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We have recently returned from the Hurtigruten Norwegian Classic round trip, on board MS Richard With, 21st February – 4th March, including flights from UK (Manchester). To summarise – this was a fantastic trip, the experience of a lifetime. However it was not perfect – but the few negatives were massively outweighed by the positives. The charter flights (from Manchester) and the transfer to the port, all worked well and seamlessly. I’ve seen some comments about transfer issues – we had none. Checking in took some time (but we arrived together with a plane load of people!) but after that getting to the cabin, and getting luggage delivered, was all great. The cabin, number 568 (P2D, Arctic Superior: Outside cabin. Double bed. Situated on deck 5) was small but very comfortable. Reasonable storage and good shower. We had a window, and people were able to walk past (and look in?), but that was never a major issue. Cabin included tea / coffee and WiFi. Meals were overall very good. Breakfast and lunch were buffet format, with plenty of choice. On a couple of occasions we had to queue waiting for a table, but never too long. For evening meals, which were table service at a set time, we were placed on a table for six. We probably would have preferred a table on our own, but as it turned out, we were sat with two other couples, who were really decent, friendly people. So no worries there. If you wanted to change your evening dining time, the restaurant team would try to accommodate you. We saw a long queue of people wanting to change, and I guess some people did not get the changes they wanted, but it worked fine for us. The evening meal was a set 3 course menu. I really would have liked some choice, but I understand the reasons they keep it relatively simple. The evening meal daily reflected the region we were in, and was – generally – very good. Portions were not over generous, but ample for most. And if you had an intolerance or specific requirement – they do try to accommodate this. The ship – Richard With – was refurbished last year. It is certainly smaller than the mega ships operated by Royal Caribbean etc. but overall – the ship was great. There were a few rough periods at sea, and the ship movement reflected this. So it got a bit uncomfortable (for me) at times. We were impacted by the weather – we were in the port of Bodø for 15 hours, which disrupted the sailing schedule and excursions. On another occasion – it was too rough to dock in Mehamn, and again we missed one of our “highlight” excursions (Snowmobile Trip Into The Polar Night) which was massively disappointing. And we were only told after we had all dressed and were ready to disembark at 0045 in the morning. I guess you have to accept there may be (will be?) weather disruption in the Norwegian Sea during February, so be prepared. But possibly they could have told us sooner about our cancelled Polar Night excursion. We did experience a lot of weather. From the gale force winds mentioned above, to blizzards, to bright sunshine, to calm smooth seas – we had everything. Kept the voyage and scenery interesting. One item to note – the two hot tubs on deck 6 – we made use of these. There is something exhilarating about being in a hut tub when it is snowing! Bit chilly when you get out though!. As most reviewers note – drinks are expensive. Beer starts at about £11 for 600 ml (just over a pint) and wine starts about £48 per bottle. Drinks packages were available – and quite a number of people bought these – but they were expensive and did not seem justified to us. So we drank sparingly (and slowly) which I guess may not be a totally bad thing! As I noted, our excursion plans were disrupted significantly by the weather, in that the two we pre booked were both cancelled. But the excursion team tried hard to re book alternatives. Excursions were very expensive. We eventually did the Husky Sledge Adventure and A Taste of Vesterålen. The Husky sledge adventure included a quick trip to the Kirkenes Snow Hotel, which was a bonus. And the dog sledding was a fantastic trip – a great memory. We booked the Taste of Vesterålen at the last minute, and really enjoyed it. Despite the heavy snow (hence limited visibility) it was an interesting and informative trip. The church at Trondenes is beautiful and interesting, as is the museum close to the church. And driving over the bridge in Sortland as the Richard With is sailing along the sound below was a really memorable moment. We did see the northern lights on two nights (but we were told they were actually visible on three). I guess the displays we saw were not the most spectacular on record – but we did see them. Some people managed to get some good photos (and to be honest – some the photos looked better than the lights in the sky). But it is magical to see the Aurora Borealis. Regarding taking pictures, I only go to grips with setting up my (basic) DSLR on the last night of the lights, when I did get some reasonable pictures. So trying to work out camera settings on a windy, freezing cold, moving deck in the dark is definitely not the best approach. I tried it – not effective. Sort it out ahead of time, and use the settings and tips sheet the excursion team provides. The excursion team were great. Always enthusiastic, knowledgeable and helpful, they were around to help and advise, often with good humour. And in three languages if required! We did not attend all the meetings and presentations, and frankly some did drag on a bit. But certainly the three man team added a lot to the experience of the voyage. The scenery is a massive highlight. They do sell this as the most beautiful cruise on the world – quite a claim. But the scenery is stunning. Because it is a coastal cruise, you are sailing along the coast, and in and out of islands, sometimes through narrow channels, for a lot of the voyage. So the scenery changes constantly. As does the weather. Which gives an incredibly beautiful, ever changing view from the ship. Really incredible. And we did manage to see sea eagles, porpoises, reindeer, cormorants, many sea birds. So – in conclusion – this Hurtigruten round trip is a great experience – so long as you accept that it is not a gin palace luxury cruise on a mega ship.

Fantastic trip, the experience of a lifetime.

Richard With Cruise Review by alan.truesdale2

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We have recently returned from the Hurtigruten Norwegian Classic round trip, on board MS Richard With, 21st February – 4th March, including flights from UK (Manchester).

