1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Hurtigruten
  4. Nordlys Review
  5. Nordlys Cruise Reviews
Sail Date: April 2019
As a ferry Hurtigruten does an excellent job making on scheduled stops to ports up and down the Norway coast. However, as a cruise ship it disappoints. I booked an 11-day CRUISE on Hurtigruten Nordlys in April. However, it is not a ... Read More
As a ferry Hurtigruten does an excellent job making on scheduled stops to ports up and down the Norway coast. However, as a cruise ship it disappoints. I booked an 11-day CRUISE on Hurtigruten Nordlys in April. However, it is not a cruise ship, it is a FERRY that transports cargo, people (Norwegians) and their cars up and down the coast of Norway. Due to poor infrastructure road travel is not a choice, but airplane travel is lately becoming the preferred choice, both for people and cargo, necessitating Hurtigruten to fill its ships with cruise travelers. However, it is a ferry and operates as a ferry, stopping in many ports per day for anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes each (commercial) port. There were four days where we never stopped long enough to get out, and only five ports total with stops of longer than three and a half hours. So, most of the time was spent on the ship gazing at the lovely island and seascape that after a while became the monotonous seascape. My fellow cruisers were mostly from Sweden, Denmark and Germany and while we were all upbeat, I could see the disappointment on their faces. A cruise ship would take a more scenic route and stop at charming ports for several hours. While on board, it would offer many activities and entertainment, as well as be an actual charming cruise ship and not a passenger/cargo vessel. While the price of a ferry ride and a cruise may be comparable (some less), the drink and offshore tours are exorbitant. A single shot of scotch served on the rocks is 99K ($11.32), glass of prosecco 109K ($12.47). A 2-1/2 hour bus tour to see the Norway/Russian border at Kirkenes 1170K ($133.81). Ferry boat prices!!! These prices are far less on a cruise ship. Food was good, freshest and tastiest fish you could ever eat, buffet for breakfast and lunch and dinner was a set meal, although we were given local food with history and information to go with it, a pleasant experience. The crew was friendly and professional, the ship was clean, but that did not stop a norovirus outbreak on day six. I am glad had the ferry experience, however, 11 days was overkill. Four days would have sufficed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
• Background Information We are a retired couple who have travelled a great deal; however, we’d never done a cruise being put off by the thought of thousands of people on the same vessel. A fellow traveller recommended Hurtigruten ... Read More
• Background Information We are a retired couple who have travelled a great deal; however, we’d never done a cruise being put off by the thought of thousands of people on the same vessel. A fellow traveller recommended Hurtigruten after doing one on MS Lofoten. We liked the idea of a smaller ship without the nonsense of casinos, bars, and stage shows. • Travel To Port of Embarkation Icelandair YEG – KEF – OSL. This is our preferred airline for travel to Europe. The service is excellent; it breaks up a long flight into tolerable pieces; it avoids the very large airports with their chaos and noise. On the return, we stayed a few days in Reykjavik, one of our favourite destinations. OSL – BGO was SAS, a good flight. • Hotel Info (if any) Outbound: Radisson Blu, Bergen. Nice hotel, great central location. Return: The Thief (aptly named) Oslo where we hoped to see a bit of the city, but by the we factored in the long train ride there an back, there was no time for any significant touring and the hotel was very, very, very expensive. It would be nice to figure out a way to avoid Oslo altogether. • Stateroom Very comfortable, much better than we expected. The HVAC worked perfectly as did the WC and shower. All better than many hotels. We are both pretty good sailors, but still appreciated a centre cabin, low in the ship. • Ship Info Very seaworthy and comfortable. Able to handle 3m seas with little wallowing or corkscrewing. The seamanship of the crew was astounding. We were able to moor and depart without the slightest bump or clank. We needed to look outside to tell whether we were underway or not. • Dining Excellent quality and variety. Sampling some of the local specialities with table service was an unexpected treat. More salads would be appreciated, though understandably this is a bit tricky at sea. • Activities We enjoyed watching the islands and fiords pass by along with exploring the many ports of call along the way. That’s what we came for and we were not disappointed. • Children's Clubs N/A • Service Table service was generally excellent. We particularly liked Zarah, Jorgen, Kristin, & Marte who all seem perpetually in a good mood. I was only snarled at once by a server who shall remain ever nameless. Housekeeping was variable. At the start, our cabin was made up by early morning; later, it seemed to take much longer. We were happy to participate in the programme to skip days for environmental reasons, though later we had to abandon this as having the room serviced was the only way to get the tiny waste basket emptied. We would have done this ourselves except that dustbins are rare on this ship. • Entertainment There were a number of lectures and films about folklore, history, nature, geography. These were all excellent, both content and presentation. An educational dimension is very appealing and one of the reasons to go on a cruise such as this. I have a special