Nordnorge - Northern Europe: Nordnorge Cruise Review by Verbier

Nordnorge 4
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Nordnorge - Northern Europe

Sail Date: June 2002
Destination: Baltic Sea
Embarkation: Bergen
5 of us (all from Switzerland) sailed on the Nordnorge from Bergen to Kirkenes in mid June 2002.

We were delighted with the boarding process which was really easy. Our luggage was taken from us at the dock and we went straight to our cabins. We then sorted out dinner reservations and were able to secure a table for the group, without other people assigned to it, by opting for the second sitting (7.30pm I seem to remember). The Hurtigruten is a working line, and everything went like clockwork. Loading finished on time and we sailed on time, enjoying the view from the observation lounge of the archipelago as we left Bergen.

The cabins, for junior suites, were small but adequate. We had a sitting area, bathroom with shower (bathroom was really small!) and a comfortable king size bed with nice duvets. Everything was spotless. One member of our group has a single cabin - which was in fact a standard double - and she found this really small. If two people had been in it, More with both beds down (one folded up in the daytime, and for single use) then there was really no room to move! The only other comment about our cabin is that the window was really high up and you could only see out of it if you stood up. Too bad - it would have been lovely had it been lower!

The meals on the ship are typically Norwegian - very copious. (Would suite Americans I suppose but for European travellers servings were rather large!) Breakfast and lunch were buffets with loads of fresh seafood and, to my husband's delight, make-it-yourself waffles at breakfast. Food at dinner was served - the waiters did morning duty as cabin cleaners and were mostly all charming young Norwegian students - and quite bland. Potatoes came with everything!!

As I said, this is a working ship. It makes something like 36 port calls from Bergen to Kirkenes, transporting all sorts of things including people. We had been warned that we might hear noise in the night as cargo was loaded and un-loaded. In fact we heard nothing and slept like babies!! But, being a working ship, people keep getting on and off and there seems to be no policy to stop the young from sleeping anywhere on the ship - including the nice swivel chairs in the Observation lounge!! I found this rather tacky.

Our itinerary was great. We stopped at Trondheim and took a ship-organised excursion to visit a museum of musical instruments, which was fascinating. We also cruised the Geiranger Fjord - truly beautiful scenery. I think this was added as part of the attraction for foreigners as the ship didn't seem to stop anywhere or load and unload. We stopped at other little (and I mean little!) towns and then sailed to the Lofoten Islands. These are truly spectacular and we enjoyed the couple of hours in port. Another tour we took was at the North Cape, which is Europe's most northerly point. We were bused to the Cape where we had time to see a really good film on it and walk around. We also visited a Sami (Lapp) encampment. I could have done without this as, like American Indian pueblos, it is quite depressing and you hate to see the Sami being exploited as a tourist destination.

We were on board on June 21st, way into the Artic Circle, and experienced the sun circling around us instead of setting. Really impressive!!

In sum, we all enjoyed the trip. It is not a luxury ship by any means, but it is comfortable (A/C works perfectly in the cabins) and the scenery is fabulous! Less

Published 11/19/04
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