only 50 minutes, so expensive at £49 booked in England or 480NOK on board Sea Eagle safari – I personally had difficulty with this, as it is contrived – guaranteed sightings because they feed the eagles every day, so it is learnt behaviour and not natural. This to me will ruin the food chain. £88 2 hours or NOK 850 Ambassador Loyalty Club Total rip off. The promised 5% discount on further voyages is not allowed if voyage is on 2for1 offers, nor 5% discount off excursions for the same reason (work that one out). We did however get a small bowl of fruit in the cabin on arrival. Sea Conditions Both 5 years ago and on this last voyage we had extremely rough seas out of Bergen overnight. We have done 20+ cruises and never taken seasickness tablets or suffered, but on Hurtigruten ships in rough water you have the feeling of being in a washing machine whilst laying down – very unpleasant. There were quite a few proper sailors amongst the UK passengers on this voyage and they had to lie down and take tablets. Day 2 was also very bad – breakfast time was horrendous, as was late dinner. The crew told us that the previous voyage was the roughest they had ever known in 5 years and they could not dock at many ports. Summary This is sold as a cruise, but it is not a cruise. It is a ferry pretending to be a cruise and mis-selling to the global cruise market. If you know of another cruise where there is no security of the passengers and their possessions, lukewarm food, buffets not replenished and dishes left completely empty, tap water not provided, sheets not changed for 12 days then I stand corrected. Remember you can have all this for £118 per person per night when it is on a half price special. The Senior Vice President of Hotel operations must be so proud!   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
My wife and I have just returned from a wonderful holiday chasing the Northern Lights with Hurtigruten it was superb.The weather was super 10 days of sunshine which helped to highlight the magnificent scenery we encountered throughout the ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from a wonderful holiday chasing the Northern Lights with Hurtigruten it was superb.The weather was super 10 days of sunshine which helped to highlight the magnificent scenery we encountered throughout the cruise.The crowning glory was our sightings of the Aroura Borealis on no less than 5 consecutive nights varying from fleeting glimpses to 2 nights of full blown spectacle a never to be forgotten experience. The ship was beautifully maintained and all the lounges had excellent seating.The cabins were on the small side but comfortable, the food was good with plenty of choices at breakfast and lunch,and evening meals were varied.We read the details of the cruise before we booked and were fully aware that the boat was working boat with frequent ports of call sometimes during the night was meant some noise at times.The staff were really good very pleasant and helpful.I realise that everything was in our favour, but it was a great holiday and would wholeheartedly recommend it.Our only complaint is regarding one of the off boat trips which my wife took which was the sled ride from SoTromso.She found the sled extremely uncomfortable it did not seemto be on runners unfortuneatly following the ride she suffered with her back for a couple of days.When we went on the trip to see the ice Hotel in kirkenes she thought the sleds there were much more substantial. So if people were contemplating a sled ride Kirkenese would be recommended. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
It's not comfortable.people need to be under no illusion. The ship is a Ferry! But I think the descriptions in brochure are very fair. We had the best outside cabin and the bunks are very narrow. The cabin is not somewhere we wanted ... Read More
It's not comfortable.people need to be under no illusion. The ship is a Ferry! But I think the descriptions in brochure are very fair. We had the best outside cabin and the bunks are very narrow. The cabin is not somewhere we wanted to spend any time. We went with hopes of seeing the Northern Lights and were lucky. There were glimpses from the ship. We were in Tromso overnight but did not pay £90 each for a trip to view them. We caught a local bus to a country park and saw the lights from there. £9 all in! The buffets on board are excellent but the waited on dinners are a waste of time. There's a lot of fussing and ceremony for tiny portions and usually cold ones. I would say book Breakfast and Lunch. Take snacks for evenings! You can take a Travel kettle and teabags etc.Also take mugs. The 'deal' of buying a mug and being supplied with endless tea or coffee is very expensive for a toilet roll inner sized mug!! The interesting part of the voyage is that the ship is really a working ferry and foot passengers and local people use it a lot. It does go into small inlets and ports that bigger ships can't reach. I think a Summer cruise would be more value for money because the wildlife and scenery would be visible!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
To sum up, I've put the summary first you can also read the more in depth view after, if the mood takes you. If you want reasonable size cabin with half decent facilities don't choose this cruise, unless you can afford the much ... Read More
To sum up, I've put the summary first you can also read the more in depth view after, if the mood takes you. If you want reasonable size cabin with half decent facilities don't choose this cruise, unless you can afford the much larger cabins at much larger prices. If you are after fine dining don't choose this cruise, we found the food very good but may not be to everyone choosing. If you are after entertainment in the evening don't choose this cruise, there isn't any apart from piano man in the bar. If you want Hurtigruten to fuss after you don't choose this cruise, it's not in the Norwegian make up to be concerned that you are enjoying yourself and being looked after they are not bothered. If something goes wrong don't expect an apology so don't choose this cruise. If you are adventurous and want something totally different you want amazing scenery Summer or Winter within a stones throw, choose this cruise. You can get 24 hours of sun in the Summer and 24 hours of darkness in the winter so in winter you won't see so much of the amazing scenery. In the Winter you may be lucky and see the Aurora Borealis. You may also get rough seas 40ft waves and 80mph winds and you will get freezing cold temperatures along with a trip into the Arctic Circle. The choice is yours! would we go again, the answer is yes! but we would try and get a two for the price of one offer if they come up, then it would be value for money at £888 each for 6 nights, compared to other cruises it's expensive. Hurtigruten are relying too much on the scenery, summer and winter and selling it as a working ferry but they want cruise liner prices without delivering the service. They need to go on some customer service courses or experience another cruise line to see what's on offer. The management certainly need to change their attitude, the staff on the ship were always very polite and helpful. We booked a trip on the M/S Nordkapp the Voyage North for our 40th wedding anniversary we did not expect anything but hoped we might get a bottle of wine on the night of our anniversary. We should have known better, this would not be the trip of a life time. At the time of booking I paid Hurtigruten to have a car pick us up at the airport and take us to the ship I advised them of the flight number