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About SarniaLo

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Sailing, photography
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    Arctic & Antarctic
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  1. Same here, with more ports of stop and more time in Patagonian channels. Is there another reason that the second itinerary is still in the running? Company, price?
  2. Can you elaborate on which ship/company you are looking at (and point us to the itineraries?), because most of the Antarctica cruise I know (and the ones I did) actually depart from Ushuaia and return there. If you are looking at a "cruise by" in Antarctica with no landings, I don't think the direction matters much and you can choose whichever suits best your overall travel plans.
  3. The booking engine on the website has changed recently. Maybe it is not possible now to book on the Norwegian website if you do not reside in Norway? Check the ToS maybe.
  4. If 442 and 450 in the quote are the cabin numbers, then it seems to be the same category (cabins on the same deck, just a couple of doors apart and seem to be the same size). Yes I agree prices in NOK are usually cheaper, I booked now all my Norway coastal trip on the Norwegian website, but that is a substantial difference (note however that if you buy on the Norwegian website in NOK, then the contract is ruled by Norwegian laws and not your own country's).
  5. Conctacting Hurtigruten directly might provide the appropriate answer, but I suspect it is also a question of whether the mentioned date includes a flight or not. The earlier date would be the date of the flight before the cruise, the later date is the date the ship departs from port. I would check carefully for each quote what is included in the price and what is not (particularly with regards to flights) and the day by day itinerary if provided. The price difference is crazy, particularly if the price in NOK includes the flight and the price in $ does not (or maybe it's not US$ ?).
  6. I think it's still pretty much a follow-up to your original question. I have no experience with suites/mini-suites, so cannot help you there, but I have sailed on both Finnmarken and Polarlys (before refurbishment). Both are really nice ships, so either one would work. I have a soft spot for Finnmarken, even though she is bigger, because I like the subdued Art Deco design, and particularly because she has this awesome open bow deck which is great for sightseeing and even better for Northern Light watching, if you are going in winter or fall. I personaly do not like the new interior design of Polarlys (I find it really cold and borderline tacky in parts) but some people really like it so it's really down to preference (and I would not choose a ship based on design only, anyway). Polarlys has the standard layout of all the ships of this generation, with good inside and outside spaces, but the front deck is not accessible to passengers. Hopefully someone will chime in with more on the cabins.
  7. Planning is half the fun anyway, as long as you manage your expectations (which you seem to be doing just fine), and who knows, you can learn a couple of things in the process, so it's never wasted time! 😉
  8. Where are you located? I have always booked all my trip directly from Hurtigruten, but I'm in France and we have a local Hurtigruten office. So most of my trips have been booked either in person or over the phone with a person. Lately I'm travelling more using port-to-port (not full trips) and I book more often on the Norwegian website (because it's cheaper, and because it's actually the only website where you can book port-to-port online). For my first trip I booked the whole package from Hurtigruten (including flights from France and a stay in Lofoten Islands at the end of the trip) and realized that it's much cheaper to buy everything on my own, so I now buy only the ship's journey with Hurtigruten. From talking with various people, it seems that dealing directly with Hurtigruten make it easier when things go wrong (disruption in the ship's schedule because of weather issues, for instance), but that is only through hearsay. If you go with a travel agent I would pick one that has a good knowledge of what Hurtigruten is, and I think it's worth it only if you actually need the TA to take care of the whole trip for you (flights, hotel and so on).
