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13 Hurtigruten Richard With Baltic Sea Cruise Reviews

We booked our cruise in New York City with a Hurtigruten Representative on the Richard With. We were not told about several things in advance as follows: Wine Package Water package Free single supplement. Lack of entertainment of any ... Read More
We booked our cruise in New York City with a Hurtigruten Representative on the Richard With. We were not told about several things in advance as follows: Wine Package Water package Free single supplement. Lack of entertainment of any kind on board. (In fact we were told that there was live music in the lounge.) As soon as you step on board the ship you are given a hard sell about the wine/water package. DO NOT BUY THEM. They are a very poor value. Incredible that you have to buy water. This should be provided by the cruise company. They have a policy to force you into this water deal. Staff stopped several passengers who had purchased water bottles off board. The wine package is expensive, not great wine choices and too much anyway to drink. But the water package is included gratis in the overpriced wine package. Everyone whom we spoke with was upset about the policy of not providing water and the fact that no details were provided in advance about this policy. I suggest that people do bring their own water on board. If enough people complain and bring on their own water, the company will have to abandon this absurd policy. Other friends wanted to accompany us but wanted their own rooms. When we enquired, we were not told that there was a free single supplement that could have been applied. As the ship was less than booked, it was Hurtigruten's loss as our friends did not book the trip. There is no entertainment on board. We were told the exact opposite so the representative was not up front about this. Off Board trips varied in interest and all were expensive. Most of them can be done independently by passengers when docked at ports. Some of several hours duration are better done with the company. Staff was very helpful and always available. The director of programs tried to bring us interesting films and provide history about the locations visited. But there should have been more of this provided. There are 2 hot tubs on deck and a very nice Sauna. So if you book, plan ahead and ask about all of these things. Plan to do some of the excursions on your own. You can always book guided tours on board as they were never full. If you just like cruising and are not very active, you can just stay on board. This was not our choice. Cabin and housekeeping were fine. Standard cabin, very small to share but well organized. Food quality varied. No choice for supper and most meat dishes were poor in quality. Fish sometimes dry and covered in sauce. Buffet breakfast and lunch were average to good. Good fish choices but usually only boiled eggs offered for breakfast. Last supper excellent as was a seafood buffet of extremely fresh and well prepared seafood. Overall, the cost of the trip without excursions was good. If you buy the excursions, the value goes way down. And unless you are sedentary, staying on board is extremely boring. I believe that you can plan to disembark in a port and pick up another or the same ship on the return. Worth enquiring about. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We had just returned from a cruise on P & O's Oriana in search of the Northern Lights. This trip had been less than successful not least because when we did see the lights for a brief 15 minutes in Alta, I could not capture the ... Read More
We had just returned from a cruise on P & O's Oriana in search of the Northern Lights. This trip had been less than successful not least because when we did see the lights for a brief 15 minutes in Alta, I could not capture the event on my bridge camera. We spotted a very good deal for a six night trip from Tromso to Kirkeness and back with Hurtigruten with free flights from Manchester to Tromso and two nights in the Radisson Blue in Tromso one at the start of the trip and one at the end. We were determined to see the Northern Lights on this trip having been disappointed on the 11 night Oriana trip. Having arrived in Tromso in mid afternoon we looked in a brochure in the hotel lobby to find possible trips in search of the Northern Lights. A company offering exactly what we were looking for was located in an office immediately behind the hotel so we called in and booked the trip at 900 krona each about £95 so not cheap. This was to be a five to six hour coach trip starting at 7.30 in the evening. Before we set off the weather did not look encouraging. We started with a short talk in the office where nearly a full coach load of expectant customers listened to the guide. He explained what the evening was all about and told us we would drive around may be even up to the border looking for the Lights.He also mentioned the weather was not good and we might struggle to find or see the lights and any one wanting to cancel could have a full refund. It was overcast and threatening rain. When we got on the bus the guide again reiterated that we would be lucky to see anything given the weather and anybody who wanted to cancel could have a full refund. Such a contrast to the P & O trip which under much the same circumstances there was never any suggestion before or at the start of the trip that we could cancel and get a full refund.Very disappointing. We got very lucky it has to be said as the clouds parted about twenty minutes in the the trip and the bus parked up and we all got off the bus and set up our cameras and started taking pictures. I had bought a new camera especially for this trip and was pleased that it worked well and I got some good shots. The bus then moved on to a second location where we got some nice night pictures across a lake but did not see clear sky. We then drive on for a good hour before the bus stopped at another location where again we had a good view across water to mountains and the lights of a small villages. This time after half an hour the clouds parted again and we got a glimpse of the Northern Lights amongst the stars. We had cocoa and biscuits and then set off back to Tromso, a two hour drive. The trip did exactly what it said on the tin and everyone arrive back at the hotel very satisfied. We boarded the Richard Witt a Hurtigruten Ferry in the afternoon. This is not a cruise ship but definitely the best ferry we had ever been on. Forget cross channel ferry this Hurtigruten ship is in a whole different category. The ship had started off in Bergen and Tromso was just one stop on a trip up to Kirkenes. Our