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Everything posted by grayjay

  1. April is rather a quiet time for a coastal voyage and I think the "Pollux"won't be sold out. Secondly, the weather in April might be anything from mild and with hints of spring but rain and snow are possible, of course, too. So I'd book on board. The only exceptions might be snow excursions if they are still possible (Husky trails and such) , but it might be too late for such, anyway. May we ask which excursions you have considered? About your second question: You'll find such a map on the TV in your cabin. Using a phone in Norway is easy, you'll have strong signals everywhere, even in remote areas. So you might use that, as well. Happy sailing!
  2. As drinks during meals are included and the wine offerings, for example are quite decent and are changed every few days to explore a new taste I wouldn't include a beverage package.
  3. Then you're well prepared to stay on the outside decks for watching the northern lights if they appear! But in September, similar to Canada, you might have quite sunny and warmer days, too. I'm not sure if the Norwegian autumn colours will top the Canadian ones which we found quite spectacular! And the train trip will be a great opportunity and it's a lovely ride in all times of the year ( we did spring, winter and autumn and found all the rides spectacular!) If possible you should stay a day or two in Bergen and Oslo both - such beautiful cities to explore even if expensive. And if you are considering the train trip to Bergen: it can be combined with the trip "Norway in a nutshell" - Recommendation! Have a great trip!
  4. I just found out that Maud is supposed to be back in service around the middle of April.
  5. As far as I know it is still in dry dock in Bremerhaven, Germany, as there was extensive damage . I think Maud will be back in the spring, at the moment a smaller ship, the Spitsbergen is doing her job.
  6. You'll be happy with junior suite 7304 portside - we loved it. Lots of room, even if the bed is a bit on the narrow side (Queen size). The balcony is great for watching what goes on during the loading at the ports, people getting on and off... At the postal voyages it ALWAYS is portside docking. I'm also wondering about the new amenities that go with the suites. We booked another trip while Gold package etc. were still included. The new amenities listed as yet are only small welcome package ( not much to be honest) and breakfast in Hildring restaurant which is great - it's much smaller and thus quieter and you won't have to get up at a special time slot for breakfast (which I hate!). We loved the included coffee specialities, the extra (Gold) meal choices and the included non-alcoholic package with 30 units each as well as the free snacks and apple cider in the afternoons.I would be definitely unhappy and angry if we wouldn't get what was promised, especially as the suite comfort is expensive enough. I sincerely hope Havila won't cut all of those amenities as they make the trip special and much more comfortable. Let's see.
  7. If you booked a return trip, regular coffee, tea and water are included all day, as is internet service. The meals in the café ( except packaged goods, but for example soups, sandwiches, pizza, hamburgers, buns) are included in the year 2024 for those who booked a return or half-way trip with full board. It's quite easy to buy some extras like chocolates, sparkling water or soft drinks when going outside at some of the stops. September is great as you'll have all those lovely fall colors. Enjoy your trip. And one of the good things about Havila is the fact that there a lot of comfortable seats and views through huge windows throughout the ship. It might also be possible to upgrade to an outside cabin at little cost when on board, depends on how fully the ship is booked.
  8. May is difficult in regard to weather in Norway - it can still snow, others days might be quite warmish but mostly it is still cool and you will need a rainproof and warm parka besides a lighter jacket. a scarf and hat might become handy , too, especially when on deck outside. Deck 9 on Havila ships is great to walk around, but it can be very windy. On deck 6, you'll find a lot of comfortable seating inside with great views through the large windows. It's near to the café with coffees, teas and delicious goodies - included in your fare if you booked a roundtrip. Enjoy your time!
  9. I have several times been in Lisbon and there were several possibilities to dock, but they were always next to each other. In Greenock Hurtigruten is building a new terminal which wasn't finished yet in 2023, so they only had a tent (beware, no facilities !) for embarkation and disembarkation. Hurtigruten offered transfer by bus to the airport, which simply was much too expensive. For the same price we took a taxi. There's a dispatcher directing passengers but it still was a hassle - not enough free taxis. A lot had them pre-ordered and were able to leave quickly. I think we paid 45 pounds - there is a link to Glasgow taxis where you can find out the current prices.It's possible to do the transfer by train and bus, but it is quite far to walk to the station etc. I wouldn't recommend it.
  10. It depends on what you want to see: Portside you'll be able to watch loading and unloading from your balcony which we liked to do quite often. I also used the balcony to decide if it was possible/worthwhile to leave the ship - sometimes I didn't because the streets etc. were quite icy and slippery. Going north we thought starboard offered nicer views as well as the sun climbing up slowly across the mountain tops.But to be honest we loved every day on our round trip.... The junior suites are similar - one set is nearer to the bridge, the others are more to the aft but very similar ( perhaps a bit nearer to the whirlpools on deck 8...) I can honestly recommend any one. They come with Havila Gold, too, which means better coffee and extra menus to choose from. By the way, we booked Havila Polaris for a trip in winter 2024 .... Couldn't stay away because of the great experience we had this fall...
  11. Perhaps allow me to help - you really won't need money - We have just returned from a coastal voyage plus a few days in Oslo etc. - I took a few NOK but didn't really need any except to leave some extra money in my hotel room. Everything, and I mean everything we could use our credit cards for , even for the restrooms in public spaces like Oslo station. Have a great time!
  12. Phoenix'homepage = phoenixreisen(dot)com gives quite a lot of information. Amera will be out of dry dock in December. Quite a lot will have done to her - and all the grungy bathtubs will have been been removed, hurray. We have been on some cruises ( river and sea) with them but personally would prefer Azamara with similar routes and better food, even if meals on Phoenix are ok, and wines and juices are included with the meals. Coffeetime is great with lovely cakes, yum-yum. Quite a lot of Germans nowadays speak some English, even though with a heavy accent sometimes. And the crew is always happy to converse in English. Enjoy your cruise!
