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MS Spitsbergen Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
35 reviews
8 Awards

Continuous Disappointment

Review for MS Spitsbergen to the British Isles & Western Europe
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First Time Cruiser • Age 70s

Rating by category

Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Apr 2022

The cruise to the outer British Isles was booked in March of 2020 after a very successful cruise up the Norwegian coast. With such a high opinion of Hurtigruten, we waited eagerly for the sailing of this cruise on April 11, 2022. To be fair, we were well greeted by the crew and very well looked after by housekeeping and the dining staff. The ship is comfortable and our cabin, 413, was spacious and well laid out. I am writing as the 2nd passenger in cabin 413. I believe you have already heard from Elizabeth Dunkel, the friend with whom I was traveling. What follows are my recommendations that I hope will be considered for future cruises to this area. Our first afternoon on board we were told we must book the next 3 days activities that night. This gave us no opportunity to understand the offerings. The Island of Mousa hike was cancelled so the first morning I switched to the Samburgh Head Bird Cliffs and Hoswick. I was disappointed but I did enjoy the day. Our next day was to be our only visit to Fair Isle, and the landing was cancelled. As a knitter, this visit would have been a highlight of the trip. On April 15 we visited Stornoway, and I had the pleasure of hiking the Great Bernera Trail. We were led by a local guide and after a 2 hour walk, she told us we had 2 more hours ahead of us and at our rate we would have arrived back to the ship late. We were a hale and hardy bunch but we were also bird watchers and photographers. This excursion should be given more time and we could have made lunch to bring along. The next day, April 17th, was our opportunity to visit Loch Scavaig. This landing was cancelled. In the morning, we hiked around Canna and were rushed to rejoin the ship for lunch. We could have stayed on Canna for the day. The expedition crew thought it would be interesting for us to board the zodiaks for 30 minute trips in the rain to look at where we might have come ashore. The next day was another highlight of this voyage, the opportunity to visit the Iona Abbey. The landing was cancelled. At this point, a great sadness overtook me. The trip felt so poorly planned. Too early in the spring perhaps? Too many trips dependent on tender landings? April 19th I chose the Duart Castle opportunity. This is not a good representation of a British castle. It is a museum inside. On April 20, we came ashore at Port Ellen. I needed a pharmacy but there was not one in town. We took a 20 minute bus ride to Bowmar, suggested by the locals, found a lovely little town and tea room. I think the Expedition crew should know of this for future trips. To conclude, we missed so much of what we planned to see. We made uninformed choices for our excursions because no one knew anything. There were no evening presentations before the excursions were planned, like on the Norway coastal cruise. Being told, over and over again, "this is our first cruise to this area" just doesn't cut-it. This trip was ill thought out, poorly planned and executed. There was poor representation of the Scottish culture and history. On Peel, we found an amazing little museum of local folklore and mythology. It was not suggested by the expedition crew. Will, I take another Hurtigruten cruise? I asked myself, if this were my first Hurtigruten experience, would I recommend this company to friends?

Cabin Review

Great cabin

2 Helpful Votes
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