interest in both the energy business and the environment so the talk on North Sea O & G was particularly à propos. Something that needs attention is the canned music that filled the lounges and bars at times. This was really bad, screechy R & R and popular music, at times so loud that we had to leave. No one seemed able or willing to turn it off or down. On a relaxing, nature-themed cruise, maybe Grieg or Sibelius or some of the other fine European composers? • Port & Shore Excursions We enjoyed visiting the various ports on our own. We did not participate in the organised excursions seeing them as both expensive and rushed. Besides, we are from a Northern country where snowmobiles, X country skis, snowshoes are not a novelty. • Disembarkation Very efficient. The ship was cleared in 20m. Nothing was lost or broken. The buses were all waiting. No improvement needed • Summary This was a very enjoyable and relaxing cruise. We would not hesitate to use Hurtigruten again; the quality is first class. A little more information on some of the peripheral details would be nice: transportation options to-from airports, location of the Hurtigruten mooring, tips on packing, &c. Most of this we had to figure out ourselves and our travel agent did not do a very good job of finding this out. Still, we’ll know what to do next time. Finally, French language services would be appreciated. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because it advertised exactly what we were looking for and wanted something special to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary. It surpassed all of this. Embarkation and disembarkation was a very smooth event. Staff ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it advertised exactly what we were looking for and wanted something special to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary. It surpassed all of this. Embarkation and disembarkation was a very smooth event. Staff were helpful and friendly at all times during the voyage, The expedition team were fabulous, keeping us constantly informed with points of interests and gatherings. Nothing was too much trouble. Food was more than excellent and great to be offered Norwegian food with all the information and history that went with it. The cafe was open for 24 hours so with our package we could have tea and coffee any time of the day. We certainly needed a hot drink after being on deck to see the Northern Lights three nights running. Considering the ship is going in for refurbishment very soon it was still spotlessly clean which was very noticeable. I really hope it doesn't end up like an 'Ikea' ship. We didn't like the decor and furniture on the Kong Harold that we were able to visit. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
So the ship is a working ferry and it desperately needs a refurbishment. Scuffed carpet, stuffing coming out of chairs in the lounge etc. Coffee machines that don't work. The ship made roughly 20+ stops but most of them are for only ... Read More
So the ship is a working ferry and it desperately needs a refurbishment. Scuffed carpet, stuffing coming out of chairs in the lounge etc. Coffee machines that don't work. The ship made roughly 20+ stops but most of them are for only 15 minutes so you cannot get off. I was able to get off in Alesund (gorgeous), Bodo (gorgeous), Trondheim (gorgeous) and Tromso (gorgeous) and Honningsvag (gorgeous). Very disappointed that we stopped in the Lofoten Islands in the middle of the night. We disembarked in Kirkenes. Cabin was an outside but it is incredibly cramped and I was the only person in it. Heaven help 2 people in the cabin. I opted for no cleaning service during the 6 days. The bed was uncomfortable but the bathroom floor was heated which was nice and the shower had excellent pressure and hot. Our tour group (from Australia) had full board but were still charged for coffee/tea outside of meal times which was just money grabbing by Hurtigruten. I'm a vegan and my food choices were very easy at breakfast and lunch because it was a buffet but dinner was a different matter. The first night I was given a chickpea curry which was extremely good and I had such high hopes however dinner for the rest of the cruise was hideous. A vegetable patty EVERY night. I cannot even look at a veggie patty now. The chef didn't even try to come up with something different or interesting for me. There was absolutely nothing to do except sit in the lounge and look at the scenery, which was beautiful, but after a while got very boring. There was one large jigsaw puzzle and a library. I also found that people hogged the chairs in the lounge all day, every day. Each night there was a talk by the Expedition team but it was really just to spruik the ship tours which were all very expensive. A lot of our group chose the NordKapp (North Cape) tour. When I confirmed my booking, I was told that the price I was looking at was the old price and the staff hadn't had time to change the pricing sheet. Our tour leader was ropable and quickly sorted it out so that we paid the advertised price, not the "new" price. The Expedition staff were not particularly helpful. The NordKapp excursion was wonderful and the bus follows a snow plough all the way to the Cape. My tip is to go and see the film first and then go down to the globe. If you do it that way, you are likely to get less people in your globe photo. I have the globe with no people in it (yay!). There is plenty to see there and the scenery is fantastic in winter. Recommendation: if you want to see the Northern Lights, don't do it by ship. Go to places like Tromso and Kirkenes and do trips out each night to hunt them. Stay in Kirkenes at the Snowhotel and take a dog sled ride, snowmobile ride, meet the reindeers. Stay in either a Gamme cabin (fabulous) or in the Snowhotel igloo itself. The one night in Kirkenes was a better experience for me than the entire 6 day cruise. Thank heavens I didn't have to do the return cruise! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
