We chose the Northern Lights voyage on the Midnatsol becuase we had taken the same trip two years earlier on a much smaller ship, the Vesteralen. We had had such a good time earlier that we decided to do it again. It just happened that ... Read More
We chose the Northern Lights voyage on the Midnatsol becuase we had taken the same trip two years earlier on a much smaller ship, the Vesteralen. We had had such a good time earlier that we decided to do it again. It just happened that the Midnatsol was the ship that was leaving Bergen on the day that we were able to start our trip.
First, don't pay attention to all the reviewers who complain because of the lack of entertainment or activities on board. Their travel agents must have given them the wrong impression about what the Norwegian coastal voyages are all about. In fact, the very reason we took Hurtigruten is that it wasn't going to be like a lot of other cruises we had been on with casinos, lounge acts, photographers every time you turn around, and way way way too much noise and way way way too many people. We weren't disappointed at all - in fact, I enjoyed myself so much that I'm going again in March 2018 and we've already booked the same trip for January 2019.
Second, our experience with the service from Hurtigruten has been phenomenal - whether with booking trips or flights or check-in or on the ship itself. Hurtigruten employees know how to provide superb service, and I've never experienced poor service - not once. In fact, on our most recent trip, our flight from the US was delayed, and we weren't able to board the ship in Bergen. When I knew that our flight was to be delayed, I called Hurtigruten and they got to work re-arranging flights so that we could meet up with the ship in Trondheim on the third day of the voyage, put us up in a wonderful hotel in Trondheim, and covered all the extra costs. (We had arranged flights through Hurtigruten, so they took good care of us. ) When our bags from Chicago didn't arrive in Trondheim, Hurtirgruten worked with United Airlines and SAS to deliver our bags to us on the ship on the 5th day of the trip. And they refunded the first two days of the trip! Who does that? If that' s not great service, I don't know what is.
Third, all of our excursions have been outstanding. I read one review from someone who complained that their whale-watching excursion had been cancelled because of weather. Who would complain about that!?! One of our excursions to the North Cape was cancelled because of high winds and snow (the cost was refunded, of course). When we took the excursion two years earlier, our bus was in a caravan of two busses and three or four cars, headed up by a snow plow to clear the road ahead of us. It was exciting, cold, windy, and exhilarating. I report that because I want to emphasize that Hurtigruten wouldn't cancel an excursion unless there was good reason - like safety of travelers.
And the food was outstanding. Many reviewers complained about having a lot of fish. Well, if you're going to the Norgwegian coast, what in the world do you expect? We had a variety of fish - all sourced from vendors along the coast (which I particularly appreciated). And we also had food that I'd never had before, including reindeer and ox. All cooked to perfection and served by friendly servers who went out of their way to make us happy. If you're looking for your usual cruise ship menu, go on one of the "big box" cruise lines. If you're looking for a novel travel experience and you're willing to be a little bit open-minded, take a Hurtigruten voyage. (I hesitate to call it a cruise, because it's not even comparable.)
If you're looking for a Caribbean cruise with discos, midnight buffets, nightly shows, casinos, drunk passengers, formal dining, rowdy kids, and way too much stimulation and way too many calories - a Hurtigruten voyage isn't for you. If you want to see incredible scenery, meet people from all over the world, experience the highest standards of friendly, non-snooty service, and feel relaxed when the trip is over, Hurtigruten just might be the trip for you. Read Less