1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Hurtigruten
  4. Polarlys Review
  5. Polarlys Cruise Reviews

29 Hurtigruten Polarlys Norwegian Fjords Cruise Reviews

The ship was renovated in 2016 and is newer and nicer than some of the other Hurtigruten ships. We sailed from Tromsø to Trondheim in March and the scenery was amazing all the way. We stayed at the Arctic Superior cabin which was quite ... Read More
The ship was renovated in 2016 and is newer and nicer than some of the other Hurtigruten ships. We sailed from Tromsø to Trondheim in March and the scenery was amazing all the way. We stayed at the Arctic Superior cabin which was quite small, but nice and comfortable. However, be aware that you risk to get a cabin on deck 5 with the panorama deck right outside your window with somewhat reduced view, as well as direct view into your cabin from the outside. There should therefore be more choices for this cabin category. Otherwise, the trip was an amazing experience but it should be said that we was extremely lucky with the weather conditions. The service was great and the staff are very dedicated to their work. They truly went the extra mile to take good care of the passengers. The breakfast, which we had included, was a very tasty buffét, with a wide selection of food. The food onboard was otherwise very expensive and we ate most meals in the ports along the way. I would absolutely recommend this trip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Hurtigruten? That’s not a real cruise is it? We started our long-planned Hurtigruten Norwegian cruise travelling by rail from Oslo to Bergen. The train journey across the mountains made a fitting start to the cruise – the ... Read More
Hurtigruten? That’s not a real cruise is it? We started our long-planned Hurtigruten Norwegian cruise travelling by rail from Oslo to Bergen. The train journey across the mountains made a fitting start to the cruise – the occasional village or small town hugging the riversides and the individual wooden dwellings dotted amongst the snow giving a foretaste of the sights along the coast. Before boarding the train, booked directly with NSB, we had stayed the night at the perfectly located Comfort Hotel Grand Central, the nearest hotel to the station. In fact, so near it’s actually part of it. That it was integrated into a large food hall with several restaurants meant we only needed a few paces to find an excellent evening meal. The hotel itself was modern, quirky and very comfortable. Our first hotel in Bergen was the Zander K, adjacent to the rail station. Another modern boutique hotel with so many interesting design features they even had their own book for sale giving full architectural and design features, including the amusing example of their curtains. Knowing that Bergen is known as the rainiest city in the world, they thought guests who had travelled to Bergen just to see the rain might be disappointed if it stayed away, so they designed the net curtains with raindrops so if it happened to be dry outside you could close the curtains and pretend it was raining. Brilliant! Checking into our ship, MS Polarlys, was easy and our cases were delivered to our cabins. The ship was smart and unpretentious, being recently refurbished in Scandinavian style with no sign of the usual American cruise ship bling. One aspect that will be a shock to large-ship cruisers is that there were never, ever, any queues for the lifts. True, on a couple of occasions, we had to share a lift with two other people but over the twelve days I could cope with that. The ship is small enough that nowhere was very far away and large enough to offer all the facilities that were needed. Bars and cafes offered a choice of dining and refreshment venues and all were open and airy. Public floors are surrounded by windows - no art galleries, photo shops or casinos to block the views - these ships are purpose built to see the amazing scenery and they do that extremely well as the ship glides (usually!) on steely-blue seas past dramatic snow-covered mountains. The Scandinavian crew were friendly, welcoming and genuinely enjoyed being part of the Hurtigruten team. Many were multitasking – you were as likely to see the restaurant manager clearing tables as you were to be served by someone who was cleaning the rooms earlier in the day. Food, brought on board fresh at several stops during the trip, was a highlight and it was not unusual for the evenings fish course to have been loaded just hours earlier (and probably caught just a few hours before that!) Mealtimes varied between buffet or fixed menu, the later giving a chance to try local specialties that one may not have chosen if given the choice. Dried clipfish, curried herring, baked reindeer and battered cod tongue were some of the mouthwatering delights – even if you don’t believe me! Despite the fixed menus, special diets and tastes were catered for without issue. Here was one example where the seemingly effortless organization of the company really shone. We had been prompted to advise allergies and dislikes when we booked some 16 months before sailing and had added to the list in the intervening period. We were amazed that without further notification on our part that the dining staff placed alternative meals in front of those with food concerns. “We know you don’t like cherries, so have replaced the cherry sauce with a raspberry compote. Is that OK?” And yes, they knew what language we spoke too!! Drinking water was plentiful and cold, wine and beer equally cold but rarer. Everyone has something to say on alcohol prices but in practice the prices of wine and beer are similar to those charged on the larger cruise ships - probably even cheaper as there is no added 18% ‘service charge’ that Celebrity charges. Dress code on board was simple: Casual for breakfast, casual for lunch, casual for dinner and at all times in between. Preparing for dinner was simple – you didn’t need to. I have to admit that once I did comb my hair before going into the dining room, but I soon got used to not bothering with all that palaver. Booking ‘Select’ full board meant we received unlimited tea and coffee during the voyage and free water flowed freely. Wi-Fi was as almost as good as our fibre broadband back home (unlike the usual cruise ships) and was included in the fare. Rooms were compact, but our Artic Superior had plenty of storage (do take a couple of trouser hangers though if you need to) and tea & coffee facilities were provided. The bathroom was even more compact but perfectly adequate and the tap water was as good as any bottled variety. We had chosen a rear starboard room on Deck 6 as the most advantageous position - opposite side to the gangway and cargo openings (which are on the port side on every Hurtigruten ship), above the walk round deck and high so as to be untroubled by the sound of the engines, which were actually as smooth and quiet as any large cruise ships with just some, not unexpected, noise when manouvering with bow thrusters. Lectures on places visited, Nordic myths and way of life were short, informative and professionally delivered and