To summarise – this was a fantastic trip, the experience of a lifetime.

However it was not perfect – but the few negatives were massively outweighed by the positives.

The charter flights (from Manchester) and the transfer to the port, all worked well and seamlessly. I’ve seen some comments about transfer issues – we had none.

Checking in took some time (but we arrived together with a plane load of people!) but after that getting to the cabin, and getting luggage delivered, was all great.

The cabin, number 568 (P2D, Arctic Superior: Outside cabin. Double bed. Situated on deck 5) was small but very comfortable. Reasonable storage and good shower. We had a window, and people were able to walk past (and look in?), but that was never a major issue. Cabin included tea / coffee and WiFi.

Meals were overall very good. Breakfast and lunch were buffet format, with plenty of choice. On a couple of occasions we had to queue waiting for a table, but never too long. For evening meals, which were table service at a set time, we were placed on a table for six. We probably would have preferred a table on our own, but as it turned out, we were sat with two other couples, who were really decent, friendly people. So no worries there. If you wanted to change your evening dining time, the restaurant team would try to accommodate you. We saw a long queue of people wanting to change, and I guess some people did not get the changes they wanted, but it worked fine for us.

The evening meal was a set 3 course menu. I really would have liked some choice, but I understand the reasons they keep it relatively simple. The evening meal daily reflected the region we were in, and was – generally – very good. Portions were not over generous, but ample for most. And if you had an intolerance or specific requirement – they do try to accommodate this.

The ship – Richard With – was refurbished last year. It is certainly smaller than the mega ships operated by Royal Caribbean etc. but overall – the ship was great. There were a few rough periods at sea, and the ship movement reflected this. So it got a bit uncomfortable (for me) at times. We were impacted by the weather – we were in the port of Bodø for 15 hours, which disrupted the sailing schedule and excursions. On another occasion – it was too rough to dock in Mehamn, and again we missed one of our “highlight” excursions (Snowmobile Trip Into The Polar Night) which was massively disappointing. And we were only told after we had all dressed and were ready to disembark at 0045 in the morning. I guess you have to accept there may be (will be?) weather disruption in the Norwegian Sea during February, so be prepared. But possibly they could have told us sooner about our cancelled Polar Night excursion.

We did experience a lot of weather. From the gale force winds mentioned above, to blizzards, to bright sunshine, to calm smooth seas – we had everything. Kept the voyage and scenery interesting.

One item to note – the two hot tubs on deck 6 – we made use of these. There is something exhilarating about being in a hut tub when it is snowing! Bit chilly when you get out though!.

As most reviewers note – drinks are expensive. Beer starts at about £11 for 600 ml (just over a pint) and wine starts about £48 per bottle. Drinks packages were available – and quite a number of people bought these – but they were expensive and did not seem justified to us. So we drank sparingly (and slowly) which I guess may not be a totally bad thing!

As I noted, our excursion plans were disrupted significantly by the weather, in that the two we pre booked were both cancelled. But the excursion team tried hard to re book alternatives. Excursions were very expensive. We eventually did the Husky Sledge Adventure and A Taste of Vesterålen. The Husky sledge adventure included a quick trip to the Kirkenes Snow Hotel, which was a bonus. And the dog sledding was a fantastic trip – a great memory. We booked the Taste of Vesterålen at the last minute, and really enjoyed it. Despite the heavy snow (hence limited visibility) it was an interesting and informative trip. The church at Trondenes is beautiful and interesting, as is the museum close to the church. And driving over the bridge in Sortland as the Richard With is sailing along the sound below was a really memorable moment.

We did see the northern lights on two nights (but we were told they were actually visible on three). I guess the displays we saw were not the most spectacular on record – but we did see them. Some people managed to get some good photos (and to be honest – some the photos looked better than the lights in the sky). But it is magical to see the Aurora Borealis. Regarding taking pictures, I only go to grips with setting up my (basic) DSLR on the last night of the lights, when I did get some reasonable pictures. So trying to work out camera settings on a windy, freezing cold, moving deck in the dark is definitely not the best approach. I tried it – not effective. Sort it out ahead of time, and use the settings and tips sheet the excursion team provides.

The excursion team were great. Always enthusiastic, knowledgeable and helpful, they were around to help and advise, often with good humour. And in three languages if required! We did not attend all the meetings and presentations, and frankly some did drag on a bit. But certainly the three man team added a lot to the experience of the voyage.

The scenery is a massive highlight. They do sell this as the most beautiful cruise on the world – quite a claim. But the scenery is stunning. Because it is a coastal cruise, you are sailing along the coast, and in and out of islands, sometimes through narrow channels, for a lot of the voyage. So the scenery changes constantly. As does the weather. Which gives an incredibly beautiful, ever changing view from the ship. Really incredible. And we did manage to see sea eagles, porpoises, reindeer, cormorants, many sea birds.

So – in conclusion – this Hurtigruten round trip is a great experience – so long as you accept that it is not a gin palace luxury cruise on a mega ship.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 568
The cabin, number 568 (P2D, Arctic Superior: Outside cabin. Double bed. Situated on deck 5) was small but very comfortable. Reasonable storage and good shower. We had a window, and people were able to walk past (and look in?), but that was never a major issue. Cabin included tea / coffee and WiFi.