The first thing to be noted is that a classic Hurtigruten voyage is not a cruise. The Hurtigruten concept is based on a combination of transporting freight as well as passengers along the Norwegian coast. During the full voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes and back 34 ports are entered, some of them even twice. In most of the ports the ship only stops 15-30 minutes to load and unload freight and passengers. Everyday a longer stop is scheduled (max 3 hours, often less) which gives “cruise passengers" the possibility to go ashore and do some sort of excursion.
The big difference with a modern cruise is that the interests of the “cruise passenger", i.e. the passengers who have booked the voyage to explore the Norwegian fjords , are not the first priority of the company. They are taken care of in a rather sober way: (too),little time to explore the countryside, no entertainment on board, small and old-fashioned cabins (none with a private balcony), hardly any choice in food and no flexibility in taking the meals when you want. And of course no swimming pool, just 2 jacuzzies.
Food: the quality is on general (there are a few misses) very good but there are hardly no choices to eat anything else than the menu of the day (unless you are willing to pay for other food in the bistro or the tearoom). At lunchtime for instance there is only one starter, two main courses and one desert. And you have to show up at the fixed time (and leave at the latest 1.5 hours later). The choices at dinner are hardly bigger.