I have just returned from the round trip on Finnmarken. Hurtigruten provides an excellent voyage and some stunning scenery. Much has been said about the trips so I will not add to the many reviews. BUT, Hurtigruten and probably other ... Read More
I have just returned from the round trip on Finnmarken. Hurtigruten provides an excellent voyage and some stunning scenery. Much has been said about the trips so I will not add to the many reviews. BUT, Hurtigruten and probably other cruise lines MUST deal with the problem of mobile phone usage. WE witnessed people taking calls on speakerphone and coupled with their loud voices this was a massive distraction. It is time to have quiet areas so that those who are thoughtless and rude do not spoil the trip for others. We witnessed arguments almost every day with people saying don’t talk on your phone.
Trips -very varied and interesting. Well organised.
Food -buffet -pretty good and a very wide range
Restaurant on flloor 7 -VERY good. For this on board the upgrade cost is only NOK290
Hurtigruten - you do a great job but please address the matter of the phone nuisance Read Less
The MS Lofoten is definitely not your normal cruise ship and very much all the better for it in my view. It is probably the only ship on the seas running year round for those who would not want to be on or seen on a cruise ship and is ... Read More
The MS Lofoten is definitely not your normal cruise ship and very much all the better for it in my view. It is probably the only ship on the seas running year round for those who would not want to be on or seen on a cruise ship and is probably unsuitable for those who want all the conveniences on a modern cruise liner. It cannot carry passengers with mobility issues as there no lifts and a rudimentary metal loading ramp at each port to get on/off the ship. There are no fitness centres, jacuzzis, pools etc The cabins reflect a bygone era so are basic and small but they are perfectly suitable for this voyage where you really are there to spend as much time as possible on deck viewing the scenery. Showers and toilets are generally shared facilities so you must be happy to accept that and wander the corridors in towels or nightgowns.
in the lounges at night you will find the day travellers, mainly locals, travelling between centres, sleeping on the couches. This is a true working ship serving a function for the locals as well as tourists on a trip.
The ship does not have stabilisers due to its age and it is small, around 2,650 tonnes, so on the open sea crossings it moves a lot in both roll and pitch so if you are prone to seasickness it is likely these parts of the voyage will see you in your cabin unwell. For those without such problems it is all part of the experience of being on such a wonderful old ship. The chairs in the lounges and dining area are chained down to ensure they do not send you flying. The brass and wood panelling echo the classic nature of this ship.
The low number of cabin passengers means everyone gets to know one another within a day or so and with the intimate lounges and bar there is a wonderful atmosphere. The crew is also small and get to know everyone and their likes and dislikes. They absolutely love the ship and that is very apparent in their attitude.
This ship does not carry cars unlike the other Hurtigruten ships and cargo is loaded by a ship to shore crane from a hold at the front. I doubt there is another regular passenger ship in Europe that still operates this way.
Finally, you will find numerous passengers are repeat customers who will only sail on this ship in the fleet and who have been on it tens of time. You are likely to get hooked in it as well. BEWARE. Due to its lack of disability facilities it will not run on this route after 2020. Read Less
We chose this cruise because it advertised exactly what we were looking for and wanted something special to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary. It surpassed all of this. Embarkation and disembarkation was a very smooth event. Staff ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it advertised exactly what we were looking for and wanted something special to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary. It surpassed all of this. Embarkation and disembarkation was a very smooth event. Staff were helpful and friendly at all times during the voyage, The expedition team were fabulous, keeping us constantly informed with points of interests and gatherings. Nothing was too much trouble. Food was more than excellent and great to be offered Norwegian food with all the information and history that went with it. The cafe was open for 24 hours so with our package we could have tea and coffee any time of the day. We certainly needed a hot drink after being on deck to see the Northern Lights three nights running. Considering the ship is going in for refurbishment very soon it was still spotlessly clean which was very noticeable. I really hope it doesn't end up like an 'Ikea' ship. We didn't like the decor and furniture on the Kong Harold that we were able to visit. Read Less
In wanting to see the Northern Light, we opted to take Hurtigruten's guarantee of their experience, vs going to Iceland. When we booked this cruise we were unaware that the ship serves as a cargo & ferry ship. It stops at ... Read More
In wanting to see the Northern Light, we opted to take Hurtigruten's guarantee of their experience, vs going to Iceland. When we booked this cruise we were unaware that the ship serves as a cargo & ferry ship. It stops at countless ports. This isn't your topical cruise. There is no casino (we don't gamble, so okay for us) or entertainment, nor is there food available without purchasing it (VERY EXPENSIVE), other than the included breakfast, lunch & dinner. Yet with that said, we have no regrets having taken this trip.