The ship is less than basic as it is a ferry and working ship, but that is no excuse for sacrificing passenger facilities leaving repairs (our wardrobe door was coming off its hinges, the ladies sauna out of action and much else) ... Read More
The ship is less than basic as it is a ferry and working ship, but that is no excuse for sacrificing passenger facilities leaving repairs (our wardrobe door was coming off its hinges, the ladies sauna out of action and much else) unattended to over a near 2 week trip. They charge for everything including tea and coffee except at lmeal times and it is not cheap even though it is poor quality coffee. No entertainment if any kind save a single scrabble set in Norwegian and a chess set, no cards a very few books. If, as we had due to harsh sea conditions, you have days at sea with no stop long enough to get off the ship there is nothing to do but sit and stare out of a window and stunning but very much the same landscape and sea scenes for the whole trip. Dinner is a set menu, no choices so heaven help a fussy eater. If you want to see the northern lights there are better ways and we would suggest a proper cruise company or fly to a suitable location. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
Wanted to see the Northern lights, and Norway in winter. This ship is very badly in need of updating, not enough seating for all guests and a lot of threadbare seats. Food served at dinner was never hot , mostly lukewarm. Food ... Read More
Wanted to see the Northern lights, and Norway in winter. This ship is very badly in need of updating, not enough seating for all guests and a lot of threadbare seats. Food served at dinner was never hot , mostly lukewarm. Food buffet style for breakfast and lunch also never kept hot for the hot dishes. Food items on buffet frequently ran out. Last nights left over desserts served again at lunch. Hygiene very poor as food serving tongs and spoons and forks etc ended up on top of food on the serving trays, passengers were not checked to ensure use of alcohol hand cleansing before entering restaurant. Not enough staff to serve and clear away used plates etc although they were trying hard and were very pleasant. From advertising we were expecting interesting lectures/ talks in the evenings, nothing like this happened. Talks that were given were usually transplanted into two or three languages so we had to wait for each part to be translated to the other guests. Often the talks were just advertising for excursions off the ship. Evenings were very long and boring if you went to first sitting. Passengers had to make their own drinks after evening dinner. Passengers frequently had to carry their mugs of hot drinks up from deck 4 to lounges on deck 7 because the hot water machine on deck 7 was out of use, a dangerous procedure in rough seas,. Very often on deck 7 there was no cold water and glasses, unfortunate as the small fitness room was also on deck7 and water was not provided in there. Not enough staff around ship to aid any disabled passenger in fact staff numbers were so low it was not easy to find anyone. Cabins very much required attention and updating mattress condition on bunks very poor and uncomfortable. Cabin cleaning done by waiters obviously some were not correctly trained ! Warning of severe weather conditions not given till last minute ie “ we are closing the lifts due to the severe weather conditions we are experiencing “ again not a thought for disabled passengers who might not get back to their cabins easily as unable to manage all the steep stairs. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I only had time for the 'half cruise' but enjoyed every minute. Nordlys is showing her age a little with some frayed carpets and furnishings in public areas but is shiny, clean and comfortable. She will be refitted later this ... Read More
I only had time for the 'half cruise' but enjoyed every minute. Nordlys is showing her age a little with some frayed carpets and furnishings in public areas but is shiny, clean and comfortable. She will be refitted later this year. Embarkation in Kirkenes, northern turnaround port, took three minutes as my taxi took me directly to the gangplank. Buses from the airport and local hotels are also available. Kirkenes deserves a day before you embark. Go to the Russian border, see the Snowhotel, fish for King Crabs or try snow activities. My cabin (353) was one of the cheapest with a port hole and fine for one or two, although not luxurious. Cabins on the port side, like mine, are closer to the cargo bay where goods are unloaded and loaded during the many stops day and night. I was fine with this but it meant a little extra noise which may annoy others. Pick starboard and you'll be fine. Whichever you choose, it's stunning scenery from beginning to end. Breakfast and lunch are buffets, always plenty of choice with lots of fish. Evening meals are usually three course sit-down affairs. Excellent food always with local produce in sensible quantities and swiftly-served. It's a Norwegian ship in Norwegian waters so alcohol is expensive but there's a good selection (don't miss beer from the northernmost brewery Mack brewed in Tromso) There were only 360 passengers on my cruise but sometimes it was a challenge to find a seat/table in the public areas. No entertainment as such but fascinating daily talks by the cheerful Expedition team, and a small library. Brilliant staff all round, well-led by Captain Johannes. There's a varied range of excursions and hikes to suit all levels of fitness. Again not cheap but high quality and good value. I enjoyed the bus/ferry tour A Taste of Vesteralen, well-organised with plenty of interesting stops, and a magical midnight concert in the Arctic Cathedral, Tromso. I also sampled a short twilight hike in Bronnoysund, crunching through the snow. Disembarkation in Bergen was fine and speedy. Again, there were buses (extra charge) to the airport, rail station and local hotels but I happily towed my little suitcase into the town for an extra night after a very enjoyable short break in Norway. Thanks Hurtigruten! I am now planning to visit Svalbard in 2020 but would be delighted to take this trip again - maybe north-south next time? Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Chose Cruise as norther lights guaranteed viewing at this time of year. Whispy clouds was our view of the lights, a lot of 100% cloud cover nights, obviously nature and not fault of Hurtigruten. The ship it self is outdated and going in ... Read More
Chose Cruise as norther lights guaranteed viewing at this time of year. Whispy clouds was our view of the lights, a lot of 100% cloud cover nights, obviously nature and not fault of Hurtigruten. The ship it self is outdated and going in for a make over, it needs it. But the public areas were clean and plenty of seating. THe coastline of Norway is spectacular at this time of year and somewhat made up for the poor showing of the aurora. Cabin as expected (superior arctic), heated bathroom floor was appreciated. Cabin not vacuumed or sheets changed the entire 11 nights of cruise. EVERYTHING is expensive, "expedition" team were moody and sometimes rude apart from Sven who was a delight and always helfpul and full of information and answered any question. The food was as most people have mentioned, Generally food was cold and boring after 11 days of the same type of menu. No choices for the evening meal, take it or leave it. Excursions were expensive but you pay it because you may not get the opportunity again to experience some things. There are not too many private options either as most port times are very short. We went on bus trips, snowmobiled, sledding and viking visit. All were good fun, expensive but worth the $$ for the unique experience in most cases. Overall we enjoyed the trip, the scenery breathtaking. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We wanted to book a Norwegian cruise on a smallish ship and to be able to sail into small ports and fijords also to see the northern lights. We achieved all of this on the Nordylis. However listening to some passengers who had been on ... Read More
We wanted to book a Norwegian cruise on a smallish ship and to be able to sail into small ports and fijords also to see the northern lights. We achieved all of this on the Nordylis. However listening to some passengers who had been on other larger ships, if you are looking for pure luxury and entertainment then this is definitely not the cruise for you. Also you have to remember that this is a working boat so. Calls into several ports during the night so expected broken sleep on the first few nights. You soon become acclimatised to the noise so wasn’t too much of a nuisance to us. The food served at the buffets is varied and everyone should be able to ind something they like. The set meals are quite small portions which again suited us as we had the 8pm sitting and didn’t want to go to bed after heavy meal. It looked beautiful and we enjoyed all the different Norwegian recipes served but again heard some people complaining about the portion sizes and menu. The answer to this is to speak to the head waitress either earlier in the day to change whatever it is you don’t fancy or speak to the waitress when it is brought to the table and they will change it/ bring you more etc. They couldn’t have been more helpful. Also be warned that an average bottle of wine is £45 +! A glass of wine or beer is £10! The prices are roughly the same in the local alcohol stores so it’s not that Hurtigruten are over charging it is just the price of everything generally in Norway. We took alcohol on board with us to drink in our cabin and it did not cause a problem. If you want a different and reasonably priced experience with good food and beautiful scenery this is definitely the cruise for you. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
I choosed it because it is the easiest way from bergen to the lofoten. I heard about hurtigruten in german TV and liked it. But it was much better than i ever expected. I will absolutely do it again and take all the tour north and back ... Read More
I choosed it because it is the easiest way from bergen to the lofoten. I heard about hurtigruten in german TV and liked it. But it was much better than i ever expected. I will absolutely do it again and take all the tour north and back south. I really appreciated the work of the expedition team. They do a great job and i can absolutely recommend vitising every workshop, excusion and presentation we had on board. please check it out. you will never forget it. You can't get this point of view when you are traveling alone in norway like i do. It is expensive, yes. But i am on my own in norway, traveling alone and on the ship it felt like going on a trip with my classmates. At first i was alone, but with every excursion we had and with every meal i met more and more people and when i was leaving the ship some people huged me and stand outside on the ship and waved me. it feld so nice and it was so easy to get in contact with new people. Read Less
Nordlys Ratings
Category Editor Member

Find a Nordlys Cruise

Email me when prices drop