Just completed the 7-day Northbound journey from Bergen to Kirkenses (sort of…more on that later). We did this trip in winter in the hopes of seeing the Aurora Borealis. This trip exceeded our expectations in every way. First, our expectations: It’s a working supply ship, so…rustic, probably dated, not necessarily the most comfortable ship, possibly loud during loading/unloading, boring (very little choice in on-board activities) but the food would be good. We brought ebooks to keep ourselves occupied.
We were delighted that our low expectations were all wrong! Our ship was the MS Nordnorge, which we genuinely fell in love with. Built in 1997, refurbished in 2016 and 2022 (certain decks). We felt she was elegant, welcoming, and comfortable. We have never been on a cruise before, so keep that in mind; we have no basis for comparing Nordnorge to fancy cruise lines. I loved that you could walk from one end to the other in 30 seconds. We never got bored and hardly even had a chance to read our books.
Our experience started at the Hurtigruten Terminal in Bergen. Check-in and luggage drop-off was a breeze. We were then free to explore the lovely town of Bergen on foot for several hours. The passenger lounge opened at about 4 p.m. There were snacks and beverages, including a really delicious fish soup. The lounge was comfortable, and we could watch the ship unloading and loading goods. We boarded at about 5:30. Cabins were available at 6:00 p.m.
Our cabin was #616, in my opinion it had to be the best cabin on the ship. It was categorized as “QJ, Arctic Superior; Larger outside cabin with limited/no view”. We chose it specifically because it looked larger (on the deck plan), and decided a view was not necessary as the Explorer Lounge was always available. We were shocked at how large it was! A bedroom and living area separated by a curtain and the large TV, a desk, and tons of storage. The window near the bed did have a view of the lifeboat, but the window in the living area was not obstructed in any way. The living area had a full sofa and coffee table. I was able to unpack ALL our clothing and winter gear into the closets and cabinets. The bed was very high off the floor, leaving lots of room for suitcases underneath. The bed and pillows were very comfortable and the bed linens felt very luxe. We liked the Arctic decor. The bathroom was more than adequate, water pressure was good for washing long hair, and there was a clothesline included for swimsuits after the hot tub. I genuinely could not think of thing that would have made the room better or more accommodating. It’s location was almost in the middle on deck 6 (out of 7). We never heard sounds or noises of the ship working, docking, unloading. I spoke with people in different cabins, and this was not their experience. In some of the lower deck cabins, they were awakened at night due to sounds and vibration changes during the ship’s docking/unloading. I had come equipped with a white noise machine, but never needed it.