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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
The MS Lofoten is definitely not your normal cruise ship and very much all the better for it in my view. It is probably the only ship on the seas running year round for those who would not want to be on or seen on a cruise ship and is ... Read More
The MS Lofoten is definitely not your normal cruise ship and very much all the better for it in my view. It is probably the only ship on the seas running year round for those who would not want to be on or seen on a cruise ship and is probably unsuitable for those who want all the conveniences on a modern cruise liner. It cannot carry passengers with mobility issues as there no lifts and a rudimentary metal loading ramp at each port to get on/off the ship. There are no fitness centres, jacuzzis, pools etc The cabins reflect a bygone era so are basic and small but they are perfectly suitable for this voyage where you really are there to spend as much time as possible on deck viewing the scenery. Showers and toilets are generally shared facilities so you must be happy to accept that and wander the corridors in towels or nightgowns. in the lounges at night you will find the day travellers, mainly locals, travelling between centres, sleeping on the couches. This is a true working ship serving a function for the locals as well as tourists on a trip. The ship does not have stabilisers due to its age and it is small, around 2,650 tonnes, so on the open sea crossings it moves a lot in both roll and pitch so if you are prone to seasickness it is likely these parts of the voyage will see you in your cabin unwell. For those without such problems it is all part of the experience of being on such a wonderful old ship. The chairs in the lounges and dining area are chained down to ensure they do not send you flying. The brass and wood panelling echo the classic nature of this ship. The low number of cabin passengers means everyone gets to know one another within a day or so and with the intimate lounges and bar there is a wonderful atmosphere. The crew is also small and get to know everyone and their likes and dislikes. They absolutely love the ship and that is very apparent in their attitude. This ship does not carry cars unlike the other Hurtigruten ships and cargo is loaded by a ship to shore crane from a hold at the front. I doubt there is another regular passenger ship in Europe that still operates this way. Finally, you will find numerous passengers are repeat customers who will only sail on this ship in the fleet and who have been on it tens of time. You are likely to get hooked in it as well. BEWARE. Due to its lack of disability facilities it will not run on this route after 2020. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Everything was perfect... The staff was really nice, the food is so good (eat king crab !), the trip (south to north) was perfect and so beautiful (even if there was lot of cloud and didn’t see northern light..), they keep some tradition ... Read More
Everything was perfect... The staff was really nice, the food is so good (eat king crab !), the trip (south to north) was perfect and so beautiful (even if there was lot of cloud and didn’t see northern light..), they keep some tradition and this is so important and so nice. The excursions was perfect with a good organisation. I did the nordkapp and sled dog at kirkenes. It was so funny and perfect ! The ship is a beautiful and authentic old boat. He is small so this is more friendly. Be careful if you have seasick ! My cabine was a little one but just perfect for one person. Every day we can choose if we want clean up or not. For this room, I share toilet and bathroom but it was always clean. Not a problem. One word for the staff, especially for bar and kitchen staff : thank you. You were so perfect and so nice. Takk for your smile !!! Thank you very much MS Lofoten ! Never forget this trip ! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We went to enjoy a voyage on the grand old lady (MS Lofoten) of the Hurtigruten again. The combination of the ship, crew, food, fellow passengers, weather, scenery, excursions, and overall ambience would have been great even without five ... Read More
We went to enjoy a voyage on the grand old lady (MS Lofoten) of the Hurtigruten again. The combination of the ship, crew, food, fellow passengers, weather, scenery, excursions, and overall ambience would have been great even without five mind-wowing nights with Northern Lights displays. The breakfast and lunch buffets were both full of different varieties of fish - at least seven different varieties of fish at virtually every meal! There were also some very interesting vegetarian options, which I ate out of preference rather than conviction. Even without going on any excursions, one could have a fascinating time. The constantly changing scenery kept ones interest. And in the many ports of call, there was always something of interest in the deck cargo. I loved the Salky (racing chariot) which was carried for about a day, only to be replaced by a speedboat. And the fellow passengers were great! But the icing on the cake came with some of the excursions. Riding on the seashore, in the dark except for the northern lights playing above, with only the sound of the waves and the horses in the snow, was absolutely magical. Just one of many fantastic excursions. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I went on this cruise to see the Norwegian fjords. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done. The old small ship was beautiful and the tour route, staff, food and comfort were all first class. I made friends from all over the world ... Read More
I went on this cruise to see the Norwegian fjords. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done. The old small ship was beautiful and the tour route, staff, food and comfort were all first class. I made friends from all over the world but there was also plenty of time to be on your own if that was wanted. It was exceptionally well organised and I didn’t have a single grumble. The food was out of this world and beautifully served. In the evening it was a set menu but buffet for breakfast and lunch. In particular I enjoyed the fresh fish and the delicious desserts. Although my cabin was small it had everything I needed and was cosy. The boat was so clean even though it was very old and great care and attention was made of this. The route taken was perfect and every day was a completely new experience. Can’t wait to do it again! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I am Norwegian by birth but 50 year US citizen (Seattle), educated in Norway and Denmark as Naval Architect and Marine Engineer. For years I have cruised in my own boats the entire Northwest Passage (Seattle to Sitka). Only two additional ... Read More
