I only had time for the 'half cruise' but enjoyed every minute. Nordlys is showing her age a little with some frayed carpets and furnishings in public areas but is shiny, clean and comfortable. She will be refitted later this year.
Embarkation in Kirkenes, northern turnaround port, took three minutes as my taxi took me directly to the gangplank. Buses from the airport and local hotels are also available.
Kirkenes deserves a day before you embark. Go to the Russian border, see the Snowhotel, fish for King Crabs or try snow activities.
My cabin (353) was one of the cheapest with a port hole and fine for one or two, although not luxurious. Cabins on the port side, like mine, are closer to the cargo bay where goods are unloaded and loaded during the many stops day and night. I was fine with this but it meant a little extra noise which may annoy others. Pick starboard and you'll be fine. Whichever you choose, it's stunning scenery from beginning to end.
Breakfast and lunch are buffets, always plenty of choice with lots of fish. Evening meals are usually three course sit-down affairs. Excellent food always with local produce in sensible quantities and swiftly-served. It's a Norwegian ship in Norwegian waters so alcohol is expensive but there's a good selection (don't miss beer from the northernmost brewery Mack brewed in Tromso)
There were only 360 passengers on my cruise but sometimes it was a challenge to find a seat/table in the public areas.
No entertainment as such but fascinating daily talks by the cheerful Expedition team, and a small library. Brilliant staff all round, well-led by Captain Johannes.
There's a varied range of excursions and hikes to suit all levels of fitness. Again not cheap but high quality and good value. I enjoyed the bus/ferry tour A Taste of Vesteralen, well-organised with plenty of interesting stops, and a magical midnight concert in the Arctic Cathedral, Tromso. I also sampled a short twilight hike in Bronnoysund, crunching through the snow.
Disembarkation in Bergen was fine and speedy. Again, there were buses (extra charge) to the airport, rail station and local hotels but I happily towed my little suitcase into the town for an extra night after a very enjoyable short break in Norway. Thanks Hurtigruten!
I am now planning to visit Svalbard in 2020 but would be delighted to take this trip again - maybe north-south next time?
If you've ever travelled on Brittany Ferries you may have slept in this kind of cabin.
It's compact and modular but fine if you want to spend your money on experiences or a beer or two instead.
There's a nice big square porthole, underfloor heating in the bathroom, decent heating and aircon and a comfortable bed. I didn't want any more facilities, maybe others might prefer more luxury but other types of cabin are available.
The wardrobe is on the small side but this isn't a 'dress up' cruise.
Short bus trip crossing to the Cathedral on another island .
We all enjoyed a 50 minute concert by a soprano, cellist and pianist/organist of Norwegian and familiar light classics. They were superb and the acoustics ethereal.
Recommended!View All undefined undefined Reviews
Top tip - take a taxi or bus to the town centre, otherwise it's a long walk.
But it'll be worth your while. Plenty to see and reasonably compact one you're out of the port complex.