there was a well-equipped shop with everything from postcards to Norwegian woollens and jackets. The ship makes multiple stops en route, some for a few hours, some for 10-15 minutes. We were able to combine a bit of DIY sightseeing in several ports in combination with longer (albeit fairly expensive) excursions at others. ‘The Artic Capital Tromso’ was a guided tour around the town to what would have been a magnificent view from the top of the cable car had it not been snowing so heavily. Back into the city for a visit to the modern cathedral with its magnificent stained glass and then to Polaria, billed as the ‘world’s most northerly aquarium’, an interesting building but only managing a passable impression of a Sea Life centre. ‘The North Cape’ excursion, was, like all the other days off ship, a day for donning thermals – it’s rather chilly at the most northerly point of Europe, being minus 16°C when we were there. Travelling in convoy for the last few miles led by a snow plough with a rescue vehicle bringing up the rear added a certain piquancy to the excursion. ‘Husky Dog Sledding’ at Kirkenes was a bucket list item not to be missed. The setting was awesome: clear blue skies, bright sun but with the temperature nudging minus 20 it was definitely big coat weather. The bumpy ride behind the eager huskies was over far too quickly especially in view of the eye-watering cost, but the dogs were in their element and amazing to witness ‘in action’. At the ‘Midnight Concert at Tromso Cathedral’ we were privileged to hear soprano Anne-Berit Buvik, Pianist Ole Bolås and cellist Georgy Ildeykin. Breathtaking perfection. ‘A Taste of Vesterålan’ took us on an extended coach trip through the magnificent countryside, with a view to die for at every turn. A short service at a remote ancient church was a surprising pleasant and unexpected experience. Consistently rated as the best Hurtigruten excursions - if you do no other excursions make sure you do this one (but do all the others too). ‘Trondheim and Nidros Cathedral’ gave us a taste of the town and its magnificent cathedral even if the visit to the latter was curtailed due to time constraints. The Hurtigruten ship may arrive a little late into port but they always endeavour to leave on time! ‘Bergtatt Marble Mine’ was the destination of our last excursion but for many a secondary reason for this particular trip was travelling on the Atlantic Coast Road. Like the rest of Norway, it did not disappoint. Every day on this cruise gave us more memories to take away: A large pod of pilot whales playing close by the ship, sea eagles flying as close as you would like them to, wild reindeer unconcerned at our passing by. Being driven on roads of sheet ice as if this was normal (clue: it is there). Brightly painted, wooded houses in picture postcard isolation. Towering snow-covered mountains rising from the fjords like giant mythical guardians. The Norwegian people: hospitable, welcoming and justly proud of their country. Sadly, our Winter Wonderland cruise had to come to an end. Disembarkation (by deck, top down, starting with our deck 6) was swift and with taxis waiting outside the terminal we were inside our chosen hotel (The Hanseatic, in the old town) probably before the last passengers had left the ship. This hotel, chosen to contrast with our earlier Norwegian hotels, was in an ancient building but fitted with all, very modern, conveniences. The beds were just as dreamily comfortable as at the other hotels (and ship), and the staff welcome just as warm and friendly. After a morning sightseeing (and Norwegian wool buying!) we made our way to the airport to catch our KLM flight to Amsterdam and then home, the next Hurtigruten ship already boarding her passengers for their voyage north. I hope they all enjoyed it as much as we did. Hurtigruten? That’s not a real cruise is it? No, it’s something far better! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We are only now on our 4th day on cruise and everyday a wonderful experience!! Excursions very good! Boat wonderful, clean, modern and with every facility needed. The staff excellent especially the expedition team! Food is ... Read More
We are only now on our 4th day on cruise and everyday a wonderful experience!! Excursions very good! Boat wonderful, clean, modern and with every facility needed. The staff excellent especially the expedition team! Food is outstanding! You definitely don’t need to upgrade to a-la-cartevoption! Every dinner different and food from area served with wonderful descriptions of dinner options on menu. Most beautiful views outside everyday!!! You sail by the most beautiful little towns, villages, mountains and through fjords. You are warned well on advance when you will be in open sea passages and with stabilisers on the boat the rough seas are handled very well. The crossing of the arctic circle this morning was a joyious occassion and the ceremony thereafter very good. The only complaint is passsengers who is selfish when it comes to seating in explorer lounge.... the staff requested not to reserve seats. Suggestion would be that passengers should be told not to sit and sleep on chairs... only to use it if they are watching and filming the views. The boat is beautiful and the explorer lounge lovely! I will highly recommend the cruise! Well done Hurtigruten!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We took this wonderful cruise to celebrate our 25th anniversary. From the very first day the scenery was stunning! The food was world class! We enjoyed the informative sessions scheduled most days concerning the Vikings, troll legends, the ... Read More
We took this wonderful cruise to celebrate our 25th anniversary. From the very first day the scenery was stunning! The food was world class! We enjoyed the informative sessions scheduled most days concerning the Vikings, troll legends, the gas/oil industry, and norway's fishing industry etc. The excursions may seem at first expensive, but so worth the money. We especially loved the North Cape rib boat, the hiking with huskies, and horse back riding in Lofoten. When in Tromso we went with the expedition team leader Jan for a terrific hike up a mountain with great views and even got up close to reindeer at the top. Overall the cruise was so well run....Marco the head of the expedition team had unlimited enthusiasm and kept us well informed on how to maximize our cruise and the various points of interests along the way. The ship was very comfortable, well maintained, and very clean. We worked out in the gym every other day, and used the hot tubs every evening! And as if this was all not enough, we were blessed with 2 amazing nights of the northern lights!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I had heard about Hurtigruten and wanted as authentic an experience as possible. It allowed us to see a lot of Norway quickly an easily, from the North Cape (northern tip of Europe), through the beautiful coastal islands, and down to ... Read More