I am Norwegian by birth but 50 year US citizen (Seattle), educated in Norway and Denmark as Naval Architect and Marine Engineer. For years I have cruised in my own boats the entire Northwest Passage (Seattle to Sitka). Only two additional such long and naturally protected passages from the ocean swell excist on earth: the Norwegian Coast and Patagonia (Chile). The nature, weather and the people living there are very different between them. Next I wanted to see the Norwegian Coast. Hurtigruten's Classic Voyage looked to be perfect. They serve this Voyage with 11 ships, one each day for the 11 day round trip from Bergen (Norway) to Kirkenes (near the border to Russia) back to Bergen. It is the continuation of the 130 year old Norwegian Royal Mail route, now docking at 34 towns and communities with mail, cargo and passengers each way. Being passenger onboard you become aware of being part of and intimately witnessing the daily life along this incredible coastline. My ship, M/S Lofoten, is the old lady of the fleet and a real ship in my mind (we are of the same vintage, if you will). She is small, ship-like and filled with old fashion marine qualities and charm. Her Captain Eivind Sande, his officers and crew were skilled in making me feel at ease, at home and become part of their ship as the spectacular nature presented itself very close-by on the outside. Visually it is an intense and changing experience at the same time as it is peaceful and calming. All 11 Hurtigruten ships offer the same large variety of optional excursions, but if the excursions are the main attraction for you, the larger vessels (about 500 beds versus Lofoten's 151) might be a better choice. For us, some excursions were cancelled for lack of participants, but most were completed and all of those were excellent. I had high hope and expectations for this cruise, and as it unfolded my "M/S Lofoten experience" surpassed it all. A fantastic ship and ship experience in a spectacular nature very near by. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We have done the trip from Bergen to Kirkeness and back 4 times now, both in Summer and Winter months. Each trip is different....each trip is incredible. This time we chose to sail on Hurtigruten's oldest Ship, Lofoten, built in ... Read More
We have done the trip from Bergen to Kirkeness and back 4 times now, both in Summer and Winter months. Each trip is different....each trip is incredible. This time we chose to sail on Hurtigruten's oldest Ship, Lofoten, built in 1964 and still using the original engine (which sings you to sleep every night). A small ship by modern standards, it's 1960s decore holds a great amount of charm...memories of less complicated days perhaps. The crew worked extremely well together, making sure all our needs were met and that we felt valued as guests. Every inch of the ship is immaculately clean, every crew member is helpful and polite. This is an old fashioned ship with old fashioned standards of service (some would say - but this is what we have come to expect from Hurtigruten). Not a Cruise Ship, this is a working boat....so not for those who want onboard casinos and nightly entertainment. But for those who wish to see the wonders of the Norwegian land and seascapes.... do take earplugs if you require silence at night (as I said before - the engine sings to you) and enjoy a voyage to remember. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Friends who had done this Norwegian Coastal Voyages trip told me about it. I don't go on cruises but I liked the idea of going on a working ship without the usual on board entertainment. I chose the Lofoten because it was a small ship ... Read More
Friends who had done this Norwegian Coastal Voyages trip told me about it. I don't go on cruises but I liked the idea of going on a working ship without the usual on board entertainment. I chose the Lofoten because it was a small ship and it sounded like it had character, though I was a bit worried about the lack of stabilisers. The Norwegian scenery was wonderful, helped by the unusual good weather we had. The Lofoten itself totally lived up to my expectations. I loved the décor, and the friendly informal atmosphere on board. I had a Polar Outside cabin and paid a single supplement, The cabin was small but it was OK. The cabin is basically just for sleeping in after all. If all you want to do is sit somewhere there are plenty of places on board ship. There was no onboard entertainment, which for me was part of the attraction. But that won't suit everybody. The food was excellent. There was obviously a lot of fish but it was wonderful. Breakfast and lunch were buffet, and at dinner there was a set menu. The staff in the restaurant were friendly and helpful, and added to the atmosphere. The excursions are expensive, well Norway is expensive, but I enjoyed the ones I did. Feedback from other passengers on trips I didn't do was also very positive. There were a couple of occasions when the ship was rolling from side to side. I was OK but one or two passengers were seasick. Anyone prone to travel sickness should take seasickness medicine with them. I would like to do the trip again, but at a different time of year. If I manage that then I will definitely choose the Lofoten again Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Hurtigruten are upfront and honest that MS Lofoten is not a luxury liner. She's an old, working cargo ship, but that was definitely part of the charm. This was my first cruise and it certainly met all my expectations. I took the ... Read More