and arrival time, touchdown 20:00 hrs, and what time I expected to exit the terminal 20:30hrs. When we reached Bergen and stepped out of the terminal on time, no car, nothing, we waited and waited, going in and out of the terminal in case we had missed someone carrying a notice with our name on, nothing. I phoned the number provided several times and got no reply. Eventually someone did answer only to hang up on me when I explained why I was phoning. Then an employee from the Flybusen company asked if we had a problem I explained to him and he said it happens all the time with Hurtigruten, people missing the departure of the ship. with his help we got a bus to the Hurtigruten terminal and just made the departure at 22:30. Because we were late we got none of the information given to other passengers. after a expensive coffee we decided to go to bed. We knew the cabins were not going to be palatial but we expected them to be clean! that was another mistake, when I pulled down the bed I was going to sleep on I looked at the pillow and it was filthy it looked like someone had played football with it and the actual pillow in side the case was stained yellow all over really gross. We were both so tired by this time I just threw the pillow against the door to block out the light coming in through the gap at the bottom of the door, I'm still not sure if any of the bedding was changed before we got there all the sheets were creased but that may be because the beds fold up with the bedding trapped against the cabin wall, how the pillow was so dirty I don't know. When we awoke in the morning we were able to see what we missed on our arrival in the cabin, well it was a sorry sight tatty to say the least, we had one chair to sit on which was far from new, the the top of the back of the chair was frayed where so many hands had gripped and rubbed along it with stuffing coming out, with the seat section well worn, along with the very worn carpets. Then we come to the bathroom, adequate, but small and old, the shower worked with just enough water to feel clean. Toilet seat was broken moving around very much when the sea was rough, a skill just to sit on it in such conditions, then there was the sink, when first we looked, it seemed as though it had not been cleaned but it was just old and stained, with the surface all crazed with small cracks making it look worse. We had booked the trip in the hope of seeing the Northern lights, no guarantees, and as luck would have it we did not, they said we had the worst storm in ten years, staying in Trondheim for an additional 12 hours to let the worst of the storm to pass, so for most of the cruise it was very overcast, these are small ships 11,000 tonnes compared with the big cruise liners of 100,000 + tonnes. Once we had gained our sea legs the rough weather was not a problem in fact it was different, something to talk about, you must expect bad weather in the North Sea in the winter months if you want gentle cruising don't choose this trip. Hurtigruten do say they are a ferry for the Norwegian people which they are, 11 ships, constantly going up and down the coast stopping at 34 ports on the way North and the same again coming South. We missed out on 14 of the ports due to the adverse weather conditions but it was not a big deal, many of these were docked at when we would be asleep. The views of the Norwegian coast were stunning and that was the other reason for the voyage, which didn't disappoint us. My wife and I found the food to be generally very good breakfast was not always a big choice, if you slept in there was even less. Midday meal was between 12:00 and 14:00 help yourself a good selection of hot or cold dishes always plenty of fresh seafood which was really good. Evening meal, there were two sittings 18:00 and 20:00 although with I guess maximum 150 passengers when we were sailing, all could have been accommodated at one sitting and according to the specs, the ship has the capacity of 622 passengers with 456 beds (you have to guess the number of tatty the beds out of the total) If you do choose this type of cruise there is no entertainment to speak of, one man with a synthesiser cranking out a variety of tunes and songs in a bar that feels quite soulless but that's probably because it bankrupts you to have a few drinks in the bar and not many people were prepared to pay the Norwegian prices for booze, small bottle of beer £8.50 glass of wine £9.00 they say it's to stop the Norwegian youth from drinking but there were no Norwegian youth on the ship . What's wrong with giving international passengers duty free privileges, you have to pay by charging drinks to your cabin number, they also advertise duty free for travellers in the on board shop, so it could be done. That may have made the evenings more enjoyable, remember the further North you go in the winter months the shorter the days, it does afford a greater chance of seeing the Northern lights but it shortens the time for the views of the passing scenery so the evenings can seem to be quite long.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Cruise Review Hurtigruten Nordkapp We sailed on the Nordkapp from May 5 -- May 10 from Kirkenes to Bergen. We were told there were 300 people on board with the ship listed as capable of holding 622. The ship is well appointed and run ... Read More
Cruise Review Hurtigruten Nordkapp We sailed on the Nordkapp from May 5 -- May 10 from Kirkenes to Bergen. We were told there were 300 people on board with the ship listed as capable of holding 622. The ship is well appointed and run with reasonable efficiency. The rooms are small but well thought out. In general we found the scenery disappointing. It should be noted that Hurtigruten -- as a coastal shipping company - makes no effort to enter fjords for scenic purposes with the exception of the Trollfjord, and that was cancelled due to "bad weather" on our voyage. The most famous of the Norwegian Fjords (Geiranger) is often visited by bus and not on the ship except at limited times. Southbound passengers do not have that option at all. We were going southbound and that's what this review applies to. We have been to Millford Sound in New Zealand, and to the amazing Kotor Fjord in Montenegro. With the possible exception of Trollfjord and Geiranger when visited, Hurtigruten offers pleasant scenery (quite good scenery in Lofoten) but not spectacular scenery as is available in New Zealand, the Balkans or Canada/Alaska. Hurtigruten, when they replied to this letter, said that in the summer months they enter Geirangerfjord in the ship. They also described themselves as a "coastal cruise" rather than a "Fjord Cruise". You should check your cruise specifically if you want to see a classic Fjord and be aware of the high probability of weather cancellation. It is possible that by going in early May we didn't get the full benefit of what can be seen due to the presence of snow over most of the first 1/3 of the trip. Fjords are also more spectacular from above than from sea level. We should have done more research before taking the cruise to discover all of this of course. Note that the word fjord in Norwegian has a meaning that's basically "bay", while in english it's more like "bay with steep cliffs". We heard one other passenger saying "his only regret regarding the cruise is that he didn't see any fjords". Ironic. In general if you choose not to go for the full 11 days, you should take the Bergen-Kirkenes journey. It's clear from Hurtigruten's effort (there are 18 Excursions going north and 10 going south) that the southbound journey is an afterthought after the journey north. You