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6 Hurtigruten Polarlys Arctic Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the northern lights. We saw the northern lights but so much more. The scenery was spectacular, the weather was kind to us. The crew could not have been more helpful. they were efficient, polite ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the northern lights. We saw the northern lights but so much more. The scenery was spectacular, the weather was kind to us. The crew could not have been more helpful. they were efficient, polite and friendly. They seemed to genuinely enjoy their work. In general the service was excellent. There was a good choice of activities on board but plenty of time to relax and enjoy the views. Some of the excursions were not quite as interesting as we were expecting, partly because of the short daylight hours which meant we were out and about in the dark. We learned lots about the history of Norway, some politics and lots about fish! Embarkation went smoothly but on the return journey the airport was chaos which was a shame. It was a jolt to the reality of air travel at its worst. We would definitely travel with Hurtigruten again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I thought the classic round trip would give me the best opportunity to see the Northern lights. Overall the trip exceeded my expectations. The ship was very good and run in an efficient way. The staff were very hardworking, particularly ... Read More
I thought the classic round trip would give me the best opportunity to see the Northern lights. Overall the trip exceeded my expectations. The ship was very good and run in an efficient way. The staff were very hardworking, particularly the restaurant waiter service. Their language skills & friendly service were excellent. I cannot fault the choice and standard of food. Yes the excursions are expensive- book them before you go - they do cost more on board. Yes the port stops are relatively short but the towns are small. Yes you’ll spend more time on board. Lots of ladies did knItting or crafts. There’s a couple of big jigsaws on board to work on collectively. It’s easy to spend time chatting to your fellow travellers and taking a walk outside around the deck - be sociable ! The presentations were varied and very interesting. Ultimately, seeing good displays of the Northern Lights on 5 nights was the icing on the cake. I did have a disappointing start to the trip. My cabin smelt strongly of fish ! I did manage to get a can of air freshener from the reception but they weren’t that sympathetic and the smell was bad for the first 3 days. I’ve suggested to Hurtigruten that they supply plug-in fresheners in the cabins. Otherwise take your own, just in case. I’d definitely do the trip again at a different time of year when the scenery will be different and longer days. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Wanted to see Northern Lights - Hurtigruten recommended by friends, and YES we did see the lights for several nights. But, be aware, the lights do not look bright green. Often they are no more than white cloud. Only when you photograph ... Read More
Wanted to see Northern Lights - Hurtigruten recommended by friends, and YES we did see the lights for several nights. But, be aware, the lights do not look bright green. Often they are no more than white cloud. Only when you photograph the sky do you capture the green colour. It is very exciting when you get your first green images! Polarlys is an expedition boat so has an expedition team on board giving talks on photographing the northern lights, facts about Norway, myths and legends, the Vikings, oil and gas......Excellent lectures cabin 550, level 5. Arctic superior. Near an outside door so we could very quickly collect camera and tripod and get outside. (There are announcements when the lights are showing) Very comfortable double bed, plenty of cupboard space to completely unpack and store case under the bed. Good shower. Tea and coffee making facilities (nescafe) The package included free tea and coffee from the cafes on board all day. Fantastic food, buffets at breakfast and lunch. Set meal at dinner, served at your table. You can change the main meal if you do not like it. I am lactose intolerant and having told the head waitress, my meals were modified every night - different sauce/potatoes if they had milk in them. That service was very impressive Free tap water was available at every meal ( I think it is UV treated water so no need to buy the water package) Beer, wine all about £10 a glass Good public seating areas both up in the panoramic deck 7 lounge and on deck 4. However, people do 'reserve' their seats by leaving books etc on the chairs when they go off for a meal. Possibly not quite enough seating where you can get a good view. However we never had a problem - lectures to go to etc Excursions are expensive. We did Taste of Vestalen - very good; North Cape, also excellent; Russian border - ok ( old video shown in the bunker - sound quality not that good); midnight concert in Tromso - fantastic Overall, great trip, good value for money - our package inclusive of the flight Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Norwegian airways flew us to Oslo from Gatwick, comparable to other European low cost airlines. Over night in the Radisson Blu good and the hotel is practically on the airport apron, a five minute walk, as well as the railway station to ... Read More
