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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
I have just returned from the round trip on Finnmarken. Hurtigruten provides an excellent voyage and some stunning scenery. Much has been said about the trips so I will not add to the many reviews. BUT, Hurtigruten and probably other ... Read More
I have just returned from the round trip on Finnmarken. Hurtigruten provides an excellent voyage and some stunning scenery. Much has been said about the trips so I will not add to the many reviews. BUT, Hurtigruten and probably other cruise lines MUST deal with the problem of mobile phone usage. WE witnessed people taking calls on speakerphone and coupled with their loud voices this was a massive distraction. It is time to have quiet areas so that those who are thoughtless and rude do not spoil the trip for others. We witnessed arguments almost every day with people saying don’t talk on your phone. Trips -very varied and interesting. Well organised. Food -buffet -pretty good and a very wide range Restaurant on flloor 7 -VERY good. For this on board the upgrade cost is only NOK290 Hurtigruten - you do a great job but please address the matter of the phone nuisance Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
I'm fed-up with moaning minnies who comment unfavourably on this 70-year old 'real ship' because it doesn't seem to match up to the vast majority of the bland 'floating blocks of flats' (i.e. most other cruise ... Read More
I'm fed-up with moaning minnies who comment unfavourably on this 70-year old 'real ship' because it doesn't seem to match up to the vast majority of the bland 'floating blocks of flats' (i.e. most other cruise ships). Of course it doesn't! Anybody who does the most basic of research should KNOW what they can expect of the Astoria. This is a 'travel experience' and all the better for i! Consider these facts; (1) Pretty straightforward arrival/departure arrangements at smaller ports (Poole in this instance); (2) Great destinations (because she's a small ship and can get into places that the leviathans can't); (3) ALL cabins have bath, bidet and shower (OK, possibly slightly tired - but more or less unheard of on newer ships); (4) Other reviewers' adverse comments made about the food are frankly PATHETIC (see later); (5) Friendly crew who appear to go out of their way to be helpful; (6) Sensibly-priced on-board drinks (billed in sterling) with a good selection; (7) Very acceptable leisure-facilities given her small size; (8) Unbeatable value for money as long as you are not expecting The Ritz. We paid just £492 each and achieved a 'one grade' upgrade to an outside cabin, which was a bonus - but the review wouldn't have changed even if we had been in the inside cabin that we had expected. Bear in mind that the basic 'real cost' will actually always be £7 per day each higher because of the addition of the 'automatic gratuity' - so in our case that made it £562 each. Allowing for our travel costs, car-parking (£100 in this case), four port-excursions and a drink or two each day, our holiday-cost increased to just a smidge under £1000 each. Where else can you get full-board accommodation and be transported around the country with organised excursions for just £100 per day? The food in Astoria's restaurant is EXCELLENT (and not at all bad in the buffet). I've not had better Beef Wellington or Fillet Mignon for example. We always push the boat out and have all five courses at dinner (OK, so the 'sophisticated' might say that this is not good form - but I don't care!) and the quantities are entirely adequate. I suppose that anybody paying the top-prices (we heard of some passengers who had paid a basic price of aproaching £1800 each) might feel perturbed that they had to 'endure' the riff-raff (not that there was anybody actually like that on our cruise - just 'normal' folk', expectedly all of age 65+) since there is absolutely no segregation (everybody eating the same food in the same restaurants, using the same bars, seeing the same entertainment and using the same ship's-tenders when transferring ashore from anchor-ports) - which is why the canny traveller will opt for the lower-priced deals. The entertainment-team work hard and their 'Round The World' show in particular was simply fun to see after our second-sitting dinner (a really nice table of 8 incidentally, with an excellent steward). The two guest-comedians (two shows each) generated a good number of laughs at each performance. There were a couple of intersting talks by a guest-lecturer in the room which doubles as a cinema (some good films were shown, but the time of showing did not suit second-sitting diners), - but again, don't expect an I-Max style experience. I genuinely believe that people of 'normal expectation' can have little grounds to fault this splendid old ship. My advice is to travel on her whilst you still can, with just the one caveat that those of impaired mobility might be better-advised to look elsewhere (getting on and off the ship itself - and especially on and off the tenders at anchor-ports - calls for a modest degree of agility). Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Boarding was very good, the ship is old and my upgrade to a basic suite was good, but the bathroom needed a complete refurbishment. There were drain smells emanating from the plug hole. Breakfast and lunch were mediocre, but the ... Read More