might get on at an entry point after Kirkenes if you are going south. The Lofoten islands are worthwhile and the highlight of what we saw. From Kirkenes to Tromso the scenery was unimpressive, and a better southbound cruise might be Tromso to Bergen. We found the endless quest for revenue by Hurtigruten disconcerting. Unique in our cruise experience, they charge for water (19 kr) at dinner. There is no free dinner drink (water, coffee and tea are free at breakfast and lunch). The tour of the bridge is 80 kr -- all other bridge tours we've heard of and seen on cruises are free. Everything on the ship is expensive, but it is Norway. The highly lauded 250 kr drink/cup offer is a good deal, but you should try the coffee first to make sure that it's to your taste (the coffee in the cup is the same as at the first buffet, so you can get a sample). Coffee on the ship is different than anywhere else I've been in the US, Europe, Asia or Africa. The Hurtigruten literature specifically says that there is no tipping. Someone should inform the crew of this. Every single Hurtigruten voucher has a line for a tip. The snack bar and bar upstairs have "tip jars". Further at the "mandatory" disembarkation conference Johan, the cruise director (I don't know if that's his official title) made an impassioned plea for tips. Tour guides for Vantage and Grand Circle also instructed their passengers to tip. The service is competent, but it is devoid of any charm. Most of the crew would clearly prefer a cruise without passengers. In any case the original instruction (Cut and paste from the Hurtigruten 2012 brochure): "Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Voyages has a non-tipping policy. However, if you feel that crew members should be rewarded for providing exceptional service this is entirely at your discretion." The dinners are inventive -- some are good, some are not as good and all are interesting. My wife is a vegetarian, and they handled that well. We asked for early dinner seating, and it turns out that's basically only for the tour company passengers (Grand Circle, Vanguard etc). The breakfast was disappointing (fried eggs in the buffet only once, and scrambled eggs perhaps twice). You can forget about pastry unless you pick it up yourself at one of the local towns. Norway has wonderful bread, but the bread on the ship is not as good as the Norwegian average. We saw a number of people picking up food at the local coop grocery stores which are usually a short walk from the pier. The Wifi is exactly as Hurtigruten says -- present in the lounge but slow. It was operational for most of the voyage and Johan did reset the router immediately when needed and requested. The cell phone service on the Norwegian coast is amazingly good. We had good cell phone conversations, and good smart phone email service the whole way without exception. This supplemented our wifi as needed. The rooms are made up once a day unlike many cruise ships where they are made up twice a a day. We can verify that the lower sheet is not changed throughout a 5 day voyage since it had a stain on it when we first saw it, and it had the same stain every day. On some cruise ships they prepare the room by putting down the beds but not on Hurtigruten. That said the beds are very easy to put in place. The departure from the ship was strange. The cruise director (?) Johan described a complex procedure at the "mandatory" disembarkation briefing which - if followed - would have lead to a peaceful relaxed disembarkation from the ship. The procedure involving waiting to leave the ship until the luggage from your floor was about to get on the conveyor belt. He said announcements would be made and went over them in great detail. In the end, no announcements were made. After all how could they be -- Johann was the first person of any type off the ship and his pleasant red haired assistant was close behind. If you have been on travel excursions (cruises, tours, rail journeys) you will remember seeing the crew greet you as you leave the ship. The crew doesn't do that on the cruise for the simple reason that every member of the crew who can leave the ship leaves the ship before the passengers. The disembarkation and luggage claim was the usual "free for all" although it must be said that the luggage delivery at the terminal was fairly quick. I'm still puzzled why Johan described that procedure in detail if there would be no one there to make the announcements. He could have spent even more time talking about tipping instead. Hurtigruten did reply to this letter with the main response being: "We do not operate cruises in the conventional sense as the main purpose of the Hurtigruten is for the ships to operate as working vessels collecting and delivering cargo and passengers (many of the local people using the 'shuttle' service to shop for food and other items) along the coast." Hurtigruten is good if you want a relaxing journey with pleasant scenery. If you want above average or better service and dramatic scenery, you should probably go somewhere else. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We recently returned from a cruise on the Nordkapp, going both north and then south on the ship, beginning and ending in Bergen, Norway. It was a wonderful trip with lots of beautiful scenery. My thoughts on the cruise: next time I will ... Read More
We recently returned from a cruise on the Nordkapp, going both north and then south on the ship, beginning and ending in Bergen, Norway. It was a wonderful trip with lots of beautiful scenery. My thoughts on the cruise: next time I will book a room on deck 3 or 4 in the middle of the ship. We were in a front cabin on deck 5. The outside deck was on deck 5 so there were people walking in front of the stateroom window. When we hit rough seas that cabin had much more movement than other areas of the ship. The rooms are small but clean and adequate. It was fun to stop in all of the little towns but some of the stops were only 15-30 minutes so there was no time to get off the ship. If you want nightlife, shows, casinos then this is NOT the cruise for you. The average age of the people on board was at least 70. The food was good. Buffet breakfast and lunch. Lots of different kinds of fish and lunchmeats and cheeses. Always hard and soft boiled eggs for breakfast. If you like fish and pickled herring then you will love the buffets. Dinner was sit-down....fish one night, meat the next night. We were with a tour group,and the chef was very open to accommodating food restrictions or preferences. Be prepared for very high prices...$10 for a glass of beer or wine with lunch or dinner. Buy the coffee mug for $40 but you get unlimited coffee or tea throughout the day. Otherwise you have to pay for each cup you might want during the day. The prices for the cruises the ship offers seem a little pricey. We went to the midnight concert (well worth the cost $70pp) and took the ATV ride to the Russian Border(lots of fun!). The best part was going through the Troll Fjord. Breathtaking!!!! I would recommend this cruise to anyone wanting to see beautiful,scenery and who does not care for large cruise ships with lots of people. Bring along books to read. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Good points- the ship is well maintained and the public areas are nicely done. The Observation lounge was particularly nice. The 3 course evening meals were good, though you don't get a choice. Breakfast buffet choice was ok, but ... Read More
