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Homerody

Which ship for Norway coastal voyage

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Greetings fellow cruisers,

 

As a first time Hurtigruten cruiser - I am planning a round trip coastal voyage in 2020.

 

I h ave flexibility so dates are really not an issue.  Prefer a "roomier" cabin.

 

I see there are multiple ships doing the sailing.  Any suggestions or tips on how to select one - if sailing date is not a concern?

 

Is it as simple as comparing ships, ship layout, ship's amenities etc in making a selection?

 

Thanks so much for any insight!

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I have only been on one Hurtigruten cruise, which was on the MS Trollfjord. I loved the ship. I had an inside cabin which was plenty big for me (traveled alone). I spent very little time in the cabin (sleep, bathe, dress) because I so enjoyed sitting in the Vista Lounge, which on this ship is 2 story and gives you a great panoramic view of the beautiful scenery, and easy access to an outside deck for taking photos.  I understand it has been refurbished and redecorated since my cruise in 2015.

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I found the Arctic Superior with double bed fine however a mini suite or suite is ‘roomier- some suites with balcony. You need to have a look at the deck plan for each individual ship - all ships are different and so are the cabins.

Below three of my videos  - Kong Harald tour does include Arctic Superior.

 

here a list of possible ships build/renovated and number of passengers.

Finnmarken - upgrade early 2020 - 919 passengers 

Trollfjord build 2002 - 822 passengers

Midnatsol build 2006 - 632 passengers

Kong Harald renovated 2016 - 590 passengers

Nordkapp renovated 2016 - 590 passengers

Nordnorge renovated 2016 - 590 passengers

Richard With renovated 2018 - 590 passengers

Spitsbergen renovated 2016 - 335 passengers

 

 

 

 

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Thanks Splinter and Hallasm.

 

I think the ship choice will become an iterative and process of elimination one based on other factors - including - most importantly final date selected.

 

 In the meantime, I will keep reading CC, checking this board  and other info to make an informed (hopefully) choice

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Thanks Hallasm.

 

I need all the inspiration and help I can get.

 

🙂

 

 

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2 hours ago, Homerody said:

I need all the inspiration and help I can get.

Hurtigruten is different from other cruise lines - important to ask questions.

Just post your questions - we are a small enthusiastic group of Hurtigruten cruisers providing answers. 

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14 hours ago, hallasm said:

I found the Arctic Superior with double bed fine however a mini suite or suite is ‘roomier- some suites with balcony. You need to have a look at the deck plan for each individual ship - all ships are different and so are the cabins.

Below three of my videos  - Kong Harald tour does include Arctic Superior.

 

here a list of possible ships build/renovated and number of passengers.

Finnmarken - upgrade early 2020 - 919 passengers 

Trollfjord build 2002 - 822 passengers

Midnatsol build 2006 - 632 passengers

Kong Harald renovated 2016 - 590 passengers

Nordkapp renovated 2016 - 590 passengers

Nordnorge renovated 2016 - 590 passengers

Richard With renovated 2018 - 590 passengers

Spitsbergen renovated 2016 - 335 passengers

 

 

I thought the Trollfjord and Midnatsol were sister ships, and almost identical.  No?

What is the difference?

 

Thanks!

 

GC

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, GeezerCouple said:

I thought the Trollfjord and Midnatsol were sister ships, and almost identical.  No?

What is the difference?

Thank you GC - the difference is my 'copy & past' mistake. You are righT,  Trollfjord and Midnatsol are sister ships - same number of cabins, but more passengers for Midnatsol

Trollfjord build 2002 - 822 passengers

Midnatsol build 2003 - 970 passengers

Edited by hallasm

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8 hours ago, hallasm said:

Thank you GC - the difference is my 'copy & past' mistake. You are righT,  Trollfjord and Midnatsol are sister ships - same number of cabins, but more passengers for Midnatsol

Trollfjord build 2002 - 822 passengers

Midnatsol build 2003 - 970 passengers

 

Thanks.  But "same number of cabins, ~150 more passengers"?

Do these numbers include day trippers or only those who get "cabins/beds"?

More triples capacity cabins?  

 

Just curious - thanks!

(We loved the Trollfjord, as you know.  One of our favorite vacations ever.  BEAUTIFUL scenery!  And such pleasant crew/staff, always appreciated!)

 

GC

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24 minutes ago, GeezerCouple said:

Thanks.  But "same number of cabins, ~150 more passengers"?

Do these numbers include day trippers or only those who get "cabins/beds"?