Norwegian airways flew us to Oslo from Gatwick, comparable to other European low cost airlines. Over night in the Radisson Blu good and the hotel is practically on the airport apron, a five minute walk, as well as the railway station to get to Oslo. We arrived early afternoon so opted to take to 125 mph train into Oslo, well worth the extra cost, even though you only save 5 minutes on the standard journey. It's amazing how everything is kept running, road, rail and air. No wrong kind of snow or more than 2 cms deep which usually brings the UK to a grinding halt. Every town/city has what we would call Christmas lights and very good they are too, however, they are not Christmas light but winter lights and are switched on at the winter soltise to make the shopping experience more enjoyable during the winter darkness, usually only about 1 to 4 hours of daylight. All Norwegian airports have auto check-in and baggage drop and the system is very good. A person walking around to spot first time users would be helpful as it does take a little thinking about when first using the system but, after that, future use is a breeze. Pick up at Kirkenes airport was a little late and the transfer service used is the every day bus service so we had stops along the route to the harbour and Hurtigruten pier. The ship was waiting for our arrival and we sailed almost immediately after boarding. The ship is clean and has an open, light and pleasent feeling. Regarding previous comments about the size of the cabins we found ours to be comfortable enough, especially the bed, and easy to get around. Yes, the space between the end of the bed and the bulkhead is perhaps only about 12 inches but still negotiable, as well as the shower cubicle. (We have had smaller cubicles on Regent ships). I would suggest that the reviewers who have complained about the size of the spaces are perhaps of a more rotund shape than my wife and I and therefore the cabin design and size cannot be blamed for that. The food was generally good, I particually liked the smoked and pickled fish choices. We found the hot food was over salted and very buttery, the desserts were especially buttery. Perhaps that is the usual way in the Arctic regions to counteract the cold. The lectures and the expedition team didn't really impress us, far too basic in information and presentation and terminology used could be better, for example, journey instead of voyage and ship names such as floor instead of deck, wall instead of bulkhead. A plastic laminated list of shore side alongside onboard terms would be helpful or an information book in the Compass shop area. We found the cabin cupboard door catches stiff to open and close and noisy. Magnetic catches and soft closing hinges would solve this. The soap/shampoo and conditioner dispensers were too high up on the shower bulkhead,(wall), making them awkward to use, lowering them by about a foot would solve this problem. The actual contents are very good along with the hand soap at the sink. A plastic laminated card showing how to operate the telephone as an alarm and hearing PA broardcasts in the cabin and operation of the cabin heating control would be useful. This is not an all-inclusive voyage apart from the full board element, with ships water at meal times, everything else has to be paid for except for the sauna, jacuzzi and gym. All prices are very expensive compared to UK and Lanzarote prices, (we have retired here), we didn't partake of anything on board. Don't be fooled by comments that the bottled water is superior to the ships water produced on board, it is not, I challenge anyone to tell the difference in a blind test. Like everything about the bottled water industry we are being conned wholesale. The bottled water on board is charge to your account. A good tip, your are allowed to take empty plastic bottles through Norwegian airport security, (yes, I know!) and can therefore be topped up airside and used on board for shore excursions etc using tap water. Tap water is not inferior to bottled water, that is a marketing scam promulgated by the bottled water companies making profits of 500% or more. A waiter called Jonas stood out for us, a very pleasant demeanor and more than helpful. The guy in the Multe bakery and ice cream bar always had a smile and a cheery hello whenever you passed, we always passed, nearly a fiver for a cone with one scoop! The shore excursions were mostly done in the dark,even city tours with viewpoints??? We only went on one, to Trondheim cathedral, which was included in the IGLU package. It only got light as we came back on board at 1000. All in all a pleasent enough voyage with some stunning scenery, just unfortuate that we didn't see the Aurora Borealis. We don't think we would sail with them again for no particular reason than that is has been ticked off the "list". Apparently, whilst up north of the Arctic circle the Aurora Borealis could be seen in and around Newcastle, UK, just our luck! Virgin trains north next trip? Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
