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Everything posted by Aliyah17

  1. I didn't miss the fact that you travel with a vegan. I booked direct with Hurtigruten as I said. All irrelevant. It sounded like you were requesting photos from me. If you wanted to see photos, there are a ton of them on the menu that Hallasm linked to. But of course the point is that those photos didn't reflect reality. Which again...was the entire point.
  2. It's not clear to me what the issue is here. Like I said, they did not have a vegan "menu," they had a vegan option at dinner each night. The situation was absolutely misrepresented. Lunch was hit or miss. I actually looked forward each day to my yogurt and granola breakfast, so that was nice. This is why I said non-vegans need not comment. You really have no idea what it's like to travel this way. It's insulting to ask for pictures; I have nothing to prove. I actually do have some pictures, mostly of the dishes that were mislabeled. People believe what fits their view of the world. You would like to think my experience was isolated, that says it all. But it wasn't; there were other vegans on my ship. And the chef admitted they don't always have the ingredients to make the vegan dishes on the menu. I tried to be balanced, I could have been much harsher given the situation. Those two guys on that video are a perfect example of the problem. They were so thrilled they were being accommodated. They have been places where all they got was raw carrot? Let's just say they are not the same demographic as me, or most of you. Can you think of a cruise ship that wouldn't be thrilled that you've asked for a kilo of boiled potatoes to fill you up? LOL. Everyone else is asking for seconds of steak or salmon; here are your potatoes! The fact that they got some really nice dishes for dinner is great; that is what was promised! The promise is useless if you have to check with your ship. What does that even mean? Do you think you are going to get the Executive Chef on the phone before you board? I did all the checking I could, but they failed.
  3. Hi, there's a lot to unpack here. First of all, we did book on Richard With, but there was a problem with the cabin, so we rebooked on Polarlys. The vegan claim is a company-wide policy, so which ship you're on should have no bearing on that. I think someone hit on precisely my p0int--there was no real consistent commitment to their claim, thus even the food specifically called out on that menu was not available. So I can guarantee if you call Hurtigruten and ask if they have a vegan menu they'll say Yes it's all amazing! But Hallasm's other point (sometimes the ships or operations do not exactly know what has been communicated/promised to customers ) is the real issue. The bottom line is they have no business making big claims and then not following through and making sure each ship is prepared. I looked over that menu link. I can tell you they were not able to follow it, some of those things we were served, many others not. We were actually psyched for the cheeseburger, even though that's not exactly formal dinner food, but they had no vegan cheese on board. And in the end, they never responded to my emails.
  4. I didn't say it was unexpected, did I? Of course I knew there would be very little daylight. Still, the actual timing and experiencing it are not the same. I was making the point that it was very cold on deck as opposed to the fact that I didn't find it cold in general. Hallasm, I'm not sure what you mean "outer decks," I meant outside of course. I was perfectly warm everywhere inside the ship. As for the menu, I think I was extremely clear about the reality vs the PR claims.
  5. Hi, Yes, that is certainly the impression they are giving people, which is why I was so unhappy. The reason we didn't see ourselves taking any more cruises was because of the terrible time trying to eat on other cruises that promised vegan food, but this seemed different. I will say FTR, the only time I was happy with the food was on Princess from Vancouver to Anchorage. They have a HUGE Indian clientele and cater to them, so we ate some of the best Indian food I've ever had almost every day. I loved it. That said, we came away pretty neutral about the cruise. The expedition staff were very sweet and helpful and we enjoyed the talks each evening. We are hikers, but most of the hikes were cancelled due to weather. We only did one, to Nordkapp and it was a great one, pretty challenging. That was also the only time I was actually cold. I am all about the gear (Arcteryx coat, Sorel boots, etc) but I didn't even need that level of protection most days. In port, it was sometimes cold, but not bitterly. So look, it was December. There wasn't much to do in ports, we did as much walking around and seeing the towns as we could. Oftentimes, it was dark, so meh. There wasn't much to do or see for the most part. In December many excursions are not done or were cancelled. And a few were so expensive, I just couldn't bring myself to pay the stupid amount. We hiked over to the Alpine church in Tromso I think? It was dark and OK I know people love that church, but to me it was a huge nothing. And walking over the bridge to get there was really terrible, the car exhaust was just choking us. I do not