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2 Helpful Votes
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
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise specifically because it gives you the greatest chance of seeing the Northern lights. We followed the advice from Hurtigruten about what camera lens to buy and to take a tripod but what they don't tell you is that ... Read More
We chose this cruise specifically because it gives you the greatest chance of seeing the Northern lights. We followed the advice from Hurtigruten about what camera lens to buy and to take a tripod but what they don't tell you is that there is also a 99p app from I-phone which will enable you to take pictures of the Northern Lights when they are weak, as was the case with our cruise. We only found out about this app by chance, on talking to a fellow passenger who had got some spectacular photos with her phone the previous day. So, I would advise anyone who wants to get photos of the Northern Lights to do both, take the equipment advised by Hurtigruten but also get the app! You will also need a good hat, coat, gloves and winterlined trousers if you plan to be on deck at night to get the photos as the windchill factor is high! The My Aurora forecast is also useful, although they do give a Northern Light forecast at the Gatherings. On the plus side, the boat was clean and well equipped, the food was very good - they were happy to provide me with vegetarian and gluten-free food without complaint - a very refreshing change! My favourite was the rice porridge at breakfast and the dessert of rice pudding and berry sauce in the evening. The restaurant staff were helpful, particularly Margarethe and Anna. The cabin we had on the 3rd deck was small but adequate and well equipped - the heated shower floor is a godsend as you go further north. There is a small library with English books accessed through the a-la-carte restaurant, which also provides seating if other areas are busy. We spent most of our time in the panoramic lounge on deck 7, which gives spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. I can also recommend going ashore at Urke on the north-bound voyage - you don't have to pay for this but do need a ticket (something we were not aware of) - if you don't get a ticket, wait until the other tenders have left and they provided another tender for those passengers left who wanted to go. It's a very pretty area in spectacular scenery and worth seeing. The excursion to the North Cape was very good, made better by our guide "Bob" who provided a very funny commentary to our trip there and back. The excursion to Hammerfest was also interesting, if not as funny! Sailing through the Trollfjord area was also a highlight with snow-covered mountains. The main thing we enjoyed was sailing along with a book, looking at all the different landscapes. It's also good to stretch your legs when the boat is in port for an hour or so. We enjoyed the Gatherings held by the Expedition Team in the evenings - very informative and also got to see the photos taken by various passengers during the day. It was worthwhile having the package including free coffee, although the bar and coffee machine on deck 7 was only open from 4 pm - the café on deck 4 was open 24 hours. Tap water is OK to drink from the cabins and also free in the restaurants. There is a list of the days activities available from the Expedition Team area every evening, also next day's menu at the front of the restaurant. We asked for a table for 2 from the restaurant manager for the evening meal and this was provided without any trouble - otherwise you sit on a table with other passengers and keep that table for the whole cruise. On the minus side, the trips are very expensive, as are the beer and wine packages. It was difficult to get a seat when there were no trips and everyone was on the boat. It was also very busy in the restaurant at such times for breakfast and lunch. The big complaint I have is that we waited over an hour to check-in to our Titan Airway flight in Bergen on the way home. This is really unacceptable and should be addressed. Otherwise, check-in and check-out on the boat was very well organised. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We went on our first cruise with friends and didn’t want a cruise where we had to dress up for dinner. The brochure made this sound perfect and we thought we’d give it a go. We had high expectations and they were exceeded. Ship ... Read More
We went on our first cruise with friends and didn’t want a cruise where we had to dress up for dinner. The brochure made this sound perfect and we thought we’d give it a go. We had high expectations and they were exceeded. Ship marvellous, outstanding and very hard working staff and wonderful excursions. Food excellent and so many choices. We loved every minute even in changing weather, rain and cold climate. The Expedition Team are fabulous - they brought enthusiasm to all they did and were happy to help. We hope to be back to Hurtigruten for a cruise in the future. Would thoroughly recommend. It thoroughly exceeded our high expectations. We saw so many wonderful places and the excursions were amazing - Sami culture, an amazing marble mine, a Lofoten fishing village and so many more choices. Visiting the North Cape was wonderful but cold! I can not recommend highly enough. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We had a fantastic time on the MS Nordlys. Even though this is one of the Hurtigruten ships that has not yet been renovated, the facilities were still very comfortable and appealing. We were amazed how creatively the cabin was designed to ... Read More
We had a fantastic time on the MS Nordlys. Even though this is one of the Hurtigruten ships that has not yet been renovated, the facilities were still very comfortable and appealing. We were amazed how creatively the cabin was designed to create the maximum amount of space. The embarkation and disembarkation went very, very smoothly. The same was true for the dining room and other facilities. The ship operated very efficiently and effectively. The dinner menu featured fresh fish with an outstanding and creative use of local ingredients. The crew and staff were absolutely topnotch, friendly, courteous, professional, and fluent in a number of languages, especially English and German. Because it is a ferry ship as well as a postal ship, a Hurtigruten ship like MS Nordlys has a number of responsibilities as it makes its way up and down the Norwegian coast. That is not typical for a cruise ship. But for passengers, it means that you get to see how a working ship operates, including a test of the lifeboats. If you are interested in a cruise with pools, organized games, and live entertainment on board, then this is not the cruise for you. If you are interested in seeing the beauty of the natural world every single day, then you should definitely consider it. The Expedition Team added an educational element to the cruise with periodic evening lectures and short talks on "Points of Interest." I attended more of these than most passengers, because I appreciated the additional information about the geology, ecology, and Norwegian culture. Our Hurtigruten cruise was definitely the highlight of our entire time in Norway. I would absolutely book again. It's not entirely clear from their booking website, but you can embark and disembark at different points, not just at the main terminals of Bergen and Kirkenes. This makes is possible to design your own trip. We found, however, that the northbound trip from Bergen to Kirkenes provided a good amount of time. Anything shorter would have felt too rushed. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Always wanted to do the Norwegian coastal voyage *NOTE* NOT 'Norwegian fjords' -the only option listed on this supposedly comprehensive site!! Bought as inside no-single-supplement, but upgraded to outside with portholes on ... Read More
Always wanted to do the Norwegian coastal voyage *NOTE* NOT 'Norwegian fjords' -the only option listed on this supposedly comprehensive site!! Bought as inside no-single-supplement, but upgraded to outside with portholes on deck 2. Embarking/ disembarking both very efficient and well organised. Cruise card for on board expenses. Ship is mid 90s and mid sized for hurtigruten - easy to get around, cosy, not too big. Due for refurb next spring. No problems getting seats in any lounges. Other passengers mainly older, on full round trip, with younger doing local trips, along with native norwegians. No problems with being a single passenger, felt comfortable at all times - plenty of others travelling alone. Cabin more than adequate, portholes a boon. Some would not like low deck (some ship noise - but hey if you don't like waves slapping against the hull, don't come on a ship! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
To see the fjords north of Norway and all the small ports of call onboard a "coast cruiseliner" during wintertime. It is the company's 150 years aniversery Embarcation and disembarcation vent smoothly Ports and ... Read More
To see the fjords north of Norway and all the small ports of call onboard a "coast cruiseliner" during wintertime. It is the company's 150 years aniversery Embarcation and disembarcation vent smoothly Ports and Shore excursions were well organised but far too expensive. A cruise of adventures which you need to do once in your lifetime In the lounges it was calm and relaxing and from time to time breath taking scenery ,mountains covered with snow and ice,and near sea level small assembling of houses. The weather shifted between snowfalls, snowstorm and sun,and during the nights we expected to see "aurora-the nothernlights" but it did not show up ( overcasted). The food was excellent for breakfast as well as luch, so was dinner too. The excursion team had in the afternoon a lession for the days events and an information for the following day. Also lessions of the "Hurtigrutens " beginning with its history up to day was given. You cannot miss this unique opportunity to be so close to the nature and at the same time so safe onboard this lovely ship Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Embarkation was in Bergen and I took a early flight to explore Bergen. I was happy I could get rid of my luggage at 13hrs to go into town. It’s a nice town. We disembarked on a Saturday and the weather was lovely and Bergen was vibrant ... Read More
Embarkation was in Bergen and I took a early flight to explore Bergen. I was happy I could get rid of my luggage at 13hrs to go into town. It’s a nice town. We disembarked on a Saturday and the weather was lovely and Bergen was vibrant than. A lot of people, full terraces: great! The voyage itself was awesome! The itinerary was unbelievable beautiful. Maybe because it was in the spring but we had a lot of snow but also were able to sit in the sun on deck. One of my best trips ever! The staff are overall are very kind and helpful. And they make the difference in my opinion. Catherina at the bar, the expedition team. People you remember. Also I like the fact that this Hurtigruten trip is of use to the people of Norway..Not just one of the too large cruise ships who look ugly in the landscape. There is to much fresh food 3 times a day :) Just visit the fjords of Norway. Just so amazing beautiful. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
All the services on board, very good ship, cabin ok, dining ok, but impossible because the weather to go to the North Cape. we have known an other way of life with sea and the cold and fishing. People quiet and very clean. All the services ... Read More
All the services on board, very good ship, cabin ok, dining ok, but impossible because the weather to go to the North Cape. we have known an other way of life with sea and the cold and fishing. People quiet and very clean. All the services at the hour, all excursion very well organized. Very good travel, Hurtigruten is a wonderful company. We don't know if you come again in spring or summer but we hope to make it. we find sometime, the time in the harbour is very short to discover the city and take a drink in a "café" to meet people of the country. But we know the boat is also a cargo and a "bus" for the norvegian people. Last thing we think, we find that there is nor enough french announces, some time it is difficult to ear all the informations. But we have seen some "aurores boréales" it is a very great moment. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
The travel arrangements were very easy and straightforward. A very traditional ship kitted out with plenty of oak, brass and glass lighting. We chose a cabin on the promenade deck (deck 5) which was both compact but extremely comfortable. ... Read More
The travel arrangements were very easy and straightforward. A very traditional ship kitted out with plenty of oak, brass and glass lighting. We chose a cabin on the promenade deck (deck 5) which was both compact but extremely comfortable. Our cabin choice included a ‘tea package’ and wi-if which were both used daily. The dining was very informal, buffet breakfast and lunch offering a variety of foods for every taste and dinner was a set 3 course menu, well thought out using their local produce The Expedition Team was a definite bonus - very interesting talks and lectures and up to date information delivered via the ships tannoy. You must remember it is a vital ferry service to the coastal communities and has a schedule to keep but the crew and staff worked very hard to offer a great service to its ‘cruising’ passengers You visit 34 ports both day and night and some with just a 15 minute turnaround but the times you can go adhere there a a number of trips and excursions on offer and we thoroughly enjoyed the ones we did. The fishing villages trip at Kikenes, snowmobiling and the Vesteralen excursion were 3 of our favourites. Actually seeing the Northern Lights is the icing on the cake - it is not guaranteed BUT there is an extremely good chance they will show during this cruise at some time - you must be patient!! Overall, an excellent time aboard and ashore Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