I had heard about Hurtigruten and wanted as authentic an experience as possible. It allowed us to see a lot of Norway quickly an easily, from the North Cape (northern tip of Europe), through the beautiful coastal islands, and down to Bergen. The trip definitely delivered on this basic requirement. We flew up from Oslo to Kirkenes for the southbound journey the morning of embarkation and arrived after the main group had been processed, so it was easy for us. The ship is quite large but not huge. Public areas very attractive and well laid out. The fifth level has an outside walkway all around the ship of .155 miles in length, and is great for getting some exercise. (There is also a small but well stocked workout room.) Our cabin was small but not too claustrophobic. Nice large window. Blackout shade came in handy, given the midnight sun! Food was mostly boring and bland. Desserts were the best representation of what is good about Norwegian cuisine, with a heavy emphasis on local berries. Very little fresh food to be found. For some reason, raw veggies were only fully available at breakfast. No salad dressing. A nice selection of cheeses but bread and rolls were uniformly boring. Costs for extras is very high. This ship does not provide human entertainment (beyond people watching!), and that is fine because the scenery is top notch! The "lectures" were not particularly professional and illuminating and that area needs to be beefed up. Most ports were tiny villages, nice for a quick walk. A couple were larger cities, nice for a longer walk, especially Tromso and Trondheim. We participated in 3 excursions. Breakfast at Northkapp was mostly bus ride through arctic terrain plus the actual Northkapp station,. Our guide on the English language bus was terrific. Worth it to say you've done it and for the many views of reindeer, at our time of year complete with babies. Taste of Vesteralen was again an opportunity for some great views. Not sure if any better than would have been on ship, but we did get some inland scenery which was nice. The description mentions some cultural opportunities including visiting an old church. What we were not told was that we would be told to sit down and then the priest began a service. We should have been told this in advance and not required to participate. The guide was a local and she told us some colorful stories. Finally, the Sea Eagle Safari was very cold but a lot of fun! We saw several sea eagles, many many gulls, and gorgeous scenery from the vantage point of a small boat. Service on the ship was overall efficient but not very friendly. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My second Hurtigruten cruise, this time to experience the midnight sun. We didn't actually get sun at midnight North of the arctic circle, but I found the continuous light really fascinating. I was travelling independently and ... Read More
My second Hurtigruten cruise, this time to experience the midnight sun. We didn't actually get sun at midnight North of the arctic circle, but I found the continuous light really fascinating. I was travelling independently and found it easy enough to get a taxi from Bergen airport to Hurtigruten and back. The majority of people also had some English. Didn't need cash as everybody used card machines. For me a great trip. Lots to see with all the port stops. Wonderful food and crew. For myself and my brother our dining experience was enriched by our waiter who as well as serving us efficiently found the time for some jokes and excellent wit! Very efficiently organised and mainly very informative excursions. And of course Norway is such a beautiful country to see. Remember that this is a working ship that doesn't provide evening entertainment apart from the wonderful dinners and views. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
About 5 years ago I went on the same cruise in January up the coast of Norway all the way to the Russian border, everything gleamring in the snow. It was so beautiful that I wanted to see it in the summer, and wasn’t disappointed. ... Read More
About 5 years ago I went on the same cruise in January up the coast of Norway all the way to the Russian border, everything gleamring in the snow. It was so beautiful that I wanted to see it in the summer, and wasn’t disappointed. Totally different but stunning all the same. The Hurtigruten Line is very well organised. Joining the cruise in Bergen and disembarkation at the end is done with military precision. The facilities on board are a delight and the food is a dream. Both breakfast and lunch are buffet style but I defy anyone to be unable to find suitable food wherever in the world you come from. Dinner was a set menu with allocated tables. The service staff are quick and efficient and friendly. I can only report on my own cabin experience but I was more than happy. I was fortunate to have an upgrade from inside to outside cabin with a window. I suspect it was because it was my second voyage with Hurtigruten Cruise line. The cabin was well equipped but I did take a little travel kettle, tea and coffee and dried milk. I like a cup of tea as soon as I rise in the morning. The excursions are numerous and, again, well organised. As for entertainment it’s not like the big cruise ships by any means, there are regular lectures about everything Norwegian, from wildlife, oil production, myths and legends, fishing etc. These lectures are entertaining and well presented. There’s the Crossing the Artic Circle ceremony attended by King Neptune, which, if you dare to participate, ends with you having a jug full of cold water and ice cubes tipped down the back of your neck, so beware. The one thing I will say is that Norway is a very expensive country to visit. You have to be prepared for high prices for anything on board over and above the full board costs already paid for. Having said that it is a wonderful experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I always wanted to go on this cruise and finally booked it as there was no surcharge for a single cabin. In the beginning, I was a bit disappointed as the weather was rather cloudy and rainy with limited visibility. Fortunately, the ... Read More
I always wanted to go on this cruise and finally booked it as there was no surcharge for a single cabin. In the beginning, I was a bit disappointed as the weather was rather cloudy and rainy with limited visibility. Fortunately, the weather changed on day 3 and the trip became one of the best I ever did. Great landscape, nice excursions (Northern Cape, Husky sleigh tour and midnight concert in Trondheim), a variety of people to spend time with, very interesting presentations on various aspects of Norway and first-class delicious food! I appreciated the easy-going atmosphere (no fashion shows at diner). Food was delicious and deserves 5 stars. The cabin was as expected, not too big, but with everything you need. My cabin was with restricted view, means there was a rescue boat in front of the window. I made an excursion to the Northern cape, a Husky adventure in Kirkenes where we also visited the Snow Hotel and the Midnight concert in Trondheim. Organisation was good and I enjoyed them all. There is lots more on offer, however they are all quite expensive for Non-Norwegians. The staff was very friendly and helpful. I particularly liked the expedition team as they were giving regular presentations on various subjects on Norway - very informative and interesting. Overall, it was an impressive experience with Hurtigruten and I will most probably go again to experience a different time of the year. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We wanted a smaller vessel, with no theatres, no shows, or constant entertainment, and no dinner dress code. Booked with Hurtigruten the Bergen -Kirkenes - Bergan Trip. Hurtigruten is a working supply/postal vessel which also on some take ... Read More