cabin was small but comfortable for the three of us, two bottom beds and one pull down pullman. The bathroom was a good size. We had a half board basis which meant breakfast and an evening meal. Breakfast was a help yourself buffet. No sign of Noro Virus on this ship. The selection of food was quite good with eggs, not much bacon, the ubiquitous Norwegian meat balls and frankfurter style sausages plus lots of really nice bread, butter and margarine, cold meats and cheese. The ship called in at several small ports on the way up to Kirkenes but also had to miss some out because of rough weather. We stopped at Hammerfest on the way north, in the middle of the night, which was covered in snow and looked quite magical but too much light to see the sky which was overcast in any case. We had to miss out Havoysund before arriving at Honningsvag. We had been to Honningsvag a couple of years ago on a midnight sun trip on Grand Princess. Quite a contrast in the winter with thick snow everywhere. I bought a pair of ice spikes for my boots which made progress a lot easier for walking about. This was a three and a half hour stop which was rare because most port stops were only 15 minutes or 30 minutes so not really enough time to get off the ship and explore. The evening meals were of a good standard but there was no choice so you had to eat it or leave it. Fortunately we found all meals were tasty and enjoyable although there was an accent on fish dishes which we do not eat that often. One night we had a fish based buffet with king crab and lobster tales as the star. We missed out on the lobster tales as we were late getting to our table and they had all gone. There were plenty of crabs legs but it was hard work getting the meat out. There was also an halibut stew which was really really good. We got in to Kirkenes first thing in the morning and had three hours to explore. Quite a remote place and not particularly picturesque. We walked the mile in to town and then out again. A little disappointing compared to Honningsvag and Hammerfest. One evening during diner the announcement came over the speakers that the Northern Lights were giving a show in the sky. So 90% of the diners left their tables and rushed outside to look and take photos. We managed to get some good pictures even though the ship was moving along at about 15 knots. Even taking 4 to 8 second exposures produced a result and enhanced the green colour of the lights although stars ended up as squiggles but this did not spoil the pictures of the Northern Lights even showing a little of the curtain effect you sometimes get with the lights. Boarding and leaving the ship was very straight forward. No security, no x-ray machines a very laid back attitude. This is Norway, so they seem to have a laid back attitude towards security. Nice for the passengers but is it too relaxed? Cruise card as usual for onboard spend and when leaving or returning to the ship. Prices on board were sky high. A glass of red or white wine cost 82 kronas. A beer was about 72 kronas. The cheapest bottle of wine was about 40 kronas. They had a wine deal for the three nights at 1700 kronas. That's over £180 for three bottles of wine! We had a glass of wine a couple of times but it certainly cuts down your alcoholic intake for a cruise. Having a bottle of wine with a meal is usually a given for us on a cruise. To be fare, alcohol is very expensive on shore in Norway as well. We arrived back in Tromso at midnight and were off the ship really quickly with the luggage transferred to the hotel for us. Very efficient. We were in our room by midnight 30. All in all a very good experience. Would we do it again. Yes, but with a major cruise line like P & O or Princess or even Cruise & Maritime. Hurtigruten is a very good company and the Richard Witt is an excellent ship but she is not a cruise ship and prices on board are way too high even by cruise ship standards.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We travelled on Richard With and had a wonderful time Hunting the Light. We had five nights of sightings and have some super photographs that we are well satisfied with. The passage to Kirkenes and back is not a cruise - it is a journey ... Read More
We travelled on Richard With and had a wonderful time Hunting the Light. We had five nights of sightings and have some super photographs that we are well satisfied with. The passage to Kirkenes and back is not a cruise - it is a journey on a well appointed ferry and must not be confused by those booking the trip. There is no cruise style entertainment at all - coffee is served in a bar up on Deck 7 where a pianist plays - that is all that happens, the rest is up to you and your fellow passengers. it is a wonderful visual experience but you must know what your are booking if you wish to avoid disappointment. Stops at ports are short and sweet - some as short as 20 minutes, some extend to 6 hours at the most. The food is wonderful if you like open Scandinavian type buffets - we do so it is great - but if you do not eat fish or are a vegetarian, your choice is limited. Dinner is served with no choice expect if you pre-warn and book a veggie type meal. Here comes the warning! Now the line are not serving tap water in flasks as they have done for years but are now asking you to buy mineral water to drink in the Dining Room. You get free mineral water if you have bought a wine package at Norwegian prices but not if you do not. Buying a minimal amount of water can add up to £60 to your on board account. This is not shown in the brochure nor is it told to you on booking. 'Be Warned' and expect to pay to have a glass of water with your meals. The staff are very pleasant and helpful. Their main role has been for many years running a state supported ferry service for the Norwegian traveller - they are not cruise passenger orientated, they are efficient and dedicated to make everything run to time. It is a superb experience both in winter and summer - but I urge anyone booking to know what it is they are booking and not complain if it turns out to be different to what they expext. Do your research and ask all the questions. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We had a fantastic trip and loved every moment. Sure it's not an ocean cruise ship, more like a ferry in terms of accommodation, but we knew this before we left and it was all part of the adventure. We knew the cruise was called ... Read More