From the on-line booking process to the end of the trip, a great experience. Hurtigruten is a working supply/postal vessel which carry's passengers also, so it goes where other cruise lines cannot get. No theatre's, no shows, ... Read More
From the on-line booking process to the end of the trip, a great experience. Hurtigruten is a working supply/postal vessel which carry's passengers also, so it goes where other cruise lines cannot get. No theatre's, no shows, no live music, except what you make yourselves. A great choice of excursions to suit all tastes and levels of fitness and obviously interest, with very experienced and knowledgeable staff. Great food regardless of buffet style or fixed menu. Great staff, very friendly and accommodating. We did the round voyage Bergen-Kirkenes-Bergen and we enjoyed the trip tremendously even if we did experience hurricane force winds and the associated rough seas, all a part of the experience. Obviously I can only speak of our experience on-board MS Nordlys,between 5 January and 16 January 2018, but if the entire fleet has the same quality of staff and food I will not worry too much about which ship I book my next trip on. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
What an amazing journey! So different from a 'big ship' experience - you get really up-close-and-personal to the Norwegian coast with Hurtigruten, visiting so many ports of call, and expertly navigating the myriad of islands and ... Read More
What an amazing journey! So different from a 'big ship' experience - you get really up-close-and-personal to the Norwegian coast with Hurtigruten, visiting so many ports of call, and expertly navigating the myriad of islands and fjords of the coast - amazingly close, almost reaching out to touch some of the cliffs or to shake the hands of locals. Could not fault the food, service and staff on board - so refreshing to see Norwegian staff, as the talk about their home country with such pride. Enjoyed learning about the Northern Lights - and Hurtigruten have their Northern Lights Promise of a free voyage if the Lights do not appear (some small print does apply) - but we were treated to an spine-tingling event on several nights. Asking the Expedition team how they rated the Lights we saw, they said "about a 6 or 7 out of 10" - so I can't wait to go back and see what a 10/10 experience would be!!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
I saw an article offering no single supplement on this Hurtigruten cruise (11.11.17) and investigated it. Sounded good, so I booked it. Flew from Sydney to Bergen - warm weather to icy chill! Dinner on the first night was buffet ... Read More
I saw an article offering no single supplement on this Hurtigruten cruise (11.11.17) and investigated it. Sounded good, so I booked it. Flew from Sydney to Bergen - warm weather to icy chill! Dinner on the first night was buffet style, but after that each night - bar one - it was a set three course meal - no choices. However the choices for breakfast and lunch were excellent - particularly if you like seafood - and cheese. The only complaint I have is that the hot food could have been a lot hotter - some times it was just warm. Hurtigruten prides itself on supporting local suppliers and often what we had for dinner was bought fresh from a local port that day. While the coastal voyage states that it calls into 34 ports - don't be fooled - this is a mail/cargo/passenger run and so often the ports are at all times of the day and sometimes only 15 minutes. Usually each day there is a major port stop with excursions offered - quite pricey - but most times there is a good map available on board so that you can walk around yourself. I had bought rubber slip on "spikes" to attach to my boots and was able to walk on snowy and sometimes icy streets with confidence - after the first cautious steps. On board we had cultural and information talks about Norway and its history. Don't expect any entertainment at night - there is an occasional story telling at 9.30 - and you may be lucky to be called from your bed for the Northern Lights but that's it. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
The Trip was wonderful. This is not a "typical" cruise, is a postship.This is really important to know! The cruise is for nature and relaxing. The programm onboard is not too much, is only 1-3 per day. But the points of Interest ... Read More
The Trip was wonderful. This is not a "typical" cruise, is a postship.This is really important to know! The cruise is for nature and relaxing. The programm onboard is not too much, is only 1-3 per day. But the points of Interest are perfect for information. On a Hurtigruten cruise you must know your self and your own entertainment. The service was perfect, everybody was nice. The speak english and german, of course norwegian. The breakfeast had a good selection of bread, cereals and more. The dining was delicious. My absolut favorite excursion was the visit to the huskys. They are so friendly and you can cuddle them all. The stops are partially short, is not everywhere time to see the city or the village. But this is a postship, not a typical cruise. We think it was a nice experience and not too much chichi. We met great people and see a beutiful landscape. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This was our fourth cruise but first on Hurtigruten. We were looking for a less hectic and more relaxed experience. The cruise from Bergen to Kirkenes was all that we had hoped for and more. From wonderful food, to efficient staff, to ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise but first on Hurtigruten. We were looking for a less hectic and more relaxed experience. The cruise from Bergen to Kirkenes was all that we had hoped for and more. From wonderful food, to efficient staff, to friendly fellow passengers to the absolutely stunning scenery, we were very happy with the experience and sad to leave the ship in Kirkenes. Follow the suggested packing list even for summer cruises. We needed our hats, gloves, waterproof jackets and wool socks. Embarkation in Bergen was quick and easy. We got to the terminal about 4 pm, dropped off our luggage (no waiting in any lines!) and took the escalator upstairs for the safety briefing and video. We boarded the ship, hung out in the cafeteria area on deck 4 for a little while, then stopped by the expedition desk to sign up for the Meet the Vikings excursion. When I'd tried to book it over the phone, I was told it was full but that additional places would be available once on board the