We wanted a smaller vessel, with no theatres, no shows, or constant entertainment, and no dinner dress code. Booked with Hurtigruten the Bergen -Kirkenes - Bergan Trip. Hurtigruten is a working supply/postal vessel which also on some take small numbers of cars. It goes where other cruise lines cannot get to. The booking online was very easy, and you can phone them if you want to check any details, very helpful. Embarkation in Bergan was quick and easy, with our luggage being delivered to our cabin. Cabin was small, ( but expected it to be) with double bed, but had plenty of storage space, it was surprising comfortable. I was worried about the bathroom being of large frame and limited mobility, but again although small did not give me any problems, the shower, what can I say, it was wonderful, have stayed in hundreds of hotels and this shower would be in my top 10, the heat setting once set stayed constant, and the flow never faltered. Everything was very clean, you can have your room refreshed everyday if you want, (new towels, tea coffee etc, but you can also opt out of any day and Hurtigruten will make a donation to charity for each opt out, and of course the environment savings. Dining, fabulous food, expect to put on a bit of weight, hot and cold buffet breakfast and lunch, 3 course set menu at dinner. Dinner and some lunches you have a set table number, and time, breakfast open seating. There is also an al a carte restaurant where you just pay the difference if already on a full board option. The crew were outstanding, helpful, friendly, and very efficient, they made the holiday feel very special. The size of ship and number of guests meant you could get away from everyone and read a book if you want but still get to recognise fellow travelers. The expedition team give interesting and humorous lectures and informal meetings, like the arctic circle crossing, waving competition (against another ship), line dancing, all good fun. We did a number of the excursions although they seemed expensive were well worth the experience, Norway is an expensive country. Would certainly recommend the Midnight Concert at Tromso for the singing and playing of Norwegian folk songs and music (but do not expect to tour the cathedral as time is limited just to the concert) Overall we had a memorable experience, and will certainly Book again. But for anyone looking at Hurtigruten, they are an excellent company but remember this is a ferry service so will be calling at ports over night and loading unloading cargo, this is part of the experience and with everything else makes the holiday unique. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I choose this cruise because I wanted to see the fjords of Norway and it was magical. The people working on board was smiling and very helpful. The food was excellent. The cabin was small but very clean. There were lots of different ... Read More
I choose this cruise because I wanted to see the fjords of Norway and it was magical. The people working on board was smiling and very helpful. The food was excellent. The cabin was small but very clean. There were lots of different excursions some more expensive than other. I did travel on my own but I talked with other people. The wheater was cold because I traveled in marts so take this in consideration if you like it a little warmer. I love the cool wheater and snow but one of the excursions were cancelled because of to much snow. The ship is small but it is nice because you get to know other people and meet them every day. I would have liked a quiet zone for relaxing and reading, but I do not know if any ships have a quiet zone! Norway is a nice place and the norwegians are very nice as well. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We choose this cruise primarily to see the Northern Lights. In that respect we were very lucky as the lights appeared on 7 of the 12 nights aboard. We elected to take the round trip which entailed sailing North from Bergen for 6 nights ... Read More
We choose this cruise primarily to see the Northern Lights. In that respect we were very lucky as the lights appeared on 7 of the 12 nights aboard. We elected to take the round trip which entailed sailing North from Bergen for 6 nights and then the same route back (albeit the time at which we called into the ports on the Southerly return journeyt differed from the outbound journey and therefore gave an opportunity to visit different places in each direction. Our main reason for doing the round trip was to maximise our chance of seeing the Northern Lights. As it turned out we saw the lights on 5 occasions on the Northerly trip but only 2 times on the return but this was probably because we encountered more cloudy conditions on the South bound journey. Apart from the sheer wonder of the Northern Lights the beauty of the Norwegian coastline and the comfort of the ship Polarlys was an added bonus ! We travelled from London via a Hurtigruten charter (operated by Germania). The flights were fairly standard charter airline stuff but being a Hurtigruen charter made it a very seamless embarkation and disembarkation process. Hurtigruten staff met us all at Bergen. all we had to do was collect our baggage at the airport, put it into a Hurtigruten coach and then it was carried onto the ship and put into our cabin. The same seamless process happened on the return and really made the whole process easy and comfortable. We choose to book a suite because of recommendations from friends and reviews elsewhere and we were very happy with our choice. We also booked a wine package which included a bottle of wine and water each night and unlimited tea and instant coffee (in the coffee shops) during the day (you could also take the wine away to drink in your cabin if you didn't want to finish it during the meal). Be warned, most things, and especially alcohol, are expensive in Norway - a Starbucks coffee is 95 Kroner and a glass of wine is 135-150 Kroner a glass. The prices on or off the ship are much the same. Norway is a very rich country and people are well paid (even in jobs that in other countries are generally lowly paid) but the flip-side is that prices are high for most things and therefore Norwegians probably have a somewhat lower purchasing power than elsewhere. We booked this cruise many months ahead but these trips appear to be very busy (apparently the Polarlys is currently fully booked until October 2018) and getting our preferred dates was not easy. We wanted to get a cabin on the 6th level