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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Hurtigruten could be an interestingly different offer to typical cruise ships as they also provide ferry services along the Norwegian coast and you get to see some areas typical cruise ships would not visit. The itinerary is driven by the ... Read More
Hurtigruten could be an interestingly different offer to typical cruise ships as they also provide ferry services along the Norwegian coast and you get to see some areas typical cruise ships would not visit. The itinerary is driven by the deliveries made at 34 ports during day and night - unfortunately that does not always cater well for cruising passengers. Some stops are much too short to explore the coastal towns - some villages are too boring to justify further exploration. My mistake was to stay on board for 11 days (Bergen north to Kirkenes and back south to Trondheim) - a trip they are trying to push on their website, because these kind of customers are the more lucrative for them, however it quickly gets boring, especially if the weather is bad as should be expected in coastal Norway. A few of the excursions do get around this problem by starting in one port and reembarking at another (Geiranger Fjord tour, Nordkapp tour, Lofoten Island tour) - I did enjoy those. Had booked 4 excursions in advance, but would recommend to book on board instead, so you have a chance to see the weather forecast before deciding where to go. Due to the strict schedule there is little chance to book tours independently, you have to go with what Hurtigruten has on offer (operated by independent operators and cancelled if not enough participants). During my trip they had a few problems with their payment system and had to ask passengers to check their charges carefully. Public areas are still ok, although due for refurbishment later this year. However you have to be aware that they are also used by ferry passengers that have not booked a cabin and sleep on the sofas overnight. Hot showers were good and Wifi reception worked well throughout. Three meals were included in my package - quality was ok, although lunch buffet lacked variety. Everything extra you might want is quite expensive, but that's usually the case in Scandinavia. Passenger/crew ratio is relatively high compared to other expedition ships (Vesteralen has capacity of almost 500 passengers with only around 50 crew). Service is generally lackluster with a few positive exceptions. Too many passengers to offer free seating at dinner, so you're assigned a time slot (6pm or 8pm) and table for the whole journey. My recommendation would be to pick a few towns in Norway, book hotels for 1 or 2 nights and use Hurtigruten to 'commute' between them. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose to do a Hurtigruten trip as a once in a lifetime experience to see the Northern lights and to experience the beauty of the coastline from the comfort of the ship. B Unfortunately the first cabin we were allocated was the ... Read More
We chose to do a Hurtigruten trip as a once in a lifetime experience to see the Northern lights and to experience the beauty of the coastline from the comfort of the ship. B Unfortunately the first cabin we were allocated was the worst accommodation I have ever experienced, too small for two people ( to be frank only just acceptable for one) barely room to move past each other, storage space for clothes limited to a small hanging space and two drawers which were similar to vegetable storage in a kitchen, bunk fold down bed with no sitting space whatsoever except the bottom bunk. My disappointment for a cabin which was costing us over £1300 for six nights knew no bounds. After complaining I was told that it was difficult to move us but they would see what they could do........the next day, after 20% of the trip was behind us, we were moved. The boat is small and one of the older of the fleet, public rooms are old and tired...... which could be explained by the fact that it is a working boat but hertigruten seem to change premium prices irrespective of the quality of the boats. The food on board is excellent although the length of the queues for lunchtime buffet meals ensure that one tries to get there about 15 minutes before service starts. Similarly try to be be well I time for breakfast to ensure that you can enjoy the excellent choice of food without having to fight through to the coffee machine. The ship calls in at a large number of ports, many of them for just 15 minutes but other stops varyin length from 30 minutes to over 3 hours. On the shorted stops, There is an advantage in stretching one’s legs but be aware that the ship calls at ports rather than picturesque harbours and so a walk to a local town or village wil,l of necessity, involve negotiating the dockside ares.....not a problem as long as you are not expecting to find coffee shops and local colour! Many of the longer stops have organised trips ashore, however, at approximately £80 per person for a guided walk I would suggest asking for a map at reception and making your own way. Two excursions we did do were of the ‘bucket list’ variety, the dog sledding which was enjoyable although at £250pp more expensive booked through the ship and the snowmobile experience. The latter was very disappointing happening as it did when the daylight had gone and so we snowmobiled for 17kmin the dark aware only of the rear of the machine in front and the narrow path illuminated by the headlight on the snowmobile. At £294 pp this was a very, very expensive and disappointing experience, when