ship, which thankfully was the case. Our cabin was ready before 6 pm so we unpacked, explored the ship, and had a nice dinner in the main dining room. The first night is a buffet with open seating. The other evenings are set meal times but we found the dining room staff to be very helpful and flexible in changing your dinner seating or table number. We took four excursions and found them all to be excellent value - Geiranger with Trollstigen pass, Meet the Vikings, the North Cape, and Sami Culture. You can book them by phone before you travel but it was easy to add Meet the Vikings and the North Cape once we were on board. The expedition team's materials on the excursions is much better than the information on the web, which we often found confusing and lacking in key details. The information you receive on board the ship clearly tells you when the excursion departs, from which port, and where you reembark. The expedition team held several talks in English and German about flora and fauna in the area, polar explorers, etc which we found very interesting. We got off at many stops even if we weren't taking excursions to wander around, take pictures and visit some amazing museums and cathedrals. Sights are very walkable from where the ship docked but we did use the public bus system in Tromso to get to the Arctic Cathedral. Simply buy your tickets from the tourist information office located a block from the port. The staff there will tell you which bus numbers stop at the cathedral and where the bus stops are located. As noted by others, English speakers are in the minority but announcements are made in Norwegian, English and German and we never had a problem with communication. We met some very nice people during our first excursion and at dinner our second evening. The small size of the ship lends itself to interactions with other passengers. And it feels like a family. The US website doesn't have as much information as I would have liked so one quick clarification on the wine package. The package gives you a bottle of wine at dinner each night which can be split with other passengers. Husband and wife can share the bottle so only one needs to get the wine package, not both. If you have an excursion that includes dinner, you can pick up the bottle early and drink it in your cabin. The only negative was disembarking in Kirkenes. It wa absolute chaos getting off the ship and onto the buses going to the airport. The ship docked 15 minutes late and passengers scrambled and pushed to get on the airport buses and then to check in at the airport. Unnecessary stress as we all made it with time to spare. I had booked the airport transfer by phone before we boarded and did not have a voucher or ticket which confused the driver. (I had asked both at the ship's reception and the excursion desk and was told I didn't need a ticket). Luckily I had printed off the invoice for the entire cruise so he accepted that. In retrospect I should have just booked the transfer on board the ship and then I would have had a physical ticket for the bus. But the rest of the trip was so spectacular that this was a tiny blip in an otherwise wonderful experience. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
The emphasis was on the outstanding views and the experiences - and to our great pleasure, on the food. Fabulous food (especially if you like fish but friend enjoyed her vegetarian menu and there was plenty of interesting meat). ... Read More
The emphasis was on the outstanding views and the experiences - and to our great pleasure, on the food. Fabulous food (especially if you like fish but friend enjoyed her vegetarian menu and there was plenty of interesting meat). Excellent catering for a dietary issue that we had notified in advance. Enormous and varied hot and cold buffet at breakfast and lunch, set menu at dinner. You get to talk to other people as little or as much as you want. We enjoyed being sat with the same people at dinner as we got to know them, but also liked sitting with different people at lunch - and sometimes on our own. We met loads of really interesting people on the viewing deck, particularly as we had midnight sun which quite a few people stayed up to see (and worth it for amazing views and colours). The crew are outstanding - friendly, helpful, happy to actually engage with guests over the week, and very efficient indeed. They are rightly proud of their ship. The crew made our holiday feel very special. The size of the ship and number of guests seemed well judged - you can get away from everyone and read your book if you want, but you get to recognise people too as it is not too large. The expedition team point out locations of interest (geological, cultural and arctic specific) from the deck, and there are some interesting - and humorous - lectures and informal meetings. The marking of the crossing of the Arctic Circle is fun! We picked some excursions which we enjoyed hugely - if you are bothered you might want to check that a very late night is not followed by a very early morning, the website and booklet are not that helpful for timings but describe the trips very well. We had to catch up on sleep one afternoon (not so terrible!) You also miss some points of interest and ports if you pick some excursions, something to be aware of if there is a particular point you want to see (ship in Trollfjord or the specially cut channel through the Lofotens for example). Also if there is a particular port you want to see, check the time the boat docks there and whether you get a longer stay travelling north or south (we only went one way and now want to go back to see a couple of places we missed or were only very short stops) The boat is absolutely fine, pleasant bars and sitting areas, a small outside area where you can look out at the front, and one deck you can walk all the way round. Large viewing deck at the back (less wind which is really nice in the arctic!!) Partner said the fitness room was good but I made do with walking up and down stairs (there are lifts too). We had one night of quite rough weather around the North Cape when we preferred to be laying down, but most of the trip is in sheltered water and it was not an issue. A note on booking: we found the website very confusing but a call to their London office clarified things we wanted to know and we had them book our flights and city stays at each end of the trip. All ran like clockwork. We are hoping to go again at a different time of year. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
This cruise was suggested to me by my friend who is a travel agent. In Bergen we embarked the ship. Boarding was OK, but when we got to the room - it was disaster! (There had been a problem with perhaps a broken pipe or something, the ... Read More
