We took the 12 day 'Classic Round Voyage' from Bergen to Kirkenes and back at the end of January 2010, the main reason being in the hope of seeing the Northern Lights. Our ship was the Trollfjord, which is one of the newer and larger vessels (and identical to the Midnatsol), although the trip can be made in a number of the fleet's vessels that ply the coast carrying goods and passengers to numerous ports as well as accommodating their holidaying passengers.
Embarkation is late in the afternoon, but rather than use a flight (from UK) arriving at Bergen the same day as embarkation, we flew to Bergen the day before in order to spend the evening in Bergen for a pleasant but expensive few drinks and meal, and most of the following day sightseeing before being picked up by the Hurtigruten coach at the hotel (the Strand) at 5pm and taken to the point of embarkation. I would recommend this if possible as Bergen is a pleasant town and well worth the visit, and a number of those we met on board expressed the view that they too wished they had done this.
THE SHIP. The boat was bigger and smarter than I had envisaged for a working ferry. Although it doesn't compare with cruise lines - nor should anyone travelling by Hurtigruten expect it to be a 'cruise' in the excepted sense of the holiday - it is well appointed with a large and comfortable dining room, a large bar (with piano/singer in the evenings), cafe, gift shop, saunas, Jacuzzis, small gym, conference facilities, small library and large, comfortable observation lounges. As we were going for the whole 12 days and slightly concerned about the possible boredom factor, we booked a mini-suite to give us more room and comfort should we want to retire to our cabin. Although more expensive, we were glad that we did this as the cabin (no 691) was spacious, with seating area, television/CD player, a large comfortable double bed in a separate area and a good-sized bathroom with shower and hair-dryer. A bottle of fizz on ice was awaiting us on arrival, with a bowl of fresh fruit that was replenished daily, tea and coffee making facilities, and two of their unique coffee mugs that give free access to coffee throughout the trip (these cost 209 NK, or about £24, if bought separately). Also, the cabin was at the back on Deck 6, which is the only deck you can walk round on the outside, so any sightings of the Northern Lights, or need to get some fresh air was very easy as the door to the deck was only a few feet away from our cabin.