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hallasm

Everything Hurtigruten - question answered!

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I am hoping to start an on-going conversation about Hurtigruten. This is not meant to be a roll call, but a never ending Q&A thread focusing on the details of the Hurtigruten vessels, offerings, excursions and itineraries.

Please post your questions!  - Members having sailed Hurtigruten will add their experiences, thoughts and answers.

Hurtigruten is very different from other cruise lines - it's primarily a Norwegian cruise, car-ferry and cargo operator with small ships serving 35 harbours on the Norwegian west coast.
Hurtigruten do offer two different type of cruises: Norway Coastal Voyage (cruise, ferry and cargo) and Exploration Voyages.
Eleven vessels are sailing the 'Norway Coastal Service' with daily departures from Bergen to Kirkenes and back. Four ships are operated as expedition ship - e.g. sailing to Greenland, Svalbard, Iceland, Arctic Canada, and Antarctica. Two new ships in order for exploration voyages.

From January 1st, 2021 there will be two operators sharing the Norwegian Coastal Service from Bergen to Kirkenes - Hurtigruten with seven ships and Kystruten (Havila Shipping) with four ships.

Hurtigruten Ships:

Twelve Hurtigruten coastal ships: MS Midnatsol, MS Trollfjord, MS Finnmarken, MS Nordnorge, MS Polarlys, MS Nordkapp, MS Nordlys, MS Richard With, MS Kong Harald, MS Vesterålen, MS Lofoten, and MS Spitsbergen

Two Expedition ships only: MS Fram and MS Nordstjernen - MS Midnatsol and MS Spitsbergen are also operated as expedition ships.

New Expedition ships on order: Roald Amundsen (2019), Fridtjof Nansen (2020)

kong harald kopi.jpg

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We are booked in a category "U" on the Fram next year.  What an we expect in amenities, cabin size, etc.?  Any input would be helpful.

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3 hours ago, tonyd285 said:

We are booked in a category "U" on the Fram next year.  What an we expect in amenities, cabin size, etc.?  Any input would be helpful.

 

Category U is ‘Arctic Superior Outside’  Oceanview Staterooms.

Situated on both upper and middle deck, (deck 5 and 6) - they all have bathrooms with shower and WC. They are also equipped with tea and coffee -making facilities. Most of them have separate beds, where one doubles as a sofa, and some have double beds.

All the cabins have individual specifications. Size ranges from 120-250 ft2 (11-23 m2).

you can find more details on MS Fram here.

 

 

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hallasm and Geezer Couple --

 

The time is drawing nigh - we fly from Los Angeles to Bergen, via Oslo, next Tuesday afternoon.  Feeling both over- and underprepared.  I'm hoping for the former!  I would love a last-minute "assist" from you kind people:  I have read that most everything in Norway can be paid with a credit card, but there are those "other things," of course.  I was wondering if about 2500 NOK (about $300 per person) was sufficient to carry in cash, knowing that hotels, meals, taxis (?), everything aboard Trollfjord, etc., would be covered with a card?  Thanks again.  Eager as we are, we are also suffering a bit of trepidation - this is so vastly different from anything we've done in the past, ergo the anxiety.

 

And does anybody know what Platinum Status is?  It is vaguely alluded to in a number of places...just curious.  We are in an MX, but that seems to have nothing to do with it, so thought I would ask.

Edited by Hunding

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Sure you’re well prepared. Just make sure you have the right clothing - and no formal nights - only casual  - and layers.

Hurtigruten has three different price structures, basic, select and platinum - from you order confirmation you can see what is included in the fare - they do not refer to basic, select or platinum on the confirmation.

- this is Hurtigruten description of platinum:

Full board is included and with PLATINUM you can choose our a la carte dining experience whenever you want. Our drinks package is included with dinner. Two exclusive shore excursions are also included on our 11- and 12-day voyages. One excursion is included for 6- and 7-day voyages. Airport transfers to and from the ship are included in Bergen, Trondheim and Kirkenes. Enjoy daily turn down service and a welcome basket on embarkation day. 