Same number of berths - same size - additional capacity must be day trippers. Do not know why that difference - normally not that many day trippers.

Could be because Midnatsol has status of hospital ship as part of the Norwegian military preparedness.

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2 minutes ago, hallasm said:

Same number of berths - same size - additional capacity must be day trippers. Do not know why that difference - normally not that many day trippers.

Could be because Midnatsol has status of hospital ship as part of the Norwegian military preparedness.

 

"Hospital ship?  Does that by any chance mean more medical facilities/supplies/staff for the longer expedition cruises (e.g., Antarctica), when "help" is sometimes far away?

 

GC

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14 minutes ago, GeezerCouple said:

Does that by any chance mean more medical facilities/supplies/staff for the longer expedition cruises

No.  There are some differences in design such as width on corridors.  The ship will be equipped in case of use.

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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).

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It really depends on what you are looking for and perhaps the time of year you'll be cruising. Foir example the "Lofoten" ( smalles ship in the fleet and the oldest, goes out of service after the 2020 season) has many enthusiasts but the cabins are tiny  (some have to share bathrooms/toilets) and she's the one without stabilizers - woulkd choose her for a winter cruise.

The big ones (Finnmarken, Trollfjord etc.) wepersonally  didn't like because of them reminding us of cruise ships - lots of bars and sparkle and "plushy" interior , but a two-story exploration lounge as well. Quite a lot of people love them because of that; some have suites with balconies.

We prefer the middle ships ( in regard to age and length) that have been recently renovated: 3 in 2016, one in 2018 (Richard With), one is due in drydock in May 2019 (Nordlys). These have quite nice Arctic Superior cabins with double beds instead of bunk beds or single beds, most are still small, though - very small!

Suites and mini-suites are great but extraordinarily expensive, too. But even though we had to rattle the piggybank a few times we still splurged on one for our winter cruise and were very happy with our decision. As the weather was abominable, we spent quite a lot of time inside ( more than we had thought we would) and watched the scenery go by through our two lovely big windows in the mini-suite. As the ship was full, many passengers of course used the chairs and loungers in the public rooms, some for hours on end and there was nothing to be found with a real good view. We liked the modern Scandinavian design very much. But the Hurtigruten website really offers quite a lot of information on the different ships, all of which have different deck plans. The letter "D" in a cabin category ( for example U2D) shows that there is a double bed in the cabin instead of a bed and a sofa bed.

If you have more questions - just fire away!

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6 hours ago, SarniaLo said:

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).

SarniaLo,

 

Thank you for your input.  I appreciated the specificity in your reply. Your post prompted me to delve into a detailed look into the Lofoten. 

 

While the Lofoton cabins are small for my taste, I think the Polar outside could work.  Alas, the ship is not sailing in the time frames I am narrowing my search to.

 

And yes - more room means lots more $$$$.

 

 

 

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Homerody,

I cannot speak first-hand to the questions you've asked but can assure you that this forum is a wealth of information! My husband and I have booked our first Hurtigruten cruise for 2020; this forum has helped us in choosing  a ship, cabin #, assisted in our search for the can't miss excursions (to stops we can explore on our own) as well as reading about the food, drink and overall experience to come. Keep reading, enjoy planning and keep asking the questions (it helps all us first-timers).

 

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2 hours ago, grayjay said:

It really depends on what you are looking for and perhaps the time of year you'll be cruising. Foir example the "Lofoten" ( smalles ship in the fleet and the oldest, goes out of service after the 2020 season) has many enthusiasts but the cabins are tiny  (some have to share bathrooms/toilets) and she's the one without stabilizers - woulkd choose her for a winter cruise.

The big ones (Finnmarken, Trollfjord etc.) wepersonally  didn't like because of them reminding us of cruise ships - lots of bars and sparkle and "plushy" interior , but a two-story exploration lounge as well. Quite a lot of people love them because of that; some have suites with balconies.

We prefer the middle ships ( in regard to age and length) that have been recently renovated: 3 in 2016, one in 2018 (Richard With), one is due in drydock in May 2019 (Nordlys). These have quite nice Arctic Superior cabins with double beds instead of bunk beds or single beds, most are still small, though - very small!