where there is no walkway outside the window but settled on Level 5 where there is a narrow walkway past the cabin windows but in the end this was perfectly fine and in fact very convenient when wishing to get out on deck quickly. There were usually at least 2 or 3 excursions going on at each significant stop (over, say, 1.5 hours) which covered everything from horse riding, city walks, dog sledding, visiting a marble mine etc. We are not hugely keen on organised excursions and only went on 2 such excursions during the cruise but found the many small ports that the ship called in at very interesting and easy to just wander around ourselves. Even those ports where we stopped for only a half hour were opportunities to watch the fork lift trucks loading and unloading cargo of all shapes into and out of the ship. Most people who went on these excursions seemed to be very happy with them. Entertainment on the ship was fairly low key consisting of a (usually) daily lecture on some aspect of the cruise or Norway (everything from Norway Myths and Legends to How to navigate via Lighthouses). The few practical events included 'How to filet a salmon' and 'Line dancing' (so something for everyone) as well as various on-deck activities including a ceremony for crossing the Arctic Circle. The public rooms are all decorated in beautiful Scandinavian style and for (I believe) 500 passengers there is plenty of room for just lounging in comfortable chairs and watching the magnificent scenery going by. There was a range of age groups on the cruise but on the whole the greater group was probably in the age 55+. There was a well equipped small gym on the boat (but didn't appear to be much used). It was, of course, very warm on the ship and generally a t-shirt with maybe a light sweater was perfectly adequate. In March we found the outside temperatures varied quite a bit (as of course they do elsewhere). The coldest spot on our cruise was Kirkeness although this wasn't the most Northerly point we visited. As an example of the variance the town of Trondeheim was -9 degree Celsius North bound with very snowy pavements but 2 degrees above freezing 1 week later. Layered dressing is therefore the best approach. Our cabin phone had an intercom that could be left active all the time so that you hear all the ship announcements and this was also the way that you could be alerted by the crew if during the night the Northern Lights were showing. When you get up from a warm bed in the middle of the night and go out onto a cold deck in the arctic the effectiveness of your warm clothing will be severely tested ! We were delighted with the beauty, cleanliness and order we found all over Norway. Norway is only a small country of 5 million people but they appear to have a genuine desire to minimise their impact on the planet as well as keep their own country clean and unpolluted and we will certainly consider a return trip but probably next time during the summer (when I think the country will look wholly different from its winter guise) Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Joined the ship at Bergen northward bound to Kirkenes. Cabin was small however adequate for our needs. Breakfast and lunch was buffet style with a massive collection of both hot and cold dishes beautifully presented. The evening meal was ... Read More
Joined the ship at Bergen northward bound to Kirkenes. Cabin was small however adequate for our needs. Breakfast and lunch was buffet style with a massive collection of both hot and cold dishes beautifully presented. The evening meal was by way of a fixed menu which focussed on locally produced products. The service was of an extremely high standard. The food was definitely in line with what is on offer with many of the more well known large cruise ships. The onboard entertainment consisted mainly of informative talks about the villages and fjords. Games, books and puzzles are provided in the cafe on level seven where there are lovely seating areas to sit and watch the world go by. Likewise comfortable seating is provided on level four in the bar area where you are able to sit and view the stunning coastal scenery. The scenery and weather was dramatic as the ship progressed northwards across the Artic Circle until finally reaching Kirkenes where the stunning setting, snowy landscape and the 2nd sighting of the Aurora Borealis completed the magic. A truly amazing sight never to be forgotten. Would definitely recommend the snowmobile trip which was so different and exciting. You are taken out into the wilderness and are given time out to capture the awesome sights on camera.....most precious memory for me. The husky sleigh ride is amazing. Before you set off you are introduced to the huskies and also the baby huskies which is just fabulous. This is one trip I would definitely recommend to friends and family. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We chose a cruise for the first time this holiday as I have a disabled foot, yet still the instinct to roam beyond my usual experience, and I also enjoy to sketch and paint as we go! We chose the 'Classic Round Voyage' with ... Read More
We chose a cruise for the first time this holiday as I have a disabled foot, yet still the instinct to roam beyond my usual experience, and I also enjoy to sketch and paint as we go! We chose the 'Classic Round Voyage' with London Gatwick flights - to Norway's Fjords and the hoped for Northern Lights. We are not used to travelling in groups, especially of our own age, but were quickly aware of most peoples shared enthusiasms and friendliness. The ship was a stimulating space as Jan's Lectures and the whole excursions teams advice was enticing. We attended an Art Nouveau walk and later a Viking Feast in a traditional long house which enacted a gentle pageant, feasted us all, and allowed us to have a brief interaction with their authentic artefacts, before we exited through the snowy night past Vikings holding flames aloft! Our favourite excursion was a husky pulled sled ride in Kirkeness, involving eight very keen husky dogs, an enthusiastic Musha and a great circular ride through a frozen landscape of woods and all across a frozen Fjord and back through the woods. We were warmed by an open fire and some hot juice and took in the skilled artwork within the Ice Palace and a visit to the Reindeer. The difference in currency meant most things on offer had to be carefully weighed up, but without too many bought in extras the cruise was brilliant as three meals a day where Breakfast and Lunch were a wide variety of buffet style locally sourced fresh fishes, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, bakeries, cereals, soup and imaginatively cooked dishes. Dinner was served to us at set tables and included a small booklet advising us of where the food was originated, by whom and what history and tradition of the foods on this menu brought to us. These Dinners were carefully balanced and a delight to indulge in, equivalent to any multi starred restaurant. We witnessed the Northern Lights five times in all and each that bit more spectacular. The 'know how' on adjusting our cameras was very useful and successful. During the day-time we walked some of the calories off around the windy deck, and used the opportunity to take many photographs of the passing mountainous landscape. Our comfortable above water cabin had a double bed and plenty of clothes storage space, a kettle for teas and coffee and an en suite shower and loo. We peeped out from behind two lifeboats and then went on deck to view the panoramic scene for real. The idiosyncratic team culture was such a success as they seemed to have agreed that whatever it took they would make it the best they could, and it was! Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