We had a fantastic trip and loved every moment. Sure it's not an ocean cruise ship, more like a ferry in terms of accommodation, but we knew this before we left and it was all part of the adventure. We knew the cruise was called "Hunting the Light" but had read the reviews before we left and knew that not all trips would see the Northern Lights. However we observed them 5 times on the trip, the first day being Christmas Day - it was amazing and the best Christmas Present ever. We observed sea eagles on the trip and also minke whales from the front of the ship whilst sailing up one of the many fjords. We took an excursion to the North Cape which was well worth the experience despite it being dark when we got there, (due to the disappearance of the sun for the Arctic Night) to stand there at the top of the Cape felt like a real achievement. However our postcards, which we posted from there, to receive the North Cape stamp, did not arrive until almost two weeks later and the stamp was hardly visible, bit disappointed. This is a working ferry service which serves the north of Norway therefore passengers should be aware that we made 65 scheduled stops, some for approximately 15 minutes through the day and night, but the captain seemed to do this with the utmost ease and minimal noise. On longer stops you can get off the ship and explore the towns. For some passengers this was disappointing as they were closed for shopping having locked up for the Christmas Holidays, not a problem for us as we strolled the streets and viewed the different Christmas decorations. Our best buy before we left home was a pair of ice spikes for our boots which were invaluable when walking in some of the towns as the paths and roads were very icy. At Kirkenes, the most southerly point of the trip, we took the dog sledding experience, very exhilarating if not a little whiffy and extremely bumpy, wouldn't have missed it as it was all part of the experience. Friends went on the snowmobiles and were absolutely thrilled that they took another excursion, night snowmobiling a couple of days later which they said was well worth the money. There were plenty of excursions on offer for the cruise, they were expensive, but again we had done our research before leaving home and knew that the cost of most things in Norway would be far more expensive than in the UK. Travelling back south we also took the midnight concert excursion to the Arctic Cathedral in Tromso. It was snowing which really added some ambience to a wonderful Arctic experience. The tour guide on the Richard With was Anna Olivia Wallinder, what a lovely person. Full of enthusiasm, knowledge and a speaker of many languages. She even coerced passengers into singing in a Christmas Choir, performing to the passengers and crew on Christmas Eve and to a sister ship in dock with us on New Years Eve, another memorable experience. In fact, all of the crew on the Richard With worked very hard, were very helpful and made us feel welcomed. Cabins were small, we had only 1 wardrobe and not really enough storage space for all our thermal indoor and outerwear, but comfortable and adequate for the journey. However next time I will take some lighter summer wear as well as winter wear as the Richard With indoors was very warm and with the winter clothing on, far too warm to be comfortable (I had to buy a tshirt from the North Cape to wear for a couple of days). Food in general was good, a bit samey sometimes but I find this on a lot of cruise ships when catering for large numbers, self serve buffet for breakfast and lunch with hot and cold selections and a set meal for dinner, which consisted of three courses of mainly Norwegian dishes. Some meals were not to my taste and the staff were helpful in offering me an alternative. There is no dress code for dinner and most passengers arrived very casual but tidy which created a very relaxed atmosphere, with the exception of New Year's eve where most passengers wore their only "dinner outfit". We did find the that our internal time clock did get disorientated due to the Arctic night, only about 3 hours twilight at lunch time. But then again we had researched this so weren't totally shocked by the lack of light, but we were extremely grateful and humbled when we saw it again. Embarkation and disembarkation were reasonably smooth, although there was a short delay before boarding. The terminal missed out by not opening the café as most passengers had arrived a couple of hours earlier and a drink would have been much appreciated. I think there was a machine but instructions were too complicated for us to work out and many of us did not have small amounts (coins) in Norwegian Krona to use. All in all a fantastic Christmas & New Year Adventure which we would highly recommend for anyone who wants an alternative to an Ocean Cruise, getting dressed up for dinner and having entertainment on board. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Last December we went with Hurtigruten on a Norwegian cruise to see the Northern Lights. We had recently been to Norway with Saga, so it was interesting to make comparisons. We booked directly with Hurtigruten in the UK, whereas other ... Read More
Last December we went with Hurtigruten on a Norwegian cruise to see the Northern Lights. We had recently been to Norway with Saga, so it was interesting to make comparisons. We booked directly with Hurtigruten in the UK, whereas other passengers booked through a travel agent for the same price. As we were to experience, Hurtigruten certainly know how to operate ships, but we found their UK travel agency skills to be poor. One example of this was their excursion booking. The Norwegian excursion brochure was sent to us several weeks later than promised and it included pages referring to excursions in Holland! We booked a couple of quite expensive excursions to ensure we weren't disappointed, which we had to pay for immediately. Shortly before the cruise, I phoned Hurtigruten to ask about the dress code for one of the excursions, to be told that it had been cancelled several weeks earlier, but no one had bothered to tell us. It was getting late for us to find an alternative. Others, who waited until they got to Norway, had great difficulty in organising an alternative. While Hurtigruten arranged our Jet2 flight from Gatwick to Tromso, which was convenient, their 737 must have been the most basic in the Boeing catalogue and you have to pay for any meals and drinks! At Gatwick the Hurtigruten welcoming staff hardly seemed to notice us, but once in Norway, everything was well-coordinated with punctual and efficient transfers. The Hurtigruten ships operate more like a coastal bus service than cruise ships, taking goods and locals up and down the coast, so they shouldn't be compared with cruise ships. The ships are clean and comfortable. There's no formal dressing-up, but most passengers still dress smartly for dinner. Bearing in