Hurtigruten could be an interestingly different offer to typical cruise ships as they also provide ferry services along the Norwegian coast and you get to see some areas typical cruise ships would not visit. The itinerary is driven by the deliveries made at 34 ports during day and night - unfortunately that does not always cater well for cruising passengers. Some stops are much too short to explore the coastal towns - some villages are too boring to justify further exploration.
My mistake was to stay on board for 11 days (Bergen north to Kirkenes and back south to Trondheim) - a trip they are trying to push on their website, because these kind of customers are the more lucrative for them, however it quickly gets boring, especially if the weather is bad as should be expected in coastal Norway.
A few of the excursions do get around this problem by starting in one port and reembarking at another (Geiranger Fjord tour, Nordkapp tour, Lofoten Island tour) - I did enjoy those.
Had booked 4 excursions in advance, but would recommend to book on board instead, so you have a chance to see the weather forecast before deciding where to go. Due to the strict schedule there is little chance to book tours independently, you have to go with what Hurtigruten has on offer (operated by independent operators and cancelled if not enough participants).
During my trip they had a few problems with their payment system and had to ask passengers to check their charges carefully.
Public areas are still ok, although due for refurbishment later this year. However you have to be aware that they are also used by ferry passengers that have not booked a cabin and sleep on the sofas overnight.
Hot showers were good and Wifi reception worked well throughout.
Three meals were included in my package - quality was ok, although lunch buffet lacked variety. Everything extra you might want is quite expensive, but that's usually the case in Scandinavia.
Passenger/crew ratio is relatively high compared to other expedition ships (Vesteralen has capacity of almost 500 passengers with only around 50 crew). Service is generally lackluster with a few positive exceptions. Too many passengers to offer free seating at dinner, so you're assigned a time slot (6pm or 8pm) and table for the whole journey.
My recommendation would be to pick a few towns in Norway, book hotels for 1 or 2 nights and use Hurtigruten to 'commute' between them.
The cabins are basic at best, mine was on deck C and incredibly noisy - woke up most nights during loading. I had booked an unspecified cabin and at first was given a tiny one with bunk beds - luckily I was able to switch to another cabin that had a small bed plus sofa, however so-called 'limited view' which in this case meant no view at all. As I had not planned to spend much time inside the cabin that was ok, however did not feel like good value for money.
time to short for much exploration. Be aware that it rains in this town 250 days/year!
Stop much too short to visit the town
good to get off the ship and see some of the spectacular scenery. Adequate stops (although somewhat touristy. Coffee break with soggy pancakes, but good dinner in local hotel near dock in MoldeView All undefined undefined Reviews
Hurtigruten docking quite far from city centre, but adequate time to visit town and see some of the sites.
nice visit at the Wilderness Center with information about dog sledding and time to cuddle the huskies, watch the puppies, short walk with one of the dogs, excellent chocolate cake! View of the beautiful scenery was helped by blue skies (one of the few days when the sun came out)View All undefined undefined Reviews