Starting in Kirkenes on the lovely MS Lofoten. Wonderfull euthentic ship!
Beautifull cabin and friendly (hard working) staff.
Breakfast, lunch and diner where also good and tasty.
I did the excursions: breakfast at the Artic ... Read More
Starting in Kirkenes on the lovely MS Lofoten. Wonderfull euthentic ship!
Beautifull cabin and friendly (hard working) staff.
Breakfast, lunch and diner where also good and tasty.
I did the excursions: breakfast at the Artic Circle, horseriding at the Lofoten and the RIB boat with the midnightson :-) Very nice!!!
Also I was very lucky with the wether. 6 days, beautiful, most of the time blue sky.
I definitely come back again and do this trip in winter. It's such a shame that this boat is only sailing for 1,5 year.........
Most of the passengers selected this euthentic ship, the same for me!
And.... I was a single traveler => I met so many other people (different ages).
And have wonderfull evenings with them!
So book this trip when it's possible. I'm very happy I make this trip and want to do it again.
ps. I have more photo's if you want :-) Read Less
I chose this cruise for the beautiful scenery of the Norwegian Fjords.
Due to strong winds we were unable to embark straight away as it was dangerous to use the air bridge but we were kept informed and I actually boarded 15 minutes ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the beautiful scenery of the Norwegian Fjords.
Due to strong winds we were unable to embark straight away as it was dangerous to use the air bridge but we were kept informed and I actually boarded 15 minutes before my allotted time. First time using a mobility scooter but very helpful staff helped me to board by a conventional gangplank. No trouble disembarking, off within 15 minutes. Luggage found and out of the terminal within 30 minutes.
I did not do any organised trips as it was my first cruise on my own, since losing my husband and having to us a mobility scooter.
Self serve Horizon restaurant has plenty of staff wearing "Happy to Help aprons" and they were indeed helpful (although wanted to give me more food than I wanted) carried it to the table for me.
All areas are accessible to disabled travellers and if you want to eat in the other restaurants they will park and bring it back afterwards.
The Eric Lanlard afternoon tea in the Epicurean is to die for. The glad house has amazing wines (Selected by Ollie Smith). Try a wine flight if you want to sample.
These is plenty of seating even on a sea day it wasn't hard to find a place.
Overall a beautiful ship with absolutely wonderful crew. Read Less
Seen a lot and had great food. Never a bored moment. Nice meetings with the expedition team with interesting information and stories about Norway. Deck 6 Is a nice place for your cabin. On deck 5 you can walk around the hole ship and ... Read More
Seen a lot and had great food. Never a bored moment. Nice meetings with the expedition team with interesting information and stories about Norway. Deck 6 Is a nice place for your cabin. On deck 5 you can walk around the hole ship and people can look into your cabin. No luxury cruise things like swimming pools, big shows and entertainment but just the way I like it. Nice and easy relaxed atmosphere. The short stops in harbor’s are long enough to get a taste of that town. For some excursions you leave the ship in one town and board it in another town again. I loved the excursion to the marble mine. Very interesting to see how they work over there and deal with the changing demand of marble. You don’t have to do all the excursions. Some walks you can do on your own. The Hurtigrutten Museum is interesting manly because of the first ship that you can see there. Easy to get in contact with other travelers. Read Less
I choosed it because it is the easiest way from bergen to the lofoten. I heard about hurtigruten in german TV and liked it. But it was much better than i ever expected. I will absolutely do it again and take all the tour north and back ... Read More
I choosed it because it is the easiest way from bergen to the lofoten. I heard about hurtigruten in german TV and liked it. But it was much better than i ever expected. I will absolutely do it again and take all the tour north and back south. I really appreciated the work of the expedition team. They do a great job and i can absolutely recommend vitising every workshop, excusion and presentation we had on board. please check it out. you will never forget it. You can't get this point of view when you are traveling alone in norway like i do.
It is expensive, yes. But i am on my own in norway, traveling alone and on the ship it felt like going on a trip with my classmates. At first i was alone, but with every excursion we had and with every meal i met more and more people and when i was leaving the ship some people huged me and stand outside on the ship and waved me. it feld so nice and it was so easy to get in contact with new people. Read Less
I chose this cruise because I always wanted to visit Norway.Also I was travelling alone and had never been on a cruise before. I had an qbsolutely marvellous time. I came home fitter and healthier (and I never used the gym. Didnt have ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I always wanted to visit Norway.Also I was travelling alone and had never been on a cruise before. I had an qbsolutely marvellous time. I came home fitter and healthier (and I never used the gym. Didnt have time.) But I did see the equipment and was suitably impressed. I was rested and had learned new skills. I had FUN. The food was great,and I was on a very restricted diet. But the catering manager really looked after me.The staff and crew were lovely. Again I felt looked after yet respected. The sanitation rules were quite strict but I felt physically safe to use the handrails and public facilities due to seeing them almost consistently cleaned. Ive even adopted the sanitation procedures at home and my hands and nails have never looked better.
As for the enrichment activities.I am now the proud owner of a lovely hand made flower and beautiful pop up card. I could never do anything like this before. The craft centre activies were great.Lovely people teaching and a great social event too.