mind we were there to see the Northern Lights, which can appear at any instant, you need to be dressed appropriately to pop out onto the deck in sub-zero temperatures, so tuxedos and long dresses would probably be inappropriate! Meals were generally good, with the buffet supper being significantly the best. We took some pot noodle meals and snacks for our lunches, because on-board meals, not included in our package, were unbelievably expensive. If you like tea and/or coffee, we recommend buying the Hurtigruten mug, which you can then fill free of charge on board. The ship was particularly clean and crew members seemed to be cleaning something all day long. The ship's crew were exceptionally alert at spotting the Northern Lights and told us immediately when they were visible. We believe we were particularly lucky to have Anna Olivier Wallinder as our crew Tour Manager. She went out of her way to ensure that we enjoyed ourselves, organising events on board, coordinating excursions, notifying us of the Northern Lights and paying attention to every detail for our comfort and safety. There was some on-board entertainment, but no shows. For us this was fine. If you have the choice between the North Cape excursion and visiting the Christmas House at Skarsvag, we would recommend Skarsvag. The journey and scenery is much the same as to the North Cape and as well as getting a hot drink and home made pancakes, you will be shown the village, which is one of the remotest places in Europe, where the local statistics will astonish you. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
As we are getting married in the Caribbean in November, we decided we would try a small cruise with our twin 3 year olds. It was their first flight and cruise, and our first cruise. Having read the reviews beforehand we knew what to ... Read More
As we are getting married in the Caribbean in November, we decided we would try a small cruise with our twin 3 year olds. It was their first flight and cruise, and our first cruise. Having read the reviews beforehand we knew what to expect in terms of it being a working ship and not a luxury cruise. Departure from Manchester could have been problematic as Jet2 thought it prudent to sit a family of us with two very young children at the end of each aisle seat x 4. Fortunately for us and for the rest of the passengers a very helpful couple swopped seats and prevented a noisy journey. We were allocated Level 2 Port Side which was a little noisy but on balance the other decks may have suffered from people outside cabin windows with cameras for the northern lights. Cabins are small but you are not expected to be spending a lot of time in them but rather sitting in the public areas reading, knitting or surfing the internet and meeting other passengers. Food presentation and quality were excellent, the waiters were pleasant and helpful, ships crew overall accommodating. Restaurant Manager very good at changing our late sitting to an earlier one for the children's benefit. The Northern lights were observed every night we were on ship so it is fair to say we were lucky in terms of weather (no snow, rain, fog etc.) bright and sunny. Tea/coffee deal 250 krona, but the cafe was open 24 hours for refill so a good idea. Not really sure why people would object to using the handwash as this is for everyone's benefit to avoid illness. The childrens play area was also most welcome as there are no facilities really for children on board. Three or four static pc's on board for internet use (free of charge) or you can use the library/bar area for free wifi. No problems there. Radisson Blue Manageress very good - chatted with us in reception and gave us free orange juice whilst we waited for the bus to the airport. Receptionist also prompt and efficient in changing our room when we found we had been allocated two rooms on different floors! Radisson breakfast excellent. Tromso - The number 26 bus from Pepe's Pizza (round the corner) took us outside the cable car, cost 28 krona approx, cable car 300 krona for a family ticket. Ask for a street map from the receptionist at the hotel. Supermarkets do not sell wine and spirits and you have to visit a government shop to purchase. Overall a very pleasant experience as we met some lovely people from the Yorkshire Dales, Southport and Newcastle and we all got into the spirit of the holiday. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
The travel arrangements were fine and as travellers who usually book everything independently, it was good to discover that Hurtigruten seem to have everything down to a fine art. They also give you plenty of information before you leave ... Read More
The travel arrangements were fine and as travellers who usually book everything independently, it was good to discover that Hurtigruten seem to have everything down to a fine art. They also give you plenty of information before you leave home. We arrived on time at the ship, MS Richard With, where our cabin was ready for our occupation immediately. The cabins are small but very comfortable and have everything you need. It was very clean. The shower room was tiny and if you were a large person you might find the shower difficult. Luckily this was not the case for us. Food was generally of a high standard and we found the staff in the dining room pleasant and helpful. We had booked breakfast and dinner only, thinking we might be off the boat some days. When we were on board we had light snacks from the cafe area, which were very good indeed. The "coffee" deal is worth doing. You buy a thermos mug and then refill with tea or coffee of your choice at any time of day or night. After a couple of days it will pay for itself. We spent a lot of time out on the deck (in chilly February)with a hot drink in hand. I think the excursions are expensive generally, but then Norway is expensive. So we took off on our own when there was time to walk around a stopping place. It is worth doing some homework before you go so that you use the time wisely. The one exception was booking to go dog sledding in Tromso (the evening excursion post disembarking) which was fabulous. We experienced the northern lights from the ship in the Lofotens and again from our husky drawn sled near Tromso. Both times it was magical. Especially as the other nights had been cloudy and snowy and we didn't think the skies would clear, but they did. Out on deck at night it is eiry but wonderful. The water was like a mill pond in the shelter of the fjords and the snow made it easy to see the landscape, dotted with the lights from the fisherman's cottages on the water's edge as we glided by. Heading north you only see the Lofoten Islands at