My wife and I were intrigued by visiting Norway in winter, and Viking included free air on this cruise from Bergen. We paid for a Veranda cabin and were upgraded to Deluxe Veranda. It seems like everything is expensive in Norway, so staying on a cruise ship is a bargain by comparison.
Winter in the Arctic makes this something of an adventure cruise. The included bus excursions are fine, but they get repetitive, and we wanted to take some optional excursions into the countryside. Overnight stays in Bergen, Alta, and Tromso gave extra time for shore excursions or browsing in town. Wearing multiple layers of warm clothing made outdoor excursions comfortable, but it did make the buses seem overheated. We particularly enjoyed visiting the Sami camp with reindeer sledding outside of Tromso. The Polar Park outside of Narvik was also good but high chain link fences make animal photography difficult. More daring souls might want to enter the enclosure with wolves. High winds caused the ship to skip the planned stop in Bode, but we enjoyed a longer stay in Stavanger instead.
Flying to Bergen in January was more of an adventure than planned. Bad weather across much or the US was causing extensive cancellations and delays. Viking did a good job of getting everyone to the ship, but some arrivals were quite late. A pre-cruise extension would have helped,at a cost not much more than one more optional shore excursion. On the other hand, we made friends at airports with other cruisers who had similar itineraries, and we ended up eating some dinners together.
Best dining by far is at Manfredi's. We ate there twice. Make reservations at the first opportunity and don't fail to try the rib steak. Be aware that portion sizes are large, and we naturally wanted to try a variety of dishes. We ate most meals at the World Cafe because it was convenient and featured many of the same items served in the Restaurant without the time commitment or a dress code.
The cabin service was particularly good. Our cabin attendant learned our names and habits and accommodated our early bedtimes with a special early turn-down service. We all hugged when the cruise was over.
The enrichment lectures were all available on the cabin television. Northern Lights and Vikings were the favorite topics. I particularly enjoyed the Northern Lights Tour lecture in Alta.
We had two nights in Tromso with magnificent displays of the Northern Lights. The whole sky lit up with colorful displays which were easily viewed from the ship. Those on Northern Lights shore excursions got an even better show on those nights, but on other nights they just spent several hours in the cold. The light show is going to vary from one cruise to the next, but when it is good it is fantastic!
Overall, it was a wonderful cruise. Prepare to have a great time.