Good points- the ship is well maintained and the public areas are nicely done. The Observation lounge was particularly nice. The 3 course evening meals were good, though you don't get a choice. Breakfast buffet choice was ok, but not spectacular. Not so good - our cabin was tiny, with fold up beds. There is only 1 very small drawer, though wardrobe space was ok. Small bathroom, but clean and well maintained, shower was ok with plentiful hot water. Hair dryer is rubbish and gets very hot to hold. We were on deck 5 so had large window, but onto boat deck, so you have passengers outside. We were unlucky with weather as grey and gloomy for much of our trip, so scenery looked bleak at times rather than beautiful. Our first night on open sea was very rough, so beware if you suffer sea sickness, though it is very smooth on the inland waters. Also, be aware that there are often stops through the night and the thrusters really make the ship vibrate, so try and avoid cabins near there if you want a good night's sleep. On one night we had someone using an angle grinder outside our room at 2.15am which wasn't very customer friendly! Some of the staff are a little surly and are not that helpful if you have a problem, though their English is excellent. Waiting staff in restaurant were not particularly quick and were very slow at clearing tables at breakfast, so you often had to hunt for a table. We were only half board and be warned, prices are extortionate, with a 500ml can of beer costing about £8. However, this is not dissimilar to mainland prices, so Norway generally is very costly.The only entertainment is a singer in the bar most evenings, who was ok, but he had the same repertoire every night! It's a very quiet ship with mostly elderly passengers, so quite relaxing, but could be boring for some. You have to carry your own suitcases ashore (though they are loaded on for you on arrival) They had steps rather than a ramp to disembark, so this must have been very difficult for some of the elderly or infirm. I didn't see anyone offering to assist? The tour director is fun and his announcements were often entertaining. All announcements were in Norwegian, English and German, though not always in that order. Had we seen the Northern Lights it all would have been worthwhile, but as mentioned, we were unlucky with the weather and it snowed heavily at Tromso which is where we were hoping to get a glimpse, so overall it was a little disappointing for the money we spent. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We booked our Hurtigruten cruise with our local travel agent and about 2 weeks before departure, our travel documents arrived. We booked the 12 day round trip from Bergen - Kirkenes - Bergen. Our trip started in Oslo. We spent a day of ... Read More
We booked our Hurtigruten cruise with our local travel agent and about 2 weeks before departure, our travel documents arrived. We booked the 12 day round trip from Bergen - Kirkenes - Bergen. Our trip started in Oslo. We spent a day of sightseeing but wish we had allowed 2 or 3 days for Oslo. The next morning, took a morning train, the Norway in a Nutshell. This is highly recommended with beautiful scenery seen by trains, boat and bus. It takes all day and we were so glad we did it. We arrived in Bergen in the evening and spent the next day and a half sightseeing. Around 3PM we arrived at the Hurtigruten terminal to board the Nordkapp. After checking our large suitcases we were directed to a large waiting room. After not too long of a wait, we were allowed to board and were told our cabins would not be ready until around 6PM. We were able to get into the cabin and drop off our carry on luggage right before the dinner buffet. We met a lovely couple from Australia and had dinner with them. Our first cabin did not have enough shelves for our clothes, plus a window that was about 2 feet deep, so not too good for seeing out. So after about 5 days were allowed to upgrade to a cabin on the 6th Deck which was really great. The beds are really comfortable and there was plenty of room for our larger suitcases. In case you do not want to keep the large suitcases in your cabin, there is a storage room where you can take them to. The ship has a tour director who announces upcoming ports and things of interest to see. There was a large panorama lounge on the 7th Deck for relaxing and seeing the scenery or for reading. There are buffets for breakfast and lunch, with a set time for dinner. If you do not like a lot of fish (like me) you can ask for a vegetarian meal, as long as you let them know by noon. Each meal had an appetizer, main course and dessert. We never went hungry! We booked three excursions. The first was a Geiranger excursion. The Nordkapp went down the Geiranger Fjord, then we disembarked by tender to the small town of Geiranger. We then boarded a bus that went up into the mountains, where we were able to look down and see our ship heading back to Alesund to pick us up. The scenery was beautiful, with a lot of sheep in the meadows. The second excursion was to the North Cape. At Honningsvag, we boarded a bus that took us through very unusual scenery. We saw a lot of reindeer on the mountain sides. After stopping at the North Cape visitor center, we took a lot of photos. That day the weather was very cold and windy. We then headed to a Sami camp and took photos of a Sami with his reindeer. There was a small souvenir shop there. Our third excursion was a tour of the Lofoten Islands. They are very beautiful with dried fish hanging on people's homes. Also, there are large racks where the villages can dry their fish. Every day, there are Hurtigruten ships leaving Bergen to make the round trip to Kirkenes and back to Bergen. It stops at 34 ports going north, and 34 ports going south. What ports are made during the night, are usually made during the day time on the trip back. Some ports are only for 15 minutes, some 30 minutes, and a few are 2 or 3 hours or more. The ship blows it's horn 5 minutes before leaving. The entertainment is the scenery which is always changing. I took loads of pictures of lighthouses, some are very beautiful, and some are really small. Most people were either out on the decks or in the Panorama Lounge. There was one guitar player in the evening that was really good. There is a small Cafe if anyone would be hungry. It is also for the locals who board the ship from port to port. The Gift shop was small, but held a lot of items and there were always sales going on. There is an internet room, but the connections are really slow. It took us 40 minutes to log on and write one email while we were in Kirkenes! There is also a small kid's play room. Getting off the ship, even if it is for 30 minutes or less and just watching the cargo being loaded and unloaded is very interesting. We saw farm implements, potting soil, frozen fish and even kitchen cabinets! Disembarkation is like most cruise ships, we had to leave our luggage outside our cabin by 9AM, and be out of our cabin by 10AM. So we just stayed in the Panorama Lounge until the ship reached Bergen. Then, we were dismissed by our cabin deck, which we were one of the first. We then caught a taxi to our Bed and Breakfast. This was a great trip and highly recommend it to anyone who does not need to be pampered every day and can be independent. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
It was our HONEY-MOON, we spent a lot of money and were expecting luxury. We were VERY dissapointed. Firstly, we were NOT given anything complimentary for the occasion of our honeymoon, no upgrade, no wine, no toiletries, not ... Read More
