I am a 64-year-old, single female traveller. By day two of this cruise, I was so bored and disillusioned, I wanted to jump ship. I was quite prepared to forfeit the $9K I had paid for the cruise just to put an end to the monotony. This ... Read More
I am a 64-year-old, single female traveller. By day two of this cruise, I was so bored and disillusioned, I wanted to jump ship. I was quite prepared to forfeit the $9K I had paid for the cruise just to put an end to the monotony. This email (below), which I sent to my friends while still on board the ship, provides a glimpse into what "The most beautiful voyage in the world" is really like. My advice: Take a Holland America cruise, and include Iceland and Faroe Isles.
Well, there have been some highlights in Norway, but overall I have to admit that the trip has been disappointing (an expensive mistake, in fact). I had wanted to jump ship on day 3, but after looking into the limited overland options, it just wasn't logistically or financially viable to do so (renting a car in Kirkenes and driving 1900 km back to Trondheim just seemed like adding insult to injury).
I have yet to work out how I got it so wrong (Hurtigruten markets this trip as the most beautiful cruise in the world), but I certainly won’t be recommending it to other people. Frankly, I have found it boring. Yes, some of the scenery has been lovely, but there is an awful lot of “nothingness” (as one American passenger described it), today being another example! This is exacerbated by the fact that there is also absolutely nothing to do on the ship (no lectures, no videos about the area/history, no TV, very little internet, and no shampoo, conditioner, or tissues in the bathrooms). Someone asked if I had brought a book. Well, certainly didn’t spend $9K to read a book!
I had in my mind (stupidly, as it turns out) that we would be visiting lots of fjords, a la the ones you see in the photos of the tiny ship at the bottom of a 1000 foot cliff drop. But for the most part it has been coastal cruising, and many of the darling little ports I was looking forward to seeing really have little to offer. The ones that did have something to offer (Trondheim and Tromso, for example), we only spent a couple of hours at, because the boat runs on a tight ‘ferry’ schedule, and although they claim that Hurtigruten is now focussed on the tourist, they really are not (and this opinion was corroborated by a lady from Melbourne. A very fair lady, but clearly sees the shortcomings. She is going to recommend to her friends that they change from Hurtigruten to Holland America).
I've stuck it out, and I will chalk it up to experience, and cross it off the list.
There was not enough time in port to get away from the ship. We were nearly always a little bit late arriving in port, which meant what little time was scheduled on shore was often reduced, e.g. 30 minute stops were often reduced to 15 minutes.
Tap water is not available for lunch or dinner. You are forced to buy bottled water (and if you don’t, you have your glass removed!). One American couple was quite upset about this, and said “It was very poor PR on the part of Hurtigruten.”
There was nothing to do on board ship. Many of the passengers were either reading books, or playing cards or Scrabble. It was days of monotony that could easily have been alleviated by showing some specialty videos on Norwegian history, culture, points of interest, flora, fauna, etc. I only found out about the UNESCO Geodetic Arc Monument because I was told about it from another passenger! Read Less