Now to the entertainment.I read in another review that there was only one guest performer.True. But he performed twice on my cruise and both shows were completely different.After seeing him the first time I couldn't wait to see him again. The dancers and singers were fantastic.Im a music teacher (violin and piano)and ex dancer so I really do know what Im talking about.Well trained talented people who were a joy to watch and listen to.Another special mention should go to the band.Excellent musicians. As for the two young female pianist and violinist.Absolutely beautiful.So hardworking and so very talented. The magician Ian who was cruise director was another hardworking and talented man. I hate magicians generally but I thought Ian was very good and was also a lovely approachable person with lots of personality and always made time for anyone. The last time I felt like this about a holiday was in Orlando at the Dusney parks. I felt looked after and valued. i will definitely chose to go with C&M again. Read Less
This was our very first Cruise I have to say from start to finish it was excellent, We arrived at the port where our bags were taken from us and never saw them till we got to our cabin. we checked in and with in 10 mins we were through ... Read More
This was our very first Cruise I have to say from start to finish it was excellent, We arrived at the port where our bags were taken from us and never saw them till we got to our cabin. we checked in and with in 10 mins we were through security and on the ship.we were on deck 8 Superior inside cabin and we were very happy with it. The food at all meal times were excellent, we chose to have our evening meals in the Avon Restaurant and the staff were first class. There is plenty to do on board if you don't want to get off at any of the ports. We mainly had our drinks in the Marquee Bar on the top deck very friendly and customer focused. Entertainment was also good, a great holiday which I would recommend to anyone the scenery was amazing weather was mixed apart from one day when it never stopped raining. We did the Funicular ourselves it cost £5 each to go up as we walked back down which I would recommend if your able. We then went to find the Ice Bar which cost us £19 each it was good fun and worth going in. We bought the tickets for the Flam Railway off Fred Olsen and I would advise to do this as your seats are reserved for you and well worth doing. All of the Ports that we stopped at were expensive to buy anything but really worth looking round the shops, you can do your own thing plenty to see and do. Read Less
I’ve been on 13 cruises in the past four years and I’m hooked. Enjoyed Emerald Princess at Christmas three years ago (although apart from Crab Shack and Chefs Table the food was pretty poor). I was too busy to write a review however ... Read More
I’ve been on 13 cruises in the past four years and I’m hooked. Enjoyed Emerald Princess at Christmas three years ago (although apart from Crab Shack and Chefs Table the food was pretty poor). I was too busy to write a review however and eventually forgot. So summer 18 I decided to give Sapphire Princess a try:
Good - super bed, good TV and good movies/ programmes. Awful smell from shower/ loo
Truly excellent. But a seasoned couple with 40cruises under their belt told me that in the past few years Carnival (who own Princess) have made cabin staff go from making up ten rooms twice daily to eighteen rooms in the same time. The couple felt guilty and upset for the staff about this. I too, had wondered why the staff had had to work for longer and longer every day. Now I understand.
These same old time passengers - and others - advised that I should use Cruise Excursions which operate in each port of call, rather than Carnival’s Princess. This is because the Carnival ship’s charges are extortionate in comparison to Cruise Excursions, so more and more passengers are arranging excursions with Cruise Excursions before they leave to go on these cruise.ps.
Excellent - very good - only 45 minutes per evening unfortunately which is too little.
I was lazy on this cruise so don’t know. : (
I have never written a review before now, but the food and corporate greed are the reasons I am writing this one.
The food was truly awful. It was cheap canteen standard and so many passengers muttered about it - but said they never wrote reviews - that I decided someone had to do it or the food would just get worse. I stuck with salads but sent two dinners back which I’ve never done. The PR manager handled it excellently however - and, to be fair, this aspect iof Carnivals service is very good. I met one passenger who had sued Carnival - he didn’t say why - but he won.
An example of cost cutting verging on the dishonest was when I asked for fresh orange juice. Instead I was given the reconstituted stuff they use on board and charged $4. So I went to the bar where it was made and asked again for fresh juice. The waiter genuinely seemed to believe it was fresh but I had had a look. I saw that Carnival had put reconstituted juice in a jug marked fresh juice and then charged me for it.... Rather than cause a fuss I pai but my goodwill was running out.
The next day I did get fresh juice from fresh oranges but this time the fee was $4. 95.... I again paid but it was the last straw.
One reason was that these incidents reminded me of Easter 18 - I was on another Carnival ship - P n O Ventura. As a solo passenger I pay hundreds of pounds more for a room - up to double the cost. I got the usual two chocolates in my room that first night. The next night I got only one. The manager explained that since I was the only person in the room I would only get one chocolate...
For some reason a few other solo passengers got two ... Is this discrimination I ask? Seriously when another solo passenger and I complained, he reinstated the two chocolate policy for the duration of the cruise but said he would reintroduce it when we left. That is plain mean.
This is just another means of selling.
Summary : Corporate Penny Pinching
This is a lovely ship and, to a man, the staff is superb. But it is being ruined by corporate greed. Everywhere standards are being driven down by skinflint penny pinching.
Carnival I am not saying that your board made the above decisions personally. But your policy of ruthlessly driving down costs by every nickel and dime - while posting profits in the billions - is responsible for such practices. With service such as that above however, your gravy train may seriously derail.
At Christmas 18 I am going to India with Voyages to Antiquity. I hear they are decent people. I am looking forward to it.