It was our HONEY-MOON, we spent a lot of money and were expecting luxury. We were VERY dissapointed. Firstly, we were NOT given anything complimentary for the occasion of our honeymoon, no upgrade, no wine, no toiletries, not even told congratulations. Secondly, we had told everyone possible in the booking procedure that we were VEGETARIAN, but this did not make much difference to the staff. The meals were BORING and unimaginative. the staff and chefs just didnt get concept of vegetarianism! The explanation we were given was that they were reliant on the ingredients that they were given in ports, but the with the amount of food at the buffet each day- there was cerainly the ingredients to make some lovely dishes. The chef was just ignorant and unimaginative. We even had to give ideas to the chef ourselves!! The events on board also excluded vegetarians as they had no alternatives in place for such things like fishcakes on deck. Evening drinks were not inclusive, nor was coffee/tea outside of buffet meals. and if you did want to drink between meals it was RIDICULSLY expensive! When we sent a letter of complaint when we had got home, hurtigruten's response was that "WE ARE NOT A CRUISE COMPANY" ...So why do they enter the cruise international awards? In short this is NOT A LUXURY CRUISE, even though it has a luxury price tag. It is a mode of transport up the norway coastline. It's only the activities that you do on land that make the trip special. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Oslo-Tromso 0915-1100 (Flight) £30 Tromso-Tronheim 0130-0615 (3 sleeps later) £200 (Inc Breakfast) Trondheim-Oslo 0930-1020 (Flight) £40 Right, this is all about the best trip I have ever taken. If you want scenery then ... Read More
Oslo-Tromso 0915-1100 (Flight) £30 Tromso-Tronheim 0130-0615 (3 sleeps later) £200 (Inc Breakfast) Trondheim-Oslo 0930-1020 (Flight) £40 Right, this is all about the best trip I have ever taken. If you want scenery then this is the best in the world, I am not joking! This trip is what I would call the "Lofoten" cruise. Every corner you take is another picture. Tromso is great to see the Northern lights and go up the cable car for great views of the city. The Artic church is very nice. (Oh, if you need to taste the best sandwich ever visit the bakery in front of the old church in the center of town. Also, do not leave Tromso without trying "Mack" beer, the Worlds most northern brewery.) I was supposed to get off at Bodo to get the train to Trondheim, but the cruise was so darn good, I begged to stay on board. Must see and do's in Trondheim, The cathedral and the crown jewels. Also take a walk over the old bridge. If your young go to a bar called "Down Town" The staff were great and very helpful with information on important facts. Rooms were comfy, my room 350 had all I needed (inc sockets) Book it, and you wont regret it, that is a promise! Take a spare battery for the camera! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Overview... This cruise was an exceptional experience, passengers constantly had a glazed look on their faces as they viewed the spectacular scenery & wildlife. Antarctica will only ever be seen by a limited number of people & it ... Read More
Overview... This cruise was an exceptional experience, passengers constantly had a glazed look on their faces as they viewed the spectacular scenery & wildlife. Antarctica will only ever be seen by a limited number of people & it is more expensive than normal cruising. Hurtigruten is between the small expedition ships & the big cruise ships & in my opinion it is the best value for money in Antarctica. The bonus with Hurtigruten is that you also get around 5 days in the Chilean fjords that the big ships who go round the Horn cannot get to. I have an album of Antarctic photos at http://travel.webshots.com/album/556799884Xpmhqz & an album of Chilean fjord photos at http://travel.webshots.com/album/557148289IicbmL Getting there... Antarctica is a long way from anywhere in the Northern hemisphere. Those of us from Europe had to make flights from our home Country to Madrid. After waiting 2 to 3 hours there we then took a 12.5 hour flight on Iberia (worst International airline I have been on) to Buenos Aires. After a short orientation tour we arrived at our included hotel exactly 24 hours after I had left my home to catch a train to London. Our hotel the Panamericano was first class with good buffet breakfasts provided. Hotel was in a central situation with many tourist areas in easy walking distance. Rooms were available & all pre-allocated, I was very pleased with my room. I then enjoyed one & a half days walking around the City in warm sunshine. One essential visit for those interested in Antarctic history is to the Corvette "Uruguay" moored as a museum ship in the docks. It was used to rescue the Nordenskold Swedish expedition after their ship the "Antarctic" had sunk in pack ice 1903, a lot of memorabilia on display. On the Friday morning we were called at 5am, I had breakfast at 5.20am to be ready for the airport bus at 6am (for first flight to Ushuaia). Bags had been left outside the room door by 11pm & we did not see them again until in our cabin on the ship. A charter flight by LAN was timed at 8.10am, boarding cards were handed out at the airport, no check in or allocated seats other than normal security check. Very impressed with the LAN flight & crew who really worked hard, providing us with another breakfast at 9.20am & snacks later. Arriving at Ushuaia around noon it was only 46F & raining with a strong wind blowing. After a short orientation tour i/c a photo stop we were dropped at the pier car park around 1.30pm & told to be back at 4.45pm as ship did not start to load passengers until 5pm. It was a national holiday & many shops were shut. After wandering around in the rain, viewing a few tourist shops, having a coffee etc many of us went back to sit on the bus. At 4.45pm we went through security onto the pier & had to queue on a steep slippery expanded mesh ramp in the rain, while every ones photos were taken & ships cards issued. Those who had purchased ships tours to National Park etc were quite late getting onto the ship. The Ship... MV Nordkapp is used in European summer months for the Bergen - North Cape Hutigruten service. It therefore has accommodation for day passengers & also a car deck. In Antarctica the number of passengers is restricted to 350max. The car deck is used for storing the polarCirkel boats used for landings & for storing the rubber boots provided. There are benches to sit on while changing your boots before getting into the boats. Furnishings throughout the public rooms are very good. The main lounge is at front of ship with good windows for observation, this is also used for group meetings. There is one large bar with smoking allowed in one corner. Other swivel seats are located on the port side between the dining room & lecture rooms. The cafe has beverages available as well as cakes etc with no charge in Antarctica. No pool, just two spa baths on the rear of one deck. There are two large lecture rooms, usually one English & one German that have a media projector for DVD films & CD's. There is a limited library & a small shop with a few essentials & souvenirs. There is an Internet facility that was 60 NKR for one hour; very poor connection speed & I wasted my money on it as I could use my UK mobile phone to text messages. Nordkapp will be replaced by a new purpose built ship the MV Fram next year but sister ship Nordnorge, essentially the same as Nordkapp will also be in Antarctica. Gratuities are suggested at 80 Nkroner per day & a form is left in you cabin for you to fill in & return to reception to be added to your account. Cabin... I had an inside no359, it