This cruise was suggested to me by my friend who is a travel agent. In Bergen we embarked the ship. Boarding was OK, but when we got to the room - it was disaster! (There had been a problem with perhaps a broken pipe or something, the floor was saturated - there were towels and mats all saturated. So, we did not get that room. (You would have thought that the booking reception would have been informed). However, a lovely Swedish lady came to our aid. She was just lovely. She took us to the other side of the ship (not port side) and we were so glad that she did that. The noise on portside was loud, particularly when docking and loading and then on leaving at each port. However, at each port there was unloading and loading of cargo and people. This shipping company has to walk a fine line between pleasing passengers and being a vital link to the communities that are far from major cities. At night we would see tiny villages dotted along the coast. Hugging the shorelines as it is usually fishing that keeps these communities economically above water. It isn't New York. There is no other trade or anything else that could be done in some of these areas along the water line. Very little land. Although you would see the very rare farming areas. This shipping company does a wonderful work and is extremely vital to keep these villages alive and supplied. I praise them for their work. It is not a good thing to work in the extreme cold and water and rain/snow and wind. It is not pleasant. However, without this shipping line - life would come to a very quick and sticky end. So, with that in mind, ((to those that grumble about this shipping line) - this is NOT the Queen Mary 2 ship. It is not meant to be. I believe the company that owns this line should be supported and recognised for trying to please the passengers and the communities, the companies that rely on this shipping line - and of course the staff they employ. What a wonderful staff of people. They are out to please you. Even the Captain signed books and certificates, etc. (Might I say what a dashing gentleman he is!). Then there was Anna (the Swedish lady) who is in charge of the passenger's welfare (accommodation etc). She is a star. Always time for helping, always pleasant, There are the shop staff who are wonderful too. The restaurant staff (the meals were excellent), the mechanical engineers, the loaders, the staff supporting others. All just wonderful. No - we did not see the Northern lights (although there was a very faint hint of a run one evening just before we were to disembark). This was disappointing to my travel agent friend, but not particularly to me as I lived in Northern B.C. Canada and saw the lights every winter. Some seasons more beautiful then others. Just before closing my comment, I wish to say to people who intend to go on this ship. Remember it is not a cruise line. It is a passenger ship. Entirely different. So, if you want to sit back and not move a muscle or lie in the sun on the deck or be waited on hand and foot try Queen Mary 2! However, if you seek an adventure and are interested in Norway and the Fjords and small villages - this is the ship for you. Please support the villages that you may visit. Buy their goods. At least show some interest in their talents. They are all trying to make a living from tourism. They are very welcoming, warm and generous. Yes, I would go again, just to see all again what I saw the first time. Thank you to the Nordlys Hurtigruten. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This cruise was EXACTLY what we thought it would be. Instead of thousands and thousands of passengers there were ony 450. There are 11 ships in this line with a new ship leaving each day. They also deliver cargo, act as a ferry, and ... Read More
This cruise was EXACTLY what we thought it would be. Instead of thousands and thousands of passengers there were ony 450. There are 11 ships in this line with a new ship leaving each day. They also deliver cargo, act as a ferry, and have passengers just for a couple of days going from one part of Norway to another. We loved the Nordlys. The tour director made wonderful announcements in Norwegian, German, and English telling us of what was coming next. The housekeeping staff were friendly and efficient. The restaurant staff were just simply excellent. Speaking English we were a minority, but almost all the crew and staff spoke really good English. The scenery was spectacular. The room was mall, but we knew it would be, and it was fine. The bathroom and cabin were so clean. The bed is really tall, so my poor wife at barely 5 feet tall had to be creative to get in, but she managed, and the mattress and HUGE pillows were wonderful. The view out of our porthole was awesome. The breakfasts and lunches were buffet style, and there was a plethora of items to eat. The evening meal was a 3 course dinner featuring local items from cod, king crab, salmon, trout, mackerel, duck, reindeer, veal, lamb, etc., etc. etc. The desserts were heavenly. If you were allergic to anything or did not want to try anything, you could tell them in the morning, and they would work with you to get something else for dinner. We tried everything, and some we loved and some we liked and some we did not particularly care for, but we tried it all. Norway is expensive, but we found the whole adventure a wonderful experience. We would recommend it to everyone. There is no entertainment, but again we knew that before we left. The midnight sun and other aspects of Norway made up for the lack of entertainment. We were not bored. Timing was right that I got to watch almost all of the Europe 2016 Soccer Championships in a big TV room. Loved that part. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
This year, instead of hunting out Winter Sun for our New Year's break, we decided to go to the other extreme and look for snow, ice and Northern Lights. We booked a 12 day Bergen/Kirkenes/Bergen round trip on Hurtigruten's MS ... Read More
This year, instead of hunting out Winter Sun for our New Year's break, we decided to go to the other extreme and look for snow, ice and Northern Lights. We booked a 12 day Bergen/Kirkenes/Bergen round trip on Hurtigruten's MS Nordlys. Hurtigruten ships are not Cruise ships - they are ferries. But ferries with 'extra's'. There is little in the way of formal entertainment, but our ship had a very knowledgeable 'Tour Leader'. He was responsible for bookings for and co-ordination of shore excursions, as well as organising onboard activities. He had a dry sense of humour and spoke fluent English, French, German and Norwegian, switching comfortably between each depending on the Nationality of the guest. He also made announcements in multiple languages as we approached each port to tell us more about the destination, and announcements when there was something interesting to see outside (eg crossing the arctic circle, sea eagle ahead, spectacular rock formations, other Hurtigruten ships!). On New Years Eve the ship missed a couple of ports in the Lofoten Islands so that we could spend the