We were looking for a celebratory cruise experience for a first time cruising older couple and the Hurtigruten north Norway expedition cruise delivered big time. We were delighted to be part of a working ferry service in an incredibly interesting part of the world along the north Norway coast and fjords. Hurtigan combines the working ferry element with excellent cruise service including a great cabin, dining, including locally sourced and inspired fare, and service. The expedition team were informative, engaging, and fun. The working ferry element is fascinating with the ship maneuvering into often tiny and picturesque harbours to load and off load a variety of local passengers, cars, mail and freight. Some stops are just half an hour but you can still walk off to grab a few photos since the terminals are right in the middle of town. At least once per day the ship remains in harbour for several hours and allows for organized shore excursions or more detailed personal exploring -- we did the latter and had great fun. Crossing the Arctic Circle and the Lofoten Islands were the highlights. We embarked at Bergen, which is a terrific destination in itself and well worth an extra night or two, and disembarked at Kirkenes where we flew home with a seamless transition to the airport. Part of the adventure is meeting a variety of Norwegians who were themselves on holiday, or heading to their summer camps or cottages, or travelling to or from their homes on the north coast. You can join or leave the ship anywhere but the six day one way package is excellent for cruising. You can do it in either direction, or stay aboard for 12 days and do both ways. We recommend that prospective cruisers read the Hurtigruten website material carefully to ensure that the combination of a working ship with excellent adventure cruise experience is suitable to you. It worked for us big time as it did for other and much more experienced cruisers who we met. Many thanks Hurtigruten and MS Nordcapp!
The up grade gives you an outside cabin on an upper deck which is a worthwhile investment for a six night passage.