recommend that. Of course there is nothing to do on the ship pretty much, people were nice and friendly. We hung out with some British people. I did some knitting with the ladies 🙂 But again, it's dark, so usually you can't enjoy the scenery. We watched some Netflix stuff we had downloaded. I will say that a few of our UK pals said they wished they were leaving in Kirkenes as we were. Oh, we did see the Northern Lights one night, the photos came out nice with the iPhone 11, better than with the Nikon for sure. It was cold on deck at night. We were in an Arctic Double on deck 6, it was a perfectly nice cabin, no problems except that to use the wifi, we had to leave our door open. Yea. The tech guy came to the cabin twice but said he couldn't make it better. Really ridiculous. And I am a very small person, but I could barely squeeze past the foot of the bed to my side. If you are more than 110 lbs/50kg, good luck. Oh, I never shop on a cruise, but the gift shop on Nordlys was very nice and I checked in port, and prices were very competitive and nothing made in China. So I did buy some gifts and a Dale sweater for me! It was good because we got one piece of paper to present for the VAT refund at Oslo airport. It was easy, there wasn't even a line. In case anyone cares this is what I packed and I was pretty satisfied: pale pink skinny denims, black skinny jeans, black leggings, color block yoga-type leggings. two sweaters matching the pink denim, nice black sweater, longish black patterned silky blouse (with jeans or over leggings), blue long sweater, burgundy "sweatshirt" pullover. Ski pants, insulating vneck undershirt. Pink sneakers, Sorel boots, Rothy's ballet flats, black ankle boots; I was glad I had them all though only wore the Sorels off the ship. Wore others while in Oslo. Hat, gloves.
  6. I noted before that our main reason for deciding to do the Hurtiguten (Coastal Norway on Nordlys) cruise was their claim they have a strong commitment to providing vegan food and have a full vegan menu on board. We booked direct with Hurtigruten and received assurances that no special requests were necessary, just let the dining room staff know we are vegan when we get on board. I'm writing for other vegans searching for cruise information, so if you aren't veg/vegan, please don't feel compelled to comment. First night is a buffet, and there was basically nothing for us. Everything is marked with an allergen code in the DR. The only thing we could eat was boiled potatoes and plain veg. I was aggravated right away because that told me the whole vegan premise was a lie and I was right. We ended up having to constantly go over what we would be eating for dinner with the "special menu" crew member. They told me they were not informed vegans were on board. 1) I had in writing that they were being informed, and 2) their own information doesn't indicate any need to inform because the vegan menu is part of the routine. To clarify, there was not a vegan menu, there was a vegan option each night. So if you didn't care for that, you had to figure out what else they could do, plus they did not even have tofu or other items listed on the "menu." They did try hard to please us, but it was ridiculous some nights. Our appetizer was sometimes 2 or 3 tiny bites of something. Buffets, breakfast and lunch, had more fish/seafood than I've ever seen which is expected as they served largely traditional Norwegian food. For breakfast, luckily they had Alpro soya yogurt with which I filled a bowl topped with granola and nuts. No pastries were vegan, the only thing to put on bread was jam. Lunch was a big buffet and we usually had one thing to eat aside from plain potatoes or salad. And sometimes even finding vegan salad dressing was a challenge. Two days in a row, our option was fried rice. The third day they had the rice out, but we found egg in it. That same day, there was a pasta listed as vegan but it had cream in it. After I had eaten some, I questioned them and they re-labelled the dish as dairy. Same with a dessert at lunch that we tried and they later removed it and labelled it as dairy. I won't die from eating milk, but some people might. One lunch, they did find us and tell us they made a nice vegan soup for us, which was good. I wrote to my reservation agent twice while on board and I never heard back. We had a long sit-down with the "hotel manager" who seemed very interested in all the issues and about vegan food and possible options. But I was on holiday; it's not my job to educate him. He said he wanted to follow up with us about some of the information, but he never did. No question it made our holiday a whole lot less pleasant and we felt very deceived.
  7. Ah thanks. The flats are so light and also waterproof, so I may just bring them. I wasn't planning to bring any changes for dinner, just nice sweaters. Bottoms I planned on were leggings, black denim and nicer colored denim. I'm not worried about it, the best thing about this cruise is no dressing up 😃
  8. That's about how I'm gonna look! I thought the ballet flats would be easy to wear around the ship, but you're saying that even inside, people wear warmer shoes? Only worried about the weight. Specifically these, fabulous for traveling. https://rothys.com/womens?style=The Flat. Also, what month was that photo?
