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tonymsrad

just back--Hurtigruten Midnasol

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We've just left the ship today (March 2) after a week long sail from Bergen north to Kirkenes. We only booked in December, less than two months before departure, and we tried to book a suite but these cruises are booked up many months in advance, and one never opened up. The best we could get was a J class--large porthole 80% obscured by a lifeboat, but it didn't matter because we were never in our room.

 

For Americans, a couple of tips: you'd better read the small print and see if meals are included. We were stunned to find we had only 1 lunch included, with cost for lunch in dining room over $50 per person. Our package, it turns out, was only for half-board, and according to staff, this is only an option--so it's possible if you're not checking closely you could book a cruise with no meals!!! Lunch was no big deal--we were always able to find a place on shore, and it was fun to try authentic dishes like reindeer and cod tongues (unlike our chicken "fingers" a cod's tongue is exactly what it says it is) in local restaurants.

 

The other warning is about alcohol. The "wine package" includes a bottle of wine with every dinner. The cost for this service comes to over $70 per day. Fortunately we had been warned about cost of alcohol in Norway and had brought along a 3 liter box of wine which lasted us the entire cruise. Big difference between $21 and $420. I took a glass of wine into dinner, into the bar, etc.

 

Internet is very expensive ($12 per hour), only fitfully works, and is painfully slow so you can use up the entire $12 just with signing on, getting kicked off, etc. There are maybe 6 public desktops on 8th floor. (I had brought my laptop, but was unable to get it to work.)

 

The ship is immaculate and well-maintained. There were plenty of public seating options, some with chattering going on around, and some very quiet. The scenery is indescribably beautiful.

 

The food is wonderful. We dreaded whale meat, raw fish, pickled this and that, and it was there, but there was plenty else--fresh fruit, delicious homemade breads and rolls, cheeses, etc for breakfast. Dinner was divine: 4/6 nights it was sit-down, and was absolutely wonderful. The first night out of Bergen was a buffet, with plenty of good food to satisfy anyone, and last night was a seafood buffet.

 

We were the only Americans on a ship of 1000 (except for a woman who had married a German and raised a family in Germany for past 40 years). The passengers are predominately German, and I understand that the cruise line is heavily promoted in Germany. People were friendly.

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Thanks for an interesting report. One question...

 

How (or with who) did you book the trip through? I am looking at the 2010 Hurtigruten brochure and it states "All meals are included for one-way and round-trip passengers". There is no mention of any fees for food (except for alcohol, etc).

 

Thanks

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Thanks for an interesting report. One question...

 

How (or with who) did you book the trip through? I am looking at the 2010 Hurtigruten brochure and it states "All meals are included for one-way and round-trip passengers". There is no mention of any fees for food (except for alcohol, etc).

 

In the UK, certain special offers and cruises are only half-board. If the cruise/sailing includes meals, it will say so and it is worth checking the wording.

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Enjoyed the review, reminded me how much I've liked being on Midnatsol.

 

Just a couple of small points to avoid any misunderstandings:

 

the "ship of 1000" refers to the licensed ferry capacity of Midnatsol (ie max no of persons allowed to be carried) not the no. of berths (650) or cabins (304) which is a better comparison to cruise ships.

 

My understanding of Hurtigruten policy is that passengers are allowed to bring alcohol aboard and to consume it in their cabins (but not in public areas). It is certainly not unknown for passengers own wine/beer to be consumed (from ships glasses) in lounges etc but I'm quite surprised that carrying wine glasses into the restaurant every day wasn't commented on at least. If Hurtigruten have changed their policy I'd appreciate confirmation.

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We went to the web site, somehow got hooked up to the U.S. web site and dealt with the Hurtigruten U.S. offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I am not criticizing them in anyway for the half-board thing: it is purely a cultural mix-up, and just wanted U.S. citizens to know that they need to make sure lunch, or any meals, are included.

