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1 Helpful Vote
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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
To see the northern lights has been on the bucket list for a long time. We were concerned that Hurtigruten being a daily ferry service that it may be a bit basic, but we were pleasantly surprised that the ship is very well appointed, has ... Read More
To see the northern lights has been on the bucket list for a long time. We were concerned that Hurtigruten being a daily ferry service that it may be a bit basic, but we were pleasantly surprised that the ship is very well appointed, has plenty of comfortable lounges with large windows offering treat views. Food on board is good, not the same quality as we were used to on Celebrity, our normal cruise line of choice, but the fish in particular was excellent. Staff are really friendly and speak excellent English. Calling at many ports often only for a few minutes, the ship weaves in & out of the fjords and islands all the way up into the Artic circle. However, views are restricted because the daylight goes early in the day - it's the polar night! We saw the northern lights on 6 occasions over 3 days, once it was 4am! Worth getting up for! Cabins are smaller than most cruise ships, ours had 2 single beds in an L formation. One was put up as a sofa during the day. It has a TV with some English programmes. There is no entertailnment so take books, games whatever you need. Excursions are expensive and short. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
This cruise far exceeded my expectations. The MS Trollfjord was better equipped and more comfortable than I had expected - knowing it was also a ferry between ports, I expected a basic level of comfort similar to the ferries I regularly ... Read More
This cruise far exceeded my expectations. The MS Trollfjord was better equipped and more comfortable than I had expected - knowing it was also a ferry between ports, I expected a basic level of comfort similar to the ferries I regularly use between Ireland and the UK. It was much nicer! The food was excellent, even for my personal dietary limitations, and I was well catered for. My husband and daughter enjoyed an outstanding range of locally sourced food, and the information given about the food and its suppliers was reassuring and interesting. I have only cruised once before this, on a large cruise ship in the Mediterrean, and although I loved the experience, I was a little concerned about the environmental and ethical impact of cruising. With Hurtigruten, I felt no such worries - the concept behind these Norwegian routes is simple and brilliant - the ships are running the coast anyway, in and out of 34 different ports, serving the local community by transporting people and cargo. As well as 80% of the food being local, so too are the staff. By using local staff, local jobs are created, and the staff have a vast local knowledge of the places the ship visits. By offering space on the ships for tourists too actually supports the local communities and makes the ships more economical in terms of environmental footprint. I was very impressed and will absolutely use this company again. For those used to larger cruise ships, there is relatively little in terms of on-board entertainment, but those disappointed by this had clearly not read the information beforehand - having researched well the trip we had chosen, we expected little onboard and gained much. With views of the Norwegian fjords rolling past the windows 24 hours a day, even when I did think about picking up a book, I found the scenery too alluring to concentrate on anything else. I enjoyed the opportunities to be able to explore small local villages and meet local people and support small local shops, and we had many happy wanderings around the places we stopped. It is worth noting that in most ports, the ship does not dock for long and time in some places was very limited. Often, if guests went on organised excursions, they would not have had time to also explore the villages independently. The excursions we did partake of were well organised and enjoyable. If we could have justified the expense of more excursions, I would have happily joined them. I can honestly say that after some reservations about booking a cold winter holiday, we enjoyed every second of this and cannot wait to return, both to Norway and to Hurtigruten. Oh, and, as well as all that, we had a couple of beautiful displays from the Northern Lights, which, on the deck of a boat, in the middle of a moonlit deck surrounded by snowy mountains and total silence, was pretty amazing. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
a very nice ship, enough chairs and space in the public rooms, marvellous lounge-bar in front of the ship on deck 7, and in the back on deck 7 there was a lovely coffe bar with nice norwegian furnitures. every day we had very delicious ... Read More
a very nice ship, enough chairs and space in the public rooms, marvellous lounge-bar in front of the ship on deck 7, and in the back on deck 7 there was a lovely coffe bar with nice norwegian furnitures. every day we had very delicious food (excellent fresh fish) and very friendly waiters - we enjoyed it! We also loved the free drinking water, and the wine selection was good, but a bit expensive. The expedition Team (Monica and Rebecca) was excellent! We heard a lot about the nature, the people, the animals, the language - it was very interesting and we just loved it!!! We saw the northern lights and the noth cape, the beautiful landscape of the norwegian coast - we had a great trip in Norway! Our cabin had only 2 portholes, but we knew it in advance and booked it with this restriction. The cabin was small, but there was enough storeroom and we estimated the many hooks for our coats. We had our own toilet and shower, and they changed the towels whenever we needed. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