booking the trip before leaving the UK none of the information I was sent indicated the time of the trip unlike the i formation in the brochure on board. If I had known it was a night excursion I would certainly lay not have booked it. Overall a very expensive and very disappointing trip,the only saving grace was the quality of the staff who were, without exception friendly, efficient and good humoured. Upon arrival back in the UK I Replied to Hurtigruten’s feedbackform and ticked the box which said they would keep my contact information for a month to allow them time to respond to my feedback. The same email also gave me this site to leave feedback but I decided to wait to see what Hurtigruten’s response would be. My answer was silence. A month has now passed and I have have decided to submit this review to ensure others do not save hard to afford the experience of a lifetime simply to feel very disappointed in the quality of the trip. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
I wanted to go on a small manageable ship which this was. The standard of food, cabins, cleaning and detailed information, was excellent. I booked lots of excursions and enjoyed them, but in hindsight would have toured the towns ... Read More
I wanted to go on a small manageable ship which this was. The standard of food, cabins, cleaning and detailed information, was excellent. I booked lots of excursions and enjoyed them, but in hindsight would have toured the towns without a guide, except for Trondheim, where the guide was useful. I would have liked more time when we docked to have seen museums, but this was not always possible with the ship's schedule. It may have been better to book on the ship, when one has decided what to do for the next day. I only used my mobile for photos, but to capture the Aurora one needed a camera. All the crew were all helpful and polite. The tour leader a good linguist, fluent in 3 languages and a mine of information. I loved my cabin, the shower and storage space, though it would have been a bit crowded for two people. Altogether a very worhwhile experience that will stay with me. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
My main purpose for the cruise was to view the Northern Lights. Unfortunately, due to the prevailing weather conditions, I was somewhat disappointed - less than what I was expecting. However, the amicability and interaction between ... Read More
My main purpose for the cruise was to view the Northern Lights. Unfortunately, due to the prevailing weather conditions, I was somewhat disappointed - less than what I was expecting. However, the amicability and interaction between crew and travellers, and between travellers more than compensated for this. An unanticipated side benefit was being able to connect with fellow passengers as potential business associates, with ideas generated being worthy of pursuit - no doubt fostered by the relaxed, friendly atmosphere on the ship. Further, I was impressed by the catering staff who went to extreme lengths to ensure those of us with problem digestive systems had precisely what we needed - and there were plenty of us, plus by the event organiser (Svein) - nothing was too much trouble! For me, 7 days was enough and whilst keen to return to my other life, I will look upon this trip as a great experience with long term friendships & business associates established. As an Australian, I had learnt French & German and was delighted that there were contingents of Europeans on board from a range of countries. . I can always view the Northern Lights on YT... or go to Canada, or Antarctica... One item out of control of the ship's crew was the weather! But then, Life is what one makes of it. In my opinion, a superior effort was made by all crew members to more than please their passengers. Best wishes to all who sailed on this ship Nov/Dec 2018. Nadine (aka Dianne) Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I chose this cruise in order to explore the Norwegian coast, its islands, its scenery, its ports and its people. As a boating enthusiast I was also interested in the navigation of this `inside passage`, and the essential functions of this ... Read More
I chose this cruise in order to explore the Norwegian coast, its islands, its scenery, its ports and its people. As a boating enthusiast I was also interested in the navigation of this `inside passage`, and the essential functions of this ship in linking many remote communities, transporting people and freight between them. I was not disappointed on any of these counts. The journey was constantly fascinating, with great views of the mountainous coast, the islands and the ports. There were many opportunities to go ashore at these ports and meet local people, as well as a great variety of special tours to visit specific destinations (eg Lofoten Islands) or undertake particular activities (eg RIB tours). Although this is a working boat the accommodation and dining facilities were very good, and the crew most helpful. A tour manager kept an eye on everything and produced a daily schedule of the boat`s itinerary and onboard events. This is an excellent and well organised cruise, which I have no hesitation in commending. The icing on the cake is that we had excellent weather (blue skies and no rain) and saw the famous Northern Lights ! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
I bought trip by phone, from Australia to UK, as no local office, so had to pay in £, thus more conversion fees. I had seen an ad online about reduced fare for solo travel from Kirkenes to Bergen. Each ship is different, and I realised I ... Read More
