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joybug

Hurtigruten vs. Vantage travel Norway coast

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Any advantages to using the travel company Vantage while cruising the Norway coast on a Hurtigruten ship? Am I able to see all that I can see while on the Hurtigruten without paying for the services of a travel company and tipping their tour guides? Please any info is very helpful.

We're thinking of this trip for 9/12. Jan :)

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Hi Joybug-

We're leaving on the Hurtigruten trip with Vantage on Sept. 1st. There are a few reasons why we chose to do it this way. I wanted the transfer from the airport to the hotel and then to the ship (and vice versa). Vantage includes walking tours and additional tours we would otherwise have to pay for. If there is a problem I have a tour director to go to. There are a few tours we may still take and have to pay for, but most of our costs are paid up front. When we're on vacation, we like someone else to do the worrying and detail planning. I also priced out doing the trip without Vantage and didn't think the price difference was a bargain - tips and all. I think either way would work depending on your personalities and travel likes. We've traveled with Vantage before so feel comfortable with them. There are so few Vantage and Hurtigruten reviews on CC that I plan on writing one when we return. Hopefully it will be helpful.

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I did Hurtigruten on my own about 5 years ago. Since this really is more a working ferry than a cruise ship, port stops are not that long except in a few locations so that being on a tour would make little difference as to what you did in port. I think the longest stop is about 3 hours.

 

Hurtigruten does offer a few shore excursions which vary depending on time of year and snow conditions. I went in the spring and so missed out on things like dog sledding, but I did enjoy a North Cape birding expedition out to an island filled with puffins and other birds. In some ports, I just wandered around on my own.

 

Where I do believe you would benefit from a tour company would be if they offered talks on board as Hurtigruten does little or none this. There are some descriptive announcements in the panoramic lounge given in English/French/German but that's about it unless you are on one of their special theme sailings.

 

As for pre or post arrangements, Hurtigruten used to offer a few packages but I don't know if they do this anymore. I used Fjord Tours for some arrangements. They offer a hotel discount pass with a reservation system that covers most of the major towns in Norway as well as the Norway in a Nutshell package. This package can be done to or from Oslo to/from Bergen and you can select to overnight along the way if you wish. They also offer a couple of other packages as well. Scantours is another resource for packages to add to your voyage.

 

Bergen is a wonderful town and very easy to walk around. I did not encounter any Norwegian who did not speak English so getting around here or anywhere in Norway was a breeze.

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alum of the Hurtigruten who did it on our own. It's very easy to make your own hotel reservations in Bergen which is, as previously noted, a lovely town & easy to navigate. There is a cute little trolley train that takes you on a very inexpensive tour. Hurtigruten provided us with a very nice book that explained all ports.

 

AARP has a $75 or so discount that our travel agent used with the direct booking. If at all possible, book one of the small suites, it's one of the nicest cabins we've ever had (Midnatsol.) Loved every minute of this cruise - perfect weather, nice people & no problem at all doing it on your own. We've traveled with Vantage & they're fine if you don't want to go to the hassle of making your own reservations & other arrangements but Bergen is sooooo easy & if you go r/t, you're fine. We got off in Kirkennes & the SAS flight from there is timed with your disembarkation to go back to Oslo - easy to book on line or with your TA.

 

Whichever way you decide, you'll love it! (Beware of whale on the menu

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