seemed typical of those I saw at around 110sq feet. DEcor was utilitarian grey with two "charcoal drawing" pictures on the wall. Small bathroom with a very efficient shower, but best of all, its floor was heated (provided you did not knock the switch off). There is no shortage of water but you are requested to minimize use as below the 60th parallel the ship cannot discharge grey water & should the tanks become full they would have to head north again. In that size cabin there is not a lot of space for movement or storage. In daytime, one bed folds to the wall, the other forms a seat. As I was a single occupant the stewardess soon took to leaving the bed down & made up during the day, this did not worry me in the slightest. There is no TV & the radio that is part of the telephone did not work in Antarctica, presumably it is set up for Norwegian stations. Cabin was kept very clean by the friendly Philippine staff. I did not spend much time in the cabin except to sleep a few hours. I was there to see as much as I could & never went to bed before midnight & was up at 6am all the time in Antarctica. There is a lifejacket in the cabin but this is a compact one & only used in the polarCirkel boats, normal emergency lifejackets are kept at your muster station. You also find in your cabin the blue wind & waterproof good quality jacket provided as part of the package & yours to keep. You do need to take your own waterproof trousers; you will need them in the boats & on shore. I was able to use my UK mobile phone to text my wife from the cabin or from anywhere on the ship every day, but could not get to do a voice message. The phone did not work at all in Argentina or Chile. Food & Service... Norway is justly proud of its cold table (Smorgasbord) & I thought the buffet cold table put on for breakfast & lunch in the dining room was as good as any 5* ship we have been on. Hot food was a different matter; this is not normal cruising with a wide choice of entrEe's. They do not have the facilities for that, there is a set dinner menu with one alternative available if ordered before 2pm. Quality was also variable, some superb & some hot dishes very poor. At breakfast the beans provided in a bacon & bean mixture were the worst I have ever seen, like bullets with black spots. The first night, the 5 Antarctic nights & the night at Puerto Natales were all buffet dinner, & for me this was better than the served to table meals. Having said that the last night Captains dinner was very good indeed. When evening dinner is buffet service the early & late seating allocation is still kept to. It is open seating at all times in the dining room but specific groups of tables are allocated to the various nationalities. The dining room staff were very friendly but did not seem to have a system or proper training to me. On my table of 8, I was left without a dish for 4 of the first 8 courses served to table after they missed me out & went on to serve other tables. I did not starve however & I accepted things for what they were, I was not there for the food, that was well down my list of priorities. The cafe had hot water, tea bags, coffee & drinking chocolate powder available together with cakes & some desserts 24 hours per day. However there was no one in attendance all the time & some things especially milk used to run out. No charge for this in Antarctica. Who Goes... On this cruise 301 passengers. 178 Americans, 42 Germans, 14 Austria, 35 British, 6 Australians + several other nationalities. All were there for the experience, many had dreamed about going to Antarctica for years. Some had been before but found the Hurtigruten price so attractive they had to go again. For my own part I could not have justified taking the money out of the family budget for a single fare (my wife would not go) with any other line to Antarctica. All lines to Antarctica who are members of IAATO require all passengers to have a certificate from their doctor to say they are fit enough to undertake this expedition. A copy of this is sent to Hurtigruten about 8 weeks before departure & the original has to be given to the doctor when boarding the ship. Have to say a few from USA would not have got their certificate from my UK doctor & it did take me a lot of hassle including hospital tests to get mine. Although I am fit & active for my age I only got the certificate signed at the last moment, thanks to the fear of the compensation culture now prevalent in UK health service. Entertainment... The cruise itself is the entertainment, nothing else except lectures on Antarctica or associated subjects. After dinner a short TV film on DVD was sometimes shown in one of the lecture rooms but these were always Antarctic related & all the more enjoyable because we were there! The lecture rooms had a large screen on the end wall with two large flat screen monitors towards the back so everyone had a good view. I preferred sitting near the back & view on one of the monitors for what I thought was a better picture. The cruise day by day... In Antarctica there are no "ports of call" all landings are by small boat & weather conditions dictate where landings can be made. I have to say the polarCirkel boats used by Hurtigruten are far superior to the zodiacs used by other lines in my honest opinion. Access is easy with proper steps in/out & two handrails. They only take 8 people & there is another safety handrail down the middle of the boat. Very fast & maneuverable, passengers were split into 10 groups & called down in rotation to get their boots on & be ready for the boats. There was a safetyman at the top of the gangway & at the bottom, I never heard of anyone having problems with the boats. Day one, having left Ushuaia the night before in dark stormy weather we were not surprised to find the Drake passage fairly rough. Not very rough, a few were seasick but I was disappointed not to see any waves breaking over the ships bow, would have made a nice photo. There were a lot of birds to watch between the lectures. Attended 3 lectures & a briefing on Antarctica, a short TV film from the blue planet series called "coast" was shown at night after dinner. Day two, Still at sea in the morning & sighted our first ice covered land around noon. Through Neptune's bellows, the entrance into Deception Island at 2.15pm. Weather very cloudy & foggy. I was group 4 & away about 3.30pm in snowy weather. Had a good hour ashore with a Leopard seal on the beach & many birds. Had a good look round the old whaling items but owing to nesting birds on the beach could not walk as far along as Neptune's window. The old British base is falling down having been damaged by the volcanic eruption in the 1960's. Later groups had more snow than we did & by the time the next ship arrived late evening it was snowing hard. TV film that evening was "Crystal desert" from Blue planet series. Day three, Up on deck at 6am for the Errara channel. There was half on inch of wet snow on deck & a small snowman had been built. Superb scenery along the channel but quite cloudy with some mist. We anchored off Cuverville Island to visit a large Gentoo penguin colony. Group 2 would be first off here; yesterdays group 1 reverting to last (i.e. no10). Procedure on reaching the shore is to step off the boat steps onto a small metal step; expedition staff ensures you are able to reach the shore by steadying both you & the boat. The leader then gives a short talk on where to go & what to see & how long you have onshore before returning to the boat. Areas where not to go are marked out by the expedition staff with small red flags. Expedition staff where stationed at various