I bought trip by phone, from Australia to UK, as no local office, so had to pay in £, thus more conversion fees. I had seen an ad online about reduced fare for solo travel from Kirkenes to Bergen. Each ship is different, and I realised I was on an old one. A newer one has far more facilities. I got the cheapest cabin, without porthole, which was fine. It can be very noisy at night due to ship vibration. Bad weather occasionally required seasick pills. It was very cold and wet and windy in September. No entertainment, only books, so make sure to take your own.WIFI costs 200K for 5 day trip. Tea and coffee are free with meals, otherwise very expensive. I took a thermos cup and asked for free hot water in the cafe, making my own brought tea and coffee in my cabin. Alcohol is prohibitive, so I bought a 1litre cardboard box at a wine store, 120K, and drank it in my cabin. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Great range of excursions. Concert in Arctic Cathedral in Tromso a special experience. The chance to see the sea eagles up close not to be missed. Food was excellent quality, variety, fresh and typical of the regions we were sailing ... Read More
Great range of excursions. Concert in Arctic Cathedral in Tromso a special experience. The chance to see the sea eagles up close not to be missed. Food was excellent quality, variety, fresh and typical of the regions we were sailing through. Staff always helful. Take warm gear as it rained or was windy even though technically summer. Arctic gets 4 days of summer and we missed them. The sunny days were magnificent and scenery amazing. Hurtigruten do not charge single supplement if booked well ahead. Travelled alone and you need to be prepared to meet people whose language may not be English. Staff all spoke Nowegian, English, German. Excursions all had English and maybe German or French. You need to be prepared to entertain yourself in evening. Two dinner seatings and 8 pm one can be late so need to note when booking if you need 6 pm if you need to eat early. Overalll a wonderful experience and one ticked off the bucket list. Plan to do a shorter cruise for Northern lights in January. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We are not interested in cruises with big luxury ships and thousands of people, also we do not want to have lots of days on the sea without landings. So we were looking forward to sort of an adventurous trip in an exotic world we did not ... Read More
We are not interested in cruises with big luxury ships and thousands of people, also we do not want to have lots of days on the sea without landings. So we were looking forward to sort of an adventurous trip in an exotic world we did not know so far. We were not disappointed at all. Starting in the very north having deep temperatures and lots of snow and ice we wouldn't feel too cold, enjoyed the fresh air and the amazing light. The cabin was small, but everything was in good condition, even the shower worked perfectly. Meals couldn't have been better, the stuff of the restaurant was very friendly. There were enough rooms tom stay, very cosy. Maybe there is a certain charme on this ship, because it is an older one. We took a chance and visited the "Nordkapp", which was modern and everything was really perfect, but it did not give that cosy feeling that we liked on the Vesteralen. A very big compliment to the guide, who gave a lot of informations and amazing details, that were more than interesting. Last but not least the views we had on this trip were really phantastic. The additional trips seemed very expensiv to us, so we did not so many. But leaving the ship on most of the harbours and taking a walk was also very good. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
A trip primarily to see the Northern Lights but thwarted by weather. Had some rock and rolling due to strong seas,[take seasick pills if you do go] No entertainment on board. Three sittings for dinner and if the last (as we were) ... Read More
A trip primarily to see the Northern Lights but thwarted by weather. Had some rock and rolling due to strong seas,[take seasick pills if you do go] No entertainment on board. Three sittings for dinner and if the last (as we were) experienced 2 delayed sitting out of 4. Best evening meal was the buffet dinner on arrival. In winter, Norway is very monochrome - the island etc are rock covered with snow. Long periods of boredom while sailing. Ports were virtually identical. We did not do any excursions as so very expensive and we were dubious whether they would be value for money. For example, the North Cape is a good place to see either the midnight sun or the Northern Lights, but the excursion was a daytime one. We took a travel kettle and snacks and beverages and that saved us a small fortune. When we did have coffee, our bill for 4 cups was £14. Our research lead us to believe we would be having an exciting time, but the info is generic and not specific to our sailing and docking times or even the time of the year. Hurtigruten's website is not easy to navigate and does not go into specifics about the voyage. We only got a timetable once on board. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I have wanted to do this coastal voyage for many years. I took advantage of the No single supplement offer, the Wi-fi and unlimited Tea and coffee offer as I don't really drink wine or beer. The Cabin was excellent - I was able to ... Read More