Meanwhile I’ve still got the cruising bug but this time around I shall keep you posted and would appreciate others helping. Read Less
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
I sailed from Dundee, not Newcastle but the option to put that on the review wasn’t there! First cruise for me and I went alone. Boarding was quick, efficient and simple. Plenty of staff to show you the way to your cabin. I felt the ... Read More
I sailed from Dundee, not Newcastle but the option to put that on the review wasn’t there! First cruise for me and I went alone. Boarding was quick, efficient and simple. Plenty of staff to show you the way to your cabin. I felt the whole trip (to the Norwegian fjords) was extremely good value for money. Excursions were well organised and informative. On board activities were fun and well attended. The restaurants were efficient, friendly staff and good food. The Chef’s Table was a superb evening. Book it if you get a chance. Cabin was clean and spacious and tended twice daily. If I had read some of the awful reviews before going I might have cancelled but I have absolutely no complaints. This isn’t a 5 star luxury miner so if you want that, go elsewhere. It is a small(ish) friendly ship which I really loved. I will sail with this company again. Read Less
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
We have just returned from a South to North trip. Some of the experiences were great, the ship was comfortable and the crew friendly but we will not be going again in the late spring for the wildlife as we'd originally intended. ... Read More
We have just returned from a South to North trip. Some of the experiences were great, the ship was comfortable and the crew friendly but we will not be going again in the late spring for the wildlife as we'd originally intended. From the UK everything is very, very expensive. More than we'd anticipated. £10 for a lager, £40+ for a run of the mill Pinot Grigio, £80-£100 for a 2 hour sightseeing tour, etc. And many of the excursions are a rip off because either they are too time limited due to the ships schedule or take place in the dark. Eg, at Trondheim our guided bus tour of the town (including a viewpoint lookout) was in the dark. It could have been run an hour later. At Saltstraumen, the tide was hardly running, so no 'maelstrom', and worst of all the 'Sailing in the Polar Night' aka 'Silent Whale Watching' (they changed the title as there were no whales), supposedly under an electric engine and maybe sail, is a farce. The captain confirmed they never raised the sail on that trip, most of the time we were under noisy diesel power, no whales are the norm this year as the herring have gone further north, and, of course, after the first half hour it was in the dark so the wonderful scenery we were told of was invisible. When the excursion sheet says the trip is say 3.5 hours for the dog sledding, you have to allow for time getting to and from the venue by coach and kitting up, safety talk and making a fuss of the dogs so this only a half to three quarter hour actually out. I didn't do this trip as I have mobility problems and thought it would be too long. It wasn't.
Mobility wise on the ship there is a lift between floors, the outside doors have automatic button opening and there are shallow stairs with a rail and then a ramp for embarkation.
Do as much homework as you possibly can before you go. There are maps provided for each port where there is time ashore and if you are of average fitness I would recommend using these and on-line information and doing your own excursion. Many did and saw so much more than we did on the organised trips. Read Less
We choose this cruise due to its itinerary and it being a working ship. The experience is therefore different, there are several stops every day and it's an interesting way to get to know more about the local culture. We thoroughly ... Read More
We choose this cruise due to its itinerary and it being a working ship. The experience is therefore different, there are several stops every day and it's an interesting way to get to know more about the local culture. We thoroughly enjoyed this trip, visiting so many different cities and seeing the Northern Lights on the last day.
The crew was excellent, very professional and friendly.
The food was outstanding, even very thoughtful for the evening meals.
This was our first cruise and for that we have enjoyed it very much.
Our cruise was one way from Bergen to Kirkenes. This included New Year's Eve on the boat, which again was thought well through to provide entertainment and the right atmosphere on boat.
There are plenty of excursions to choose from, which we recommend that you do some of these, they are well planned and give a good insight. The Point of Interest Activities on the outside Deck are definitely worthwhile.
The only word of warning is to choose your cabin wisely. We just booked a basic Polar Outside and were on Deck 3. Although it says the MS Nordkapp has been refurbished in 2016, so it's overall in excellent and modern conditions, the same doesn't apply for Deck 3. Our cabin was still old school. Read Less
I have often thought about a Norwegian cruise, how pretty it would be. Friends went in September and I was completely smitten by their photographs and their experience. I perused Hurtigruten's web site and booked a date covering ... Read More
I have often thought about a Norwegian cruise, how pretty it would be. Friends went in September and I was completely smitten by their photographs and their experience. I perused Hurtigruten's web site and booked a date covering both Christmas and New Year, and a class of cabin in my price range. I was not disappointed in my choice. The service on board was excellent from all members of staff. The MS Nordlys has the bonus of an on-board Expedition Team so as well as the Hurtigruten excursions, there were also walks or hikes with the Expedition Team, generally where the tours didn't go.
On board there was a daily talk by the Expedition Team on topics such as The Sami People, Polar Expeditions, Folklore and Fairytales, along with general information about the next port of call and things to see and do.
I didn't think the excursions were particularly good value for money but that could be because nothing in Norway is cheap. They were, however, very good. Those I went on were, with the exception of a nature and history walk with the on-board Expedition Team, Hurtigruten excursions. Sadly there is only time to do one excursion or expedition at stops en route so if doing both the northbound and southbound voyages its good to read the timings thoroughly before booking anything in case you miss out. For example, if you go dog-sledding in Tromso on the northbound voyage then you miss the city tour because on the southbound journey the stop at Tromso only has a midnight concert. So take the city tour northbound and do the dog sledding at Kirkenes! I didn't find it necessary to pre-book any excursions, they were all bookable on board but perhaps they get more booked out during different seasons.
On the dates I travelled (25 December-5th January) the age range of Coastal Voyage passengers was mixed - one or two children, under 30's, over 30's and on to middle aged and older. Some travellers had a physical disability but they were all looked after whenever they needed help. Some locations were difficult for disembarking but their needs were well catered for, including using the car loading bay when the passenger ramp was too steep for them. Don't be deterred if you're disabled!
Mealtimes are open seating with the exception of most dinners where you are allocated a dining time and a table at the outset of your Voyage. Most single travellers were put together, generally in groups of same language speakers - English, German etc spread out among the different sittings.