 

Regarding cash - you’ll probably not need more than few 100 NOK -  NOK 2.500 per person is IMO far too much in cash - normally I do not spend a lot of money ashore - credit card widely accepted. Exchanging money in Norway is however expensive. A debit card for ATM might be the best solution?

 

-  enjoy your trip - long travel from CA to Norway.

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5 hours ago, Hunding said:

hallasm and Geezer Couple --

 

The time is drawing nigh - we fly from Los Angeles to Bergen, via Oslo, next Tuesday afternoon.  Feeling both over- and underprepared.  I'm hoping for the former!  I would love a last-minute "assist" from you kind people:  I have read that most everything in Norway can be paid with a credit card, but there are those "other things," of course.  I was wondering if about 2500 NOK (about $300 per person) was sufficient to carry in cash, knowing that hotels, meals, taxis (?), everything aboard Trollfjord, etc., would be covered with a card?  Thanks again.  Eager as we are, we are also suffering a bit of trepidation - this is so vastly different from anything we've done in the past, ergo the anxiety.

 

And does anybody know what Platinum Status is?  It is vaguely alluded to in a number of places...just curious.  We are in an MX, but that seems to have nothing to do with it, so thought I would ask.

 

Hallasm already commented, so I'll just add on a bit.

 

When we went (March), the "Platinum" was just starting, and not everything supposedly "included" was actually included.  I cannot imagine it would be worth it, if the cost differential is as high as it was.

 

For one thing, the "special meals" in the little private restaurant?  That was perhaps our only (and just slightly) disappointment.  That "disappointment" was nice, actually, and spoke mostly to how much we enjoyed all of the regular meals.  (Don't  hesitate to ask if you want a change of some sort; check the menu mid-day.)  But the only special dinner we had... some of the courses were the same as we'd had in the main dining room on other nights (!?).  And there was truly nothing special.  Yes, it was a small and nicer room, but... it would probably only be useful if you really hated the entire menu for a particular evening, and couldn't get a substitute, which seems pretty unlikely from our experience.  They REALLY try hard to please.

 

There would be a couple of extra excursions, but... IIRC, those were going to cost a lot extra IN ADDITION to the high Platinum surcharge.  Outrageous, in our minds, and we don't mind paying extra when we *get* extra!

 

We were in a top Expedition Suite, too. (Which suite are you in?  I hope it's one of the two like we had... let me know.)

As a result, you'll probably get most of what was described for the Platinum anyway.  Maybe not "evening turndown", but the suite was made up VERY nicely every day.  We were able to request specific times for the room to be serviced as well.

 

The ONLY time we really NEEDED NOK... we didn't have it with us.  That was during the excursion to the Russian Border, at Kirkenes.  There is a teeny tiny gift shop there (worth a look for it's own sake 🙂 and although they had signage for the charge cards, they didn't really accept any at all.  There were a couple of trinkets we would have liked to get there, and couldn't.  No big deal, however.

We purchased extras of the mugs from the "crossing the Arctic Circle" northbound, for some little souvenirs.  (Little metal/enamel, with troll motif - cute.

NOK was also useful for tips, but almost everything else was done with charge card.

 

What we've taken to doing with extra foreign currency is to use it to purchase *other* foreign currency in other countries.  So, for example, rather than convert Pounds Sterling to dollars, and then use dollars to purchase Yen, we took a bit of assorted leftover currencies to Japan, to a currency office we stumbled across, and handed it all over (under the supervision of our guide; but the office was honest anyway), and got all Yen back, for more tips etc., in Japan.

 

I'm jealous.  You'll have a GREAT time.  Are you the one mentioning having Dr. Mason for the astronomy program?

 

ENJOY!!!

 

GC

 

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Thanks, hallasm, as always.  Perhaps we will take less cash - though we are in Bergen for two days prior to sailing, and four days in Oslo afterward, and I figure we could pay in cash instead of card, should we find ourselves with too much cash (Did I just type "too much cash?!?!?!") in hand.