Things we disliked:
1. Too short of time in ports to enjoy excursions (too rushed).
2. Last minute notices on activities or lectures.
3. They discourage you from tipping individually. (Though tipping is not really customary)
Things we liked:
1. Small ship, so not that many people on board.
2. Because there wasn't entertainment, it was relaxing (not noisy of music or people).
3. The dining service was outstanding. Every server was pleasant, efficient and friendly.
4. The entire cruise was scenic as we travelled through the fjords. Norway has the most beautiful coastline (yes, prettier than Alaska).
5. We saw the Northern Lights as promised ---the MOST SPECTACULAR experience!!! (Personally, I don't believe anything can top that experience in our future vacations). Read Less
This cruise was amazing. We signed up for the "Astronomy Cruise," which featured British astronomer Professor John Mason. He was an incredible teacher and loved by all! It was a subgroup of about 80 of us. We gathered daily for ... Read More
This cruise was amazing. We signed up for the "Astronomy Cruise," which featured British astronomer Professor John Mason. He was an incredible teacher and loved by all! It was a subgroup of about 80 of us. We gathered daily for lectures on the Northern Lights in particular and astronomy in general. He is a captivating lecturer! The group developed a lovely connection and we spent many hours on the top deck Aurora hunting. After a disappointing 7 nights of clouds and snow we were rewarded with 2 nights of magnificent displays which fully satisfied any bucket-list cravings! Beyond incredible!
We also did many of the excursions and they were better than we expected: Favorites were the Husky dog sledding in Kirkenes, the Sea Eagle safari, the 2 fishing villages with an incredible art gallery at the end of the world, the Midnight concert and the Viking dinner. We also did the Vesteralen excursion, and a few hikes which were nice.
We thought 12 days might feel like too much but the time flew by, and since we had a suite, just sitting in our huge bay window watching Norway go by was an eternal delight.
We stayed in suite (room 823) which was HEAVEN!! If you can splurge on a suite it's worth it! The rooms are tiny! All the suites look great. I was disappointed we did not get one with a balcony but it would've been too chilly to use it much anyway.