I chose this cruise, as I had always wanted to go on a cruise, but also wanted to see the Northern Lights, this cruise fitted both criteria. I loved the cruising, and also the ship not being very oversized, made it friendly and people very ... Read More
I chose this cruise, as I had always wanted to go on a cruise, but also wanted to see the Northern Lights, this cruise fitted both criteria. I loved the cruising, and also the ship not being very oversized, made it friendly and people very relaxed. The food was excellent, buffets for breakfast and lunch and twice in the evening, evening otherwise was served. The meals served were outstanding, tasty and varied, portions not oversized, which is another thing I really loved. Drinks were expensive, but are dear in Norway, not a problem for me, drank water most of the time. I did have free tea and coffee all day, which I enjoyed. The excursions were wonderful, all the guides were very knowledgeable and I learned a lot about the history of Norway over the time. The only thing I will asked the next time I go, I would have like a kettle in my room, as I always drink tea, before I get up. I will do a similar cruise again, and definitely book with Hurtigruten. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Everything was OK with the boat, food, cabin (we would have liked one double bed instead of 2 beds apart!) and services on board. Just one thing to complain about: We were booked on the Dog sledding in Kirkenes. Some others were ... Read More
Everything was OK with the boat, food, cabin (we would have liked one double bed instead of 2 beds apart!) and services on board. Just one thing to complain about: We were booked on the Dog sledding in Kirkenes. Some others were supposed to do it in Tromsoe. The Dog sledding planned in Tromsoe was canceled due to lack of snow, therefore, they added the people to the one planned in Kirkenes. This resulted in too many persons at the same time and consequently, the tour was shortened significantly to allow everyone to go within the same time frame of the shore stop. The tour looked nice but ended up to be expensive for such a short time spent on the sled!! We decided to do the full tour of the boat but one way would be good enough: The stops were sometimes to short to spend some time on the shore and especially on the return but we booked the flights to Norway on our own and did not find a flight from Kirkenes. I think it would have been much better to stay one day there and do the Dog Sledding on our own. Much easier to say after than before!! The midnight concert was really fabulous, the acoustic of the cathedral is amazing! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
To see the Northern Lights was top of my bucket list and what better way than from the deck of a ship travelling along the coast of Norway into the Arctic Circle . Hurtigruten is the excellent coastal shipping service offering this golden ... Read More
To see the Northern Lights was top of my bucket list and what better way than from the deck of a ship travelling along the coast of Norway into the Arctic Circle . Hurtigruten is the excellent coastal shipping service offering this golden opportunity between November and March. This line is a working ferry-service which also offers `cruise accommodation' but don't expect non-stop entertainment ,the singing, dancing, magic shows and room service common to most cruises these days. We embarked in Bergen on a cold , sunny November afternoon. From the moment I stepped into the terminal , everything went like clockwork , with friendly and efficient service . The trip was everything I had hoped for and more. We saw the Northern lights on 6 of the 11 nights and the voyage was packed with so many other wonderful experiences , too many to list. We had an expedition team on board , four enthusiastic , energetic young people who kept us busy , interested and laughing. Every afternoon there is a ` gathering' where the expedition team give information on the next port of call , teach some Norwegian words and phrases , show some movie clips and play some music. I was travelling alone, but had no problem meeting people and making friends although there is no official plan to introduce `single travelers ' to each other as some cruise lines have. The cabins are not fancy , but comfortable and warm (there are individual temperature controls).I recommend an outside cabin because the scenery is spectacular all the time. My package included free Wi-Fi , a must if you want to keep in touch with home from your cabin. The food on board was plentiful and delicious with an amazing variety of fresh local produce , and healthy cooking styles. There are very many excursions on offer , however in most places it is possible to walk into the town or village , with a map ( provided) and explore without a guide , personal choice. There is the possibility to go ashore at every place the ship docks , even if it's just for 10 minutes walk or jog along the harbour , but don't miss the boat! Because the schedule is so tight , the ship WILL leave without you if you're late , no question. From experience , I would say that the excursions not to miss are The North Cape, the Midnight Concert ( Tromso Arctic Cathedral) , ` A taste of Vesterallen ' and The Hurtigruten Museum , and I was told that the horse riding ( Svolvaer) which in the winter is in the dark , was a wonderful experience. This voyage is an experience of a life time so whatever you do ` DON'T MISS THE BOAT' Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