evening in Hurtigruten's home port of Stockmarknes. We had a gala buffet for dinner and then they opened up the Hurtigruten museum especially for us to make an evening visit. At the museum they have a 'retired' ship in dry dock and it was quite eery exploring this ship in the dark. All guests were invited to celebrate the turn of the year out on the 'sun' deck with a glass of complementary fizz. The local fireworks were spectacular. Some guests were quite disturbed by the shortness of the days and the lack of light. For my part I had expected it to be worse. We were lucky that the days we spent North of the Arctic Circle were clear so we had the best light possible. OK it was never bright, but for 3 or 4 hours there was as much light as you would get on on overcast day in England, and when you are out enjoying snowey activities such as Husky Sledding it feels even lighter. Northern Lights are almost guaranteed at this time of year if the sky is clear. We were lucky enough to see them on 3 nights. They make an announcement if the officers on the bridge spot Northern Lights in the sky, so you have no excuse for missing them. Having said that, they weren't as spectacular as I was expecting, and to the naked eye lacked the vivid colours that you get when you photograph them. This may have been due to the full moon. The ship was very quiet - only around 200 passengers on the Northbound journey, which was enough to be sociable but meant that there were no crowds. On the way south there were less than 40 passengers. We could have had a table each at dinner!   Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2011
We traveled with Vantage on the Grand Norwegian Coastal Voyage September 1 15, 2011. Our ship was the MS Nordlys which was severely damaged by fire the day after we departed the ship. Two crew members were tragically killed during the ... Read More
We traveled with Vantage on the Grand Norwegian Coastal Voyage September 1 15, 2011. Our ship was the MS Nordlys which was severely damaged by fire the day after we departed the ship. Two crew members were tragically killed during the blaze. What a sad memory at the end of a wonderful adventure. We have traveled with Vantage in the past. In 2007 we did Imperial Russian Waterways, Moscow and St. Petersburg with Vantage and had a wonderful experience. FLIGHTS Since we live near Boston, we expected to travel direct to Europe from Boston. Such was not the case. Vantage arranged for us to travel to Dulles, Copenhagen, and Bergen. This added to our travel time, especially on our return. We will never again come through Dulles from Europe with hopes of making an on time connection. Copenhagen is a very large and busy airport and the walk to our connecting flight was very long. Anyone with the slightest problem walking should ask for help. A Vantage rep met us in Dulles at the start of the trip to be sure we were all set with boarding passes, etc. It was a nice touch. WEATHER - We traveled September 1 15. The temperatures were in the 50s and 60s during the day and probably down to the high 40s at night. Our first few days in Bergen were very rainy. We were told this was very normal. It became sunnier as we traveled north. Sturdy shoes, umbrellas, and water repellant wind breakers were best. Appropriate layering for wind, on deck, rain, and varying temperatures kept us plenty warm and dry. THE HOTEL - We arrived at the Bergen airport right on time and were met by Eva Stiegler, our Vantage Program Manager. She was brought up in Bergen. Her English was flawless. Our luggage was whisked away to the bus, we exchanged some money and off we went. The Radisson Blu Norge Hotel was perfectly situated close to everything. Our luggage was unloaded from the bus for us and delivered to our rooms. The rooms were clean and bright and a good size with desk and easy chair, 2 single beds, a coffee maker and iron and ironing board. The furniture was a little dated but well cared for. Free wifi was available. Breakfast was a large buffet with all kinds of choices from meats and cheeses to an egg station to fruits, cereals, juices and coffee and tea. Delicious. We had dinner in the hotel with our group of 49. The menu was preset white asparagus soup, chicken with mushroom, and apple cake with ice cream and coffee also a free glass of beverage, wine, soda, etc. Throughout the trip, Eva would arrange for any diet accommodation from allergies to likes and dislikes. The only down side to the hotel location was the large amount of street noise into the early morning hours. Eva distributed earplugs to us so we could sleep. Evidently there are nightclubs nearby and both their music and customers extend to outside. We were so tired that nothing would have disturbed our sleep but when up, we did hear the noise and Im sure some people are disturbed by the it. BERGEN - Bergen is a wonderful city. We wish we had planned the pre-extension here. Not only is the city beautiful, but there is so much more to see than we originally thought. The funicular, fish market, and countless historic buildings and museums could easily use several days. THE SHIP - The Nordlys far exceeded our expectations. It was beautifully maintained and all the public rooms were lovely. The dcor had lots of brass colored metal, Norwegian art and tasteful colors. The dining room was large. At dinner we had an area reserved for Vantage so we didnt have to struggle to find a place to sit. Large windows gave a great view as we sailed along. Linen tablecloths gave an air of formality to the room and made meals a special occasion. Our room was small but very efficient. It was a category U cabin on deck 6. Our traveling companions were on deck 5 which was the promenade deck. They wish they did not have passengers walking outside their cabin. The cabins themselves were identical. The 2 single beds were perpendicular to each other and one made a sofa during the day and the other folded up against the wall. The beds were comfortable. The cover was a duvet. There were 2 wool blankets in the closet - great for sitting on deck. There was sufficient closet space. There were about a dozen hangers but we always bring extras. The closet rods go front to back in rather than left to right which may finding things slightly more difficult. The bathroom is small. I thought the shower was much smaller than on large cruise ships and the floor was always wet. Heat in the bathroom was in the floor so it helped the water evaporate. There are no facecloths and bars of soap are not provided. There is a dispenser of liquid soap at the sink and a combo of liquid soap/shampoo/conditioner in the shower. There is a hair dryer in the bathroom. I would suggest bringing your own soap, shampoo, and conditioner. It was chilly on deck. There were chairs and lounge chairs for sitting. A small area on each side was protected by glass and was heated. One side was reserved for smokers. There are plenty of public rooms