  9. We leave in a month from Tel Aviv and I am prepared to look ridiculous at TLV in my high tech coat and low tech Irish woolens, but mostly in my ski pants and Sorel boots. No room to pack that stuff. When we are indoors on board, regular casual clothing is the rule I assume. Does it make sense to bring a little pair of ballet flats or something to wear on the ship? Is there much unexpected running out on deck to see things, which was our experience in Alaska.
  10. Yes, I posted earlier: three browsers, two countries, two payment methods. I finally got them to create a special link with the ticket information filled in and all I had to do was fill in the payment. That worked on the second try. So at least it got done. We leave one month from now for Oslo.
  11. Yes, I've looked at the website with the times. It is what it is right? I will be excited to see the Northern Lights, but for me too, it was not at all the impetus for the trip. It's not too early to book the train. There is a problem with the site and wow the national train company has ZERO customer service. We waited on hold until we finally gave up. I waited 40 minutes for the "chat" and she told me she was really busy and couldn't do anything. (uh thanks?) I wrote to corporate and also got a 'sorry' and I should try Paypal. Which I wrote in the letter was what we had done. So that is really really annoying.
  12. I didn't know I needed to mention the Northern Lights! We will leave that loudspeaker on in the cabin to be alerted, not to worry. I'm an experienced traveler, and a former skier, so I'm always ready for different! Really not worried about the cold too much. I have Arcteryx gear, well below-zero rated boots and all.
  13. Yes, not total darkness. But not exactly light either. Like I mentioned before, no dog-sledding, no crab anything for us. It's funny, we decided not to go to Italy because it's too cold in December, and we didn't have time in the Fall. Haha. I'm sure it will be a great trip, and I get to use all my cold-weather gear from when we lived in Boston. Good times.
  14. Right, so I barely slept and when I was looking this morning, I panicked a bit but I realized I was looking at Kirkenes. So that's a bit different. It would be a surprise if it was totally dark because it won't be. That timeanddate website is the one I looked at earlier. The one disappointment is that excursions are extremely limited. We are hikers, so we'll see what our options are. Hallasm-- yes, the vy.no site. I'm not so worried about not getting tickets; I'm not understanding how the site is just not working and really annoyed that the price has almost tripled. Thanks for posting that neat video. I'm sure it will be beautiful. Everything in life has its tradeoffs. I would certainly prefer more daylight. A few years ago, we did Alaska in August; there is a lot to see from the ship. Like this cruise, it's a bit less about the ports.
  15. We are booked on 2 December out of Bergen. I was told, and I thought I read somewhere there would be sunlight during midday at least. Now I'm looking at is seems there will be essentially no daylight. How are you enjoying the vistas and the ports if it's dark? What about excursions? You can't hike in the dark. I'm not feeling happy right now. And BTW, we have been unable to book the train from Oslo to Bergen. The site will not allow us to buy the tickets, using any method. I've called and got no help. I'm really upset about that at this point because the price has gone up literally 250% in the last few days. Not feeling great about the trip's prospects. 😞
  16. Hi Peggy Sue, You're from Mass? I used to be, but haven't seen a winter in two years now. I'm a little surprised that I keep seeing people saying bring a windbreaker/waterproof jacket. I'm pretty cold tolerant and all due respect to layering, I would bring a coat. I'm going 2 December, so it's different, but I'm bringing all the stuff I didn't toss when we moved to Israel. I'm even thinking of bringing my Bogner ski pants. Why not? I'll be warm as hell and they aren't heavy. You have lots of time to plan, I just booked today and we're going in 2.5 months! Have fun! Enjoy the winter; my dogs really miss the snow.
  17. Apologies to a few of you who read this tale on another post. I booked just today through the .no site. At first we wondered whether we'd even be allowed to, I mean why the vast price difference? We almost gave up when the website gave us nothing but error messages. But I went ahead and called, and no problem. I ran into a one-off problem when I thought, I should probably translate this invoice before I pay it. And the cabin description was different from the English and Norwegian websites in that it allowed for the possibility of getting twin beds instead of a double. I wrote and was assured it would be a double. I asked for that in writing, and oops, there is one cabin that has twins and I got it (last available). My point is you need to be on your toes and translate everything. Everyone speaks English if you call, so that's not a problem. We had our hearts set on this trip by this point, so she searched for an upper deck cabin for me. The only one available in our time frame was two days earlier, 2 December on the Polarlys. That one has obstructed view. I debated it and realized at that time of year, it's dark most of the day anyway, and we won't be in the room when looking at the scenery. So I went for it, I think it's no big deal. In the summer, I definitely would not have made that choice. Also, when the name change? It's still called MS Finnmarken on the website.