Further down this review you will see that I have said I've done 2-5 cruises: my first was moving to Australia in 1971, the second and third were from Australia to New Zealand and from New Zealand to the UK. These were on large impersonal cruise liners.
The Hurtigruten Coastal Voyage is not only an experience for travellers but is a working ferry for local people wanting to get from place to place easily and there is no comparison between the first 3 'cruises' and that which I have just taken with Hurtigruten.
Without doubt the Hurtigruten Coastal Voyage is the most memorable and the most enjoyable for me - its casual and fun without too many frills, smart casual for dinner rather than stuffy "dress for dinner" or "dine with the captain". If you want posh, then you may find another company suits you better.
I will definitely book more trips with Hurtigruten in the future and will definitely revisit the coastal voyage during another season. Read Less
The Hurtigruten ships carry freight and passengers daily between many little towns along the coast of Norway. I travelled northbound, from Bergen to Kirkenes in winter and it was a beautiful trip. The days got shorter and shorter until the ... Read More
The Hurtigruten ships carry freight and passengers daily between many little towns along the coast of Norway. I travelled northbound, from Bergen to Kirkenes in winter and it was a beautiful trip. The days got shorter and shorter until the last day only had one hour of shimmering daylight. The whole coast was snowy white but the water doesn't freeze due to the warm gulf stream. The weather was really quiet and so was the sea. Due to it being cloudy I only saw a little bit of Northern Lights, twice. But I really loved standing out on the deck in the dark, looking for the lights. (and the meteorshower was also a great sight!)
MS Lofoten is a beautiful old ship and I really loved being on board. There's always something to do or see so no chance to get bored. Daily programs are available at the reception and they follow it almost to the minute! The trip is full-board and all the meals were excellent, with lots of fresh salmon prepared in all sorts of manners, and local specialities like herring and cheeses. Also fresh breads and fresh fruits at breakfast. You can order wine per glass. Prices are quite high but similar to those on land. This is due to Norwegian taxes and not because the company is overpricing.
Shared showers are kept clean and the water is always warm. The tapwater is drinkable and it tasted good and fresh.
An extra bonus are the meetings with the tourleader. They are adding extra value because you get a lot of information about all things concerning the voyage such as the ship, the fleet, the weather system and the preparing of local foods. So if you hear an anouncement about something happening in the bar or on the flightdeck you should definately join!
Books in different languages can be found in both panoramalounges, in a big wooden box or in a crate. Wifi worked fine most of the time.
You can get off the ship and have a look in the villages as long as you're back onboard 10 minutes before departure. At many times the streets were covered in ice so don't forget to pack icegrips to put under your shoes. Read Less
MC Lofoten, a boat from 1964, gives the romanticisme to a beautiful and relax trip by Norway coast.
Was a trip from Bergen to Kirkenes, the idea going in October was to try enjoying northern lights, and the main wish was to pass artic ... Read More
MC Lofoten, a boat from 1964, gives the romanticisme to a beautiful and relax trip by Norway coast.
Was a trip from Bergen to Kirkenes, the idea going in October was to try enjoying northern lights, and the main wish was to pass artic line and the visit of North Cape.
Really we were lucky having 6 sunny days, with 6 nights northern lights, what can I ask more?
The food was one of the tops on the trip. Much choice for breakfast and lunch buffet, every day vegan choice was really appreciated. Dinner was served, and selected regarding the places we were passing by. I would have like the possibility for the choice at list fish or meat, and more vegetables at night, anyway was delicious what they offered.
Really looking forwards to organize a next trip with Hurtigruten company. They have a big vacation choice. Maybe this time will look for midnight sun experience. Read Less
We celebrated our 40th anniversary on this trip. We only went on 7 days of this 14 day cruise from Amsterdam to four cities in Norway. Several of our group did, however, take the full 14 days. We spent a week in Amsterdam before and loved ... Read More
We celebrated our 40th anniversary on this trip. We only went on 7 days of this 14 day cruise from Amsterdam to four cities in Norway. Several of our group did, however, take the full 14 days. We spent a week in Amsterdam before and loved that city!
We traveled with a group of 40+ people and found it extremely frustrating to communicate with each other. We wasted a lot of time looking for each other. Bring stick up notes so you can post messages on each others doors or better yet, bring walkies! Their internet service is expensive and spotty so that was not really an option for communicating.
The ship is their newest, built in 2016 but the decor is cheap and dated looking compared to other ships we've traveled on. We were surprised to learn that this ship was so new. There is no beautiful focal point on the ship. Very minimal and European.
The fine dining restaurants are worth every bit of their extra costs. We visited 4 differents restaurants (Culinary, Tamarind, Canalettos, Pinnacle). They cost about $15-$20 more each. Worth it! I especially loved Culinary. It was like watching a cooking show on TV and then getting to taste the food. Everyone in our group loved them. Make reservations if you have a large group!
The Lido dining (buffet) is ridiculously disappointing. We thought because this was a higher end cruise line, we might expect their food service to be better. It was not. Altho, i did appreciate that the staff served us rather than watching other guests dig around in a dish, leaving it unappetizing. It was always crowded and there was no organization as to ordering food. People stepped in front of you as there's no clear lines which turns your dining experience into a competition. Finding an available seat was next to impossible so most of the time we had to bring our food back to our room and eat it on the bed as there's no table or chairs in the staterooms unless you have a suite. The dining room was fair but crowded as the food here is free (included) and you can eat as much as you'd like. We ate here once.