  13. But I'm not sure if they are included in the fare... Regular coffee/teas and water are, though.
  14. I'm not sure if the Midnight concert is still offered by Hurtigruten. We went to the concert when on a Havila ship and liked it very much - traditional music played on the organ or piano plus saxophone and a singer. It was exclusively for ship passengers and had to be booked on board. (495 NOK) It was about 5 minutes to walk from the ship.
  15. Just back from a Coastal express cruise: Hjorundfjord was wonderful to experience. Didn't do the excursion itself but heard of people who liked it. But gliding along the fjord was great in itself. The Vesteralen sightseeing tour is interesting, but you have to keep in mind that it will start at 8.00 o'clock in the morning and during our October cruise it was still quite dark at that time. Quite a lot of the excursions started or ended in darkness so we didn't book anything except the midnight concert. It's also worthwhile to look at the weather reports and book on board - as the ships are never this full in winter time you'll almost certainly will have enough time to book. During our October cruise there were always offers for all excursions available except ( at first) for the RIB boat experience.
  16. All the cities where there are extended stops, for example Trondheim, Tromso, Alesund, Kirkenes etc. are extremely walkable and there's a perfect public bus system we quite often used to get around or sometimes a taxi. The offered excursions are good but extremely expensive. The only thing to watch out for is the time - the ship won't wait....
  17. No late night snacks or room service except perhaps in suites. But you always skip out and buy some extra food to bring on board to enjoy at one of the longer stops. But even if you don't usually eat much - I'd go at least for one or two meals ( you needn't buy a package) but can book one for the fay. The buffets are fantastic!
  18. The Polar Outsides are, as far as I know, on the lower decks and thus may have more noise . They quite often have bunk beds instead of a double bed. If it's really double the price I'd wait until you actually board and look at the cabin you have been assigned - quite often, if you are not happy, you can upgrade at low cost. Have you booked a guarantee cabin or did you choose a number and cabin category - that also influences the price. Hurtigruten cabins are notoriously small and a bit cramped, but most people don't care as they are more interested in enjoying the fantastic views, the food... Hope that helps!
  19. Bring warm clothes and don't forget a scarf, hat, gloves. It will certainly be chilly if you 'll be looking at (possible ) polar lights on the outside. There might be blue skies during the short days, but of course rain, sleet and snows are possible. And yes, you will be notified when there are any polar lights to be seen. But November can be a tricky month - sightings always are the luck-of-the-draw. But I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. If you booked meals, there will be a buffet for breakfast and lunch. Evening meals are served at table, but there a always several ( at least 3) choices - fish, meat, vegetarian. Sorry, don't know much about the bars, they are comfortable to sit in ( it's more of a lounge), but anything containing alcohol is very expensive in Norway. It's forbidden to bring alcohol like your own bottle on board. I don't know about smuggling one and wouldn't want to try. There's no comparison between using a Hurtigruten ship and regular cruises. Enjoying nature and meeting all kinds of different people on your voyage is what the passengers do. Have a great time!
  20. Right now as hopefully throughout the whole of 2024 there is supposed to be high solar flare activity. Just a few days ago northern lights were not only seen as far down as Northern and Eastern Germany ( which is very rare!) but even down to Austria which is absolutely unusual. We're keeping our fingers crossed like mad because we'll do the coastal voyage in October and hoping for clear nights and lots of spectacular greens....
  21. For those qho are thinking about booking a trip on Havila: Right now there's an offer, ending at the end of October of 5000NOK onboard credit for journeys up to December 2024.. Quite nice... Food at the Havly café plus regular tea and coffee also seems to be included in 2024, as far as I understood . @Jacqueline I think you asked about balcony cabins. As far as I know there really are only two of those, being somewhat smaller than the junior suites and lacking the Gold extras. The other cabins with a balcony are either Junior suites or (two) big suites.
  22. Just a quick but specific question where I couldn't find an answer, yet. If you book a suite or mini-suite on Hurtigruten, your laundry is free ( at least on all the expedition ships).I wonder, if that is also true for Havila and the coastal route. I'd really want to pack less! Even with reduced luggage as everyday clothing is sufficient I'd really save on taking too much underwear, t-shirts etc. with me if I could have that washed for free. I'm not keen on doing it myself because I want as much time as possible gazing out to sea or land!
  23. The food on Hurtigruten's ( or Havila's) coastal trips is excellent, but it being a cruise along the the Norwegian coast, seafood of any kind will be heavy on the menu, of course. You should definitely find enough on the buffets during breakfast and lunch, for dinners you should contact the ship you have chosen to tell them of your allergies so that they can adapt, as in the evenings there is a set dinner menu. As I don't like crustaceans and simply hate cheese I wrote to the ship before our last coastal journey and it was no difficulty.They always found an alternative. As Havila doesn't offer buffets, it would be more difficult to avoid seafood, in my opinion.
  24. I can agree to that - let yourself be known way before you board. We did that once and as breakfasts and lunches were buffets and though no problem because ingredients of the dishes were shown, for dinner I had a special sign on our table and got a different dish for example for the main course.Worked very well but I had to take what was given - no more choices.
  25. I definitely wouldn't change to one of the cabins on deck 8, because these cabins definitely have that red stripe across the balconies so that you have to stand looking out whereas the ones on deck 7 have glass balconies. The only cabin type to change to in my opinion would be the suites on deck 9 which are lovely but of course cost more even if they have extra amenities , for example free washing of clothes, a filled mini-bar ( first filling) special restaurant for breakfasts etc.
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