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    Alaska, Mediterranean

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  1. Homerody, To start, everyone is so welcoming on this forum! I discovered Hurtigruten when my husband decided our 30th anniversary will be spent in Norway; a very large country to explore with only two weeks of vacation time to utilize. Hurtigruten will allow us to see the entire coast. We also liked the idea of, for lack of a better term, a "non-cruise" experience. So, this lead me to Cruise Critic (an old friend from previous cruises). I pored through the posts on this forum and reached out with basic questions along with reading the reviews. I also got my hands on the Norwegian Coastal Cruises Hurtigruten 2019/2020 brochure; packed with 91 pages of info including ship itineraries, ship layouts, maps and excursion details. Our trip has essentially been shaped by the experiences posted here. Below are some of the great suggestions I've used; We only have two weeks and therefore are doing the Southbound in October 2020. I've consulted the "moon phase" calendar and it will not be during a full moon; better for seeing the Northern Lights we hope. We plan on spending a couple nights in Oslo and flying to Kirkenes prior to sailing. We've been giving recommendations on hotels, restaurants and sightseeing. I have also received recommendations for excursions during our cruise based on what will be available; note that certain excursions are only available during various seasons and many on this forum have included stops that can be explored on your own. Not on our radar but now included in our itinerary will be the train from Bergen (after a spending a couple days) back to Oslo rounding out our two weeks. Lastly, we are using a TA who we have worked with forever. As soon as the bookings came available, we knew the ship and cabin we wanted. We like having a TA back in the States, ready to help if needed, while we're abroad. So, that's our journey to date; have a while prior to traveling but will enjoy the continuous posts!
  2. 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).
  3. Grayjay....thanks for the food update! In our travels, we have always strived to embrace the culture, including the regions food specialities; yep, that included guinea pig in Peru! We'll embrace the total experience; everything tastes great with a good glass of wine!
  4. Thank you Grayjay! I will keep this on my to-do before departing. As for meals, I'm picturing all kind of sea creatures with legs....I always thought I would be up for any kind of seafood!
  5. Thanks...we have always preferred late seating so this would be fine with us!
  6. Thanks Splinter; our trip keeps getting bigger! We are planning on adding on this side trip . Since we will be traveling mid- October, I'll need to check what sight-seeing options will be available to us.
  7. As you are hoping to return, we can't wait for our first trip (not wishing an entire year away)!
  8. Hi GeezerCouple! We are not connoisseurs by any means but....definitely enjoy a good glass of wine! Glad we'll have this option with nice choices! Thanks
  9. Quick question (or two): Are you assigned your dining time at the time of booking, allowed to request a preference at any point? Aiso, in the forum with Daniel Skjeldam, he mentioned an available drink package on board yet I can find no information regarding this. Thanks
  10. Thanks Hallasm! The waterfalls are gorgeous; we can't wait for all the scenery!
  11. Hallam/Splinter, If reading correctly, you can travel by rail from Bergen to Flam by way of Myrdal; after a visit in Flam, can you continue directly to Oslo?
  12. Splinter, Thank you for responding! So much great information and suggestions. The Sea Eagle excursion appears to be very popular for a reason; unfortunately, we board in Kirkenes on 10 /15 and this excursion is only offered until that date. I will definitely look into the Oslo Pass, it appears there is much to experience in this city. I believe there is a Bergen Pass as well, any experience with it? As for Bergen, we were planning on staying three nights; too much? It looks like there are some good hiking opportunities and I have the funiculer added to the "to do" list. Rainy weather...well, we'll just embrace it and carry on! I'm more concerned about packing for a variety of conditions. My husband and I normally travel with one carry on and backpack each! Thank you and keep the info coming!
  13. Grayjay, Thanks for sharing so much information! This is a great start for my planning and will certainly reach out as questions come up.
  14. Thanks Hallasm; I believe the Taste of Vesteralen excursion begins in Harstad and reconnects in Sortland (a duration of 4 hours).
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