Hurtigruten are upfront and honest that MS Lofoten is not a luxury liner. She's an old, working cargo ship, but that was definitely part of the charm. This was my first cruise and it certainly met all my expectations. I took the five night North to South fjord cruise, embarking at Kirkenes. Hurtigruten organised all the transfers I needed and all were done smoothly and at what turned out to be pretty reasonable prices (you're in Norway though and nothing is cheap). Embarkation was easy - checked in, on board charge card sorted and off to the cabin pretty quickly. Cabin - I had a basic outside single one. There is very little storage space, but you don't have any fancy frocks to hang up, so that wasn't an issue. Whilst it was tiny, it was only for sleeping in and was very clean, with a comfortable bed. Dining - You would have to be a very fussy eater to not find plenty of food to enjoy. Breakfast and lunch are buffet style with free seating. Unsurprisingly, fish features at both meal times and it was all excellent. Dinner is in two sittings with an assigned table. The menu is a set menu, but you only have to let the restaurant staff know of any dietary requirements and everything is taken care of for you. Alcohol is expensive, but no more so than on land. I bought one bottle of wine and it lasted me all five nights, being stored in the galley for me. Excursions - I only did one trip organised by Hurtigruten - breakfast at the North Cape. It was excellent, and considering the food we had and the distance we travelled to meet up with the ship, probably decent value. Other people seemed happy with the trips they did. I'm not aware of any entertainment, but then that's part of the charm of MS Lofoten. All the crew I met were great too. Obvious pride in working on MS Lofoten, friendly but not intrusive. The standard of cleanliness is high, with all passengers returning from shore being given a handful of sanitising gel as you step back onto the ship. This ship has no facilities for children so would probably be unsuitable for any who don't also want to enjoy the views and relax. If you like a ship with lots to do, it'll be unsuitable for you as well. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
I choose to sail with the Hurtigruten MS Lofoten. I want the experience of a small ship with not so many people on board. And since I heard about the Hurtigruten(20 years ago), I am saving to book it. The meals where excellent. ... Read More
I choose to sail with the Hurtigruten MS Lofoten. I want the experience of a small ship with not so many people on board. And since I heard about the Hurtigruten(20 years ago), I am saving to book it. The meals where excellent. Eating the food from the coast of Norway were we were sailing. A lot of fish, what every time was lovely. But for the ones who doesn't like fish, enough other products. Breakfast and lunch was buffet, warm and cold food. The diner had a 4 meals course. I have a food allergy. That was not an problem. By every food on the buffet stood allergy information. And if I want I could ask for some plain food with the buffet. Never needed to. More than enough to eat. By the diner I get sometimes other dishes. The service was very friendly. Always trying to help you with questions or problems. I have seen a lot of ports, sometimes for a few hours, sometimes just 10 minutes. But for me was that not an problem, I have to go back to this lovely citys. I really want to see the northern light. If I choose to book it, I will use the hurtigruten again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
A rave review by a close friend about the old world charm and the limited number of passengers on board the MS Lofoten (built in 1964) persuaded us to choose this ship for our Norwegian cruise. Bergen, the charming coastal town with its ... Read More
A rave review by a close friend about the old world charm and the limited number of passengers on board the MS Lofoten (built in 1964) persuaded us to choose this ship for our Norwegian cruise. Bergen, the charming coastal town with its colourful higgledy piggeldy wooden buildings is the departure point and is worth the visit on its own, so make sure you allow a couple of days before or after your cruise to have time to explore it. Both embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. If you are expecting/wanting luxury and entertainment then this is not the ship for you. This is a coastal passenger and cargo ferry not a cruise ship. Nor is it suitable for those with disabilities as this ship has no lifts. Due to the age of the vessel the cabins are small and basic with many having shared facilities. We upgraded to one of the 4 cabins on the saloon deck which had a small en suite and 2 large windows. The cabins on the lower decks were smaller and could be more affected by engine noise. As most of our time was spent out on deck (the upper deck areas were sheltered by clear screens from the cold wind) or in one of the comfortable lounges, the cabin size wasn't an issue. With only 150 passengers on board we never felt crowded and were able to get to know our fellow travelers. Watching the stunning scenery (the ship is always close to shore), reading, talking, playing cards and the occasional talk given by the tour leader comprised most of the on board entertainment. The crossing the Artic Circle ceremonies were a lot of fun and the demonstration by the Chef on several different ways to prepare raw salmon was both interesting and tasty! Every day there was the opportunity to go ashore for either self guided walks or for (very expensive) excursions. The excursions vary depending on the time of year eg we were able to visit the incredible Snow Hotel in Kirkenes which is only open for a few months of the year. Others did the husky sledding and the snow shoeing excursoons. Opportunities for shore visits seemed better on the northbound leg than on the southbound leg so If you are planning to do only one way I would suggest going from Bergen to Kirkenes. Do expect to put on weight while on board. Breakfast and lunch are buffet style with dinner being a set menu. If you like seafood you will be in heaven. If not there is still a wide variety of food to choose from. Sadly all alcohol was very expensive with the cheapest bottle of wine costing approximately A$80 per bottle ie beyond our budget. I am sure our livers were glad of the rest! It is worth buying the coffee and tea and wifi "package" beforehand. I don't think children would find enough to do on this ship. Most of the passengers were in the 55-75 age bracke though I think that younger adults would really enjoy it too. This ship doesn't have stabilisers and there are a few sections where we were in open water for a couple of hours. The information about the ship on the website did let us know this and as we are prone to sea sickness we came prepared with medication. The Daily program let us know when we were about to cross open water giving us plenty of warning to take the tablets beforehand so we had no problems. We would love to go again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
