Richard With (named after the founder of Hurtigruten), is not a new ship, but it did have a bow-to-stern refresh in late 2018 which has completely changed the ship, bringing it up-to-date techwise, offering cabin types that appeal to cruisers looking for a more luxe experience, a wider variety of dining options, a high-tech multimedia center and new leisure choices, including two hot tubs and a bigger gym and sauna.
This is a small ship, carrying just 458 passengers, and you'll have discovered it all not long after you board (there is no casino, multiple dining options, shows, a cruise director or even balconies!). However, the point of this cruise is not what's onboard but what you do on land -- and there is plenty of that on offer from snowmobiling, wildlife watching and visiting a marble mine to horse riding, not to mention seeing the fabled northern lights, the main reason people take this journey over the winter months.
Richard With is primarily a "functional" ship (as are all the Hurtigruten ships that ply the1,250-mile Norwegian coastline), with space for cars and cargo, and stopping at 36 ports in five days, some of them for as short as 15 minutes. Passengers onboard are either here for the part coastal voyage (south or north) or the full round trip, 11-day voyage, or they are locals using the ship to hop from port to port.
Having said that, while onboard you are genuinely made to feel like it's your home away from home. The crew make you feel welcome and special. Most are local and all speak exceptional, often accentless, English. Richard With also excels in terms of food, superbly prepared, so fresh you might have seen it caught that day and exceptionally tasty.
It's not "cruising" in the traditional sense, but if you yearn for accommodations as good as you'd find on a premium vessel and want to "upgrade" your experience, Hurtigruten does have a Platinum fare type. This includes a guaranteed mini-suite, turn-down service (featuring fresh towels and water bottles daily) and private airport transfers.
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Whether you opt for premium (or go for the "basic" fare), a Norwegian coastal voyage on Richard With is likely to be an adventure like no other you have experienced before.
Passenger mix is primarily Norwegian, German and French, with all announcements made in Norwegian, English and German. The average age is around 65, with people mainly in groups, though this skews younger during the summer vacation with families onboard.
There is no dress code, day or evening. The order of the day is practical, comfortable and, perhaps most importantly, suited to the time of year. Hurtigruten does offer a suggested packing list. For winter: waterproof outers and boots, thermals, a warm jacket, a warm jumper, hoodie and gloves. In the summer, invest in sunglasses and sunscreen, shorts and a hat. Walking poles are recommended at all times of the year, as is a bathing suit for the Jacuzzis and sauna onboard.
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