 

As for the wine: there was no way for them to know that a Hurtigruten glass held my wine or theirs. I used their wine glass, my wine, and there was never anything noticed in the dining room.

 

We booked the Arctic Cruise and Snow Hotel package and it was flawlessly done--air, train tickets, vouchers, etc. No glitches.

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I have just returned from the "grand old lady" of the line MS Nordstjernen. This is not a modern cruise liner type ship but a wonderful old fashioned steamer. I am afraid this ship is not the type of ship that would be offered to the US market. In fact I believe Hurtigruten actively discourage bookings from the U.S. on this ship. However we did have 2 U.S. citizens on board both of whom had requested this particular ship. Apart from the 2 U.S. citizens we had 3 Brits 2 Dutch at least 1 French man and about 30 Germans doing the round trip. Others (including a few more Brits) sailed either Northbound or Southbound only. Interestingly it was the 3 Brits (myself included) who were on the half board package. Our American friends were full board. I have to agree about the price of drinks being high but the on board prices were about the same as those ashore. In fact a beer bought in a bar in Tromso was dearer than on board. One thing passengers can do is visit other ships when port times permit. I think passengers who were used to the comfort of the big ships were shocked when visiting the Nordstjernen who celebrated her 54th birthday whilst I was on board. While one should remember these ships not only carry passengers on a cruise but the larger ships carry cars and all carry port to port pasengers plus goods. It is possible some ports of call may be missed due to weather and sometime delays can occur due to the loading of cargo. I am very glad I took this holiday which was a great experience.

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Hurtigruten maintains an active US sales office. All bookings done in the US include 3 meals. Any "snacks" outside of standard meal times are extra charge.

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When you make your final payment to the US office, is the payment made in US dollars or is a conversion fee added by the charge company?

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Did you bring the box wine with you or did you purchase it in Olso or Bergen? Is there anyplace to buy stuff near the departure port in Bergen? I'm willing to pay a little more for things if it means I don't have to carry them with me before boarding. Any comments or suggestions on boarding? We go for 12 days on the Polarlys on May 5. Anything you wish you had brought but didn't? Or, anything you felt very smart to have brought?

Thanks for your comments.

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Did you bring the box wine with you or did you purchase it in Olso or Bergen? Is there anyplace to buy stuff near the departure port in Bergen? I'm willing to pay a little more for things if it means I don't have to carry them with me before boarding. Any comments or suggestions on boarding? We go for 12 days on the Polarlys on May 5. Anything you wish you had brought but didn't? Or, anything you felt very smart to have brought?

Thanks for your comments.

You can purchase it in Bergen and other stops along the way. Go to www.vinmonpolet.no , on the page that appears, on the right side under "Velj Fylke" choose "Hordaland". On the page that comes up choose #3 "Bergen Storsenter" and a map and other info (opening times, etc) will appear. This will give you an idea how far the store is from the ship departure dock (a long but doable walk!) On this site you can also check other cities by trying various choices under "velk fylke". There is one vin monpolet (the State liquor store that sells ALL alcohol) next to the dock somewhere in the North (I don't remember which stop, sorry). It is much cheaper to buy it in the State stores than on the ships, although it is still expensive. The tax on alcohol is very high because some of the taxes are used to pay for the treatment of diseases related to alcoholism...what a novel idea!

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Did you bring the box wine with you or did you purchase it in Olso or Bergen? Is there anyplace to buy stuff near the departure port in Bergen? I'm willing to pay a little more for things if it means I don't have to carry them with me before boarding. Any comments or suggestions on boarding? We go for 12 days on the Polarlys on May 5. Anything you wish you had brought but didn't? Or, anything you felt very smart to have brought?

Thanks for your comments.

 

Hi, leslie drew,

We, too, are sailing on the Polarlys on May 5. Look forward to meeting you.

