This was my 5th trip to Norway having previously visited by North Sea Ferry from Newcastle (with car), Queen Victoria, Grand Princess and the Ryndam. Norway is one of my favourite destinations but I have always visited in Summer, so long long days. I have always wanted to see the Northern Lights and Hurtigruten offer the chance to see the Northern Lights on their daily coastal service from Bergen to Kirkenes up in the Arctic Circle. My friend booked our trip through a TA who act as agents for Hurtigruten. She spent a great deal of time investigating the best time to see the Northern Lights, the moon phases to get the darkes nights and predicted sun spot activity. An even then we knew that there is no certainty of seeing the lights as the weather is a major factor. We didn't pre book any excursions as we felt that the weather would determine what we wanted to do. We also wanted to fly from our local airport if possible.
We left Leeds Bradford for the short hop to Amsterdam by KLM with a linking flight via KLM to Bergen. Hurtigruten have transfer buses that run at regular intervals from the airport to the ship. We arrived at the port and after checking in our cabin baggage we watched a short safety video. It is different to what happens on other cruise ships and survival suits need to be put on as well as life jackets. We then walked onto the ship and to our cabin.
We had decided to splash out and booked a suite (636) as it had tea and coffee making facilities, , sitting area and a fridge it also has a double bed (this was a problem for us as we are not a couple and had been told by the TA that it could be converted to two single - it can't!!) we also had a bottle of prosecco waiting for us which was very welcome. We had a quick look around the ship and attended a welcome meeting run by the Expedition team. We were also introduced to the Captain and the senior officers. English, German and of course Norwegian are the languages spoken by the staff. The first nights meal was a buffet. Lots of seafood and local dishes. We had a drinks passage so each night we had a bottle of wine and 2 bottles of water. The water in the taps is Ok to drink too.
Suite on Starboard side. Near lifts and stairs. On deck 6 so easy access to out side decks and resturants. Not bothered by ships frequent docking at ports.
Good amenity pack included and to take home: dressing gown, eye mask, tioletry bag with ear plugs, sewing kit and shampoo, conditioner and shower lotion, a blanket and binoculars. Also a bottle of prosecco on arrival and tea and coffee making facilities. Fixed double bed. Small shower room, bathroom cabinet so all toiletries can be stored away.
Two picture windows, separate sitting area.