Suites and mini-suites are great but extraordinarily expensive, too. But even though we had to rattle the piggybank a few times we still splurged on one for our winter cruise and were very happy with our decision. As the weather was abominable, we spent quite a lot of time inside ( more than we had thought we would) and watched the scenery go by through our two lovely big windows in the mini-suite. As the ship was full, many passengers of course used the chairs and loungers in the public rooms, some for hours on end and there was nothing to be found with a real good view. We liked the modern Scandinavian design very much. But the Hurtigruten website really offers quite a lot of information on the different ships, all of which have different deck plans. The letter "D" in a cabin category ( for example U2D) shows that there is a double bed in the cabin instead of a bed and a sofa bed.

If you have more questions - just fire away!

grayjay,

 

Thanks for the tip about D in cabin category.

 

For us bunks and shared bathrooms are most definitely non-starters. 

 

I loved your "rattle the piggybank" comment.  It is something that is worthwhile, if the weather is bad for a big part of 12 days on the round trip cruise and we want to avoid the situation you note - fellow passengers enjoying public areas for hours on end (can't fault them for that).

 

But if we have bad weather for extended periods - I think a roomier cabin with a view will be a haven for us.

 

I have another question on using travel agent or not - but that's another topic and another thread.  (I hope I'm not running afoul of CC norms).

 

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2 minutes ago, Homerody said:

grayjay,

 

Thanks for the tip about D in cabin category.

 

For us bunks and shared bathrooms are most definitely non-starters. 

 

I loved your "rattle the piggybank" comment.  It is something that is worthwhile, if the weather is bad for a big part of 12 days on the round trip cruise and we want to avoid the situation you note - fellow passengers enjoying public areas for hours on end (can't fault them for that).

 

But if we have bad weather for extended periods - I think a roomier cabin with a view will be a haven for us.

 

I have another question on using travel agent or not - but that's another topic and another thread.  (I hope I'm not running afoul of CC norms).

 

 

We found our Coastal RT last March (2018) to be an amazing surprise.  We weren't at all sure what we'd find, given how some emphasized the "ferry" aspect (and we've been on plenty of "real ferries"!).  But we wanted to try to see the Northern Lights, and the longer RT cruise seemed to be a good way.  We also chose one of Hurtigruten's "Astronomy" packages (extra charge).


And then... we started looking at the ships and the cabins, and, well, at our stage in life, bunk beds are long in the past, although we could manage if necessary (but probably not on roiling seas!).  And we did not want 2 single beds either, not if we could help it.

 

And then we looked at prices, and yikes! - even though we tend to travel relatively luxe these days.  Comfort and convenience are worth it to us now, and in some cases, medically/physically necessary.

Alas, the only suitable accommodation on the Trollfjord (the ship for that month's Astronomy cruise) was... and Owners Suite.

It was priced like suites on much fancier ships, which annoyed us, but on the other hand, everything is very expensive in Norway, and this was to be a once in a life time experience. [In the past few years, we seem to be doing a few "once in a life time experiences" :classic_smile: but we waited late to get started on this "traveling thing"!]

 

I'm sure we would have been happy with one of the 3 smaller suites aft on Deck 7, but we had one of the two big ones aft on Deck 8.  LOTS of space, more than we needed. And 1.5 bathrooms, always a real treat, but not necessary.  But that AFT BALCONY... it was COLD up there, and with the ship moving... the wind... brrrrrrrrrrr.  But the aft balcony is SHELTERED from the wind most of the time.  And it was an absolute blessing the night of the best Northern Lights, which were in a direction mostly visible from our balcony.  So while most others were up on the deck above us, in the windy cold, we were nicely sheltered, having some of the best moments of our lives!

But that back wall of windows was terrific the entire time.

Usually, we prefer forward facing views, but those aren't available on all ships, and there was nothing like that with unobstructed views on Trollfjord (plus, very little was left at all; Hurtigruten seems to book up early, despite their pricig).


You can look at the Deck Plans.  But the aft Deck 7 might be suitable. HOWEVER... I am not absolutely sure that all 3 of those have actual balconies (vs. "bay windows", which would also be great, of course).  The aft side suites on Deck 8 (about 4 of them on each side?) have decent space, too.  Nice bay windows, with a little separate seating area by the window.  We had a chance to peek in one of them the last day.

 

Although there is no room service, we knew about that in advance, and it wasn't any problem at all. 

The food was terrific; we were prepared for mediocre, and it wasn't!  Their wine list was surprisingly nice, and some of the better wines were available by the glass, and that is so rare.

 

We chose March in part so we'd have some night-time, and also some daylight.

If we check off a few more places at the top of our "to go to" list, we might repeat this one.  The scenery was that special.

 

Enjoy!