The Lofoten is the oldest (1960s) ship of the Hurtigruten fleet & quite a different experience to their modern, cruise ships. It was absolutely beautiful, full of character & charm with the old wood & brass throughout. The ... Read More
The Lofoten is the oldest (1960s) ship of the Hurtigruten fleet & quite a different experience to their modern, cruise ships. It was absolutely beautiful, full of character & charm with the old wood & brass throughout. The smaller ship was extremely friendly, warm & welcoming - both crew & passengers. Please be aware there is "nothing" to do except watch the breath-taking scenery go by & read your book - which was perfect for me! The ship does not have modern cruise facilities (shops, gym, pool etc) but truly doesn't need them. It make short stops along the coast & out into open water & up into the Barents sea with a couple of longer (only a couple of hrs) stops at Alesund, Tromso, Bodo, Trondheim, Honningsvag, Kirkenes. I did the 1 wk journey from Bergen to Kirkenes. The cabins are small but perfectly adequate, well designed & spotlessly clean. The food was excellent with a buffet breakfast, buffet hot & cold lunch & a served set dinner. Please be aware it is a working ship & can be noisy & doesn't have stabilisers so can be rocky but this all adds to its charm. I took the Tromso & North cape excursion which were both excellent but please do check the excursions as many can be done yourself by simply walking into town for a fraction of the price. The weather was variable but again ALWAYS beautiful, & quite changeable, even the snow. (The ship is always toastie warm) We saw the Northern lights 2 evenings. Overall it was absolutely fantastic & I couldn't praise the ship / crew / experience highly enough. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
MS Lofoten is a beautiful vintage ship, small but friendly. This was a brilliant introduction to cruising, The food was spectacular and extremly varied with choices of local and continental dishes at the breakfast and lunch ... Read More
MS Lofoten is a beautiful vintage ship, small but friendly. This was a brilliant introduction to cruising, The food was spectacular and extremly varied with choices of local and continental dishes at the breakfast and lunch buffet. The 4 course evening meal was served at the table by the wonderful service staff, with style and humour. We saw the northern lights several days in a row, with regular announcements as to when they were visible, and there was an excellant guide on how to get the best pictures (with a reminder to enjoy the sight as well!) The chance to experience the polar night with the special twilight was spectacular with clear skies and incredible colours. (And you appreciate the sunrise when you cross the arctic circle back into daylight.) The excursions were well planned. I would recommend the husky sledging - incredible ride across the snow with only the sound of the barking of the dogs and the sledge sliding over the ice - an experience not to miss. The huskies were so friendly and obviousy loved to run. The staff were without exception friendly, helpful and cheerful throughout the journey, and our tour guide was entertaining (in three languages!) and very informative. Overall an incredible experience. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
MC Lofoten, a boat from 1964, gives the romanticisme to a beautiful and relax trip by Norway coast. Was a trip from Bergen to Kirkenes, the idea going in October was to try enjoying northern lights, and the main wish was to pass artic ... Read More
MC Lofoten, a boat from 1964, gives the romanticisme to a beautiful and relax trip by Norway coast. Was a trip from Bergen to Kirkenes, the idea going in October was to try enjoying northern lights, and the main wish was to pass artic line and the visit of North Cape. Really we were lucky having 6 sunny days, with 6 nights northern lights, what can I ask more? The food was one of the tops on the trip. Much choice for breakfast and lunch buffet, every day vegan choice was really appreciated. Dinner was served, and selected regarding the places we were passing by. I would have like the possibility for the choice at list fish or meat, and more vegetables at night, anyway was delicious what they offered. Really looking forwards to organize a next trip with Hurtigruten company. They have a big vacation choice. Maybe this time will look for midnight sun experience. Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
I went on the Hurtigruten Classic Roundtrip Voyage, starting in Bergen, 7 days up to Kirkenes, and then 5 days back to Bergen. Hurtigruten have a variety of ships that you can take for this incredible journey, but I went on the Lofoten and ... Read More
I went on the Hurtigruten Classic Roundtrip Voyage, starting in Bergen, 7 days up to Kirkenes, and then 5 days back to Bergen. Hurtigruten have a variety of ships that you can take for this incredible journey, but I went on the Lofoten and think it's the best way to travel as it's the most genuine experience you can go for. (Too tricky to find the various Norwegian characters for my review, but you'll work out where's where...) The ship first off: the Lofoten is the oldest in the Hurtigruten fleet, and the smallest. This is its attraction, or will put you off right away. If you want a modern hotel at sea, with multiple restaurants, home comforts, stabilisers to not feel the sea, this is not the place for you. If you don't mind small cabins and can cope with the roll of the ship if it's choppy, then you will experience the trip of a lifetime. It is key to remember that this isn't a cruise ship. It's a cargo ferry that you happen to be able to stay on. There's a schedule to keep, so in some places you have (very) limited onshore time. When you are late - which happens quite often if there is extra cargo to be (un)loaded - the only way to make up the time is to reduce that available at the next stops. The counter to this is that the captain goes out of his way to get you time back, or pick special detours where he can - often to places that larger ships cannot travel. For example, we tracked a whale for half an hour before we had