The ship is a typical Hurtigruten ship. All the staff are very nice, the ship is not too big, the cabins are small, but dining is excellent. The weather was very good, the sevice also good. The trips to IceHotel is nice, the guide ... Read More
The ship is a typical Hurtigruten ship. All the staff are very nice, the ship is not too big, the cabins are small, but dining is excellent. The weather was very good, the sevice also good. The trips to IceHotel is nice, the guide also, Vesteralen trip very good, also to northcup. Good and helpful explanations. Wir haben die ganze 12 tägige Reise sehr genossen, das Schiff war die MSPolarlys, es hat alles bestens geklappt, vom einchecken bis zur Kabinenvergabe, Hilfe war immer da. Die Excursionen waren vielfältig, man konnte gar nicht alle buchen. Der Kapitän war sehr umsichtig und hat uns gut durch den Orkan Friederike gebracht, die Mannschaft war auch sehr nett zu uns. Dadurch, dass der Wind vom Süden kam, waren die Wellen nicht so hoch, die Windstärke war 46/m/sek. Beaufort hört mit 12 auf (32 m/sek.). Am besten war das tägliche Essen, frischester Fisch und Garnelen und Krustentiere standen am Programm, auch Rentier, Lamm, Steak, Schwein usw. Toll gekocht. Wir fahren wieder mit Hurtigruten. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We so enjoyed our round trip up the coast of Norway from Bergen to Kirkenes and back. The ship was good, the food was amazing, the crew are friendly and helpful, our cabin was modern and very comfortable and Norway is incredibly beautiful. ... Read More
We so enjoyed our round trip up the coast of Norway from Bergen to Kirkenes and back. The ship was good, the food was amazing, the crew are friendly and helpful, our cabin was modern and very comfortable and Norway is incredibly beautiful. We saw the Northern Lights 4 times! I would absolutely love to do the trip again at a different time of year. This is not a typical cruise with a zillion people and all singing and dancing, but one of the ferries which plies it's way up and down the coast of Norway. The Expedition Team give short talk every day about a different aspect of Norwegian life and customs which we found to very interesting. We didn't bother with any excursions, we just planned our own activities and walks when we in port long enough to disembark. If you want to try something slightly out of the ordinary, I recommend a Hurtigruten voyage unreservedly. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
a very nice ship, enough chairs and space in the public rooms, marvellous lounge-bar in front of the ship on deck 7, and in the back on deck 7 there was a lovely coffe bar with nice norwegian furnitures. every day we had very delicious ... Read More
a very nice ship, enough chairs and space in the public rooms, marvellous lounge-bar in front of the ship on deck 7, and in the back on deck 7 there was a lovely coffe bar with nice norwegian furnitures. every day we had very delicious food (excellent fresh fish) and very friendly waiters - we enjoyed it! We also loved the free drinking water, and the wine selection was good, but a bit expensive. The expedition Team (Monica and Rebecca) was excellent! We heard a lot about the nature, the people, the animals, the language - it was very interesting and we just loved it!!! We saw the northern lights and the noth cape, the beautiful landscape of the norwegian coast - we had a great trip in Norway! Our cabin had only 2 portholes, but we knew it in advance and booked it with this restriction. The cabin was small, but there was enough storeroom and we estimated the many hooks for our coats. We had our own toilet and shower, and they changed the towels whenever we needed. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
I always go on holiday with the hurtigrute skips that sils up and down the coast. Exellent food, always superb service onboard and overall good value for your money. I travelled with MS Polarlys. I have sailed with 6 other hurtigruteships ... Read More
I always go on holiday with the hurtigrute skips that sils up and down the coast. Exellent food, always superb service onboard and overall good value for your money. I travelled with MS Polarlys. I have sailed with 6 other hurtigruteships before. This ship and its crew held the same high standard. My cabin was always clean and i got fresh fruit 2 times on my roundtrip. The superhappy staff put smiles on my face. The food is as always good. I travel with full cost. Brekfast, lunch and dinner. I travel alone and always exiting to see who the restaurant manager put me to tabel with. They are usually very good with this jub and didnt disappoint me this time either. On a 12 day roundtrip you are almost guaranteed to make new friends. I cant wait til next time im booking another trip with this great company. I can highly reccomen it to everyone Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
In October I was on the round trip Bergen-Kirkenes-Bergen Hurtigruten cruise on the MS POLARLYS. Some observations about booking via Hurtigruten US. They are just a booking agent for Hurtigruten Norway and they don’t really know ... Read More
In October I was on the round trip Bergen-Kirkenes-Bergen Hurtigruten cruise on the MS POLARLYS. Some observations about booking via Hurtigruten US. They are just a booking agent for Hurtigruten Norway and they don’t really know the details! Some examples, we booked one of the few Arctic Superior rooms with two lower twin beds. We had seen the cabin plan on the website but it wasn’t the same when we arrived. Our assigned cabin had an upper and lower bunk bed. When we complained to the onboard reception manager she said we got what we had paid for! Apparently the cabin plan online was inaccurate. She said she would try to accommodate us but it could cost us more money! As it turned out we had the option of selecting another cabin with two lower beds and we are supposed to request a refund from the US agent because it was a lower class. We’ll see how that works. One of my friends had told our booking agent that he is a vegetarian. Didn’t matter. If you have any dietary restrictions you need to tell the head waiter once you are on board. After doing so, the staff were extremely accommodating. Some answers to questions we had before we embarked. Tap water is served at lunch and dinner. Bottled water has to be purchased. We ordered the wine package which includes two bottles of water at lunch and two bottles at dinner. There is a wine