I have wanted to do this coastal voyage for many years. I took advantage of the No single supplement offer, the Wi-fi and unlimited Tea and coffee offer as I don't really drink wine or beer. The Cabin was excellent - I was able to choose which one I wanted when booking (full board booking). My only gripe was that the heating wasn't working and they were not able to fix it, however they would have moved me if I wanted. Food was excellent, especially if you like seafood. They catered for those that didn't Interviews with Hotel manager, Captain, and Engineer Manager were good fun and informative. Service brilliant (apart from the cabin heating issue). The staff were good fun, informative and efficient. Unfortunately due to weather conditions, a couple of my excusions were cancelled, and also we were delaying arriving into various ports so limited the time ashore. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This is a working boat so quite a different experience from your regular cruise. We loved it as it made it all the more interesting, not your usual luxury (although the rooms were very comfortable indeed) and so perhaps attracted a ... Read More
This is a working boat so quite a different experience from your regular cruise. We loved it as it made it all the more interesting, not your usual luxury (although the rooms were very comfortable indeed) and so perhaps attracted a different type of customer (with my previous experience of a cruise ship I found there was a lot of snobbery with people dressing in gowns and pearls for dinner rather than using that time to explore the country, and did not enjoy the company). The staff and food really made this trip. The food was amazing, absolutely beautiful and all the food was locally sourced and fresh, this was really something special. You learnt about the regions through the food and it was clear a lot of love was put into the food. The staff were so friendly and helpful and we got to know them quite well. It had a really lovely feel to the teams who worked there and you could see that they enjoyed it. There was at times a feeling of being caged in but there were stops every day at ports, if even for 15 minutes, so you could get off and walk about and most of the ports were very near to the towns so there as stuff to see and explore. We did not book onto any excursions as we thought they were very expensive and with a bit of research you could easily do your own thing for far cheaper (we booked kayaking trip, went for walks, visited an ice bar, swam in the Arctic etc) just be aware you need to be back on the ship as if you miss it it can be very costly indeed, so sometimes it is frustrating as many of the ports the ship doesn't dock for long. I would definitely recommend this boat, perhaps would suggest to do part way and get off and explore yourself but it is a fantastic way to see the stunning Norwegian coast, especially for those of an older age or not wanting to put the time into researching yourself. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
I wanted to travel to the Land of the Midnight Sun. I wanted a small cruise ship, where I would not just feel like a number or that I was staying at a hotel in the water. I wanted to experience Norwegian food, sourced from local farmers ... Read More
I wanted to travel to the Land of the Midnight Sun. I wanted a small cruise ship, where I would not just feel like a number or that I was staying at a hotel in the water. I wanted to experience Norwegian food, sourced from local farmers and fishermen. (I wanted to try reindeer!) I wanted to get a glimpse of life by the sea in the villages and towns along the way. I wanted the comfort of a cruise ship rather than a fishing vessel. I wanted to travel to above the Arctic Circle. I wanted to be on a smaller vessel, where the crew would get to know all of us. Travelling alone as a single woman, I wanted to feel safe. The cruise on the Hurtigruten Vesteralen was all of this and more. If you want luxury and pampering, this cruise is not for you. The lounges are comfortable but not luxurious. The outside decks are sparse with plastic lawn chairs. But if you want to get a glimpse of the real Norway on a small vessel, to see magnificent landscape whether from the comfort of a lounge or with the sea breeze in your face, and to feel by the end of the cruise that you are among family, then this cruise is for you. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
My first trip on the Vesteralen was great. Beautiful scenery, northern lights, cute villages and nice people in a quiet atmosphere. The interior of the ship is simplel and dated (or vintage depending on your point of view). But cosey and ... Read More
My first trip on the Vesteralen was great. Beautiful scenery, northern lights, cute villages and nice people in a quiet atmosphere. The interior of the ship is simplel and dated (or vintage depending on your point of view). But cosey and there was enough place everywhere to sit (as we were in low season). The food was good to excellent, with a large variety of choice. Water was included in all meals. Coffee and tea is included only for breakfast and lunch, count on paying around 4-5 euro's for a cup. This seems much but I had some coffees in several towns and the prices there are the same. Norway is in that sense expensive. This is also true for any food and souvenirs (on or off the ship). The excursions to Nord kapp and the husky slee ride are really nice. The town trips can also easily be done on your own in all places, if you are able to walk well. Take into account that in winter it is quite slippery in most places. You can easily book on board. We cancelled a trip once and got all money reimbursed, no problem. Staff was very friendly. The experience of a working ship was nice too. This trip is excellent for people that do not like big crowds, that like simplicity rather than luxury, and the feeling of being on a real ship (instead of a floating hotel). If you think the scenery and occational chat with other travelers is enough entertainment and you can manage dark or bad weather moments by reading or doing any other activity by yourself than you will love this for sure. If you need lots of entertainment, Tv in your room and luxurous cabins, please reconsider. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We chose the Vesteralen because not being a fan of crowds and large cruise ships, her size fitted us perfectly. From the moment we checked in until our disembarkation 12 days later, we were charmed and totally satisfied with the entire ... Read More