to break off back to the timetable. As it is small, you can easily get to know the majority of those on board. My voyage had a mix of people from around the world, the with significant numbers from Germany and France. You entertain yourself on board, there is no entertainment, but the tour guide on board will on most days give a short talk relevant to where you are at the time. Crossing the Arctic Circle is recognised with fun ceremonies each way, and there are some special get togethers on deck to try out various special food and drink. This ship is not really one for young kids, they'd get bored and suffer from cabin fever. Youngest on our trip were teenagers, they're fine. Internet on board was pretty good all the time. I need to go on a diet now as I ate an enormous amount of really good food! Those in the kitchen and dining room are absolute stars, providing fantastic meals and service throughout the journey. Breakfast and lunch are both buffets, with a core of common dishes and daily variations, served in the dining room. Dinner is served at two sittings, as the room is not big enough for everyone, 6pm and 8pm. I'm glad I was in the 8pm as 6pm is way too early for dinner. This is a 4 course meal at set tables. I was on a 6, and met some very interesting people - 5 of us up to Kirkenes, and 6 - but 4 different, on the way back to Bergen. In terms of ports and shore excursions, well, the ports and just the journey itself are what you're here for. The voyage is spectacular! We had 60% amazing weather, and 40% mix of drizzle and grey, but it didn't matter. You can spend hours just watching the way go by, but I prefer to be active so got off as often as possible. Thoughts on that and excursions I did as follows: Excursions I did: - Midnight concert in Tromso's Arctic Cathedral: breathtaking. Do it. Soaring acoustics, a total pleasure. - Geirangerfjord and Trollstigen: if you don't do this, you may as well not do this cruise. The ship cruises up Geirangerfjord so you see it, then you get off and drive up the side, couple of ferries, spectacular scenery, then you get to Trollstigen. Wow. You are back on the boat in the evening in Molde. There's enough time to have a quick look round the city, which was enough. - Nordkapp. The Hurtigruten day excursion was very pricey. I booked a separate one with a local tour company and it was much much cheaper for exactly the same thing. Obviously if I was late back the ship would have gone, but the bus goes the same way to the same place, and there's only one road, so I think it's a low risk alternative. Lovely at the cape, well worth it! - Hike on the Lofoten Islands. It's about 1.5hrs long, 1 hour is easy and no problem for anyone, with half an hour up and down a mountainside that is fine if you're of average fitness. Then you have about an hour on a bus back to the next port, with several stops at key viewpoints across the other islands. Definitely worth doing! - When they offer to let you visit the bridge, go for it, it's very interesting. Someone I met on board asked to see the engine room and they were shown round there too. Excursions others did: - Breakfast at Nordkapp: very expensive, but you have the place to yourself. If you want to be the only people in the picture this gets the opportunity, but I don't think it's worth it. - Sea eagle safari. I wish I had done this! You get to see the sea eagles right up close (you can spot them on occasions otherwise), and on our voyage those on the safari were lucky enough to see some orcas too. - Walk with huskies. People loved this one. Ports: - Tromso is lovely. Walk over the bridge, take the cable car up (or walk it, tough) for incredible views. You can also do some walks up the top there. - Trondheim you visit twice for decent amount of time. First we walked through the city and saw the main sights, went up to the fortress. Second time we did a great hike along the coast for a couple of hours, fantastic. - Kristiansund is beautiful but you're there for such a short time, wish it was more. - Lofoten Islands are plainly worth staying for several days and touring around, but we only get a few hours (see the hike). - So many great places: always get off! In terms of the cabins, more on mine below, but they are a mixed bunch, generally small - remember, it's an old ship. The singles can be a bit 'shoebox', I was fortunate to get a twin just for me. But you only sleep in them so it's not the end of the world. The only drawback to the entire trip was on a couple of days when the ship was really (too) crowded. People can take the Hurtigruten for just a single stop, or a day, or overnight. Lots do. However, a few key days eg going to Lofoten, coming south to Trondheim, Geiranger, they let in my opinion too many day trippers on board. The Lofoten is not big, so indoor and outdoor seats and areas are then filled with day trippers, leaving no space for those who are taking the full voyage. This is exacerbated in bad weather when everyone is indoors. Hurtigruten know about this - it's the only thing people complain about - but until they take a hit on the number of day trippers they let on board, it will remain a problem for the 2-3 days it occurs. Embarkation and disembarkation are part of the fun. It's very fast as you're a small boat, and save for Geiranger where everyone gets tenders, you walk down the gangplank seconds after arrival. Watching the loading and unloading of cargo is great, you see all manner of things from boxes of crisps to boats, piping, whatever needs to get along the coast! Bergen is a pretty city, you can do all the key things in a day, stay for a second if you enjoy walking as there are paths at the top of Mount Floyen worth taking. To sum up, this was a fantastic 12 day trip. The Norwegian scenery is amazing, every day is different and more spectacular than the last. The ship, its crew and the other passengers all contribute to an experience you simply can't have on a massive cruise liner. I'd go again in 20 years to see how it's changed - or in Lofoten's case, how it hasn't! Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
It is no acccident that the MS Lofoten has a 50% approval rating from members. You will either love it or hate it. Lazydoxie's review is excellent summarizing the experience on this wonderful ship, and members should read it before ... Read More