points to answer questions & point out things of interest. The system worked very well at all our landings. Although it was lightly snowing at Cuverville & was quite bad by 11.15am we saw a lot & there was a nearby glacier, so the bay was full of icebergs. We left at lunchtime & proceeded back through the Errara channel to Andvord bay. Here the snow had stopped & we were in magnificent iceberg scenery with some spectacular shapes. We anchored at Neko harbor at 4.15pm & prepared to go ashore on the Antarctic mainland. This time group 4 were 2nd off the ship. Above the landing spot was a large hill with a path indicated by the red flags to a gentoo colony. The snow was about 18 inches deep & quite hard walking up hill in that; you had to keep away from the "penguin highways" already in the snow. I only went as far as the penguin colony & back down to the beach the other side. Others younger & more active went to the top of the hill in order to slide down on their bottoms! On the beach were 4 Weddell seals & a Leopard seal. The polarCirkel boat back to the ship cruised very slowly right across the face of a huge glacier, giving us spectacular views of the blue ice cracks in it. As we left Neko at 7.15pm the sun came out & the views were unbelievable as we cruised back down Andvord bay. We then sailed between packed icebergs & spectacular scenery past the Chilean station at Waterboat point to anchor for the night in Paradise bay. Aptly named by the old whalers, the scenery was stunning with the sun slowly setting. The sun does take a long time to set in Antarctica not like in the tropics, so there are many sunset photo opportunities. I was on deck until well after 11pm, & even saw a small section fall off a glacier. Day four, I was on deck by 6.20am taking photographs in the partly cloudy skies. Our group was now first off the ship at 8am to visit the nearby unmanned Argentine station of Admirante Brown. Here there were more Gentoo penguins sitting on eggs, many people also made their way to the top of the hill for the slide down again. This time, our boat trip back to the ship gave us a 15-minute cruise into Skontrop cove. Many blue-eyed shag's were on the cliffs with some colorful lichens on the vertical cliffs & superb reflections on the calm water in front of the glacier. Cloud & mist rolled in as we left Paradise bay at 12.45pm & it started snowing. Snow lasted for about 2.5 hours but stopped as we approached Lemaire channel. Still cloudy as we went through the magnificent channel nicknamed Kodak alley. We anchored off Peterman Island & the clouds lifted giving a spectacular view of the mainland mountain ranges running down towards the Antarctic Circle. Our group was now last, so we had dinner before going ashore. Beautiful scenery now bathed in bright sunshine, many birds to see including blue-eyed shags & Adelie penguins. We sailed back through the Lemaire channel as the sun started to set again with spectacular mountain views. Reaching Port Lockroy for the nights anchorage about 9.40pm. Port Lockroy is surrounded by mountains on all sides, the sun cast some special coloring onto these & the snow, I did not leave the deck until 11.30pm, a long but spectacular day. Day five, Port Lockroy is on tiny Goudier Island & visits here were only for 30 minutes. It is a former British base originally built in the 1940's & now run as a museum by the British Antarctic Heritage Trust. A fascinating place to visit, kept as it was when in operation with many old artifacts & memorabilia together with a shop & post office. Most people agreed that they would have liked more time here. We had our first sight of penguin chicks here that had just hatched that week. We left at lunchtime & cruised along the scenic Neumeyer channel going into another fjord with glaciers & a crabeater seal on a floe. Several snow showers as we cruised through scenic Wilhelmina bay, lots of huge icebergs & the wreck of the whaler "Guernoren" on Enterprise Island. That evening & night we cruised the Bransfield straight on our way to the Antarctic sound. Day six, The Antarctic sound lies between the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula & several Islands. Known as "iceberg alley" as big tabular bergs find their way through here from the Weddell Sea due to prevailing currents. Our first stop was at Brown Bluff, here it was snowing heavily but we could still get ashore. The previous week Nordkapp's sister ship could not land due to pack ice preventing the small boats operating, so we were very lucky. Brown Bluff itself was covered in snow & therefore did not look very brown, later in the season there will be no snow. Here was a huge colony of Adelie penguins who paraded up & down the beach in quantities to rival the film "march of the penguins". The snow covering those sitting on their nests with eggs, made you appreciate the fact you were not born a penguin! However it was an amazing experience to see nature like this. After a 2 hour cruise between the giant icebergs we arrived at the Argentine base Esperanza at Hope bay on the Antarctic mainland for our 8th landing. This is a large military base with many sprawling huts, families are paid to spend 12 months here & is probably how Antarctica will look at some time in the future unless the world agrees to preserve it's pristine wilderness. Access is strictly controlled by the military & you are only allowed to walk in an escorted group. There is a large Adelie penguin colony & a historic hut used as shelter by 3 members of the Swedish Antarctic expedition of 1903. The Argentines were very friendly & you were taken to their community hall where drinks were available & memorabilia on sale. Quite cloudy while we were here but as we started to leave the cloud started to lift giving some stark views of the mountains. About half an hour later we passed an iceberg with the most marvellous blue marbling in it, that I called "the most beautiful iceberg in the world", such a pity it has to melt. It was Natures work of art & would have made a super exhibit for the turbine hall at Tate Modern in London. That evening as we sailed back through the Antarctic Sound between these huge icebergs we were treated to a most spectacular sunset. I never left the deck from 7.30pm until 11.30pm, just an amazing sight. One highlight was when we sailed alongside a huge tabular iceberg & the setting sun cast the ships shadow onto the side of the iceberg with a golden glow. The cloud continued to lift & the sky became more multicolored by the minute until it looked as if on fire! Even the Captain who must have seen many sunsets came out to photograph this one. Day seven, Arriving at Admiralty bay on King George Island we were informed the visit to the Polish Arctowski station was cancelled as the wind speed was over the permitted 20ft/sec to operate the boats. We did drop off the 3 Polish scientists here that we had on board. We then had a 4-hour sail to Half moon Island. Alternative lectures were arranged during this period. We had a good landing at Half Moon Island with a good colony of Chinstrap penguins, Kelp gulls on their nests & Terns flying about. There is a nice old whaleboat slowly decaying on the beach that made a very good photograph with some Gentoo penguins around it. As we left the Island after our last landing there were some spectacular rocks formations of volcanic origin. Film that night was about Shackleton from an American TV series. Once again as we started across the Drake Passage Antarctica gave us another spectacular sunset, as it's leaving present. We had been very lucky, with 5 spectacular days in Antarctica & 9 landings