 

GeezerCouple, we are in 825.  Thanks for the Platinum information - sounds like something we needn't explore, but we'll see.  Excellent idea for converting foreign currency into other foreign currency - thanks.

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On 11/9/2018 at 2:26 PM, Hunding said:

Thanks, hallasm, as always.  Perhaps we will take less cash - though we are in Bergen for two days prior to sailing, and four days in Oslo afterward, and I figure we could pay in cash instead of card, should we find ourselves with too much cash (Did I just type "too much cash?!?!?!") in hand.

 

GeezerCouple, we are in 825.  Thanks for the Platinum information - sounds like something we needn't explore, but we'll see.  Excellent idea for converting foreign currency into other foreign currency - thanks.

 

Nice.  We were "next door" (the "other" of the two suites aft on Deck 8).

 

That balcony will be terrific.  It is just about completely sheltered from the wind when the ship is moving, and that *will* matter in the cold weather 🙂

We much prefer a forward view, but that's almost impossible on Hurtigruten.  So we kept the BR TV on all the time, set to the Bridge View, so we could see "what is coming up".  They (crew) were terrific about announcing sights coming up most of the time, so we'd sometimes head forward, and then as we passed <whatever>, we'd race back to our suite, head out to the balcony (there are no side windows, at least not in 826), where DH took photos galore.

 

There is a complete wall of windows along the back/balcony side.  If you remember, try to keep your curtains open that first night.  (We did it almost every night.)  When we woke up rather early (forgetting time), there was *suddenly* a huge hillside (small mountain side?) right in front of our faces.  It looked almost close enough to touch.  What a glorious start to the trip!  On the next to last evening, we passed there again, but given the directional approach plus the lack of a sudden turn at the "right time", there wasn't a similar effect then.

 

We were just mesmerized by the scenery.

 

We WILL go back; it's just a matter of squeezing it into the schedule.  It was one of our favorite trips, which was  real surprise.  Perhaps the lower expectations?  Not sure.

 

The suite furnishings were rather spartan compared with regular cruise lines, so be prepared for that.  But the space, the windows, the extra half bath, and those windows (did I mention the wall of windows?) were beyond amazing.

And the bed faces the windows (see our avatar; that's from a different ship, with a forward view), which is our absolute favorite!

 

Enjoy!

 

GC

 

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I took about $400 worth of NOK with me on my cruise, which included 2 days in Bergen and 4 days in Oslo. I did come home with NOK, which fortunately I was able to sell to a friend going to Norway after me. I used it mostly for small purchases from food stands, tips for tour guides/bus drivers, and for paid toilets (found in a lot of public places in Norway), and once for a cab ride in Bergen. I bought the Oslo Pass in Oslo, and rode public transportation using that, so didn't use much cash there. Never used cash on the ship. If I go again, I would probably take only about $100 worth of NOK.

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We leave at noon for LAX, fly at 4 to Bergen, via Oslo.  Sail Friday night.

Thanks again to everyone for your information and comments - so helpful.

I'll try to post something now and then.

Best.

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2 hours ago, Hunding said:

We leave at noon for LAX, fly at 4 to Bergen, via Oslo.  Sail Friday night.

Thanks again to everyone for your information and comments - so helpful.

I'll try to post something now and then.

Best.

Enjoy the cruise. Looking forward to get you review.

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4 hours ago, Hunding said:

We leave at noon for LAX, fly at 4 to Bergen, via Oslo.  Sail Friday night.

Thanks again to everyone for your information and comments - so helpful.

I'll try to post something now and then.

Best.

 

We'll be with you in spirit and thoughts (and memories still brightly in our minds, plus photos!).

 

Are you taking the train to Bergen from Oslo?

 

Enjoy!!

 

GC

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1 hour ago, GeezerCouple said:

 

We'll be with you in spirit and thoughts (and memories still brightly in our minds, plus photos!).

 

Are you taking the train to Bergen from Oslo?

 

Enjoy!!

 

GC

Didn't work out.  Flying straight to Bergen (via Oslo) for two days, then fly to Oslo the evening we return for 4 days, then home.  Fingers crossed!