Boarding was very good, the ship is old and my upgrade to a basic suite was good, but the bathroom needed a complete refurbishment. There were drain smells emanating from the plug hole. Breakfast and lunch were mediocre, but the evening meal was good. The shore trips were very expensive, wi fi had to be paid for and the photographers were over the top. You had to fill in little forms for more water which hung from the existing water bottles. It does strike you that they are trying to make money from the most basic item. Staff were lovely. Captain we did not see at the introduction nights. They did push the boat out on Captain's night, Celebration nights with lots of snacks and free wine. The entertainment was enjoyable. There is a lot of competition for cruising and basically they need to upgrade to be more competitive and review their pricing policy. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Paid half price and got half of nearly everything. We actually left on the 23/3/19 for 11 day cruise from Poole. We were attracted to the cruise because it left from Poole, was visiting the Shetland Isles and in particular The Scilly ... Read More
Paid half price and got half of nearly everything. We actually left on the 23/3/19 for 11 day cruise from Poole. We were attracted to the cruise because it left from Poole, was visiting the Shetland Isles and in particular The Scilly Isles. At the start we only had half a day in both Dunkirk and Invergordon. At the end, the Scilly Isles was cancelled altogether because of rough weather forecast and difficulty of boarding tenders to go ashore. Indeed arrangements for getting passengers ashore were generally very unsatisfactory particularly bearing in mind that at least the half passengers seemed to have mobility issues. In many cases, apart from tenders it involved walking down a steep set of rickety steps. Not the best we have experienced. As Tresco was the only coach trip we had booked we and many others were bitterly disappointed. There were frequent shuttle buses at most ports of call though which were very good once ashore. The food was terrible. Breakfast was the best. Portions were minute. One roast potato, slice of carrot and piece of broccoli in the dining room. Matchbox sized portions of cheesecake. I actually lost 3lbs!!! The bar & wine waiter were obviously under instructions to ignore whatever the customer asked for and only to give large measures. We were going to tip our room steward extra but a couple of days before the end I asked for another toilet roll and was told it was rationed!!!! So no tip! All in all I am sorry to say I cannot recommend this cruise and based on what we had CMV either. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
In wanting to see the Northern Light, we opted to take Hurtigruten's guarantee of their experience, vs going to Iceland. When we booked this cruise we were unaware that the ship serves as a cargo & ferry ship. It stops at ... Read More
In wanting to see the Northern Light, we opted to take Hurtigruten's guarantee of their experience, vs going to Iceland. When we booked this cruise we were unaware that the ship serves as a cargo & ferry ship. It stops at countless ports. This isn't your topical cruise. There is no casino (we don't gamble, so okay for us) or entertainment, nor is there food available without purchasing it (VERY EXPENSIVE), other than the included breakfast, lunch & dinner. Yet with that said, we have no regrets having taken this trip. Things we disliked: 1. Too short of time in ports to enjoy excursions (too rushed). 2. Last minute notices on activities or lectures. 3. They discourage you from tipping individually. (Though tipping is not really customary) Things we liked: 1. Small ship, so not that many people on board. 2. Because there wasn't entertainment, it was relaxing (not noisy of music or people). 3. The dining service was outstanding. Every server was pleasant, efficient and friendly. 4. The entire cruise was scenic as we travelled through the fjords. Norway has the most beautiful coastline (yes, prettier than Alaska). 5. We saw the Northern Lights as promised ---the MOST SPECTACULAR experience!!! (Personally, I don't believe anything can top that experience in our future vacations). Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
This was given to me as a 70th birthday present because it involved the Norwegian coast, which I had always indicated I wanted to see. My wife also chose this cruise because it wasn't a typical one: it offered an Astronomy Voyage, ... Read More
This was given to me as a 70th birthday present because it involved the Norwegian coast, which I had always indicated I wanted to see. My wife also chose this cruise because it wasn't a typical one: it offered an Astronomy Voyage, with an expert lecturer on the Northern Lights and other night sky phenomena (Dr John Mason), and with other interesting talks, information points and excursions handled by the two-woman Expedition Team. The ship was obviously comfortable and well-appointed, but wasn't a great block of flats on a hull, like many modern cruise vessels, and it combined very good facilities for passengers with an element of working ship, delivering cargo at a lot of ports (34) along the way. Our cabin was small, but very comfortable and well-designed: it became a home from home! The organisation of the cruise from start to finish was absolutely faultless: e.g. embarking and disembarkation - including management of our luggage - were handled with the utmost efficiency and with no needless hanging around for passengers. Throughout the voyage, we were kept informed of what was happening through clear - and audible! - announcements. Two minor problems with cabin equipment were immediately remedied. Excursions were handled with the utmost efficiency by the Expedition Team and those ashore, making everything worry-free and enjoyable. The food was