  18. Well I did it. Booked on the Richard With on 4 Dec. Let me tell you, the .no website was really messed up and we thought we were being blocked. But when I called them, they were great. They made the reservation for me at the Norwegian price, which saved us almost $800. That is not chump change. And then...I thought it would be smart to translate the invoice to be sure it was right. And whereas the website clearly said all the Arctic Superior cabins had double beds, the invoice said it could be a twin and a sofa (converts to a bed). So I wrote to clarify. She responded, Yes, definitely a double bed. Well, I live in the Middle East, so I tend to be careful. So I asked her to please redo the invoice to reflect that. And she wrote back that the deck plans were wrong; she actually contacted the ship and there is ONE bed/sofa cabin and I got it! (last available obviously) Long story short, I spoke to them at length and she found me a nice double bed cabin on the 2 December cruise. It has an obstructed view, but she pointed out the sun sets at like 13.00 so really it's not a big deal to me. They were really nice and felt bad about it. So all's well I guess. I already booked KLM flights.
  19. I am in limbo at the moment; it's always something. We tried to book our chosen cruise on the .no site but it wouldn't go through. A nice woman I'd emailed with a few times in customer service said it should work and gave me a number to call. Got it all worked out and the agent sent me an invoice (in Norwegian). I was really excited. Before paying, I thought I should translate it to be sure the details were right, pretty obvious. And the description of the cabin, Arctic Superior, said it would be on a middle or upper deck and would have twin beds, or a double. The description on the English site was clear: upper deck, double bed. And my translation on the Norwegian site was the same. By the time I contacted them it was after work hours, so I am waiting to hear tomorrow. It's pretty annoying. If it works out, it's NB on 4 December.
  20. We just booked on Richard With for 4 December. Wow, now I have even more questions than before! I'm glad I didn't toss the cold weather gear when we moved from Boston.
  21. Wow, just my luck. I picked out a date on a ship I like, the Finnmarken, and the SAS flight out of KKN which operates every. single. day. is not operating on that one day. So now I have to rejigger everything. I just don't want to spend an extra day up in Kirkenes. And yes, Google Translate can be great. Believe me, I know; I live in a country where I barely speak the language! We chose December because we try to do a Fall holiday, but husband's work travel is all-consuming. And it's hard to find places that are desirable in December. But we have all the gear from when we lived in Boston, so we figured we'd brave the cold. Glad I saved my ski socks and all! I'm have a bit of a time figuring out the cabin situation. We're not ones to spend a lot on the cabin, it's all about everything else! But figuring out which outside cabin has a double, not bunk beds, it's not so clear. The cabins on the newest ships look so, so much nicer, that's why I hope(d) to book on one of them. The Nordlys just got a refurb; I wonder if the photos online reflect that yet.
  22. I want to say that the entire reason we are looking into a coastal cruise is because I happened to see that your cruises have this extensive vegan menu. We never even considered a Norwegian holiday until learning this, and are now planning to book for December instead of going to Greece. Quite the switch!
  23. It's funny, I was just reading some of your comments on the other post hallasm mentioned! It's hurtigruten.no but you'll need to be able to manage in Norwegian as far as I can tell if you want to book on the Norwegian site.
  24. I just looked at the Snow Hotel site and as we are vegan, it's definitely not for us. Lots of things going on we'll be avoiding actually. But as we say where I come from, Ezeh chutzpah! (What nerve!) charging double the 3100NOK to 6200NOK for two. The whole reason I got started on this idea instead of going to Greece was seeing somewhere that this cruise line had an entire vegan menu. The SAS flight out to Oslo is at night, so that's what we'd do.
  25. Hallasm, thank you so much for this information. I truly appreciate it. I spoke to my husband today and said I'm reconsidering doing the Norway trip and he said, "great!" as he was disappointed it was off the table. (Not very communicative, but that's another story, eh?) Definitely we'd add on days. I'm guessing two in Oslo at the start, and a full day or two in Bergen. We'll probably head out without much time in Kirkenes. Uh, did you know the snow hotel costs $650 or so a night? LOL. I'm finding their website really difficult, lots of error messages and if I choose a cabin, it automatically "upgrades" it to free WiFi and tea and coffee. I also saw somewhere that the Norwegian version of the website has much lower prices and I see that is true. I find that sort of shocking, can they stop you from booking there from outside the country? I looked at your Everything Hurtigruten post a couple of weeks ago. I'll go back there now.
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