by small boat, not everyone who travels there manages this much. Day eight, Crossing the Drake Passage in calm foggy weather. This meant no birds were flying, as the wind was not strong enough for them to glide. I had a lie in to 8am & did my washing in the morning. The self-service laundry facilities were the best I have seen on a ship. Tokens available at 10Nkr for wash & 10Nkr for drying. Machines were very good & dispensed their own detergents that were included in the price. Instructions were on the machines but the crew laundryman Ram was very helpful with his advice. The machine calculates the time needed & shows it on a display. The dryer works until the clothes are as dry as the condition you set on a dial, no set period, very good. There were 3 lecture arranged but I only saw one in the afternoon. Evening short film was around Cape Horn in a square-rigger in the 1920's. Day nine, Had a lie in to 7am, arrived Cape Horn after breakfast at 8am in a force 10 gale. Unable to land as Chile has now stopped foreign boats landing there. Good photos from fairly close in. Calmer weather as we sailed the Beagle channel up to Puerto Williams. Sun came out & there were many birds about. Had a 2-hour walk in the forest direct from the pier at Puerto Williams, good to see some green trees again. Sailed from here at 5pm, the Beagle channel above Ushuaia was sailed in the evening dusk. I was disappointed in the Beagle channel, we saw it 5 years ago when the mountains had far more snow on them & the glaciers looked larger. Perhaps they are affected by global warming! Day ten, through the fjords of Agostini & Martinez before crossing the Magellan straights on our way to Puerto Natales. Later scenery only average with not many glaciers & plenty of rain mist etc. It felt colder in the damp cold than the dry cold of Antarctica when we had our thermal gear on. Many said this was an anticlimax after Antarctica. After lunch my adrenalin had subsided & I had 3 hours sleep in the cabin to make up for all those 18-hour days. Day eleven, Up at 5.20am but missed the traverse of Kirke narrows into Ultima Esperanza fjord for Puerto Natales. Anchored out in the fjord, first Torres del Paine tour from deck 3 called at 8.15am. Large local tender used with 100 passengers. First on the boat were last off & this proved to be to our advantage as the first bus was filled but 2nd bus half empty. This bus saw a bit more than no 1 bus. We made stops for flora, flamingos & birds on a lake. Had to stop at a new bridge & walk across to older hotel bus on the other side. Hotel at grey lake provided a very good lunch, unfortunately the view of the Torres was completely clouded out. I did a short walk by the lake but we did not have a lot of time. On the way back we had several stops for photos at waterfall, flowers, guanacos, condors & gauchos with sheep. A long drive on graded roads but I enjoyed it even if we did not see the main objective, arrived back at ship at 6.15pm. The ship stayed at anchor overnight & it was possible to go ashore after dinner. Evening film was "flight of the condor" Day twelve, Ship left early but I was up for coffee & the trip through the narrows. Sailed more fjords with a lot of glaciers & past another wrecked ship. Captain saw a whale in the afternoon & we turned round to get a photo op! In the evening we had our disembarkation talk for Punta Arenas. Day thirteen, sailed through more fjords with glaciers to Turner Island. Sailing past we saw many cormorants & a few Magellanic penguins, a pod of Dolphins swam around the ship. Sailed back out the way we came in. After lunch most people were at the charity auction of the ships chart & missed some spectacular scenery in Serrano sound. One fjord had 7 glaciers in view at the same time. We then entered another smaller fjord with brash ice all around & two glaciers at its head. We dropped anchor right in front of those for Captains dinner on our final night. What a sensational position & what a view for dinner, would have cost a fortune for that view at a restaurant in Europe! Very good dinner to end the cruise. Straight afterwards I was back on deck for the reflections in the fjord & the sail away between Fantastic Mountain & sky scenery in the setting sun. I finally had to leave the deck at 10.30pm to pack my bag as it needed to be outside the cabin door by 11pm. What a great day to end the cruise! Disembarkation & travel home... The pier at Punta Arenas is a military one, no bus is allowed on. We were off the ship at 7.30am & had to carry our own hand luggage down 300 meters of pier to the waiting bus. Raining again, bus did a short orientation tour of Punta Arenas & dropped us in the main square at 8.20am telling us to be back for 10.55 to transfer to the airport. Nothing was open, I phoned my wife & then many of us found shelter in the hotel Los Hombres that I think is used by Hutigruten for passengers boarding in PA. After the bus to the airport it was the same procedure as in BA, boarding cards handed out with no allocated seats & through security to waiting area. Again a good flight with LAN & a good lunch served, very impressed with LAN. Arrived Santiago at 5.10pm, quite a wait for the bags then a long walk outside the terminal dragging our bags to a car park. Here bags were loaded on a truck & we boarded a bus that did another city orientation tour. Not very impressed with the guide on this tour, no explanations of the old buildings etc. Hotel was the Intercontinental & again a very good standard. There was a long line in the hospitality room for the already made out room keys but tea coffee & biscuits were laid on. Eventually I found our bags were at level minus 2, i.e. the car park under ground, I collected mine rather than wait for delivery. Now it was quite late so I did not go out to eat as some did, but ordered from room service. I thought this was very good & more reasonable than I expected. Good buffet breakfast next morning & bus to airport at 10.30am. Only 20 minutes to get there by the fast route. Checked in & through security quickly then a long wait for take off. Flight was again to Madrid on Iberia, worse conditions than on way out, poor food, poor service, my headphone plug was broken, someone else has a dirty seat. Justifying my rating of the worst airline I have flown on. After a flight from Madrid to Heathrow, a tube train into central London & another train home I eventually arrived home 52 hours after getting off the ship at Punta Arenas, but no worries, Antarctica was worth it. Conclusion... All passengers I spoke to said what a superb cruise & experience we had. In my case it was almost a mystical experience having been to Antarctica 50 years ago on National Service & never having thought I would be able to get there again. The weather was kind to us, the ship was very good & the expedition staff superb, I consider myself very lucky. If you get half a chance, go before it is too late you will not regret it. I believe Hutigruten gives the best value for money in Antarctica & their polarCirkel boats are the best for landings. They are certainly the only way I could have travelled to Antarctica, as the small expedition ships were prohibitively expensive for me as a single passenger. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
Nordkapp Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 3.5 N/A
Dining 5.0 4.1
Public Rooms 3.0 4.4
Fitness & Recreation N/A N/A
Family 3.0 2.8
Shore Excursions 5.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 3.0 N/A
Service 5.0 4.1
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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