It is no acccident that the MS Lofoten has a 50% approval rating from members. You will either love it or hate it. Lazydoxie's review is excellent summarizing the experience on this wonderful ship, and members should read it before booking. I was one of the passengers who loved it. It is a small ship with beautiful wood and brass furnishings and a crew that become familiary companions. The passengers choose this ship because it is the anti-cruise cruise ship- they love the closeness to sea and the roll of the waves. The entertainment is watching the loading and offloading of cargo, watching the fjords and wonderful conversations with new found friends. Food is delicious. THERE ARE NO STABILIZERS- your tolerance for this ship will depend on your tolerance for waves (i took dramamine) and trust in the crew and the ship which has likely gone through much rougher seas than you will encounter. I went in March, and the scenery was often obscured by the grey days- but I would willingly repeat the journey- no better crew and passengers can be found! I did not take any of the shore excursions, but those who did were pleased. The Hurtigruten route is meant to be a delivery route and point-to-point transportation. I recommend striking up conversations with some of the local travelers and learn more about their own experience. Food on board is delicious. Dinners are 3 course affairs, with china and napkin rings. Sit at a larger table to make new friends. There are two sittings, with coffee and tea taken in the lounge after dinner. Read Less
67 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
You will have a unique experience sailing on MS Lofoten that you would not have on any other ship. But you need to know what to expect, and more importantly, what NOT to expect on this ship. I'd wanted to do a Norwegian fjord ... Read More
You will have a unique experience sailing on MS Lofoten that you would not have on any other ship. But you need to know what to expect, and more importantly, what NOT to expect on this ship. I'd wanted to do a Norwegian fjord cruise for 30 years and finally had the time and resources to do it, I did extensive research and specifically chose the MS Lofoten because of her small size and vintage experience. I wouldn't have it any other way, but I suspect most Americans who are used to large ships and lots of amenities would be disappointed. First, the ship itself. It has beds for about 150 people, but also takes on ferry passengers. The ferry passengers don't necessarily have beds, so they end up sleeping on couches in lounges (usually the 2 forward lounges where it is darker and quieter). This was not really an inconvenience, but is something you don't see on ships that cater to Americans. There is a dining room where full cruise passengers dine, and a cafeteria where ferry passengers can order food. All passengers can order from the cafeteria, and can get snacks, drinks, etc at any time. The rooms are quite small but efficient. My single room on the "B" deck had a porthole, an ample closet for hanging clothes and to place sweaters, shoes, purchases, etc. There are also some shelves by the sink for toiletries and several hooks from which to hang coats, bags, etc. The mattress seemed to be a bit uneven but with the gentle rocking of the ship it didn't affect my sleeping. I did need to close my porthole to make it dark enough to sleep in the land of the midnight sun. The toilets and showers are down the hall, The toilets are quite adequate, but the showers are lacking any sort of place to lay your clothes. There are 1 or 2 hooks, that's it, and no ventilation so the shower room gets quite steamy. Don't take anything that isn't necessary with you, and bring something easy to put on for the walk back to your room. They do not seem to change out towels or sheets at all during the trip, but might do that upon request. They provide a basic amenities kit with shampoo, body wash and lotion but it's not enough to last 10 nights. My room definitely had constant engine noise but it was not intrusuive - more like "white noise" and I didn't mind it. Light sleepers might opt for a room on the "C" deck, which seemed to be much quieter (and also had a much nicer shower room). "C" deck is also the lowest deck, so has the least amount of motion. If you're particularly prone to sea-sickness, you probably don't want to choose the MS Lofoten. It has no stabilizers, and while the water is usually quite calm in the fjords in the summer, there are some passages along the open seas that can get choppy. If you are really concerned, then choose a room located near the center of the ship, and on the "A" deck, as this is the lowest deck and has the least amount of movement. One drawback with the ferry passengers is that they seem to settle in to the best seats on the decks and in the lounges, preventing the full cruise passengers from having the best views while in the beautiful fjords. So check the day's schedule, and choose seats early. Most passengers were maneuvering for space on the bridge deck at the front of the ship, or for deck space on the sundecks at the back. While in the fjords I found very few people on the reception "A" deck, where it is very easy to walk across the ship to get unobstructed views on both sides. There is also a promenade the length of ths ship on the "A" deck. I also recommend sightseeing from areas of the bridge deck and boat deck, where you can also easily walk across the ship to get views of both sides. Second, the activities on board the ship. There is a cruise director who makes announcements on the PA system, but these can't be heard in the staterooms, so be aware of that. She announced all the ports of call, excursions, upcoming sights of interest, and activities on the ship. Passengers can take part in ceremonies for crossing the arctic circle, and there are special drinks and snacks available on the back deck from time to time. There was a tour of the bridge one morning - be sure to listen for that and sign up because it is very interesting. Other than that, you need to entertain yourself. You will find many people on the sundecks reading or relaxing. There is excellent free wi-fi aboard inside the public areas (it did not work in the staterooms nor in the outdoor areas). Some people brought laptops and were frequently seen writing/blogging. Of course, the scenery is stunning, so I spent most of my time relaxing, watching the world go by. Now the food. Full cruise passengers dine in the dining room 3 meals per day. The