night and though this was beautiful, I would have liked longer here. The southbound journey brings you back during the day. Another time I think I'd make a stop here. All the crew are friendly, polite and welcoming, and they all seem to speak English really well. The tour guide and his assistant seemed to be working very hard all the time but were never without smiles. They provide a daily itinerary that lists the ports to be stopped at, the excursions available, and the sights to be passed along the way. We were sorry to leave the ship but Hurtigruten had booked us into a very comfortable hotel in Tromso, which was 2 minutes walk from the boat and itself on the water front. The return journey home was easy and uneventful. Again Hurtigruten had covered everything in terms of transfers and connections. I think this would be of particular comfort to a lone or first time traveller. They have it down to a fine art. Well organized trip. Lovely clean and comfortable ship. Stupendous scenery. I would just love to go again... and take a bit longer over it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Our first cruise. We chose October to suit our budget, but probably not the best time of year. Its the stormy season - and did we know it at times. The frequent passages in the open sea were challenging - passengers could hardly stand up ... Read More
Our first cruise. We chose October to suit our budget, but probably not the best time of year. Its the stormy season - and did we know it at times. The frequent passages in the open sea were challenging - passengers could hardly stand up and were staggering around the dining area with plates of food, lurching from table to table and we were sliding around the bed/bunk at night. An experience for the able-bodied but not so good for those less so. The weather (high winds) also prevented the ship from going up some of the most picturesque fjords (very disappointing)Food was very good & plentiful - largely fish-based with reindeer etc. (pretty healthy). We booked the 'Rib Safari' to see the huge Saltstraumen whirlpool. I have seen bigger whirlpools in my bath-tub. The tidal conditions have to be right before it occurs (3 or 4 times a day). All we saw was a slight ripple on the surface and were told 'That it where it was a few hours ago'. This is not made clear in the write-up when they want your money, very disappointing. Suggest you don't book it until you know the tidal timetable. We did get distant glimpses of sea-eagles. The crew were very helpful & polite with English widely spoken. We booked separately Norwegian airline for the flights at about a third of the Hurtigruten cost. You do have to make your own way to & from the airport to Bergen Hurtigruten terminal, but there is an excellent public bus service for 190 NOK return - leaving a 15 minute walk at the Bergen end (or a taxi). Overall a good holiday, but not a cheap one.Other tips:- If possible avoid deck 5 - the promenade deck with everyone walking past your window and blocking your view. Book on the starboard (right) side of the ship to avoid noise from the loading deck whilst in port at night. Go for the £32 coffee cup deal offered as you board, giving 24 hour unlimited tea & coffee. At £3-50 a cup of coffee, you are soon better off. If we go again, we will spend an extra day or so in Bergen, lots to see & do there, including a cable car ride up the nearest mountain for views over the city. If you go in winter, take ice cleats/crampons/spiked boots as all the pavements are like skating rinks. Don't forget continental plug adaptors. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
My husband, 2 yr old son and I just returned from a 12-day Norway voyage on Hurtigruten's Richard With. Cabins - We splurged and booked a mini-suite so we'd have more room with our son, and this gave us more than enough ... Read More
My husband, 2 yr old son and I just returned from a 12-day Norway voyage on Hurtigruten's Richard With. Cabins - We splurged and booked a mini-suite so we'd have more room with our son, and this gave us more than enough room to move around. You can request a crib at check-in if you need one (they will only fit in a suite), though rental is hefty at $25 per day. We decided to share a bed. Our mini-suite was well laid out, with a curtained off area containing a comfy queen bed. This allowed us to put our son to bed, and still have the main area to enjoy the evenings together. Suites have a TV and minibar which was handy for milk and other snacks for our son. A lovely fruit basket was provided to us when we boarded in Bergen, and was refreshed again in Kirkenes. We were also given Hurtigruten coffee mugs, allowing us access to coffee/tea at no charge 24/7 throughout the voyage which was handy and saved us some money. We had cabin 636 which we felt was one of the best located on the entire ship (640 is just as well located and significantly larger). We were below the quiet outdoor deck area and on the starboard side, so we didn't hear any loading/unloading of people, cars or cargo which took place on the port side at each stop. Announcements - Announcements are frequently made over the sound system in Norwegian, English and German (for our southbound voyage they added Italian) which we could hear clearly in our cabin even with the speaker on our phone turned off. We were worried they would wake our son during naps or after bedtime, but the ship generates enough white noise of its own so it wasn't a problem. Cruising with a toddler - Hurtigruten cruises are not really targeted for families with children, meaning there is no babysitting, organized activities or kids meals provided. We knew this in advance and planned accordingly, and made sure we brought along our own books, toys, craft supplies, DVD player and snacks. The ship does have a nice play room with a play house, slide, and a big bin full of toys and Lego duplo blocks, so this was where we spent a lot of our time on board. There were only two other families traveling with kids for the full 12 day voyage but they were infants. But many other toddlers and young children came and went for shorter periods throughout the voyage so there was always someone new for our son to play with in the play room. Keeping our 2 yr old busy took some creativity on our part, but he loved being on the ship. Ports - With a toddler, we were often headed off first to the local playground. The best playgrounds for preschoolers were often located in daycares which are open for use when the kids aren't using them. In one of the ports, daycare staff welcomed our son to join a class of kids. The older kids immediately played host to my son and made him feel comfortable