The shore excursions are an expensive joke. They basically herd you into a boat or bus and drive you around. They're both overly crowded and restrooms or refreshments are not available. It was a waste of time and money. Don't be fooled by the fancy names of their excursions. I wish i could've read my review before we traveled on this trip.
Flam - We loved this city. It was small and quaint with the most stunning views. What a fun way to wake up in the morning! The shore excursion we took in Flam was called "The Naeroyfjord Cruise & Scenic Drive - $130.@) you will spend half the time driving from Flam to Gudvangen going thru many tunnels (which is a nice place for a nap). Then in Gudvangen, you'll hop on a boat and take a slow ride around the Naeroyfjord & Aurlandsfjorden back to Flam. Very beautiful but if you don't board the boat first, you may end up like us, without a seat during the entire ride. People leave their things on the seats to claim them then go up top to look around so you never get an opportunity to have a seat in the lower deck unless you were lucky enough to get one at the beginning. They do have a few decent restrooms and our tour guide here was somewhat informative. Some of the folks in our group took the train tour and pretty much said it was a good long nap.
It was a lovely sunny day, which i know you cannot plan for but if we would've known, there was a kayaking company, a fjordsafari.com, a fun fast boat tour, as well as a small electric car rental company right there that would've been waaaay more fun and less costly. There's several shops, a few restaurants, a cafe, a bakery and some street vendors that were fun. We were able to taste Reindeer meat balls and fish soup prepared by the locals. We also loved the little pub there: Ægir Bryggeri where they brewed their own beer and had coffee at Bakkastova Cafe up on the hill.
Stavanger - Lysefjord: Pulpit Rock Cruise - $135@ was interesting as we had a wonderfully personable tour guide who told us interesting facts and even legend about the Fjords, Trolls and the area. Had we known then what we know now, we'd only have done this excursion. The town on Stavanger is big so you'd have to cab to get there unless you felt like a 15-30 minute walk uphill to get in town. We were there the shortest time so when we returned from the excursion, we didn't have time to tour further.
The Lillesand: The Jewel of Sorlandet ($170@) was the worse. We were jammed on a boat, 8 people squished into a booth. Some folks had so place to sit and ended up standing along the wall or sitting on a step. They slowly drove around showing us the homes of unsuspecting locals for 2.5 of the 3 hour trip. They stopped in Lillesand for 40 minutes which gave you only enough time to use the restroom (another line) and grab a bottle of water. That excursion cost the most and was the worse.
In Oslo, there is Sooooooo Much to see and Sooooooo little time. There's a "Hop On & Off Bus" that will take you to all the touristy places you might want to see. We met friends who live in Oslo there and they took us on a personal guided tour and then back to their house for lunch and Norwegian specialties. Other folks in our group complained that we needed to stay longer. We would've liked to have stayed there for a couple days but the cruise line pays a hefty fee to dock there so they cannot stay too long.
There were two stage entertainers on the ship. #1. A lady that sang and played the harp and #2. a magician. Both were not entertaining but maybe to some? We didn't manage to sit thru an entire show. It seems like they mostly just try to sell you more things, spa sessions, their Elemis line, another cruise, Jewelry, Art work, your own photos....
Because we didn't already spend enough money on the cruise?
We had a couples massage which was lovely and i had a facial while my husband had a shave at the Greenhouse Spa. 15% gratuities are included but we still tipped them $20@ They try to sell you the Elemis product in a matter of fact way. You need to be good at saying no if you're not interested. It can ruin your relaxing massage at the end, if you let it. We didn't but others in our group did.
We didn't buy the drink packages and we did drink about 4-5 cocktails each day (bloody marys, wine, beer) and we didn't spend the $900. we would've spent if we had bought one of the drink packages as both members in room need to buy the full package. Drinks were $7.50 up. Finer wines ranged from $24 to $99 per bottle. Different bars on the ship had different liquors. I love Aperol and was able to find it in the Pinnacle bar.
Norway was beautiful and we're happy that we went. We would probably not go back as you need to go in August in order for it not to be too cold. I believe our cruise was one of the last ones for the season. We live in Michigan so leaving in August is difficult for us as we only have summer weather here ourselves for a few months.
Holland America - Compared to other cruise lines was not as nice as we had expected it to be but 1000x better than a Carnival cruise but not as nice as Viking or Royal Caribbean. We won't go on another Holland Cruise.
Did you know that Carnival Cruise Line owns Holland America?