plentiful and tasty, without the ridiculous waste and excess which one gathers are the norm on some cruises. Breakfasts involved a good range of items, though the quality of a couple of them (eg scrambled eggs and porridge) could be a bit variable. The lunch buffets had an element of Norwegian comfort food about them, which we found agreeable. Evening meals involved a set 3-course menu, which some might find restrictive, but most of the dishes served were excellent with a lot of locally-sourced ingredients. Prices for drinks were high, especially for those with weakening sterling bank accounts! The scenery was simply breathtaking, with constantly changing vistas of snowy peaks coming down to the sea and of islands, many with small and picturesque settlements on them: it will live in our memories for ever. The experience of the late winter Norwegian coast, including settlements in the Arctic Circle, was simply magical. And we saw the lovely Northern Lights - with one amazing moment when the night sky filled with a burst of extraordinary light. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This cruise was amazing. We signed up for the "Astronomy Cruise," which featured British astronomer Professor John Mason. He was an incredible teacher and loved by all! It was a subgroup of about 80 of us. We gathered daily for ... Read More
This cruise was amazing. We signed up for the "Astronomy Cruise," which featured British astronomer Professor John Mason. He was an incredible teacher and loved by all! It was a subgroup of about 80 of us. We gathered daily for lectures on the Northern Lights in particular and astronomy in general. He is a captivating lecturer! The group developed a lovely connection and we spent many hours on the top deck Aurora hunting. After a disappointing 7 nights of clouds and snow we were rewarded with 2 nights of magnificent displays which fully satisfied any bucket-list cravings! Beyond incredible! We also did many of the excursions and they were better than we expected: Favorites were the Husky dog sledding in Kirkenes, the Sea Eagle safari, the 2 fishing villages with an incredible art gallery at the end of the world, the Midnight concert and the Viking dinner. We also did the Vesteralen excursion, and a few hikes which were nice. We thought 12 days might feel like too much but the time flew by, and since we had a suite, just sitting in our huge bay window watching Norway go by was an eternal delight. We stayed in suite (room 823) which was HEAVEN!! If you can splurge on a suite it's worth it! The rooms are tiny! All the suites look great. I was disappointed we did not get one with a balcony but it would've been too chilly to use it much anyway. The food was great -- tons of options. If you have food requirements you need to be persistent and remind them repeatedly, but they are eager to please. We universally loved all the staff we encountered. (Reports of rudeness in other reviews are a mystery to me.) Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
The Hurtigruten Classic Round Voyage with the Northern Lights Promise, 24 March to 4 April 2019 on the ship Polarlys. Did we see the northern lights? That is a good question! Although we had some good daytime weather, the sky was ... Read More
The Hurtigruten Classic Round Voyage with the Northern Lights Promise, 24 March to 4 April 2019 on the ship Polarlys. Did we see the northern lights? That is a good question! Although we had some good daytime weather, the sky was cloudy for the first nine nights. Since Hurtigruten promise that we will see the lights, I predicted to my wife that on the tenth night (2 April), when the forecast was for partly clear skies but we were already well south, we would see something inconclusive and Hurtigruten would claim that we’d seen them. This is exactly what happened. At about 11 pm the public address system announced weak lights. We went up on deck and at first saw nothing. Eventually we decided that a very dim static grey glow above a big bank of cloud must be what they were talking about. Hurtigruten’s “promise” actually says “100%. That’s how sure we are that the spectacular Northern Lights will make an appearance on your 12-day Hurtigruten voyage. If not, we'll give you another voyage for free”; this under a beautiful photograph of green lights. Accordingly, the next morning, since what we saw had been pathetic rather than “spectacular”, we enquired how to go about claiming our free voyage. They said: “No deal, the Captain says you’ve seen the lights”. The Captain refused to see us and no evidence such as a photograph was offered. But we spoke to others of the crew. They were all evasive and one was very rude. Up to this point we’d been quite happy with Hurtigruten over two trips (the other being a very good summer trip in 2014), but this behaviour, betraying a deep dishonesty pervading the company, really upset us. Initially we intended to complain higher up the company. But eventually we decided that we just couldn’t face the hassle. Life is too short and Hurtigruten have clearly briefed their staff thoroughly in their dishonest response. In any case we might well not have taken up the “free” voyage. The small print is very restrictive: only half the round trip (i.e. just 5 or 6 days), make and fund your own travel arrangements to and from the ports one of which will be Kirkenes in the far north, inside cabin, half board, book it within a month of returning, etc. It was not all a disaster and we enjoyed parts of the trip. We saw some fantastic scenery after new snow and enjoyed the food. Being near the equinox, there were around 13 hours of good daylight. But there were other hiccups beyond Hurtigruten’s control. At the start, the ship couldn’t get down to Bergen because of bad weather; so, having flown into Bergen, we had to fly on to Trondheim the same day, not arriving at the boat till well after midnight. The one excursion that we had booked, to the Northcape, was cancelled because of wind and snow. And I felt seasick a couple of times, not seriously but queasy enough to miss several meals! Friends who did the trip a couple of weeks before us also only saw vague white lights. On the other hand, the internet has many accounts of people who had a great time. So, in conclusion, it’s much more of a risk than Hurtigruten claim that you won’t see anything convincing, and don’t believe their dishonest promise that you’ll get a free trip. But you could well get lucky. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We have done a lot of cruises. We were aware that the Nordkapp is a working vessel and that it was going to be a lot less comfortable than a lot of other ships that is why we booked a attic superior cabin. When we arrived at the check in ... Read More
We have done a lot of cruises. We were aware that the Nordkapp is a working vessel and that it was going to be a lot less comfortable than a lot of other ships that is why we booked a attic superior cabin. When we arrived at the check in we had been downgraded to a polar outside. Because I am claustrophobic I jumped up and down to at least get a window. The cabin was the size of a railway compartment and the beds had to be folded into the walls so that we could get around the cabin during the day. Not good on a 12 days journey. The food was very ordinary. No choice for dinner. Only one option or vegetarian. Caters very much for European taste. Dried fish pickled vegetables etc. was sick twice in 12 days. The stops on the itinerary looked interesting but a lot o stops were only for 15 to 20 mins so could not get off. You have to pay for Tea and coffee other than meal times also for water and it is about $7 Aussie for each. The tours for a couple of hours range from $250 to $400 each and over for longer duration. We felt very ripped off and would suggest you look long and hard into this shipping line before choosing them. We did see the Northern Lights briefly and that is a plus. Also the scenery is magnificent and we did encounter VERY rough seas good luck fellow adventurer. Bev from Australia Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We wanted to celebrate my 70th birthday, to put behind us a challenging year, and to learn about a country and locality that we wouldn't normally see. The first thing to say is that if you like cruising with all the associated ... Read More
We wanted to celebrate my 70th birthday, to put behind us a challenging year, and to learn about a country and locality that we wouldn't normally see. The first thing to say is that if you like cruising with all the associated comforts and amenities of cruising, don't choose the Hurtigruten Atlantic Fiords trip. The business of Hurtigruten is to supply all of the large and small coastal communities between Bergen in the south of Norway and Kirkenes in the north with life's essentials and to enable Norwegians to move up and down the coast. The Kong Harald is a 'ferry with benefits' and up to 400 passengers that have subsidised the service for many years; there were from the UK, Germany, France, Australia and North America. That said the crew, food, and organisation of shore side activities were very good. What's more Mother Nature may let you see Aurora Borealis but be prepared for disappointment - take a good camera! We travelled on the round trip between 7 and 18 March. Our cabin was on the 6th deck and had a double bed, 'bijou' shower, toilet, wash room, coffee facilities and TV. We saw some of the other cabins on lower decks and were please we paid for up grade. It had the additional advantage that we weren't disturbed by the overnight docking and freight handling which can occur up to four times: some passengers on the lower decks said it could be noisy. Food was good especially the fish and self service for breakfast and lunch. If you have deep pockets there was a good selection of wine at £40-50/bottle and £10 for a half pint (Norway is notoriously expensive). We were very lucky with the weather. It was brilliant with clear skies, calm seas and snow capped landscape - but it was COLD and there was always a breeze so the outside temperature was much lower than the air temperature. We raided Trespass and Mountain Warehouse who were very helpful with what is meant by layering up - and we were glad of their advice. There was no 'entertainment' such as may be expected on a cruise but there were daily briefings about next day excursions. We had pre-booked six that would give an insight into the communities and ways of life of the residents but if you are into snow trekking and off-piste activities there were options but remember, the whole of the ships life is governed by its departure time from port. Would we repeat the journey in either winter or summer (more expensive)? The answer is no. For us there were too many passengers and it was difficult to get away without spending more time in our cabin. The scenery is spectacular in Winter and Summer if that is your thing. Norway is an interesting country with a total population half that of London. It has large oil & gas reserves that it sells and invests the income. The primary business of the coastal communities is fishing and processing, shipping and tourism. Look out for the spectacular bridges and some of the longest road tunnels in the world. Read Less

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