dining room is small - I think it only holds maybe 50-60 people. There are 2 dinner seatings with assigned seats. Breakfast and lunch is buffet style. The restaurant is often full for breakfast and lunch, so you need to be somewhat flexible on your mealtimes. If you have a shore excursion or want to get off in a specific port, be sure to plan enough time to dine. The buffets were excellent, especially the lunches, They were often my favorite meal. Lunches had both hot and cold offerings, and plenty of salads, cheeses, and desserts. Of course seafood and root vegetables are available for every meal, but there is enough variety in their preparation that it was never monotonous. Dinners are served by waiters from silver trays onto plates at your table. The chefs set up the prepared food on the buffet tables and you can watch them fill the platters. It's quite amazing and a very special vintage touch only available on the MS Lofoten. The dinners are a fixed menu, but it is possible to make special requests. I found everything delicious and quite artfully presented. A few of the desserts could have been a bit more creative. One night we had a cup of stewed prunes with cream. Tasty, but I don't know anyone in their right mind who would want to consume a whole cup of prunes! The service for dinner was quite good. There is no cost for water during meals, but if you want bottled water you do pay for that. There is a wine package available for purchase but this seemed extremely expensive. I preferred to have a glass of wine in the cafe/bar in the late afternoon before dinner. The wait staff seemed to have a little confusion over those with the wine package - the passengers would have to tell the remind the staff, even though we were always at the same table every night. The staff also seemed to get overwhelmed during breakfast and lunch, trying to keep the buffet stocked, tables cleared and set for arriving guests, serving water and coffee, etc. Be aware that after dinner, they do not serve coffee/tea at the table. It is available in the rear lounge after dinner, and you must serve yourself. That was a little disappointing for those who like to linger after dinner and enjoy coffee, but with 2 sittings I'm sure it's necessary to clear the dining room promptly. Now on to the excursions. I chose to take 5 excursions, 3 of which involved getting off the ship at one port and back on at another. I did this partly in order to see some of the interior of Norway, and was not disappointed. If there are enough participants there are separate busses for Norwegian, English and German; otherwise all narrative is done in each language. I highly recommend the Geiranger/Trollstigen excursion. Views are highly dependent on the weather but this is still something that should not be missed. The bus makes several stops at viewpoints, takes 2 different ferries, and hugs the coastline of several fjords. Beautiful. I also did the Breakfast at the North Cape excursion because I wanted to be at the North Cape early, before throngs of tourists descended upon it. It was what I expected - our group had the Cape to ourselves. This excursion also gives you good views of the interior, and you will see lots of reindeer grazing. The Midnight concert in Tromso is not to be missed. This absolutely exceeded my expectations. The program was a selection of music based upon Norwegian folk tales, with a little classical and contemporary music also. It was performed by an organist/pianist, a cellist, and a baritone. I did not want the concert to end. I also did the bus tour to the Russian Border. Skip this unless you REALLY have to see the border for yourself. You cannot enter the border crossing area so there's really not much to see or do. The land across the border looks just like the land in Norway. I should have just spent time touring Kirkenes on my own. Likewise for the Lofoten Hike. This is a rather strenuous "power hike" over a mountain saddle and back down the other side, then a long bus ride back to the ship. The guide NEVER stopped during the hike for us to rest or take photos - we had to do that on own and then hustle to catch up. We did stop at the highest point of the hike for tea and candy (which the guides brought) but then we were quickly back on the trail down. It was dusk and the views were in the shadows, so it wasn't particularly beautiful or photogenic anyway. Skip this. I didn't do any of the tours or city walks. I preferred to explore and enjoy the ports on my own when there was enough time. Be sure to research what you might miss seeing from the ship if you take a shore excursion that starts and ends in different ports. I recommend pre-booking excursions that you really have your heart set on. That way your spot is guaranteed, as some excursions did sell out. Otherwise, book the excursions aboard the ship. That way, you will pay in kroner, which ends up being less expensive due to Hurtigruten's exchange rate. I suggest calling Hurtigruten and asking how many seats are still available for excursions, and if something you want is getting full you can pre-book it. Some excursions, like the Midnight Concert, have unlimited seats so there is no need to pre-book those. The weather in Norway can change quickly. Be prepared for anything. The Gulf Stream keeps the coast warmer than you might think, but it generates a lot of cloud cover/mist/rain. There were a couple days where I wore a tank top on deck. I recommend layering your clothes - perhaps a t-shirt and a lighter fleece hoodie, then a jacket for colder temps/rain. There is no need to dress up - even the captain's dinner is casual. You can quickly return to your room if you need to change clothes or grab a jacket. There is no elevator available for passenger use, and access to the bridge deck is via a narrow stairway. Passengers should be agile enough to navigate steep stairs and narrow passages. Luggage was delivered to our room upon arrival in Bergen, but we were responsible for removing it ourselves when we disembarked in Trondheim. Be aware that everything in Norway is expensive. Post cards are about $1 each, and postage to the US is about $2 per postcard. They sell stamps aboard the ship and there is a small store selling post cards, souvenirs, and an assortment of clothing. All in all, the cruise was a very economical way to spend 10 nights in Norway, as it included transportation, lodging, and food. The scenery is more beautiful than I imagined. I appreciated that there are rooms for single travelers. My friend and I both had single rooms which was fabulous, as it gave us some privacy. The ship is absolutely charming and definitely an experience that most people will never have. I highly recommend the MS Lofoten to those who would appreciate what she has to offer! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