Let that give you a hint... Read Less
7 day cruise to Norway from Southampton, getting on and off the ship was very good, I also enjoyed the evening shows Magic to Do, the Disco Show, the variety show, Jo Little the comedian, and others too, all most entertaining! My cabin ... Read More
7 day cruise to Norway from Southampton, getting on and off the ship was very good, I also enjoyed the evening shows Magic to Do, the Disco Show, the variety show, Jo Little the comedian, and others too, all most entertaining! My cabin steward was excellent too. Though my cabin was very small, I was the only occupant, so it was fine. I would imagine 2 people staying in the cabin might be VERY uncomfortable! I did enjoy the ports too in Norway very much. This ship holds over 3000 passengers, and during the week of the cruise, most of them wandered around aimlessly in groups unsure of where they were going, seemingly always blocking entrances and exits to everywhere on the ship. I did learn out of the over 3000 passengers onboard, only about 700 were Americans. I discovered rude people with no consideration for others come from all over the world apparently. The ship is HUGE and it is a bit of a challenge figuring out where everything is. I ate dinner every night in the Botticelli Dining room. The menu was very limited, with one page remaining the same, and another page with different items, mostly all unhealthy choices with butter or cream, and rather bland and tasteless at the same time, too. My dining companions were all in agreement on how bland most everything was. There were NO healthy options on the menu, and also oddly, no choice of sides (potato, rice, vegetables, etc.) I wonder if this was to encourage people to pay extra for the specialty dining options. Also, after a waiter took my order one night, someone sat down in the empty seat next to me at the table. When the waiter brought over my food, he placed it in front of the passenger who sat down at the empty seat. Not sure what that was about. The dinner buffet on the Horizon deck was actually so much better-each night was a different theme, (Italian, Asian, Indian, etc) with SO much more variety to chose from, and so much tastier too!. I only know this because almost each night BEFORE dining in the dining room, I'd sample some of the buffet items about an hour before, first on deck well aware that the dining room dinners were VERY unsatisfying. Some of the dessert choices though were not bad, and did find some satisfying desserts. One more issue I feel needs to be mentioned here. One evening was the Captain's get together in the Piazza on one of the formal nights. A waiter came around with small bites to eat. I only spotted ONE waiter among the hundreds of passengers gathering in this area. After I sampled something from his tray, I approached him for more, he rudely told me "no" as others had not had any yet. Was the cost of these items coming out of his pocket? I don't think so. I feel that gathering should have been more prepared with more servers, and his behavior was totally unacceptable AND inappropriate. Probably just the ship cutting costs wherever it can, and overcharging for EVERYTHING on the ship that is NOT included. Read Less
Chose the Cruise because I could board at Liverpool. I was very disappointed with the poor choice of food in Raffles buffet at breakfast and lunchtime. It was very difficult to find a seat to eat a meal since it is so small and this was a ... Read More
Chose the Cruise because I could board at Liverpool. I was very disappointed with the poor choice of food in Raffles buffet at breakfast and lunchtime. It was very difficult to find a seat to eat a meal since it is so small and this was a particular problem on sea days. Lots of staff on Reception but most appeared poorly trained and they constantly had to find more experienced staff to consult. Overall, there appeared to be a total lack of communication between staff in all departments. When problems arose, few of them were willing to help solve them. The problem always remained with the customer to sort out.
II thought the theatre entertainment was good and Dana was a brilliant revelation. The remaining organised activities during the day were poor. Trying to find seats in the bars and lounges in the evening was difficult because there were too many passengers for the limited facilities of the ship. Read Less
I have been wanting to see London, and also Norway (The Fiords) for quite awhile. I was going to do a land tour, but since my health is now working against me sometimes, I realize that I need to slow down (74ys), and a widower on top of ... Read More
I have been wanting to see London, and also Norway (The Fiords) for quite awhile. I was going to do a land tour, but since my health is now working against me sometimes, I realize that I need to slow down (74ys), and a widower on top of it. I love the people of Great Britain as they are polite and have a special way to be proud, so I put all of that together and I decided to sail on the newest ship and also visit the Norway coast and Fiords. I arrived early so I could spend 4 days visiting London and having a great time. I had to find a way to get to Southampton, but it is only about 2 to 2 1/2 hours from my hotel near the Victoria Bus Station to the station in Southampton in a comfortable bus.
The crew of the ship were polite and efficient and took my luggage and got me on the ship very fast. The ship was beautiful, and my table mates were so nice, as they were from all over England, but did not hesitate to include me in all the festivities.
The entertainment was excellent and the music and dancing was just wonderful. The food gave me a chance to sample British style, and I really loved it.
We had to cross the North Sea to get to Norway, and the water was calm as a lake and I was glad as it could be rough if there were storms.
We stopped at the main locations and had great tours as we headed toward our last stop in Bergen. The country was lovely and the Norwegian people are alos polite and glad to see everyone as we got to explore the views and shops.
This was definitely a trip to remember. I was glad I sailed on the P&O line and someday will go back and sample other ships from the line. When we disembarked on the last day, I was amazed how smooth and fast, and how they had people in the large terminal area where you picked up your suitcases who were able to assist you and get you out very
fast. I must say Great Ship and Captain and all the crew I met were the best personally and efficiently. Read Less
Overall the ship was excellent value and the menus were fine dining. I never experienced one poor meal. The only negative I can speak of is that solo travellers are not catered for at meal times ie constantly asking for a large table with ... Read More
Overall the ship was excellent value and the menus were fine dining. I never experienced one poor meal. The only negative I can speak of is that solo travellers are not catered for at meal times ie constantly asking for a large table with other singles and getting couples or a couple was daunting.As lovely as the people were, it wasn't ideal until I went to afternoon tea for singles and befriended a group who we finally got to dine together. So if P&O say they cannot accommodate diners then surely if the afternoon tea works what is the difference. There were about thirty singles so not an odd one or two. The first excursion I thought was really poor, driving us to a deserted beach for a ten-minute photo opportunity was a total waste of money ie £35,00. The second excursion you could have done yourself by just walking up to the railway. If you wanted to see the Glaciers it would have cost you over £75 to £95.Entertainment was excellent with good singers and shows. The comedians were ok. Read Less
One of our bucket list items was a cruise to the Fjords of Norway. Our first ever cruise was booked in December 2016 via Thomson and we booked on the Braemar - Fred Olsen.
This was definitely the right choice. The ship was exactly right ... Read More
One of our bucket list items was a cruise to the Fjords of Norway. Our first ever cruise was booked in December 2016 via Thomson and we booked on the Braemar - Fred Olsen.
This was definitely the right choice. The ship was exactly right for us. Everything was so well organised from arriving at the terminal in Southampton to getting off again. The ship itself was spotlessly clean. The cabin, an inside one on deck 6, was sufficient for our needs. Cleaned every morning and the beds turned down every night with chocolates on the pillows.