with great windows. On the top deck there was entertainment in the bar every evening. We had 2 talented female musicians from Bulgaria who sange and played keyboard, violin and saxophone. There was no wireless internet service available on the Nordlys. There were 3 computers for passenger use which was so slow we were not charged to use it. I believe this varies by ship. There were 2 washers and 2 dryers available. It cost about $4.00 to do a load of wash including the soap which was automatically dispensed by the washer. The dryers were free. The staff was wonderful and friendly. FOOD AND DRINK The food was very good. Breakfast and lunch were always buffet. Breakfast included coffee, tea, juices, fruits, cereals, meats, cheeses, hard or soft boiled eggs, bacon or sausage, all kinds of bread, fish, and a hot special daily fried eggs, pancakes, etc. Lunch always included a soup which was delicious, salads, meats, fish, stone crabs, cray fish, mussels, shrimp, cheeses, fruit, and one or two hot entrees. Dessert had many fancy jellos, fruit, cakes and fruit and custard sauces. Dinner was a set menu posted daily. Most nights the main course was fish. Eva made arrangements for anyone who had special likes or dislikes or allergies to be accommodated. We had arctic char, salmon, pollack, reindeer, chicken, and cod. One evening there was a seafood buffet which included cold water lobster, king crab, salmon, scallops, shrimp, and a multitude of other choices. Sauces and vegetables were also very tasty. Small boiled potatoes were often served. Desserts were fine not amazing and included cakes, puddings, and ice cream. Dinner coffee was served in one of the forward observation rooms. This made it easier for the crew to get ready for the second serving of dinner. There was a full wine and drink menu on the table at lunch and dinner. Drinks were very expensive. Except during meals there was a charge for coffee. A coffee deal is offered. For about $40 you can buy a coffee cup which is refillable in the coffee shop whenever you want it. We each bought one but I thought the coffee was deplorable and seldom drank it although it could also be used for tea. Eva took us to liquor stores to buy wine which we kept in our rooms. We werent supposed to bring our own wine into the dining room or public spaces but we usually filed our coffee cups with wine and walked into the dining rooms. A box of wine in the state liquor stores cost about $80. Sometimes at lunch we would put some crackers and cheese into a plastic baggie and save it for cocktail hour in the afternoon. VANTAGE AND THE TRIP As I said before our Program Manager Eve was wonderful. At the beginning of the trip she talked about what to expect and about the optional tours offered by the ship. We went to the midnight concert at the Arctic Cathedral in Tromso and the Sea Eagle tour. We love both. I cant speak to any of the others. However, Eva did provide previous passenger ratings so we had some idea of which ones were enjoyed most. She gave us talks on Norwegian history, life in Norway, trolls, and the Norse Gods. She gave us tastes of Norwegian pastry, candy, Aquavitt and chocolate. She showed us movies about heavy water, the Amundsen expedition to the South Pole, Max Manus (Norwegian WW II resistor) and Cool and Crazy. She arranged a pizza party on our last night in Bergen. Every town we visited we had a walk of the area. Her knowledge of each town and its history was amazing. She offered us her computer if we needed to make contact back home. Wireless was available to her. I cant go into every town and tour we had but they were all great. I loved Trondheim. The tour to the North Kapp was amazing. We were luck enough to have perfect weather and could see forever! The tour to the Rokenes Farm in Harstad was memorable. Enroute we stopped at an ancient chapel and had a moment of silence in honor of 9/11 (we were there on that day.). We even saw some Northern lights. They were minimal and very pale in color but even a hint of them was more than we expected. The ship celebrated our crossing of the Arctic Circle and the Trollfjord with fun events. In between town and stops the scenery was lovely either the sun shining on the fjords and villages or the rain and clouds hanging over the tree and mountain tops and glaciers. It was all lovely. We toured with an amazing group of travelers. There wasnt any one of us who complained. We all liked each other and helped those who needed assistance. Wed do the trip again in a minute! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2011
Not many reviews have been written on the ships belonging to the Norwegian Hurtigruten company, so it was with some little ignorance and trepidation that we booked our Arctic Highlights 4-day cruise in an attempt to witness the often ... Read More
Not many reviews have been written on the ships belonging to the Norwegian Hurtigruten company, so it was with some little ignorance and trepidation that we booked our Arctic Highlights 4-day cruise in an attempt to witness the often elusive Northern Lights. We'd read that the Nordlys was commissioned in 1994, had a capacity of 475 passengers and that it was a working ferry."Hmmm" we thought, "back to basics then, a bit of an old tub". Well, how wrong our perceptions were. The Nordlys (and Hurtigruten) was refreshingly honest without the unsubstantiated marketing hype that has proceeded our cruises with Celebrity, P+O, Cunard et al. We'll run through some basics which may help in developing a more accurate picture of what to expect than we were party to. We flew out from Heathrow (at 07.30) with SAS to Oslo, coupled with another 2hr transfer flight to our embarkation port of Tromso. The H'row / Oslo flight offered us no complimentary beverages at all so be prepared for a 2 hours of no grub. For some reason on the internal transfer flights you are offered soft drinks, tea and coffee. We were met at Tromso airport by a Hurtigruten rep and very efficiently herded on to the coach transfer to our ship at the port. Being a working ferry, it was like waiting for a bus - and it was blooming cold. After about 25 minutes the boat pulled in and the chaotic check-in commenced, carrying our own luggage over the snow and ice, up the gangway to a very small reception desk for check-in. Not an impressive start but where did it say we would be waited on hand foot and finger? It didn't. But, the crew were very obliging and polite in helping us all out and this was generally the theme throughout our cruise. Our cabins were not ready immediately but we waited in the lounge to be informed, which was about an hour. The cabin itself was small - very small - and equipped with 2 single beds (one was the lower half of a bunk bed, where the top bunk was folded against the wall, the other was a sofa bed). The bathroom was small but, in fact, not that much smaller than the one we endured on our recent Azura cruise and the shower