 

The Sterns

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You can purchase it in Bergen and other stops along the way. Go to www.vinmonpolet.no , on the page that appears, on the right side under "Velj Fylke" choose "Hordaland". On the page that comes up choose #3 "Bergen Storsenter" and a map and other info (opening times, etc) will appear. This will give you an idea how far the store is from the ship departure dock (a long but doable walk!) On this site you can also check other cities by trying various choices under "velk fylke". There is one vin monpolet (the State liquor store that sells ALL alcohol) next to the dock somewhere in the North (I don't remember which stop, sorry). It is much cheaper to buy it in the State stores than on the ships, although it is still expensive. The tax on alcohol is very high because some of the taxes are used to pay for the treatment of diseases related to alcoholism...what a novel idea!

Thanks to janetcbl for the information on the State liquor stores. Please note correction: website is http://www.vinmonopolet. An "o" was left out in your message. Everything else worked perfectly. Now I have to practice my Norwegian and figure out where the store is in the north. Thanks again for your help.

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Thanks to janetcbl for the information on the State liquor stores. Please note correction: website is www.vinmonopolet. An "o" was left out in your message. Everything else worked perfectly. Now I have to practice my Norwegian and figure out where the store is in the north. Thanks again for your help.

Thanks for correcting my miserable spelling! You are right; I missed the "o". Check "Finnmark" for the northern cities.

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What is the smoking policy on board the Hurtigruten ships?

thanks.

 

On the Nordstjernen smoking was allowed on deck but mainly took place on the flag deck just to the rear of the rear lounge. I believe its allowed outside on other ships. Of course totally not allowed inside. The Nordstjernen had smoke detectors in cabins which they said were very sensitive.

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Thank you thank you for all the info. Where did you buy the box of wine? Was it a duty free purchase ? If so, please explain how to do as I have not done duty free.

 

 

We've just left the ship today (March 2) after a week long sail from Bergen north to Kirkenes. We only booked in December, less than two months before departure, and we tried to book a suite but these cruises are booked up many months in advance, and one never opened up. The best we could get was a J class--large porthole 80% obscured by a lifeboat, but it didn't matter because we were never in our room.

 

For Americans, a couple of tips: you'd better read the small print and see if meals are included. We were stunned to find we had only 1 lunch included, with cost for lunch in dining room over $50 per person. Our package, it turns out, was only for half-board, and according to staff, this is only an option--so it's possible if you're not checking closely you could book a cruise with no meals!!! Lunch was no big deal--we were always able to find a place on shore, and it was fun to try authentic dishes like reindeer and cod tongues (unlike our chicken "fingers" a cod's tongue is exactly what it says it is) in local restaurants.

 

The other warning is about alcohol. The "wine package" includes a bottle of wine with every dinner. The cost for this service comes to over $70 per day. Fortunately we had been warned about cost of alcohol in Norway and had brought along a 3 liter box of wine which lasted us the entire cruise. Big difference between $21 and $420. I took a glass of wine into dinner, into the bar, etc.

 

Internet is very expensive ($12 per hour), only fitfully works, and is painfully slow so you can use up the entire $12 just with signing on, getting kicked off, etc. There are maybe 6 public desktops on 8th floor. (I had brought my laptop, but was unable to get it to work.)

 

The ship is immaculate and well-maintained. There were plenty of public seating options, some with chattering going on around, and some very quiet. The scenery is indescribably beautiful.

 

The food is wonderful. We dreaded whale meat, raw fish, pickled this and that, and it was there, but there was plenty else--fresh fruit, delicious homemade breads and rolls, cheeses, etc for breakfast. Dinner was divine: 4/6 nights it was sit-down, and was absolutely wonderful. The first night out of Bergen was a buffet, with plenty of good food to satisfy anyone, and last night was a seafood buffet.

 

We were the only Americans on a ship of 1000 (except for a woman who had married a German and raised a family in Germany for past 40 years). The passengers are predominately German, and I understand that the cruise line is heavily promoted in Germany. People were friendly.

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Thank you thank you for all the info. Where did you buy the box of wine? Was it a duty free purchase ? If so, please explain how to do as I have not done duty free.