The staff were all so friendly and helpful. The waiter and waitresses in the observatory lounge made sitting in there a pleasure. Our two waiters in the Thistle Lounge, Jonathan and Larry became like friends and I was very sad to leave.
The size of ship was perfect for us and was very homely. Very comfortable. Entertainment was excellent.
Although we had never cruised before and had nothing to compare this to, it was one of the best experiences we have had and I really want to go on another one. I would most certainly stick with Fred Olsen and I can't thank the Captain and crew enough for a most wonderful 30th Wedding anniversary holiday. Read Less
A dream came true. One of the best holiday experiences.
Exillent service and food onboard. Ship is overall clean and in good condition. Panorama salon is nice to be in during bad weather and evenings. There is a very nice and friendly ... Read More
A dream came true. One of the best holiday experiences.
Exillent service and food onboard. Ship is overall clean and in good condition. Panorama salon is nice to be in during bad weather and evenings. There is a very nice and friendly atmosphere on board. Breathtaking views as you sail by. We were on two excursions by rib boats, Saltströmen and crabfishing, both worth to go on. Trondheim and Tromsö is nice to go ashore. In Trondheim you should visit the cathedral with a guide provided. In Tromsö is a very nice Arctic museum and a modern church. Unfortunately we were not able to attend a concert but think there is a fantastic acoustic in the church. We saw whales and northern light although not so strong. A special praise to the restaurant. Nice table settings, excellent service and fantastic food, 2 kg:s + in one week!! Would have appreciated some evening entertainment, live music etc.
Don't wait, go NOW. Read Less
A group of 5 of us flew to Amsterdam in early July for a 2 week cruise through the Norwegian fjords up into the Arctic Circle on the Koningsdam. Generally speaking, this was a pleasant voyage. Flights were on schedule. Transfers from ... Read More
A group of 5 of us flew to Amsterdam in early July for a 2 week cruise through the Norwegian fjords up into the Arctic Circle on the Koningsdam. Generally speaking, this was a pleasant voyage. Flights were on schedule. Transfers from the airport to the pier went smoothly. Representatives were clearly visible. The wait time in the pier was short. Check in was quick. We boarded around noon. We were not allowed to go to our rooms until 1:30ish. I carried my luggage onboard so I could unpack right away. I dropped the luggage off in the room and continued up to the Lido Market for lunch.
Available right away in the Lido Market was a dining room specialist with whom we booked specialty dining. We got that taken care of right off the bat. I like to eat in a specialty restaurant on formal nights so that I do not need the ‘appropriate clothing’ for the MDR. The offerings in which we ate were the Culinary Arts Center, the Pinnacle Grill Steak house, the Pan Asian restaurant, Tamarind, and the Italian restaurant, Canaletto.
The Culinary Arts Center offers farm to table dishes with herbs grown onboard. The chef is interested in talking to you while dishes are being prepared. This is all visible with dish preparation happening behind glass windows. One is encouraged to ask questions while dinner is being prepared. Nice pitch. However, the ¾ stools with raised tables are not comfortable. This restaurant bundles a welcome cocktail (think rhubarb, strawberry and vodka) and organic wine with the cost of the meal. This was a good meal, but was overpriced and the table height was uncomfortable. The Canaletto, without going into much detail, is just not worth the additional expense. First of all, it is part of the Lido Buffet. Second, the choices were lacking. Third the preparation was not really ‘Italian’. Next, we dined in the Pinnacle Grill. The steaks were significantly better than steaks by the same name (Sirloin Strip) served in the MDR. The Tamarind pan Asian restaurant was a pleasant surprise. We ate there two times. The second time, I had the lobster tail (dusted with ginger). The dessert was a pillbox hat sized fortune cookie sitting in two inches of chocolate ganache. You have to see it to believe it.
As for the Lido Market and the Billboard Onboard lounge, the furniture is so heavy, that trying to slide the chair to the table is almost impossible. In the Lido Market, the legs of the chairs are sharp, and I feel certain will quickly shred the carpeting.
My room, given a single occupancy cabin – and there are only 12 of them - was not smaller than cabins of double occupancy. These cabins are forward on the main deck (deck 1) and the savings for booking one of these is substantial. Book way early. They are gone almost immediately. My cabin lacked the sofa bed that other rooms had, but that did not mean the room was smaller. I was in cabin 1009. Also, in terms of air conditioning, the unit worked very effectively. If I lowered the temperature, I could hear the unit turn on. If it got too cool and I raised the thermostat, it would turn off immediately. I don’t ever recall having the air conditioning being so responsive.
The entertainment was mixed. This ship offers something called ‘Lincoln Stage Center’- these musicians, 2 violinists, a cellist, a violist and a pianist were incredibly in demand. They did a few concerts each day. I would highly recommend. Seats were gone 15 minutes prior to their performance. Other entertainment on the World Stage was meh, lack luster – a Russian singer and a flautist. Not so interesting. With that in mind, the Lincoln Center Stage isn’t big enough. Future versions of this ship need to expand seating capacity for this venue. Also, this room connects directly with Billboard Onboard. So, two different shows can not occur in these two different venues at the same time. Happy hour seemed to be offered each day from 4 to 5 pm in one of the lounges on deck 2.
I did have a problem with mold on this sailing. On deck 1 forward, there was a problem with mold as well as on deck 9 near the Lido Market. The smell was awful. On day 2, it was reported. On day 3, paint odors were reported. On day 4, I saw maintenance staff wearing masks as they were replacing filters in the ventilation ducts.