As a group of friends who had always wanted to see the northern lights this cruise sounded perfect (free cruise if they don't appear and so on). None of us had ever cruised on any ship before. We heard feed back from fellow travellers ... Read More
As a group of friends who had always wanted to see the northern lights this cruise sounded perfect (free cruise if they don't appear and so on). None of us had ever cruised on any ship before. We heard feed back from fellow travellers and via reviews on this site about small cabins, lack of entertainment etc. But without a benchmark we didn't have any expectations. The cabins are snug it's true but beds wonderfully comfortable, showers good - we opted for artic superior. There was little in the way of evening entertainment but we spent time getting to know fellow travellers who were great fun. This is NOT a cruise ship more a working ferry with cabins! Drinks onboard were expensive , think £10 for a glass of wine(£40ish a bottle) but that reflects prices in Norway generally. Forewarned is forearmed we just settled for a single nightcap. With arctic superior cabins water at all meals is free. So on to the positives - and there were many. The food deserves a special mention , the evening meal of 3 courses was superb every single night Axel,PAtrick and the team were amazing and the waiters were fantastic. There is no choice and the set menu was not always what I would have chosen but there wasn't a single plate over the 11 days that wasn't outstanding. You do have the option, for an extra c£22 per night to go a la carte but we didn't at all. Breakfast and lunch was in the form of a buffet and the soups salads and seafood were divine. At both meals there were hot and cold options. The staff were outstanding, so friendly and helpful- special mention here to Amanda in the restaurant, she was wonderful. The best of the excursions we took were dog sledding at Tromso, the fishing villages and the ice hotel. Fellow travellers who did the snowmobile tour said it was great fun. The scenery as you sail up the coast was awesome and the towns and villages we stopped at picture perfect. In hindsight I think I would opt , as many did ,to sail Bergen- Kirkenes, stay at the ice hotel and fly back from there rather than make the return trip. Did we see the lights - you bet - 3 times Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
If you are an 'occasional' cruiser and prefer the smaller ships and more personal service, this may be for you. Hurtigruten ships fit into the small ship category and we were lucky enough to benefit from the recent new fit-out ... Read More
If you are an 'occasional' cruiser and prefer the smaller ships and more personal service, this may be for you. Hurtigruten ships fit into the small ship category and we were lucky enough to benefit from the recent new fit-out of The Polarlys, our home for the round trip of 12 days. One mustn't forget this is a 'working' ship with multiple stops to deliver and take on people, cars, food, laundry, equipment and mail. We enjoyed this aspect very much and it gave us an insight into life in the far north Norway. It was fun to watch the small fork-lifts scurrying to and fro on the quay with their wares and some of the 'turnarounds' were as quick as 15 minutes. Choose the best cabins possible, we could recommend the U cabins near the Captain's suite, which is at the front and has wider passageways. Our new cabin fit-out included a huge comfortable double bed and European pillows. The staff were all very friendly and helpful and our Activity Leader Hans was outstanding. We loaded up with as many activities as he recommended and enjoyed 9 in total which absolutely enhanced the cruise experience. For the record we did a bike tour in Trondheim, a RIB boat experience to the high tides at Bodo, snow-mobiling, dog sledding, eagle and fish safaris (where the fishing boat pulled up mid-fiord, so an exciting transfer), and a fabulous Midnight concert In the Arctic Cathedral at Tromso. I can't omit 2 fabulous night of Northern Lights, one over the Arctic Cathedral at Tromso just before the service, so very moving with its marvellous swirls of green! The food and new menus were excellent and plentiful, with chefs serving their delights of halibut, COD and fresh salmon. King crab was so delicious as were the shrimps in their various guises. I was in seafood heaven for 12 days. ......and I haven't even mentioned the weather yet. Until our last day of cruising back into Bergen when Thor dropped some rain on us, this was the first rain for the whole cruise. Day after day of sunny weather meant snow covered mountains were at their showy best and we saw fiords working their magic. Our snowmobile trip across a pristine snow covered mountain landscape with reindeer grazing on higher slopes was a real life changing experience and one we will never forget. The sun shone as we scooted across the snowy landscape following the tracks of our local leader. We recommend starting and/or finishing in Bergen as our luggage was taken care of and there were absolutely no queues. Thank you Hurtigruten. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Polarlys Ratings
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