 

GC

 

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12 minutes ago, GeezerCouple said:

 

We found our Coastal RT last March (2018) to be an amazing surprise.  We weren't at all sure what we'd find, given how some emphasized the "ferry" aspect (and we've been on plenty of "real ferries"!).  But we wanted to try to see the Northern Lights, and the longer RT cruise seemed to be a good way.  We also chose one of Hurtigruten's "Astronomy" packages (extra charge).


And then... we started looking at the ships and the cabins, and, well, at our stage in life, bunk beds are long in the past, although we could manage if necessary (but probably not on roiling seas!).  And we did not want 2 single beds either, not if we could help it.

 

And then we looked at prices, and yikes! - even though we tend to travel relatively luxe these days.  Comfort and convenience are worth it to us now, and in some cases, medically/physically necessary.

Alas, the only suitable accommodation on the Trollfjord (the ship for that month's Astronomy cruise) was... and Owners Suite.

It was priced like suites on much fancier ships, which annoyed us, but on the other hand, everything is very expensive in Norway, and this was to be a once in a life time experience. [In the past few years, we seem to be doing a few "once in a life time experiences" :classic_smile: but we waited late to get started on this "traveling thing"!]

 

I'm sure we would have been happy with one of the 3 smaller suites aft on Deck 7, but we had one of the two big ones aft on Deck 8.  LOTS of space, more than we needed. And 1.5 bathrooms, always a real treat, but not necessary.  But that AFT BALCONY... it was COLD up there, and with the ship moving... the wind... brrrrrrrrrrr.  But the aft balcony is SHELTERED from the wind most of the time.  And it was an absolute blessing the night of the best Northern Lights, which were in a direction mostly visible from our balcony.  So while most others were up on the deck above us, in the windy cold, we were nicely sheltered, having some of the best moments of our lives!

But that back wall of windows was terrific the entire time.

Usually, we prefer forward facing views, but those aren't available on all ships, and there was nothing like that with unobstructed views on Trollfjord (plus, very little was left at all; Hurtigruten seems to book up early, despite their pricig).


You can look at the Deck Plans.  But the aft Deck 7 might be suitable. HOWEVER... I am not absolutely sure that all 3 of those have actual balconies (vs. "bay windows", which would also be great, of course).  The aft side suites on Deck 8 (about 4 of them on each side?) have decent space, too.  Nice bay windows, with a little separate seating area by the window.  We had a chance to peek in one of them the last day.

 

Although there is no room service, we knew about that in advance, and it wasn't any problem at all. 

The food was terrific; we were prepared for mediocre, and it wasn't!  Their wine list was surprisingly nice, and some of the better wines were available by the glass, and that is so rare.

 

We chose March in part so we'd have some night-time, and also some daylight.

If we check off a few more places at the top of our "to go to" list, we might repeat this one.  The scenery was that special.

 

Enjoy!

 

GC

 

Thanks GC.

 

I can relate to many of the points you make in your post.  And while my jaw drops when I see the suite prices,  they my be "worth it" in circumstances you mention and I can relate to.

 

I am narrowing my choices to fall or spring.  While I know weather and northern lights are unpredictable, can you comment some more on what you experienced in these two aspects of the trip.

 

Also, one of my favorite question (Or 2) - what is one thing that you did not like?  And why would you recommend a March sailing?

 

Looking forward to any information you can saher.

 

Thanks so much!

 

 

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1 minute ago, Homerody said:

Thanks GC.

 

I can relate to many of the points you make in your post.  And while my jaw drops when I see the suite prices,  they my be "worth it" in circumstances you mention and I can relate to.

 

I am narrowing my choices to fall or spring.  While I know weather and northern lights are unpredictable, can you comment some more on what you experienced in these two aspects of the trip.

 

Also, one of my favorite question (Or 2) - what is one thing that you did not like?  And why would you recommend a March sailing?

 

Looking forward to any information you can saher.

 

Thanks so much!

 

 

 

Ah, very interesting question.  (A clever way to get important information!)

Also - don't hesitate to write to us at our regular e-address - see below in the signature section.  That might be easier for details, etc.

 

This is going to sound ridiculously petty and unimportant, and it is, but that's the level of any "dissatifaction"... the furnishings in the suite were pretty spartan.  Silly, right?  And NOT important.  The bed was very comfortable, and that's what was important, after all.