Shore excursions booked through Holland America were good but will be addressed later in this review. But let me add that they were a bit high, pricewise.
There were about 2700 people on board. The ship actually holds about 3100. So, the ship was not sold out. However, the service seemed spotty in the dining room and the lounges – especially on formal nights.
Trying to meet with a future cruise representative was tricky. Their hours of operation were limited. Also, their space is very small. In addition, I had to wait for one passenger to book with two future cruise reps at the same time. Not efficient, not good planning in this department.
The main pool space was somewhat limited. The lounge chairs were comfortable and padded. There wasn’t much space to accommodate many people. This was more of a family area that had the sliding glass roof overhead for cooler weather, which is what we had. Also, in this space is where you will find burgers and fries on one level and pizza up one floor. The pizza and the burger areas used an order system where you receive a pager to notify you when the order is ready. And generally, this took about 10 minutes in each venue. Also, near the burger area was a gelato station. Gelato was a pay area and was about $2.00 for 2 scoops.
I preferred the secondary pool – aft. This seated more people with an ample sized pool. Children were not readily seen at this pool the day I was able to use it.
I used the gym daily. It was nicely laid out and was just off the spa area. It was big enough to handle all guests that I would run into first thing in the morning.
As for the promenade deck, although it wraps all the way around, it is very narrow in parts. So, it is not a good deck for getting a brisk walk. Also, this deck was void of the traditional wooden deck chairs, which is what I grew up with.
Generally speaking, it was a nice cruise and I would sail on it again, given that this ship has single occupancy rate cabins. Read Less
I had never cruised on my own before, though I had cruised with my husband before he passed away. This was my first experience with Fred Olsen. I can honestly say that I enjoyed every minute. From being greeted at Greenock, to leaving the ... Read More
I had never cruised on my own before, though I had cruised with my husband before he passed away. This was my first experience with Fred Olsen. I can honestly say that I enjoyed every minute. From being greeted at Greenock, to leaving the ship after 8 days, I felt safe and well cared for. The crew were friendly without being familiar, The ship was immaculate, and the food was delicious at every level, from formal dining to casual coffee breaks. The activities and entertainment .... super! The tours were well arranged, and the guides knew their stuff. I enjoy my own company at times, and there were ample places to sit and read if I felt like it. Perhaps i should add that I met a new friend on the cruise, and we will keep in touch. I was apprehensive about going solo, but am so glad I took the plunge!
I shall be cruising with "Fred" again! Read Less
I booked this cruise over a year ago, specifically for the itinerary and size of the ship, allowing access to smaller fjords. It was more than I usually spend, however, from all reviews, it would be well worth the extra cost. I am a ... Read More
I booked this cruise over a year ago, specifically for the itinerary and size of the ship, allowing access to smaller fjords. It was more than I usually spend, however, from all reviews, it would be well worth the extra cost. I am a single woman traveler, mid-60's and accustomed to traveling alone, I have always met like-minded travelers along the way and had great experiences. I have cruised 23 times and been on 8 river cruises.
A disappointing start, when the captain announced an anticipated storm on the North Sea, and the ship would leave Copenhagen later and miss our first port. I later discovered that many passengers had delayed flight. I believe we could have left on time and been ahead of the storm, riding out the weather in our first port. As it turned out, we spent two days at sea in the storm and then missed our second port, three days at sea! No adjustment was made to the itinerary to try to compensate for the loss of two ports. This was a small ship, the ports were not busy, a smart operator would have made changes to the itinerary to pacify passengers.
The ship lived up it it's reputation as to service and food, I was happy with the service from an excellent butler, Ivy, and her team. My cabin was considered a "suite", as Silver Seas is an "all suite" cruise line. The bathroom was large, double sinks, shower and separate tub. Furnishings were worn, bed very uncomfortable.
The food was better than average, however, quite repetitive after the first five days and no consideration was taken for the amazing fresh fish and produce available in ports. No special "theme" nights as we sailed through spectacular scenery in the fjords. Room service was excellent, the dining room dinners were slow and repetitive. I ordered room service 3 nights, which was more relaxing than dragging through a slow pompous dinner with stuffy passengers who loved to expand upon their number of sailing days, how many homes they own, and their brilliant careers. Between the hours of 5:00 - 7:00 pm food was only available from room service, so if you returned from a shore excursion after 5 pm, there was no choice of where to eat.
The entertainment was very limited, repetitive and not too rate. Geared more toward the over 70's crowd. The cruise director extremely corny.
The port lecturer, a "geologist" gave a talk most mornings, his slides were 15 years old. He did not go up to the bridge and broadcast as we sailed through magnificent fjords, villages and various points of interest.
The shore excursions were expensive, tour guides poor, tours too slow paced and uninteresting. I later discovered that the shore excursions manager had not visited the ports in advance. A group on board called "Captain's Circle" had exciting excursions and planned activities on board for their guests which were well organized and when the occasion needed, their itinerary would be changed. No attempt to make alternative arrangements was made by Silver Seas. On one tour, we were put into an open, wooden boat in belting rain and taken over and back to an island for coffee, cake and a movie?!
Embarkation was a breeze, as passengers arrived at various time. Disembarkation was a disaster - lots of confusion, people on wrong buses, no help loading/unloading luggage. I was put on a bus to the airport at 9:00 am for a 2:20 pm flight! About 50% of the passengers were leaving the ship, I don't know how they would have managed if 100% were disembarking.
My Silver Seas experience was an expensive disappointment. This is a cruise line catering to a very select, over 70's market. Don't know how much longer they will survive in today's market. Read Less