The MS Lofoten is now 50 years old and maintains a small hotel feel, with none of the trappings of a large cruise ship. The passengers are a mix of singles and couples doing either the northbound trip, southbound trip and circular trip ... Read More
The MS Lofoten is now 50 years old and maintains a small hotel feel, with none of the trappings of a large cruise ship. The passengers are a mix of singles and couples doing either the northbound trip, southbound trip and circular trip from Bergen to Kirkenes to Bergen. Staff on board are very friendly and the food is amazing. However if you are not adventurous with your food then try a larger ship as this has a set dinner menu (all fantastic quality). As a smaller ship, this doesn't have stabilsers so again if you are prone to sea sickness then go on a larger ship. It was not a big problem on our trip. Don't think of your MS Lofoten holiday as a holiday, think of it more as the adventure you always promised yourself Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2012
The MS Lofoten is a lovely old ship (48 years old). The key word here is "old" -- it creaks and rattles a bit, it is faded in parts, it has no stabilisers, it has "no" many things and that is why people choose it. The ... Read More
The MS Lofoten is a lovely old ship (48 years old). The key word here is "old" -- it creaks and rattles a bit, it is faded in parts, it has no stabilisers, it has "no" many things and that is why people choose it. The crew work hard at maintaining it. We found them cleaning the outside windows at 11 pm when we were in one port, and the cleaner on board seemed to be polishing the brass and sweeping spotless floors continuously. Heating on the ship was a bit erratic -- we were either far too hot or a little cold, again it is an old ship thing. The Lofoten is small and that is its greatest asset because provided you make an effort to join in, then you rapidly become part of its small family. I think that in high season with some 350 people on board, it might feel a bit over crowded and certainly the forward lounges (on two levels) could not house everyone if they wanted to see things from the front. There were 16 full-trip passengers plus anything up to 29 short trip port to port passengers and 34 crew - so there was plenty of space. Overall, the cabins are ok. We were lucky with our one which was excellent, those down in the bowels of the ship might feel a bit cramped and some might be noisy but I have no means of comparing these cabins to those on the larger Hurtigruten ships -- they might offer exactly the same experience and this might not be a small ship thing. I did go on a few of the larger ships whilst we were both in port and they were immaculately and tastefully decorated. Do you want to travel in a home or a hotel is really the question you should ask when choosing this ship which offers a "home". The food Dinner was well presented and very good and not over-facing in quantity. Lunch similarly was very good although the vegetarian hot meal option rarely looked (or tasted) inviting. The lunch salad buffet and numerous desserts were superb. Breakfast was ok but only barely so for vegetarians. Alcoholic drinks are ridiculously expensive (a Norway not a Hurtigruten thing) but you can drink your own alcohol in your cabin (absolutely not anywhere else in the ship). Whilst you can get water with your meal, the staff are not allowed to leave a carafe of water on your table unless you have paid 19 NoKr for it and there is no tap or jug of water for you to top up your glass yourself. This seems very peculiar and as a result I felt thirsty during most meals. The company has a policy of moving tourists meal times to accommodate trips (a perfectly reasonable thing) or to accommodate groups coming on board at a port to eat a meal (this seems to be a Norwegian custom) and the subsequent meal times were far too early. When you are going out on a Hurtigruten arrange tour, there is no facility for you to substitute a meal for a packed meal (which you could then eat when you were hungry and at a more appropriate time) and therefore you have to sneakily make something at the table and take it out with you. Ship's Services All ships have an on-board Tour Leader. Ours worked very hard to ensure that our trip went smoothly and that when there were hitches (such as not enough people to run a booked excursion) that an alternative was provided. Our cabin was cleaned promptly and well every morning whilst we were at breakfast. The time of year We chose to go in winter because we wanted to see the snow and the northern lights. We only saw snow up in the far north because Norway was unseasonably warm when we were there and we saw the northern lights on three evenings. Seeing either is a bit of a gamble and we won on this occasion. We understand why people repeat the trip in their "other season" and when time allows, we will do a summer trip. We might go on a larger boat because although it will have more passengers, it will have much more space and therefore might not feel as crowded (as we think the Lofoten might) when it is full. In summary This is not a cruise, it is a trip up and down the Norwegian Coast on a working boat which constantly loads and unloads passengers and freight. If you are looking for a traditional all-comforts cruise experience - do not go on this trip. We had a great 12 days which we thought was good value for money. We travelled with a great bunch of fellow travellers and thought that the service the Hurtigruten staff gave us was excellent. If you want to see pictures of the ship, food and other things related to our Hurtigruten trip, then go to patandpaulharvey.blogspot.com and then go to November 2012 Read Less
Lofoten Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 2.0 0.0
Dining 3.0 0.0
Entertainment 1.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 1.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 1.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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