recommendation for each evening’s meal but you do have the option to select a different wine. The package for the 11 nights cost NOK 5885. If you don’t get a package and order individual bottles the prices start at about NOK 445 and up to 995 and higher; the range for a glass of wine was from NOK 95 to 215, with a mid-range for 129 - 135. After the first two meals - which are open seating - you are assigned a table for lunch and dinner. If you have the early dinner seating (6:30) you get the early lunch seating (usually 11:30 - 1:00). The second dinner seating is at 8:00 pm and their lunch starts at 1:30. There were a few minor schedule changes for lunch during the cruise due to the timing of port arrivals/excursions. (Another note about the US booking agent - we had requested a 7 pm dinner seating - they never told us that the choice was either 6:30 or 8:00 pm. Luckily we were happy with the 6:30 selection. They also were not knowledgeable about the wine package.) The cabins are very small. In a cabin with a double bed there is very little room between the end of the bed and the wall - one has to walk sideways. That was in a room where the bed was perpendicular to the window. If you get a cabin where the top of the bed is against the window, there is more space to walk around. The closet is small so it helps that suitcases can easily fit under the beds. Shelf space manageable. Shower water temperature and pressure are great. There was a full size hairdryer with a very long cord. Punctuality is important. Events, departures etc. were precise. However, if a ship arrives later than scheduled at a port, the departure time is not extended. There is a lot of downtime (one of the reasons I was able to write this lengthy review) but there are various short events on board while sailing. There are films and presentations about history, culture, etc. There are Points of Interest where the “Expedition Team” provides information outside on the deck as well as other events on deck. There are very few ‘freebies’. There is even a charge for the ‘sail away’ champagne! The announcements are done in Norwegian, English and German. Some of the tours separated the Norwegian/English, others did not. It depends on the number of individuals on the tours. MEALS: Breakfast and lunch are buffet style and there is a wide variety of hot and cold foods to choose from. Dinner is a set menu of three courses and portions did not leave anyone hungry. We all thought the dinners were excellent. PORTS and EXCURSIONS: Day 2 - glad we took the Taste of Norway tour. The port of Urke only has 53 inhabitants so there isn’t much to do. The fjord is amazing but it would have been better if there was more than one stop for pictures. We heard that the mountain hike group was combined with the shieling “walk” excursion because of the weather. Alesund - we were there at 5 pm and it was raining. Not much to do and not many shops open. Trondheim - arrived on Saturday morning. Nidaros Cathedral does NOT have free tours. It costs 90 NOK but includes a tour. The English tour was at 10 am. The Archbishop’s Palace didn’t open until 11. Others who went on the excursion said it was interesting. They are starting a new excursion in Trondheim on the southbound portion to visit the Cathedral. The southbound arrival in Trondheim is at 6:30 with a 10 a.m. departure. The Cathedral will open early for the tour group - otherwise not enough time to do it on your own if you missed it on the northbound voyage. Tromso - visited Polaria and was there for the seal feeding. Overall it’s comparatively small. Unfortunately the Northern Museum was closed while preparing for a new exhibit….and it was raining so we returned to the ship early. I heard others talking about one of the hiking trips. They said it should have been rated more difficult due to the weather conditions. On the return trip, we attended the midnight concert at the Arctic Cathedral. The performers were amazing! Honningsvag - we took the North Cape excursion. It’s about a 40 minute drive each way and the scenery is nice although, again, we didn’t see any sun. There is a short stop to see a Sami reindeer herder and his reindeer and a tiny Sami gift shop. The North Cape site itself is quite nice. There is a museum with a film and various small exhibits. The time there was adequate. Kirkenes - rain again and the ship was about an hour late arriving so our time there was shorter than expected. The bomb shelter is only open during the summer months. We didn’t walk to the Borderland Museum due to the shortened time schedule. The town center is quite small. Bodo/Salstrumen - we took the bus tour to see the tides, The “tour” through town doesn’t offer much. The bus stops and allows time to walk down under the bridge and take pictures of the tidal whirlpools. A Taste of Vesterlaen - this was worthwhile. As on the other excursions, there is not really much of note going thru the town. The guides pointed out the local school, hospital, senior living, etc. The stops were good - historical church and museum, a beautiful photo stop, a short ferry trip (which the bus went on). There’s a surprise before getting back on board but I won’t spoil it for you! Kristiansund - we took the 4 hr. bus tour along the Atlantic highway and visited the marble mine. the tour was quite expensive - NOK 1776 - but otherwise there is just a long sea day from Trondheim to Bergen. Our group enjoyed the tour of the mine. A unique experience seeing a mine via a boat and ending it with a sit down serving of hot soup. Trolljford - this is amazing. On the northbound voyage, it’s nighttime and on the southbound voyage, it’s daytime. Don’t miss it!! NORTHERN LIGHTS: Yes! Yes! Yes!! We saw them on multiple occasions. After the rain stopped and the skies cleared there were two nights where they were much more visible and active. Surprisingly, they were white/grey with only hints of color. The camera somehow catches the green color!! We stayed at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Bergen after the cruise. It was very convenient for sightseeing and the airport bus (which departs every 10 minutes and cost about NOK 130) was right outside. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
It is known as a magic area. we embarked in Kirkenes ( North of Norway) and sailed along the coast with stops in many ports. Some are long enough to disembark for some moments or made an excursion longer and join the ship later on his ... Read More