and welcome. These playgrounds turned out to be highlights of our trip - not only did our son get to blow off steam, but we had the opportunity to meet many Norwegian children and to chat with fellow parents and daycare workers who were unbelievably friendly and welcoming. Excursions - We prefer to venture out on our own, so we only participated in one excursion in Trondheim to the Folk Museum in the northwest of the city. We really enjoyed this outing. My husband and I enjoyed the different buildings and our son loved running around and visiting with the resident pigs, cows, rabbit and sheep. Meals - Breakfasts and lunches were always buffet style with open seating in the dining room. Being Norway, fish was obviously a feature of every meal, but there was a lot of selection, including vegetarian and meat options, and the quality of food was excellent. Dinner was a combination of buffet and set meals, some open seating and some at assigned tables. We preferred the buffet meals because of the wider selection of foods, but the set menus were good too. On set menu nights, one appetizer, one main course and one dessert were available and the food was delicious. My husband is allergic to fish and seafood, and I don't eat meat, so our server always provided us with an alternate meal on nights where they were required. Our son would usually eat the same thing as us at dinner but on nights when there wasn't anything to his taste, the chef would whip up some spagetti bolognese or fried rice. One night we purchased a pizza from the cafe and brought it to the dining room for him to eat, and on a few occasions we asked for bread in the dining room and whipped him up a peanut butter sandwich (we always bring along a jar just in case). Traveling with Hurtigruten is not like traditional cruising - there are no organized activites (aside from organized shore excursions you could purchase), no entertainment (aside from a duo singing with a keyboard in the 7th floor lounge in the evenings). If you are looking for a super luxurious experience and midnight buffets, this is not the cruise for you. But if you are looking to experience gorgeous scenery, lovely people, good food and comfortable surroundings, Hurtigruten is it. We've traveled on the Oasis of the Seas and other large cruise ships, but we enjoyed this experience much more. We found this to be far more personal and allowed us to visit small towns the larger ships would never be able to access. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We booked this cruise in the heat of August, and as the date approached and we experienced record cold and snow in the Washington, DC, area, we asked ourselves, "Are we crazy?" We flew to Bergen on February 27th, and stayed in ... Read More
We booked this cruise in the heat of August, and as the date approached and we experienced record cold and snow in the Washington, DC, area, we asked ourselves, "Are we crazy?" We flew to Bergen on February 27th, and stayed in a hotel there for two nights, touring the city, and Troldhaugen, Edvard Grieg's summer home, studio, and museum. We boarded the Richard With two days later, and set sail for the north coast of Norway, then eastward to the Russian border. Along the way we stopped at 34 ports, day and night. Then we turned around and sailed back to Bergen, stopping at the same 34 ports; those visited at night northbound were daytime stops southbound, and vice-versa. I must add here that we booked our trip through a Boston travel company, which provided air arrangements, the hotel stay in Bergen before and after the cruise, and a program manager/guide, who traveled with the 47 of us, presented a daily one-hour lecture on ports visited, Norwegian and Scandinavian history, politics, and geography, led optional walks in nearly every port, and attended to all our needs. We also had five Hurtigruten shore excursions included in the price. The ship is a working ferry, carrying cargo and cars from port to port, and day passengers as well. So it is not your typical cruise ship. We reserved a mini-suite, category Q. There are eight such mini-suites, plus two suites. All other accommodations are smallish cabins with two bunk beds - one is a couch that folds into a bed, the other is attached to the wall, and is pulled down to sleep on. When both are in the sleep position, there is about 18" between them, and not much more space. All bathrooms are identical - small, but with separate showers. There are 490 berths in all, with the capacity for an additional 200 day passengers, who can be found sleeping overnight in lounges or other public areas. Our mini-suite was adequate, a sitting area, and a typical cruise ship double bed, a dressing table, closets, and other storage. Benefits of paying extra for the suite included a mini-bar (we used the refrigerator for fresh fruit and beer that we bought ashore), TV set, champagne on boarding, a fruit basket which was refilled twice, a tour of the bridge (normally NK80) and a drink afterward, and membership in the coffee club. Unlike typical cruse ships, meals are buffet breakfast and lunch, and fixed served dinners. Any food in between mealtimes, including coffee, is available only in the cafeteria, and at a price. Having the coffee club membership allowed us to fill our coffee cups anytime, 24 hours, in the cafeteria, which is usually used by the day passengers. The other perk of having a suite allowed us to stay in our cabin on disembarkation day until the ship docked around 2:30PM; all other passengers had to vacate their cabins at 10:00AM. Speaking of food, it is plentiful, but not especially gourmet fare. The breakfast and lunch buffets have huge selections of cold meats, smoked fish, three kinds of herring, cheeses, and pate. There are several selections of hot foods, including mutton and cabbage, cod tongue, reindeer stew, and more conventional choices such as turkey cutlets, pork, and fish, both sauteed and sauced. There is also a daily soup at lunch. Dinners are three courses, no choices. One night might be a soup, fish with potatoes and vegetable, and dessert; another night might be seared scallop appetizer, lamb chops, dessert. All soups and most entrees were barely warm, all entrees were over-salted and over-sauced. Desserts were just OK. Service was attentive, but not solicitous. The scenery is the star of this voyage and it was breathtaking! Sailing in the fjords is like nothing I've seen before. Small villages all along the water, with mountains rising behind them. Snow cover everywhere. We encountered an Arctic storm in the Barents Sea, which rocked and rolled the ship for the better part of two days. Walking around was an adventure, and several people suffered from some degree of seasickness. Fortunately, (or unfortunately for our waistlines) my wife and I did not miss a meal. For the most part, though, the journey was quite smooth. Embarking and Disembarking at the various ports was easy - the built-in retractable gangplank made an easy walk ashore, and for security one only had to scan his key card on or off. While the ship is a working cargo ship/ferry, the public spaces are lovely - three lounges, a large outside space, a promenade deck which encircled the entire ship, a library, and an arcade made plenty of room for socializing, reading, playing games, or just watching the scenery. There are also two hot tubs, a small exercise room, and a sauna. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
