Hurtigruten’s “Expedition” series cruises are half-way between a traditional cruise and an adventure expedition. The food is top class, plentiful and well managed but the choice of restaurants, bars and dining experiences is limited. The on-board entertainment centres around lectures, craft activities etc and there are no “shows” or anything of the like. There is no casino. The focus is on organised tours on shore, hiking and kayaking with the ship being the means of transport between destinations. There are usually one or two shore excursions to uninhabited areas using zodiacs, but unlike expedition cruises to destinations like Greenland or the Antarctic, there are few shore excursions such as this on Norwegian coastal cruises. The average age of passengers would be 55+ and there is little or nothing to cater to children or teenagers. The cabin facilities are good and the staff well managed. The ship carries a maximum of 500 passengers and around 130 staff. Don’t expect the sort of experience you would have on a huge vessel carrying thousands of guests with families. We enjoyed the cruise and for the most part it met our expectations, but the shore excursions in buses became a little repetitive. I have been on a more adventurous expedition cruise previously (to Svalbard) where the shore excursions were all by inflatable boats to wild areas and I found that to be a more memorable and exciting trip. However, coastal Norway excursions are easier paced and concerned with visits to inhabited areas (with shops!).
The cabin contained two bunk beds with reading lights but there was no wall-mounted storage for reading glasses etc. The bunks were comfortable however one bunk has a shelf over it and it is easy to hit your head against i when getting into bed. The cabin also contained a small desk with a mirror, adequate cupboard storage although we never entirely unpacked our bags. There is a chair and a small table as well. The TV was good but positioned in a way that made it hard for both of us to watch at the same time because of the shelf mentioned above. The bathroom was well-appointed with adjustable underfloor heating and a shower with good pressure and temperature adjustment. There was also a small pull-out clothes line, a hair dryer and a power point. Aircon in the room was effective but a little warm sometimes and the room could occasionally feel stuffy. The room was large enough for two people for a fortnight - we did not feel like we were in each other’s way. If the cabin is booked for a solo traveller one of the bunks is folded against the wall and it would feel quite roomy. The power points are European 2-prong style and adaptors can be provided by reception for free.