The food was great -- tons of options. If you have food requirements you need to be persistent and remind them repeatedly, but they are eager to please. We universally loved all the staff we encountered. (Reports of rudeness in other reviews are a mystery to me.) Read Less
This was given to me as a 70th birthday present because it involved the Norwegian coast, which I had always indicated I wanted to see. My wife also chose this cruise because it wasn't a typical one: it offered an Astronomy Voyage, ... Read More
This was given to me as a 70th birthday present because it involved the Norwegian coast, which I had always indicated I wanted to see. My wife also chose this cruise because it wasn't a typical one: it offered an Astronomy Voyage, with an expert lecturer on the Northern Lights and other night sky phenomena (Dr John Mason), and with other interesting talks, information points and excursions handled by the two-woman Expedition Team. The ship was obviously comfortable and well-appointed, but wasn't a great block of flats on a hull, like many modern cruise vessels, and it combined very good facilities for passengers with an element of working ship, delivering cargo at a lot of ports (34) along the way. Our cabin was small, but very comfortable and well-designed: it became a home from home! The organisation of the cruise from start to finish was absolutely faultless: e.g. embarking and disembarkation - including management of our luggage - were handled with the utmost efficiency and with no needless hanging around for passengers. Throughout the voyage, we were kept informed of what was happening through clear - and audible! - announcements. Two minor problems with cabin equipment were immediately remedied. Excursions were handled with the utmost efficiency by the Expedition Team and those ashore, making everything worry-free and enjoyable. The food was plentiful and tasty, without the ridiculous waste and excess which one gathers are the norm on some cruises. Breakfasts involved a good range of items, though the quality of a couple of them (eg scrambled eggs and porridge) could be a bit variable. The lunch buffets had an element of Norwegian comfort food about them, which we found agreeable. Evening meals involved a set 3-course menu, which some might find restrictive, but most of the dishes served were excellent with a lot of locally-sourced ingredients. Prices for drinks were high, especially for those with weakening sterling bank accounts! The scenery was simply breathtaking, with constantly changing vistas of snowy peaks coming down to the sea and of islands, many with small and picturesque settlements on them: it will live in our memories for ever. The experience of the late winter Norwegian coast, including settlements in the Arctic Circle, was simply magical. And we saw the lovely Northern Lights - with one amazing moment when the night sky filled with a burst of extraordinary light. Read Less
The Hurtigruten Classic Round Voyage with the Northern Lights Promise, 24 March to 4 April 2019 on the ship Polarlys.
Did we see the northern lights? That is a good question! Although we had some good daytime weather, the sky was ... Read More
The Hurtigruten Classic Round Voyage with the Northern Lights Promise, 24 March to 4 April 2019 on the ship Polarlys.
Did we see the northern lights? That is a good question! Although we had some good daytime weather, the sky was cloudy for the first nine nights. Since Hurtigruten promise that we will see the lights, I predicted to my wife that on the tenth night (2 April), when the forecast was for partly clear skies but we were already well south, we would see something inconclusive and Hurtigruten would claim that we’d seen them. This is exactly what happened. At about 11 pm the public address system announced weak lights. We went up on deck and at first saw nothing. Eventually we decided that a very dim static grey glow above a big bank of cloud must be what they were talking about.
Hurtigruten’s “promise” actually says “100%. That’s how sure we are that the spectacular Northern Lights will make an appearance on your 12-day Hurtigruten voyage. If not, we'll give you another voyage for free”; this under a beautiful photograph of green lights. Accordingly, the next morning, since what we saw had been pathetic rather than “spectacular”, we enquired how to go about claiming our free voyage. They said: “No deal, the Captain says you’ve seen the lights”. The Captain refused to see us and no evidence such as a photograph was offered. But we spoke to others of the crew. They were all evasive and one was very rude. Up to this point we’d been quite happy with Hurtigruten over two trips (the other being a very good summer trip in 2014), but this behaviour, betraying a deep dishonesty pervading the company, really upset us.
Initially we intended to complain higher up the company. But eventually we decided that we just couldn’t face the hassle. Life is too short and Hurtigruten have clearly briefed their staff thoroughly in their dishonest response. In any case we might well not have taken up the “free” voyage. The small print is very restrictive: only half the round trip (i.e. just 5 or 6 days), make and fund your own travel arrangements to and from the ports one of which will be Kirkenes in the far north, inside cabin, half board, book it within a month of returning, etc.
It was not all a disaster and we enjoyed parts of the trip. We saw some fantastic scenery after new snow and enjoyed the food. Being near the equinox, there were around 13 hours of good daylight. But there were other hiccups beyond Hurtigruten’s control. At the start, the ship couldn’t get down to Bergen because of bad weather; so, having flown into Bergen, we had to fly on to Trondheim the same day, not arriving at the boat till well after midnight. The one excursion that we had booked, to the Northcape, was cancelled because of wind and snow. And I felt seasick a couple of times, not seriously but queasy enough to miss several meals!