Very disappointing cruise. This was my 5th cruise and I thought that I had done all of the research needed prior to booking the cruise. If you believe the brochure and the advertising you would think you are booking a high-end cruise with ... Read More
Very disappointing cruise. This was my 5th cruise and I thought that I had done all of the research needed prior to booking the cruise. If you believe the brochure and the advertising you would think you are booking a high-end cruise with exciting destinations. The brochure fails to tell you that when you visit the 34 ports that you do not have the opportunity to get off the ship to visit them as it may only be a 5 minutes stop to pick up or drop off mail or supplies for the ship. I booked the Astronomy Voyage as I wanted to learn how to photograph and see the Northern Lights. The brochure states that you would have an expert astronomy lecturer and you would go on expeditions to see the Northern Lights. There were no expeditions to see the lights with the lecturer and he did not really assist with the photography side of things either. • SHIP: The ship was the MS FINNMARKEN. The ship is a working ferry not a cruise ship as made out to be in the brochures. It is a postal boat and a car ferry. We were told the ship is 15 years old. The decor is dated and the ship is not that large. In general the ship seems to be understaffed in the gift shop and dining rooms. The ship may make up to 8 stops at different ports per day, but you may not be able to get off as the stops can be as short as 10-15 minutes. Generally the longest time in port can be for 2 hours at one location per day. On the return trip there is very limited opportunities to leave the ship to visit the any ports. If you want to go on the Astronomy Voyage cruise you are required to do the Bergen - Kirkenes - Bergen round trip. The return trip is boring and there is little do on the ship during the day. • CABIN: When we booked on the Astronomy Voyage Cruise we tried to book a suite and were told by Hurtigruten that this upgrade was not possible. So we booked a room on deck 5 which was classed as an upgrade as we were told there were double beds cabins on that floor. When we got on the ship we were given a bunk bed and a lounge that converted into another bunk bed. Not what we expected. There were signs on board on arrival saying that for a PRICE (BELIEVE ME EVERTHING ON THIS SHIP COMES WITH A PRICE!) We could upgrade. Why was this not the case when we booked the cruise 11 months prior? The cabins are small, the tiles in the shower moved under foot and one tile was cracked. When our cabin was cleaned the toilet seat was broken in half when we returned to the room, which we had to get replaced. Staff refuse to give you a bathmat for the bathroom. The bedding is quite odd. There is no top sheet for the bed and each day your cabin steward would not make the bed they would fold up a quilt and put in the middle of the bed and you would have to make the bed yourself to go to sleep. The cabins are quite small. We were lucky to have a TV and tea and coffee making in our rooms others we met who were below deck five didn't have either of these "LUXURIES". Not what you get on normal cruises. • DINING: If you don't like fish you are in trouble. As I don't eat fish or seafood the choice of food was limited. Fish is on the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are other delicacies like sheeps head and reindeer which I chose not to eat either. Dinner is a set meal each day of one choice of entree, main and dessert. There was a vegetarian option that I was given after discovering there was really only fish to eat which was not great either. The food choices during breakfast and lunch were A La Carte and not that great. What wasn't eaten for dinner usually turned up for lunch reheated the following day. Seating can be an issue as they don't always open the entire restaurant and some of the other passengers don't always like to share tables. Water and juice was available at breakfast only and then the machines would be covered and you were not allowed to use them the rest of the day. Drink prices are exhorbitant. The water, wine or beer package prices are ridiculously high. Tea and coffee is only available a meal times, otherwise if you are not on a certain fare you will have to pay for them. Alcohol is not to be brought on the ship, however due to the prices many people were. We purchased mineral water and water on shore for a much cheaper price on than available on the ship On average a beer was $17 AUD, a glass of wine could be $50 AUD for example. There is only one bar open on the ship which is on deck 8. Due to the prices people didn't use it that much. The bar on deck 4 was never opened. • ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES: Entertainment is very limited. There are no shows or entertainers. There is a gym and a sauna and pool which I didn't use due to not being given information that they were on board. There were knitting kits for sale in the shop and there were puzzles and board games for entertainment. Due to the time of year and the temperatures you would not stay out on deck accept if you were observing the Northern Lights or photographing scenery. Thank goodness the Northern Lights did show as the rest of the cruise was dreadful. • SERVICE: The service on board was appalling. Everything was an effort for the staff. Some staff were very rude and arrogant. Staff