I just got back from a January cruise on the Sir Richard With with my partner. Winter is a fantastic time of year if you enjoy the snow because the views are breathtaking and there are no crowds at all! The ship was only at about 1/6 of ... Read More
I just got back from a January cruise on the Sir Richard With with my partner. Winter is a fantastic time of year if you enjoy the snow because the views are breathtaking and there are no crowds at all! The ship was only at about 1/6 of its capacity and all the sites along the way were clear of crowds. Of course, the Northern lights were very special; saw them 3 time despite cloudy conditions through most of the artic circle. But by far the best thing about the Sir Richard with was 2 hot tubs on the back of the deck, which you could soak in the breathtaking views in comfort and style. Only complaint there is the the ship's railing were are eye level while in the tub, wish they though of that when they installed it! The ports have a fabulous opportunity to explore numerous towns and cities. The ship had a tourism desk that was a wonderful idea but poorly executed. They only had maps for 2 of the 11 ports we got off the ship, even though each of the town's tourist offices usually produces one. So make sure you research the port cities in advance. The internet on the ship is mind numbingly slow. The excursions sounded fun but we were more than happy to explore the towns on our own. Instead of booking the full trip, we booked 2 parts: Bergen to Tromsø (4.5 days) then stayed in Tromsø and caught the same ship as it returned south. To me, this was ideal as it provided a much needed break from the ship to go snowshoeing around the beautiful Tromsø area. In Tromsø, my partner and I stay at an absolutely gorgeous cabin with a fabulous Norwegian host family living across the street. They were ready to loan us snow shoes, skis, their car, even came to knock on our door when the Northern lights were out! Can't recommend them enough: http://www.holemarkgaard.no Lastly, for those that our interested in environmental impact, we learned from the ship's manager that it did dump its "grey water" waste out at sea as soon as they were far enough off shore. This surprised me because the WWF site had said Hurtigruten did not engage in this practice, but there you go. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Hurtigruten is an excellent informal cruise experience on a working ship plying the ports north of Bergen to almost Russia. Most of the journey is sheltered from rough sea by a line of islands. The weather is unpredictable and we were ... Read More
Hurtigruten is an excellent informal cruise experience on a working ship plying the ports north of Bergen to almost Russia. Most of the journey is sheltered from rough sea by a line of islands. The weather is unpredictable and we were lucky. The temperature at the North Cape was warmer than England. We had about 300 passengers, mostly very friendly retired people from England,some Norwegians (their pensioners have a discount), some Germans, French , Australians and USA. Many were very keen on unusual birds, such as sea eagles.( we saw them). The more experienced travellers used the cruise websites for booking the cruise because the Hurtigruten sales office can be difficult to engage and the websites can offer better prices. The ship stops several times a day, including the night. The night stops on the north journey are visited in the daylight in the south journey.There are lots of expensive excursions. We could book them the previous night once we knew the weather forecast. We were lucky at the North Cape excursion because there are few clear days each year and there was one when we visited it. The midnight musical concert at Tromso was excellent too. The shipping line is thoughtful in offering transport from the airport to the ship for passengers and luggage. Unfortunately there was a problem when we arrived at Bergen airport when one person checked all the ship's luggage. It took about an hour to check in our luggage. The coach transport worked well,taking us to the ship. Hurtigren offer several 'special offers' once you arrive. You can buy drinking water at meal time for about £22. Ignore that. They offer free ordinary water at meal time. They also offer a wine deal when they will give you an appropriate wine each day for £350. They could be useful if you can afford a bottle a day because the cheapest bottle was about £35. Few took this offer. They also offered a coffee deal when you paid about £30 ( I am guessing) for a mug and the coffee could be replenished in the cafeteria anytime. Since you have free coffee each meal time we thought was this was sufficient. The cabins are tiny but cleverly arranged with one bed which folds into the wall and the other bed converts to a seat. The food is good with a a buffet breakfast and lunch and with a served dinner at 6.30pm or 8.30pm. The emphasis was on fish dishes. Anything alcoholic was very expensive in Norway. In fact everything was expensive in Norway. However we could bring alcohol into our cabins. The experienced travellers took advantage of buying duty free oportunities at the Bergen Airport as we arrived. We liked the idea of offering duty free at arrival. We signed up for a lecture series about Norway held in the ship conference room. This was an hour lecture each day about different aspects of Norwegian life. These were interesting and the lecturer could advise us about anything. This was an easy way of meeting fellow travellers because we changed our dinner seats to chat to different individuals each night. We knew that we had a hotel room at the end of the holiday, the Neptun. This was fine although the bedroom was small. Many of us from the ship were booked there. We had an excellent dinner at the Pascal bistro at the hotel. We can recomend that. The breakfast was good too. The pleasant surprise was that Hurtigruten provided us with transport from the hotel to the airport. This was our first cruise. It was lovely.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