was 10 times better! The beds were quite firm (well Lynne said uncomfortably hard). Our cabin (note -not hyped up a Stateroom)was positioned on the 3rd deck and about two thirds down towards the aft. This meant you had fairly constant engine noise and other mechanical noises as the ship manouvred and docked throughout the day and night - remember it's a working ferry. We were half board and enjoyed a fairly substantial buffet breakfast of typical European fayre comprising cold meats, cheeses, fruit, cereal, rolls and bread, fruit juice etc together with some cooked items for us Brits. No queues, no fighting for tables, carrying your tray for miles. All very pleasant and freshly prepared and replenished. For lunch and snacks there is a small cafe but be warned of the prices - £4 for half litre of water, £5 for a coffee, £7 for a baguette. Ouch! The evening meals were taken at designated tables at either 6.30pm or 8.30pm. It was very re-assuring to be greeted by a supervisor at the door insisting on the use of a hand sanitisor. We enjoyed such things as fresh soup, freshly prepared fish (pollock, salmon, cod) and venison steak all presented from a set menu. One evening saw us tucking into a wonderful fresh seafood buffet including salmon, king crab, lobster, mussels, king prawns, cod etc. Indeed, the food generally was more than a match for the "exquisite and sumptuous 5-star gourmet fayre" Celebrity would have you believe you are in for. But another "Ouch" - £8 per glass of house wine. The decor is what you would call "traditional" with much use of wood (not veneer, P+O) brass and glass. The seating areas are comfortable with 2 bars, a very good observation lounge at the bow and a quiet area with library. And - BLISS - not a shred of that awfull intrusive piped music. No art auction. No constant announcements of yet another opportunity to part with your cash. Hooray, just the sound of gentle chatter. Hurtigruten offer excursions and they seem to be pretty well run, if not a little pricey. But again, they don't wax lyrical about them in a glossy brochure and there is no hard sell. We went to the Snow Hotel in Kirkenes and it was facinating as well as informative throughout. And all at minus 15 degrees too. There's little in the way of entertainment save learning how to tie knots and being introduced to freshly caught king crabs. Yes, we saw the Northern Lights - twice - and sightings are relayed over the ship's tannoy. You can also arrange to be phoned in your cabin if it's during the sleeping hours. But, don't go out in your nightey!! So, to recap, this is a no frills, honest to goodness cruise in a jolly hostile but very picturesque environment. Be sure to take your camera as the snow clad fjords present a marvellous outlook. It's a working vessel so there is some disturbance but it's certainly not intrusive. The staff and the whole ambience on board is one of helpfulness and welcoming. There are no pretentious promises that fail to live up to expectations. Indeed, this may even undersell itself. What a refreshingly welcome change. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2008
I've always wanted to visit Norway and had heard the best way of doing so was on the 'mail boat'. Well the 'boat' far exceeded my expectations and now I want to go back again. We purposely chose to sail in February ... Read More
I've always wanted to visit Norway and had heard the best way of doing so was on the 'mail boat'. Well the 'boat' far exceeded my expectations and now I want to go back again. We purposely chose to sail in February because I wanted to see Norway as I have always imagined it- in snow covered winter conditions. We made our own travel arrangements to Bergen and enjoyed 3 days staying at the Best Western Hotel Hordaheimen before joining the ship. We booked our cruise through the Norwegian office and were very pleased with the simplicity of doing so via email with one telephone call to make payment. MS Nordlys was built in 1994 is one of the fleet sailing the coast of Norway from Bergen to Kirkenes. We chose a basic 2-berth inner cabin because it would be near the centre of the ship with less movement in bad weather. The cabin was clean, well maintained and comfortable (I especially like the Norwegian style of bedding). The lack of window was not an issue because we'd come on this voyage to see the scenery and experience the local way of life. We'd been warned that this was a working ship but the comfort, food, and crew were so good we didn't notice. We met several locals using the ship. Parents with new babies who had been to visit Grandparents for the first time, students on the way to college, business people holding meetings and seniors who popped into the cafe during stops in ports. This ship is part of Norway! The food was very good with a lunchtime buffet and set dinner. (the dinner menu is posted at lunchtime and if you don't like what is available you tell the crew and they discuss an alternative). We took the 'water package' where you pay a set amount and are provided with chilled water at each meal. A wine package is also available. Coffee can be expensive but we got round this by buying a Hurtigruten mug which we could fill up as often as we wanted in the cafe or bar. The service was of the usual high Norwegian standard and efficiency without losing any of the friendly atmosphere that existed on board (the only grumbles were a few passengers who would not have been happy anywhere). Communications were excellent. I confess we didn't go on any of the shore excursions but this was because we wanted to stroll around the ports of call at our own pace. Just make sure you return to the ship on time- they are very punctual. There are no children's clubs as such but there is a playroom that was used both by the young passengers and a few locals who visited during port stops. Entertainment was a Norwegian singer onboard and there was also a ceremony for crossing the arctic circle. There were some theme voyages like digital photography on other vessels. We were there to see Norway- its scenery and wildlife, and this is what we did, I think it would have been spoiled by organized entertainment. We arrived back in Bergen right on time and quickly disembarked. I would suggest that you book the bus or a taxi from the ship because there were no taxis available outside the terminal. This is a cruise for people who want to see Norway. It is a time to relax and enjoy being pampered without being subjected to constant 'organized' entertainment. We met several people who had sailed before- one couple were on their eighth trip! MS Nordlys appeared to be a favorite for returning passengers and, with its family atmosphere, I can see why. Are we going to sail again on MS Nordlys? Yes, I've been spoiled and I might also book on MS Fram after recently having the opportunity to visit her in port. Read Less
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