We chose the Vesteralen because not being a fan of crowds and large cruise ships, her size fitted us perfectly. From the moment we checked in until our disembarkation 12 days later, we were charmed and totally satisfied with the entire experience. The crew are happy and helpful, the food was well presented, varied and delicious, and the ship was extremely comfortable. Our cabin was small, but accommodated us perfectly. There was adequate space for us to unpack and stow our luggage, plenty of hot water, and comfortable beds. We loved sitting in the panorama lounge watching the coastline pass by at a leisurely 15 knots, the opportunity to get of the ship several times a day, the exposure to Norweigen life, food and traditions. Announcements were made when there was something special to see outside, and the back observation deck afforded unobstructed views. We enjoyed all of the well planned and executed excursions we took. Thanks Hurtigruten, for a wonderful trip of a lifetime! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
This cruise was one of the worst experiences of my life. I never felt so un-welcomed and isolated in my life. The cruise itself was great. The scenery was awesome. The relaxing atmosphere was wonderful. The other tourists on the boat were ... Read More
This cruise was one of the worst experiences of my life. I never felt so un-welcomed and isolated in my life. The cruise itself was great. The scenery was awesome. The relaxing atmosphere was wonderful. The other tourists on the boat were friendly. The staff, however, were a nightmare. Particularly one of the receptionists and the cruise director. I took the 7- day cruise from Bergen to Kirkenes this past July 2015. By the fourth night I was crying every night. I traveled alone and this was my first cruise. When I asked questions I left feeling terrible. Getting answers to questions like, “What are the check out procedures for tomorrow?” or “Do I need to show my receipt for the excursions I booked?” were a battle. The crew spoke perfect English, but getting answers…My words were often played with, twisted so that the answer I got didn’t answer my question. I was spoken to very condescendingly. No matter how much I would re-phrase my simple question, it ended up being a game of words. Exhausting. I also got answers given in a smart-aleck way. Also not answering my question directly, but I understood the answer. I tried to laugh the smart-aleck answers off, but after a couple days of this they began to feel insulting. It felt horrible. Please make sure you are clear with the boarding and docking times. They WILL leave you, as they did me. I was a single woman left stranded in Alesund, a foreign country, with no money, id, or phone. Just my camera. My plan was just to walk off the boat and take pictures for a few minutes and get back on the boat. As this was my first docking experience, I did not want to get left. Didn’t want to take any chances. I think I was still jet lagged from my flight from the US because on that day I took a long nap in the mid afternoon. I woke up close to 7p.m. I noticed we were docked so I grabbed my camera. I went to reception to ask about getting on and off the boat. I made a light joke about the importance of being back on the boat on time. I saw the time of 19:00 posted at the exit. “Ok,” I thought. “We just docked so I definitely have time to take a few quick pictures.” I spent about 15 minutes off the boat. When I came back the boat was gone! It was my misunderstanding about the timing. 19:00 was the time the boat was to leave, not arrive! But it would have been nice if the receptionist told me that, instead of watching me walk off the boat at 19:00. The person who scanned out my cruise card could have said something like, “Hey, where are you going? We are getting ready to leave.” I paid about $350 for a cab and ferry ride to catch up to the boat at their next stop. I was mortified, but the staff didn’t make it any easier. I was determined to enjoy this cruise since I paid so much money for it. Everything was lovely except that the staff wore me down by the fourth day. I paid for two excursions that I did not go on. One was the day after I got left on the boat. I was still so horrified about getting left, I was scared to get off the boat again! The other one was viewing the Russian border. Because of my flight arrangements, leaving at noon, I was not able to go on that excursion. No refunds… Getting off that boat at Kirkenes to go home was like getting out of jail. My Norwegian friend said that their behavior was probably due to racism or the fact that I'm American. Who really knows? If you must go, don’t go alone. And if my friend is correct, especially is you are a person of color or an American. Read Less
Vesteralen Ratings
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