It is known as a magic area. we embarked in Kirkenes ( North of Norway) and sailed along the coast with stops in many ports. Some are long enough to disembark for some moments or made an excursion longer and join the ship later on his way. In the period we chose (15 to 21 of sept) the daylight was average from 6-7 am to 7-8 pm so some part of the landscape was not visible. Or it is necessary to make the return cruise because what is by night for north to south cruise is daylight for south to north. This type of cruise has to be choosen accepting bad wheather ( we had about 3 days bad and 3 nice) Bergen is 300 days a year rainy... Anyway many landscape are spectacular by cloudy wheather. Polar lights are not guaranted. Regarding excursions it is necessary to analyse the bad wheather risks to decide because they do not easily cancel and refund. Regarding the cruise itself check the price they propose for the flight and transfers because if something happens with the flight company and if you have booked the ticket yourselves ( as it happened to me because of an SAS strike) they will not refund or make a credit, or postpone your trip. You loose it. They do not care So I hade to buy an expansive last minute ticket to join Kirkenes in time. For the trip we sailed on Polarlys who is a renewed nice ship. Cabins ( first price) are small but confortable, with private bathroom. Dining room is very nice with very good food ( of course fishes but not only) Service is quite OK and not to long for diner which is served at our table. They arrange table in order you are besides your friends or at the same table They are some interesting conferences or lectures proposed in 2 languages ( English and German) The excursions, depending of the wheather may be fantastic or may be somehow sad if it rains to much; But that is the fortune!! North cape one is beautifull and very nice because we joint the boat by 3 to 4 hours bus across north of Norway. In winter it is perhaps more spectacular but more expensive. We travel alone without any children. At this time it is more or less only retired people, some very old, and even some handicaped. I do not know if I would do it again. I think not I would better go with a mix of fast boats between ports and rent a car to go deeper in the country that Hurtigruten coastal express cannot do except with very expensive excursions. Roads are very nice. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Booking and travel preparation well organized. Polarlys is one of the smaller ships which offer better contact to other passengers and personal. Furniture and facilities on board in good condition. Arctic Superior outside cabins quite ... Read More
Booking and travel preparation well organized. Polarlys is one of the smaller ships which offer better contact to other passengers and personal. Furniture and facilities on board in good condition. Arctic Superior outside cabins quite comfortable with WLAN and TV. TV channel 1 showing permanently actual position of ship on a map. Expedition team providing lot of information about crossed areas and points of interest as well as organizing activities on board and excursions ashore. Excellent kitchen and restaurant service. Some cavalier customers occupied the few seats in the Explorer Lounge with clothes or personal belongings all over the day but didn't show for long time or were sleeping, complaints and disputes when other passengers had taken "their" seats in the meantime. This boorish behavior should be strictly ground down by the service personal. Unfortunately Hurtigruten didn't allow passengers to have a look on the technical infrastructure of the ship like navigation bridge, drive systems and components, water and power supply, waste water treatment etc. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
The first time on a ship. Trip in june from North (Kirkenes) to South (Bergen). Inner cabin was a good choice - good to be able to sleep at night while midnight sun! The service on board was great, the crew very friendly, some of ... Read More
The first time on a ship. Trip in june from North (Kirkenes) to South (Bergen). Inner cabin was a good choice - good to be able to sleep at night while midnight sun! The service on board was great, the crew very friendly, some of them even funny. The dining was awesome - buffet at breakfast and lunch, and the diners with a special menu - adapted for the respective region. Always a great event when the ship reaches a port. Or meets a ship on the contrary tour. The activities we have chosen were all hits, with professional and very pleasant guides. We experienced a lot about the country, the history and the people of the fjord regions. And we had a lot of luck with the weather. Sunny and rather warm weather, except of the last 1-2 days. We surely will book again one day, maybe in winter, to see the polar light! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This cruise was recommended by German friends we met in China! The embarkation went as planned. We were greeted by very cheerful staff and conducted to our cabin. A self tour around the ship made us feel very comfortable. The ... Read More
This cruise was recommended by German friends we met in China! The embarkation went as planned. We were greeted by very cheerful staff and conducted to our cabin. A self tour around the ship made us feel very comfortable. The initial safety drill and following daily information briefings kept us very well informed of the days' activities. We enjoyed watching the activity on the dock whenever the ship arrived in port. The days when an excursion was available were very well organised. The excursions available catered for a range of abilities and interests. The local guides on those we took were always helpful, friendly and knowledgeable. At first we thought our later evening dining time would be difficult but we soon became accustomed to the time and it was pleasantly enjoyable. Being from Australia where snow is not common, we were overjoyed to have one snowing day - in Alesund. We had come prepared for cold so that was no problem, especially as the ship was toasty warm. Our highlights were to see the North Cape in brilliant sunshine, blue sky and sparkling snow and then to stand out on deck at night, marvelling at the spectacle of the Northern Lights. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
My third Hurtigruten cruise of the incomparable Norwegian fjords, and the newly renovated Polarlys has gotten just about everything right. Unlike some past sad experiences with surly crew members on other Hurtigruten ships, this time the ... Read More
My third Hurtigruten cruise of the incomparable Norwegian fjords, and the newly renovated Polarlys has gotten just about everything right. Unlike some past sad experiences with surly crew members on other Hurtigruten ships, this time the staff couldn't have been more helpful- and sincerely friendly. I got the definite feeling Hurtigruten is really trying to achieve serious cruise standards, and not just be a means of transportation. Embarkation in Bergen was easier than ever, as was disembarkation. The new cabins have the most comfortable double beds imaginable, with high quality linens and giant pillows. lots of hot water for your shower, a hair dryer (don't mix the two!) Many electric points for plugging into. There is now a charge for WiFi on board, which used to be free. I find this tacky, especially since WiFi is freely available in Norway. ..and of course, the food.. ..ah, the endless variety of fish and crab and lobster etc etc- better stop, just getting hungry again.. Will DEFINITELY be sailing again through the fjords!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Polarlys Ratings
Category Editor Member

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click