We hoped to see the Aurora and experience the stunning arctic scenery. We chose the 7-day Northbound cruise with flights back to the UK from Kirkenes.
The prices for the excursions were very high, nevertheless we chose the dog-sledding as an experience of a lifetime. It lived up to expectations. The 'Cathedral tour' at one town though, was priced at over £100pp - we decided to walk the half mile from the boat instead and paid the £12 entry fee. It was the same with several other expensive 'walking tours' of small towns/villages - we simply explored ourselves. Other activities billed as lasting 2.5hours failed to mention 1 hour coach transfers etc.
On board the breakfasts and buffet-style lunches were quite good, but repetitive each day. There was no* choice on the dinner menu - a set 3 courses each day; and the quality was unremarkable given the eloquence of the written description of the dishes on the menu. (*If you really didn't want what was on offer for a given evening, it was possible to ask for 'the alternative' by prior arrangement by lunchtime that day) A £100+ 'drinks package' bought just 3 bottles of wine - and individually a pint of beer varied between £10 - £12.25 (on shore, even in the more remote villages the price was only £7.50) The bar on board was only available after 3.00pm and was the only place to get free coffee during the day outside meal times)
Small, interior cabin but adequate and quite comfortable.
Walked up to visit the impressive cathedral with an entry fee £12pp (Excursion price £90pp - includes coach 'tour' through town)
We followed the route marked on our tourist map of the town to see the 'Art Nouveau' buildings (Excursion price £90pp)
Pleasant walk around a nice small town