My mother and I did the Northbound trip from Bergen to Kirkenes with Hurtigruten in the second week of May. We had a great time overall, and I would definitely recommend it to others. That said, if you're looking for a cruise ship ... Read More
My mother and I did the Northbound trip from Bergen to Kirkenes with Hurtigruten in the second week of May. We had a great time overall, and I would definitely recommend it to others. That said, if you're looking for a cruise ship with racquetball courts or bingo or organized community-building activities, then Hurtigruten is not for you. This is a cruise for people who love great scenery, like to organize their own activities for the most part, and don't want or need a lot of pampering. Since we're that type of person, we both loved it. Our ship was the MS Richard With (pronounced Rickard Veet), and our cabin was on the stern side of deck 5, which is the promenade deck. We had asked for an outside double cabin on the side away from the car/freight loading bay (to avoid noise during night dockings, thanks to another reviewer on this site) and one deck away from the promenade. However, being on the promenade deck wasn't too bad; the windows are fairly reflective, so people can't see in unless they stop and get close to look, which didn't happen, and the noise level was acceptable—and being on deck 5 made it easier for my mother to get outside to smoke. The ship works on bow thrusters, so there's less engine noise near the stern. We asked ahead for a shower stool for my mother, which we received, and special meals because one of us has an allergy and the other is diabetic. They did all right with the food requirements, though better at dinner for the allergy than with the buffet during the day, which I didn't get much help with. The food was largely Norwegian specialties (lots of fish/seafood and potatoes), and was very good. I especially enjoyed the breakfast buffet. We took advantage of three of the shore excursions during the five main days of our trip (they advertise it as a week, but the first day is just the evening and the last day you leave the ship in the morning and have to be out of your cabin by 8 a.m.). The Hurtigruten website was somewhat misleading about the excursions, offering a 10% discount if you booked three or more excursions in advance. When I booked three I was told that the policy was to give a 10% discount on every excursion AFTER the third, so I wouldn't get any reduction in price. That annoyed me. We eventually decided to book a fourth excursion from the set listed as available during early May, and then were told that it wasn't actually available until June, another mistake on the website. Do talk to their people at the toll free number and hash out the details before you book. Of the excursions we took, I would recommend two of the three. The Geirangerfjord is indeed one of the most beautiful places on earth. We saw it from the water on our way in on the big ship, and the excursion gave you good views from land (after a very brief ferry to the dock). My regret is that we didn't get to see the famous Seven Sisters waterfall from the water because we were lined up below decks for the excursion, but we did get to see it from above later on, some distance away. The bus trip takes you up and down some scary mountain roads, plus a ferry ride across another fjord, and our tour guide was informative and easy to understand (there were different buses for people who spoke German, English, and French). You meet the ship back in Ålesund a few hours later. The other excursion we especially enjoyed was the birdwatching safari. In May, nesting season is going on for puffins, kittiwakes, gannets, shags and razorbills, and some others I've forgotten (my mother is the birder). To get to the bird islands, which are above the Arctic Circle, you take a bus across a mountainous and arctic island—we saw some reindeer from the road, and a sea eagle—and then a small boat. They'll offer you arctic suits, but if your clothing is warm and wind-tight you won't need them. Although there's a small cabin on the boat, almost everyone stayed outside, standing against the railings, to see the birds. The excursion we were disappointed by was the Svartisen Glacier one. We transferred to a smaller boat (this one with inside seating) to make our way up a shallower fjord, and then there was either a 5-minute bus ride or a 15-minute walk to a restaurant with a view of the glacier. You don't come nearer to the ice than seeing it from across a lake. The landscape was interesting and enjoyable, but it's not really a glacier excursion. On the way back to the big ship we stopped in a fishing village with some old abandoned buildings from the eighteenth century and some uninspiring ones from the mid-twentieth. There are times during the trip when the ship is docked for longer than an hour, and when you can leave to explore the town (signing out and in with your room key card). We did so in Trondheim and Tromsø, and were glad we did. You should be aware, though, that most stores and some museums in Norway will be closed on Sundays and Mondays, and plan accordingly. We did our trip just at the beginning of Arctic summer, and therefore of the midnight sun. The curtains on the window in our cabin had good backing and I brought a sleep mask to keep light out while sleeping, and that worked pretty well. We went through the narrow and exciting Trollfjord in the late evening, and the dusky light made it very mysterious and splendid-looking. We had also used Hurtigruten to book hotels in Oslo and Bergen, so we could do sightseeing days in both those cities, one before and one after the cruise. It was slightly more expensive than searching for hotels in good locations ourselves, but worth it for the time and effort saved. And we had them book us both the plane tickets from Kirkenes to Oslo and train tickets from Oslo to Bergen. All the arrangements worked out smoothly. I strongly recommend doing the train trip as opposed to flying to Bergen; it's very scenic, as it moves from gentle farmland up to a mountain plateau still buried in snow in May, then back down to the coast. Overall, a grand experience! Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
Richard With Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.5 4.0
Entertainment N/A 2.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation N/A 3.0
Family 3.0 3.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.6

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