 

There was one evening of rather rough seas, but we actually enjoyed it, although we ended up rather quickly needing to *crawl* (we could NOT walk or stand up anymore) to bed and stay there for safety!  The Captain had announced there would be a few hours of rough seas.  We just hadn't experienced "rough seas" before, but - this will sound even more odd - we wanted to experience it.  We've never been seasick on any size ship/boat, but I was worried I'd get scared, and I didn't.  (Now - this was BEFORE the Viking Sky "experience" a few weeks ago, just a year after our cruise, in the same area, gulp, although that was totally different, obviously.)  But relatively "high" and forward or aft IS where the motion would be felt.  We just stayed in bed, fell asleep, and woke up to calm.

IF you do this in March (relevance is timing of light in the morning) and have an aft suite, *early* the FIRST morning was SPECTACULAR.  We always keep our curtains open (haven't been in midnight sun yet, but even in summer on an Alaska cruise, we did same).  So DH roused me with a "LOOK AT THAT!!!!!"  There was a steep side of a mountain (actually the hill of a fjord, not a real mountain), and it looked close enough to touch.  Because those fjords are so steep and deep - I'm assuming - the ships can get close to land if necessary.  It was breathtaking!

 

Okay, you've figured out we *really* liked that cruise.

 

We chose March after some research, in part because of the light and dark combo (the ports you stop at NB day are those you hit at night SB, so you can see a lot).  But also, March seemed to have the best chance of weather/less clouds.

 

HA!  We had the worst/dreariest weather for quite a few days.  Several snow squalls.  But the problem was... cloud cover at night.  So much for the Lights.... until about mid-way on the SB portion.  We lucked out.  There was an unexpected solar storm, and it headed our (Earth's) way for a couple of days, and... there were two clear nights.  SUCCESS.

 

Now, if you haven't already read about this:  What the eye tends to see is *NOT* the day-glo colors from photos.  Thank goodness we were prepared for that.

 

Okay... my enthusiasm is getting the better of me.

(We are also dealing with having just cancelled another cruise at the last minute, because very elderly MIL ended up in the ER with heart trouble, so re-living this cruise last year is a very welcome diversion!)

 

Do consider an Astronomy cruise.  Our lecturer was Dr. Mason, and he was the most enthusiastic lecturer we've ever met.  Fun.  He took lots of photos, and had flash drives available (modest price, although it seemed slightly odd not to include it with the package price, but no complaints) with photos from our cruise skies and some previous ones.  Nice.

 

We are also thinking about perhaps a Svalbard cruise with Hurtigruten.  Too many choices :classic_biggrin:

 

GC

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Thanks GC.

 

Great posts.  BTW - I am really not all that clever.  Hehehe

 

I also came across your post commenting on northern lights  in another CC thread. That was quite helpful also.

 

As we discussed in a previous thread - I get sea sick easy, but will take my chances.  After all it won't be like the Atlantic in Hurricane season. right?  I keep repeating that to myself.  And Hurtigruten was not in the news recently.  

 

But we'll go and if I get seasick for a day, I will still have 10 days to enjoy.

 

I'm nerding out on meteorological and astronomical data - day/night length, cloud cover, precipitation amounts, moon phases etc...  it is kinda fun - but ultimately I realize it can be (may be, ah, ummm is) an exercise in futility - because there could be 11 days of clouds or 11 days of no solar flare activity.  But, in any event, but we'll have the coastal views and travel experiences to remember.  

 

Thanks for your help and sharing!

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11 hours ago, Homerody said:

I am narrowing my choices to fall or spring.  While I know weather and northern lights are unpredictable, can you comment some more on what you experienced in these two aspects of the trip.

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).

 

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SarniaLo,

 

That was a delightful post!  Thanks for sharing your experience and observations.

 

I think the choice is going to be March or  October.

 

I agree that it is crazy to use historical data to predict the future - but it is a fun geeky exercise (in futility, perhaps).

 

BTW - I enjoyed reading your travel blog noted in your post signature.

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13 hours ago, Travel2? said:

Homerody,

I cannot speak first-hand to the questions you've asked but can assure you that this forum is a wealth of information! My husband and I have booked our first Hurtigruten cruise for 2020; this forum has helped us in choosing  a ship, cabin #, assisted in our search for the can't miss excursions (to stops we can explore on our own) as well as reading about the food, drink and overall experience to come. Keep reading, enjoy planning and keep asking the questions (it helps all us first-timers).

 

Travel2?

 

Thanks for your post.  As a first time Hurtigruten cruiser - would you have any specific do's and don't's (double apostrophe catastrophe) for a Hurtigruiten newbie?

 

Anything you found particularly helpful in your planning?

 

(If you'd like to share)

 

Thanks!

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