are very disorganised. When we checked in to the ship there was no information about the Astronomy Voyage we had booked and paid for. At one point we were told that were not even booked in at all. We asked at the reception and at the travel desk about what we were supposed to do and staff from both areas didn't know anything. We missed the first night with the Astronomy group as we were not given any information. The tour desk is shocking. They mixed up our bookings and booked us on a tour without out knowledge. We were then summoned to reception and told we were holding up the tour bus by not be reading on time. We were never booked on the tour however we were charged for it. After 3 trips to the travel desk the issue was sorted and we were refunded the money. The restaurant staff can be rude at times and the service is not very good. • PORTS AND SHORE EXCURSIONS: The excursions are extremely expensive, especially when most of the excursions are for only 2-2.5 hours maximum. We were told to book prior to leaving Australia as we may miss out on trip as well as the price being more expensive. Bentours is the booking office for the shore excursions. They were absolutely hopeless. I sat with my travel agent for over 2 hours while we tried to get Bentours to book the excursions. We were told that many of the tours were not available for the time I was cruising only to get on the ship and find out that they were available at a very inflated price. I did book the whale watching on the ship, only to be extremely disappointed. The staff didn't tell me that we would be whale watching in pitch black with a spot light. The tour was for only 2 hours which meant, 25-30 minutes bus ride to whale watching boat, 20 minute safety briefing, 10 minutes to get changed, 20-25 minutes on the boat to whale watch, return trip 25-30 minutes back to ship. No whales, $500 AUD each. We booked to go horse riding in the Lofoten Islands while in Australia. However, they conveniently didn't tell us that we would be doing this in the dark with a head lamp on rocky terrain. After our disappointing whale watching experience we cancelled the horse riding. The itinerary sounds great with all of the 34 ports, they fail to tell you that you see most of them from the window or the deck of the ship as you are not allowed to get off and explore as you are only there to pick up or drop things off. The only positive about the cruise was that we did meet some lovely people who were just as bored as we were that we could chat to. The staff are useless when organising the shore excursions, there is no organisation when people are being herded on or off buses. Usually cruise ships run shore excursions like clock work and each tour group is taken on or off the ship according to excursion. It is a free for all with Hurtigruten, people push and shove to get on and off the ship and nobody seems to know what they are doing. I only booked the cruise as I wanted to see the Northern Lights. Thank goodness I saw them otherwise it would have been an even worse experience. I wouldn't recommend paying the extra for the Astronomy Voyage as there is not really any added advantage. What did attract me in the first place is that Hurtigruten give you a guarantee if you are booked on the Astronomy Voyage and don't see the lights that they will give you a free 7 day cruise to return to see the lights. If I had not seen the lights this time I would not have taken up the offer as the cruise was so bad. Thank goodness there was some nice scenery and the gorgeous Northern Lights as this trip was very expensive and poorly run. This was one of my bucket list holidays. Unfortunately, this was the worst cruise I have ever been on. I would not recommend to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
I choose the cruise after watched Hurtigruten advertisement about the trip. Yes we have quite high expectation about the trip. The best about this trip that we are able to see a very beautiful aurora somewhere after Tromsø ... Read More
I choose the cruise after watched Hurtigruten advertisement about the trip. Yes we have quite high expectation about the trip. The best about this trip that we are able to see a very beautiful aurora somewhere after Tromsø and still able to get some beautiful view of Norway. Before voyage I received all the information I needed and the booking of the trip worked well too. I'm not satisfied with the service on board because : 01 Excursion The Silent Whale Exploring (Tromso) Excursion Code H-TOS5K 16 November 2017 and paid each of us NOK 2198.99 (total NOK 4397.98 . One day before Expedition Manager personally informed to us that we may not be able to see the Humpback whale because the Herring fish not yet around but he assured us that we will be able to see some Orca (smaller whale). Surprisingly on the day of the excursion, once after we arrived on the boat, the guide told us that we won't see anything because it's not yet the season for Humpback whale nor Orca because the herring not yet arrived (Poor Herring everybody blamed "the Herrring"). I think this is very unprofessional and I felt being cheated. If it's not yet the Herring's season you can actually cancel the excursion. I'm very dissapointed. 02. Food Breakfast, lunch and dinner all almost similar for 7 days. More food variation needed as you have international passengers from different nations. 03. Unhappy staff Except one gentleman in the dining room (reception/waiters) who always greet us warmly, the rest always looked unhappy. I will definitely come back to Norway but my next trip won't be in the cruise anymore. Read Less
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