  9. If I can chime in again. I have traveled both at the end of September/early October, and in winter several times. In terms of amount of daylight, both periods are similar, but that's about all they have in common. End September is fall season, with nice colors on the landscape, and getting more and more towards winter as you go up North, with possible the first sprinkle of snow on the mountains, but mostly no snow. Fall is supposed to have more precipitation (in the form of rain mostly) while March is supposed to be dryer (and mostly snow). However this becomes extremely variable from year to year so hard to bet on anything in advance regarding the weather. March is for the real winter experience (including winter activities excursion, if you are into that). Everything covered in snow, lower temperature (although rarely extremely cold, mostly around 0°C except in the Northernmost part). I like winter better because I think the colors are spectacular, particularly around sunrise and sunset, the way they reflect on the snow is really magic. I also like the snowy landscapes at night, if there is moonlight it gives a lot of light (and no, moonlight will not impair NL watching, unless the display in very faint, and in that case it is not spectacular anyway). However, fall is also very enjoyable (I'm going back next October). So neither is a bad choice. I would avoid November which is a very gloomy month, short days and no snow. Northern Lights are totally unpredictable and there is not a better season for solar activity. Being able to see them is mostly linked to weather (clear sky), so statistically March is more favorable, but those statistics are too flimsy to be the main incentive of a choice. Mostly you need to decide if you want a winter experience or not. For the best chance to see NL you need to be outside a lot, and in March in can be really cold at night with the wind chill effect. But I think the winter lights and color are absolutely stunning (particularly for people like me who come from a place where snow is scarce). Now that I have written all this I realise I have misread your message, and you do not hesitate between fall and winter, but between fall and spring. Spring in Norway starts well into April (even later in the North), ie at a time when the nights are not dark enough for Northern Lights. So if you want to have a chance for Northern Lights, then go in fall for sure (and that means between mid-september and mid-october).
  10. Unless I'm mistaken, the number of passengers indicated here include day-trippers. There are not that many berths in any of the ships. With regards to the original question, I would indeed advise to look at floor plans and pictures (and reviews), because different people can have different preferences. For instance, Trollfjord and Midnatsol are my least favorite ships of the fleet (too large and too "bling" for me). Aslo, I don't enjoy much the new design of the 1990's ships, I find it cold and devoid of personality. But I know that people really enjoy it (and I totally respect that). My favorite is MS Lofoten, but I don't think the cabin size will suit the OP! 😉 I think most of the ships have larger cabins, but you may have to go up in prices and get a suite. It depends also what you mean by "roomy" and if you plan to spend a lot of time in it (usually, people don't).
  11. Im really touched by this and this encourages me to continue (I enjoy doing the blog, but I am now 4 trips behind and feel a bit overwhelmed! 😁 ). I think you are going to have an awesome trip. I would love to know how it went when you come back.
  12. That's quite an interesting discount! At this season I think you should be OK with booking 30 days out (is that just for Svolvaer-Trondheim, or for Kirkenes-Svolvaer as well? I'm not clear as to whether you are on the same ship Bergen-Kirkenes-Svolvaer or if you stay in Kirkenes and take the next ship). Only possible exception would be if the ship on your date of interest is MS Lofoten, because she is smaller and has a lot of afficionados so she can book up early. I'm glad my experience inspired you, indeed fingers crossed for good weather when you are there!
  13. True grayjay, and if you buy the train ticket soon enough (the tickets go on sale 90 days in advance) you can get Minipris tickets which are often very cheap (even cheaper than senior discount, and work even if you are not a senior 😉). Note that these tickets are not refundable. As a general rule, it is vastly cheaper to book everything on your own and not through Hurtigruten (except the ship's journey of course). And it's not complicated to do bookings on your own in Norway. The website for buying train tickets is https://www.nsb.no/en/
  14. I think the train ride is also worth it. I usually take the morning train (so no time in Trondheim, which I enjoy on the Northbound stop with Hurtigruten). I agree that it does not take much more time than flying, and I find it a lot more convenient (and often cheaper if you book in advance) and more scenic. It does not compare to the Oslo-Bergen line but I think the landscapes are still quite nice. You could maybe take a later train if you want more time in Trondheim. Personnaly I would choose more time in Oslo rather than in Trondheim, but that is very much down to personal preferences.
  15. It's quite a scenic cruising. You get one more opportunity for Northern Lights as you cross the Vestfjord to Bodo, and then the next day is very nice. It's the day of Norwegian folk tales. You sail past the Horseman island in the morning while crossing the Polar Circle (there is a ceremony in that direction as well), then along the Seven Sisters mountains after the stop in Sandnessjoen, and lastly the pierce rock of Torghatten in the evening. All these tie together very nicely in one story which you can learn on board. There should be enough light to enjoy them all, provided of course the weather is cooperating. Here are some pictures of this day at a very similar date a few years back : http://voyageterremer.blogspot.com/2014/10/un-jour-de-legendes.html (text is in French and English). I also quite enjoy the stop in Bronnoysund late afternoon. I think it's quite worth it (but would it cut short some of your time in Oslo?).
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