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13 minutes ago, Hunding said:

Didn't work out.  Flying straight to Bergen (via Oslo) for two days, then fly to Oslo the evening we return for 4 days, then home.  Fingers crossed!

 

"No problem", as they say.

The train ride was spectacular, but that was before the cruise, which was SO amazing... every day.

I've never seen DH running around taking so many photos as he did on that cruise.  By the last few days, he had sort of "calmed down" 🙂

There's not really duplication, not during night-and-day seasons, as the day ports north tend to be night ports south.  I guess in summer, one would see it all (but when to sleep!??!)

 

Hope you see some Northern Lights.

Remember (we learned it here on CC): The lights tend to be much more subdued to the naked eye than what is captured on photos.  It was good that we knew that, so we weren't disappointed. It doesn't always appear in startling "cinema-color", etc.

 

Enjoy everything!

 

GC

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Does Hurtigruten offer a full board option on port-to-port? Breakfast is included in port-to-port, but is there an option to upgrade to full board?

 

I ask because I'm planning a trip for mid-March 2020. My wife and I would like to spend some time in both Senja and Lofoten Islands. I would like to do Bergen to Kirkenes to Finnsnes, rent a car, spend two or three days in Senja, then get back on another ship in Finnsnes and go to Svolvaer for another three days or so. The problem is that Hurtigruten's arrival time in Finnsnes on the southbound is 4:15 a.m., so what would we do while waiting four hours for the car rental agency to open? I doubt the Hurtigruten terminal in Finnsnes stays open from 4:15 a.m. to 8 a.m.

 

With this in mind, doing Bergen-Finnsnes, Finnsnes-Kirkenes, Kirkenes-Svolvaer and then Svolvaer to Trondheim or Bergen makes sense from the point of view of port arrival times. But port-to-port on Hurtigruten can get very pricey.

 

We could do Bergen-Kirkenes-Svolvaer, get off in Svolvaer on the northbound and spend a week in Svolvaer and Senja, but that would mean a 10-hour roundtrip from Svolvaer to Senja and back to avoid a large car dropoff fee.

 

But if Hurtigruten offers a full board option on point-to-point, that might cut down a bit on meal costs. I tried to find this out on Hurtigruten.no, but I kept getting error messages when trying to book point-to-point.

 

I'd also be welcome to other ways to do what we want to do. Scenery and Northern Lights are the main goals of this trip.

 

Thank you,

Dave

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I did try the port to port option - worked for me. Try this link: https://www.hurtigruten.no/havn-til-havn/

it it is possible to add lunch and dinner to the reservation but not only is the port to port fair quite expensive - so are the meals. I believe your ideas will result in a very expensive trip. 

Some alternatives are Flåm area pre cruise from Bergen /Oslo - then Hurtigruten Bergen to Kirkenes - then flight to Narvik to Explorer Lofoten and Senja post cruise - just some thoughts. 

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Thank you, hallasm. I don't know why, but no matter which browser I use, Hurtigruten. no is giving me the error message. I'll try again in a few days.

 

Interesting idea about flying from Kirkenes, but from what I can tell, most of those flights to Narvik have long layovers. Also, I've read that the stretch between Harstad and Svolvaer, which is in daylight southbound only, is one of the most-beautiful stretches of the Hurtigruten journey, so I'm hesitant to miss that.

 

I also noticed that car rentals in Svolvaer are about a third of the price of car rentals in Finnsnes.

 

According to Google Maps, there are three driving routes between Svolvaer and Senja. I'm wondering if taking one route north and another route south would be an interesting way to go and slightly different from a scenic point of view.

 

I think right now, I'm leaning toward:

 

1. Oslo-Flam-Bergen by train. Norway In A Nutshell on our own?

2. Hurtigruten Bergen to Kirkenes. Maybe spend a night in Kirkenes.

3. Hurtrigruten Kirkenes to Svolvaer. Spend a week driving around Lofoten and Senja.

4. Either get back on Hurtigruten for the overnight to Trondheim or fly from Svolvaer to Oslo.

 

Doing it this way, we'll have only two nights on the more-expensive port-to-port option.