Friends who did the trip a couple of weeks before us also only saw vague white lights. On the other hand, the internet has many accounts of people who had a great time. So, in conclusion, it’s much more of a risk than Hurtigruten claim that you won’t see anything convincing, and don’t believe their dishonest promise that you’ll get a free trip. But you could well get lucky. Read Less
We chose a 12 day cruise that took us from Bergen up to the Russian border and back. Bad weather intervened on the return journey so we were stuck on board for most of the time and there's not much to do other than read, gaze out at ... Read More
We chose a 12 day cruise that took us from Bergen up to the Russian border and back. Bad weather intervened on the return journey so we were stuck on board for most of the time and there's not much to do other than read, gaze out at snowy mountains, doze and eat. We would choose a shorter trip next time and fly back from Kirkenes.
Snowmobiling at Kirkenes was brilliant helped by glorious morning sunshine. Dog sledding was also worthwhile. Excursions are eye wateringly expensive but if you're only doing these things once.....
The ship was fine and the crew were very good. It is a ferry however and it stops everywhere along the coast taking on board cargo and passengers who use the ship like a bus service. Don't expect the luxury of a cruise ship and grab a seat before the locals come on board otherwise you'll have to revert to your cabin.
Food was excellent. Wine at a minimum of £53 a bottle is extortionate especially when compared to £15 a bottle on shore. Shame we were not offered a drinks package although unless the wine was heavily discounted I suspect we would have declined. Made for a tee-total holiday which was no bad thing. Read Less
We have done a lot of cruises. We were aware that the Nordkapp is a working vessel and that it was going to be a lot less comfortable than a lot of other ships that is why we booked a attic superior cabin. When we arrived at the check in ... Read More
We have done a lot of cruises. We were aware that the Nordkapp is a working vessel and that it was going to be a lot less comfortable than a lot of other ships that is why we booked a attic superior cabin. When we arrived at the check in we had been downgraded to a polar outside. Because I am claustrophobic I jumped up and down to at least get a window. The cabin was the size of a railway compartment and the beds had to be folded into the walls so that we could get around the cabin during the day. Not good on a 12 days journey. The food was very ordinary. No choice for dinner. Only one option or vegetarian. Caters very much for European taste. Dried fish pickled vegetables etc. was sick twice in 12 days. The stops on the itinerary looked interesting but a lot o stops were only for 15 to 20 mins so could not get off. You have to pay for Tea and coffee other than meal times also for water and it is about $7 Aussie for each. The tours for a couple of hours range from $250 to $400 each and over for longer duration. We felt very ripped off and would suggest you look long and hard into this shipping line before choosing them. We did see the Northern Lights briefly and that is a plus. Also the scenery is magnificent and we did encounter VERY rough seas good luck fellow adventurer. Bev from Australia Read Less
The ship was renovated in 2016 and is newer and nicer than some of the other Hurtigruten ships. We sailed from Tromsø to Trondheim in March and the scenery was amazing all the way. We stayed at the Arctic Superior cabin which was quite ... Read More
The ship was renovated in 2016 and is newer and nicer than some of the other Hurtigruten ships. We sailed from Tromsø to Trondheim in March and the scenery was amazing all the way. We stayed at the Arctic Superior cabin which was quite small, but nice and comfortable. However, be aware that you risk to get a cabin on deck 5 with the panorama deck right outside your window with somewhat reduced view, as well as direct view into your cabin from the outside. There should therefore be more choices for this cabin category. Otherwise, the trip was an amazing experience but it should be said that we was extremely lucky with the weather conditions. The service was great and the staff are very dedicated to their work. They truly went the extra mile to take good care of the passengers. The breakfast, which we had included, was a very tasty buffét, with a wide selection of food. The food onboard was otherwise very expensive and we ate most meals in the ports along the way. I would absolutely recommend this trip. Read Less