 

Coleridge

 

 

We've just left the ship today (March 2) after a week long sail from Bergen north to Kirkenes. We only booked in December, less than two months before departure, and we tried to book a suite but these cruises are booked up many months in advance, and one never opened up. The best we could get was a J class--large porthole 80% obscured by a lifeboat, but it didn't matter because we were never in our room.

 

For Americans, a couple of tips: you'd better read the small print and see if meals are included. We were stunned to find we had only 1 lunch included, with cost for lunch in dining room over $50 per person. Our package, it turns out, was only for half-board, and according to staff, this is only an option--so it's possible if you're not checking closely you could book a cruise with no meals!!! Lunch was no big deal--we were always able to find a place on shore, and it was fun to try authentic dishes like reindeer and cod tongues (unlike our chicken "fingers" a cod's tongue is exactly what it says it is) in local restaurants.

 

The other warning is about alcohol. The "wine package" includes a bottle of wine with every dinner. The cost for this service comes to over $70 per day. Fortunately we had been warned about cost of alcohol in Norway and had brought along a 3 liter box of wine which lasted us the entire cruise. Big difference between $21 and $420. I took a glass of wine into dinner, into the bar, etc.

 

Internet is very expensive ($12 per hour), only fitfully works, and is painfully slow so you can use up the entire $12 just with signing on, getting kicked off, etc. There are maybe 6 public desktops on 8th floor. (I had brought my laptop, but was unable to get it to work.)

 

The ship is immaculate and well-maintained. There were plenty of public seating options, some with chattering going on around, and some very quiet. The scenery is indescribably beautiful.

 

The food is wonderful. We dreaded whale meat, raw fish, pickled this and that, and it was there, but there was plenty else--fresh fruit, delicious homemade breads and rolls, cheeses, etc for breakfast. Dinner was divine: 4/6 nights it was sit-down, and was absolutely wonderful. The first night out of Bergen was a buffet, with plenty of good food to satisfy anyone, and last night was a seafood buffet.

 

We were the only Americans on a ship of 1000 (except for a woman who had married a German and raised a family in Germany for past 40 years). The passengers are predominately German, and I understand that the cruise line is heavily promoted in Germany. People were friendly.

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Not true. We booked through Ft. Lauderdale and unbeknownst to us package only included breakfast and dinner. This was a complete surprise to us; we only found out about it when we went in to lunch one day.

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My confirmation for my north bound 7 day trip on the Midnastol later this month says "full board" so I am assuming that is 3 meals a day.

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So what can one expect to pay for a beer on one of these ships? Do the State stores sell beer too? I'm thinking the best thing would be to bring a couple of litres of liquor with you from duty-free, and tough it out on the wine.

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So what can one expect to pay for a beer on one of these ships? Do the State stores sell beer too? I'm thinking the best thing would be to bring a couple of litres of liquor with you from duty-free, and tough it out on the wine.

 

Wendy and others. We were in Norway in 2007. I bought two six-packs of ordinary beer in a large "one stop" type store with good prices--paid $50 US! Bottle of booze was around $85 and wine was $30 +. If you are looking to conserve funds, bring it from home, or, duty free. JMHO

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Wendy and others. We were in Norway in 2007. I bought two six-packs of ordinary beer in a large "one stop" type store with good prices--paid $50 US! Bottle of booze was around $85 and wine was $30 +. If you are looking to conserve funds, bring it from home, or, duty free. JMHO

 

What I remember (from the late 70's) was that they love whiskey--Scotch I think, so if you take duty free, consider Scotch and maybe you can trade some of it for a beer or two ;) Scotch was what I was told to bring with me as gifts for people there, since its local price made it completely unobtainable.

 

But I'd also like to know what shipboard life is like. Are the tiny cabins adequate? Is it fun having all those stops, however short? Do you pine for time off the ship, or longer excursions? Is it easy to get off the ship for the day, and skip a few stops?

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