Edited by Bella0714

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An alternative is flying from Kirkenes to Tromsø - drivningen from here to Senja is 2.5 hours - from Senja to Svolvær is 5 to 6 hours. Just some thoughts. 

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Wondering if anyone has been on the Polarlys and how it compares to other Hurigruten vessels.  I sailed on Trollfjord many years ago and thought it was fine.  Planning to see Northern Lights and also wondered if early January is a good time or if there is traditionally a better chance at some other time? Appreciate your advice.

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MS Polarlys is an older ship  (build 1996) than MS Trollfjord (build 2002) - however MS Polarlys was renovated in 2016 - I have not been sailing MS Polarlys but MS Kong Harald - build in 1993 and also renovated in 2016 - I did have good experience with MS Kong Harald and would expect the same standard for MS Polarlys - also comparable in size.

Auroral activity is considered being higher in October/November and March/April than in January - however the sky tend to be more clear when cold in January - I have booked at cruise on MS Trollfjord in January - hope to experience the Northern Lights - but you can never be sure.

Hope other CC members can comment on MS Polarlys - an their experience with Northern Lights.

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19 minutes ago, jwh said:

Wondering if anyone has been on the Polarlys and how it compares to other Hurigruten vessels.  I sailed on Trollfjord many years ago and thought it was fine.  Planning to see Northern Lights and also wondered if early January is a good time or if there is traditionally a better chance at some other time? Appreciate your advice.

 

If planning to see the Northern Lights is a big deal for you for this trip, have you considered doing Hurtigruten's Astronomy special, which is once a month during the season.

I know it is sometimes on Trollfjord, but not sure if it is sometimes on another ship.

There are two "expert lecturers".  They might both be terrific, but we had Dr. Mason, and he was truly  wonderful, the most enthusiastic speaker ever.


They tend to organize these special programs when there isn't a lot of moonlight that might interfere.

 

As for weather, it's just pure luck.

We had chosen the March sailing, because after studying a bit of the history of the Lights and also cloud cover patterns, March seemed to have least clouds...

... and it was almost non-stop clouds. :classic_sad:

 

But at least we had done the RT (which is what the Astronomy sailings are), and on the return southbound, we finally had a few Nights of Lights, one of which was special!

The trip would have been amazing no matter what, but that was the final bonus.

 

Do keep in mind that in mid-winter, you'll have less time to see the gorgeous landscape during daylight.  In spring/fall, one gets sort of half and half, and it's nice that in general, the night time  ports are daytime on the other direction, so one  gets a great overview of all of it.

Don't misunderstand, the night time views are also dramatic.

 

We loved ALL of it.

 

GC

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23 hours ago, GeezerCouple said:

Astronomy special, which is once a month during the season.

I know it is sometimes on Trollfjord, but not sure if it is sometimes on another ship.

In Winter 2018/2019 they do have 8 Astronomy Cruises from October through March - Trollfjord and Finnmarken

https://www.hurtigruten.com/destinations/norway/astronomy-voyage/

 

23 hours ago, GeezerCouple said:

Do keep in mind that in mid-winter, you'll have less time to see the gorgeous landscape during daylight.

Just checked time for sunrise and sunset for my cruise in January

10 January    Departure Bergen
11 January     Ålesund  -  Sunrise:  09:52 - Sunset: 15:34
12 January    Trondheim  -   Sunrise: 09:44 - Sunset: 15:09
13 January     Bodø -  Sunrise: 10:27 - Sunset: 13:55
14 January     Finnsnes  -  Sunrise: 11:16 - Sunset: 12:37
15 January     Honningsvåg  - Polar Night
16 January     Kirkenes   -     Sunrise:10:39 - Sunset: 11:39

In Kirkenes january 16 is the first day with sunshine after 50 days of Polar Night

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2 hours ago, hallasm said:

In Kirkenes january 16 is the first day with sunshine after 50 days of Polar Night

 

I am fascinated by the concept of Polar Night...  Is there any light at all?  Or, is it completely dark for 50 days ?

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