Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
untailored bostonian

Meals on Hurtigruten

Recommended Posts

I assume all meals are included, but there is no day long buffet. I know that the food is Norwegian, but I am not sure what that really implies. As an American and an experienced cruise, what kind of adjustments might I be expected to make.

 

Also I assume that there are no all day/night bars/lounges on board. Is that right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I assume all meals are included, but there is no day long buffet. I know that the food is Norwegian, but I am not sure what that really implies. As an American and an experienced cruise, what kind of adjustments might I be expected to make.

 

Also I assume that there are no all day/night bars/lounges on board. Is that right?

Hurtigruten is unlike a mainstream cruise line. I was on the Midnatsol a few years ago - it's a modern ship and I loved it. Ships vary from modern like the Midnatsol and Trollfjord, to the Lofoten, a museum ship from the 1960s. I suggest you read the reviews about the various ships so you know what to expect and which ship you want to be on. Those who are disappointed with the trip, usually are because they were expecting a mainstream cruise experience. We chose the Midnatsol since it was newer, has two hot tubs, and a small gym.

 

The entertainment is the scenery. There is a small lounge with generally a piano player who plays several hours each night. We did have some talks during the day about the ports, but there were no shows.

 

If you purchase full board (strongly recommended), there is a buffet breakfast (open seating), buffet lunch (open seating), and three course set menu dinner (usually at an assigned table). The dining room is open for set hours. There is a small snack shop that has food available - I'm not sure if the snack shop is open 24 hours or not. Like everything in Norway, the snackshop prices are expensive compared to the US.

 

For drinks, most people walk up to the bar. There is not an abundance of bar tenders. I'm not sure what hours the bar is open - others on this forum probably know the answer.

 

Let us know if you have any other questions - there's a wealth of knowledge available here for the asking and reading :-)

 

Hope this infor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The above is all correct. If you book a full cruise (North, South or the Round Trip) your meals are included. If you just book a port to port or a couple of days, meals are extra and are expensive in the Main Dining Room. Anyone can buy meals, usually a limited selection, in the Cafe. Drinks are very expensive and we always take our own wine on board and have never had a problem. As mentioned above, this is not your usual "cruise", schedules are often altered slightly when there are large shipments to be loaded or unloaded, but there are many of us....and more each year!....who love this type of travel! The Explorer trips (Arctic, Antartica, Iceland, Greenland)are more typical of cruises but very informal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Meals are usually included in full cruise but some may be sold with only half-board option so make sure which you are booking. Other than those meals in the restaurant, there is a cafeteria that serves hot and cold dishes (more like snacks but some real simple dishes also such as pasta, I think the menu can vary from day to day) which, if I recall correctly, is opened 24/7 for port-to-port passengers. The cafeteria also provides drinks (tea/coffee, soft drinks, draught beer at least).

 

The opening hours of the bar may vary according to season and ship (for instance bar service is very limited on MS Lofoten in winter). On the 90s ships I've been on (MS Polarlys, MS Nordlys) the bar is open I think from 2pm to 11pm.

 

The food is "international Norwegian". For breakfast there is a huge buffet with hot&cold dishes, cereals, cheese, cold meat, eggs, sometimes pancakes (varies slightly from day to day). Lunch is also a buffet with a variety of cold meat and fish, salads, and choice of hot dishes, usually one/two meat options, one fish option, pasta and vegetables. I think there are enough options to satisfy everyone (strict vegans may have more trouble, but I'm not one so no real personal experience). Dinner is a three-course fixed menu, but the menu is posted in advance so if you are not happy with it you can ask for a replacement.

 

I will second all that have said to really learn about the specificity of this trip in advance, as it is not a mainstream cruise. As RSF Cruiser said, most of the negative reviews come from people who were not fully aware of that, so gather as much information as you can. I have been 6 times on this trip and have a 7th booked for next March! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is really no comparison between traditional cruising and Hurtigruten. Until we went with Hurtigruten last year we had always cruised on large ships. Consider the difference between a 90,000+ tonne ship and an 11,000 tonne ship when the seas are rough. The little ships do bounce around a bit and it can be fun trying to have a shower while hanging on tight to the grab handles. You will also find the cabins are less than half the size of a standard cabin on a big cruise ship and nowhere near as luxurious.

Having said that, the Hurtigruten experience is not to be missed. The scenery, port visits, occasional on-deck events etc, are all great. We could go out on deck in all weathers, where the outer doors would have been locked on other ships if it was snowing or a gale blowing.

It was different not having a choice of dinner, but we enjoyed everything we were given, though big eaters might be disappointed in the size of the portions. We found them adequate.

Go and enjoy your trip, but it'll not be like anything you've experienced berfore.

Given the choice of a traditional cruise or Hurtigruten again, it would be Hurtigruten for us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hurtigruten is unlike a mainstream cruise line. I was on the Midnatsol a few years ago - it's a modern ship and I loved it. Ships vary from modern like the Midnatsol and Trollfjord, to the Lofoten, a museum ship from the 1960s. I suggest you read the reviews about the various ships so you know what to expect and which ship you want to be on. Those who are disappointed with the trip, usually are because they were expecting a mainstream cruise experience. We chose the Midnatsol since it was newer, has two hot tubs, and a small gym.

 

The entertainment is the scenery. There is a small lounge with generally a piano player who plays several hours each night. We did have some talks during the day about the ports, but there were no shows.

 

If you purchase full board (strongly recommended), there is a buffet breakfast (open seating), buffet lunch (open seating), and three course set menu dinner (usually at an assigned table). The dining room is open for set hours. There is a small snack shop that has food available - I'm not sure if the snack shop is open 24 hours or not. Like everything in Norway, the snackshop prices are expensive compared to the US.

 

For drinks, most people walk up to the bar. There is not an abundance of bar tenders. I'm not sure what hours the bar is open - others on this forum probably know the answer.

 

Let us know if you have any other questions - there's a wealth of knowledge available here for the asking and reading :-)

 

Hope this infor

 

I personally would like this style of cruise. i never go on shore excursions and often stay on board. I never go to the shows or the art stuff or buy the gold chains for sale.

 

I go to the ocean to see the ocean and would love a 7 day cruise to no where. I think this could be the perfect cruise for me. I have often though about freighter cruise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW I am looking at doing this in 24 - 30 months so I am gathering information. I actually like the idea of the train to and from Oslo. I think the only thing I'd miss is an indoor pool/spa since I do like to sit and soak. But for me no excursions, 24/7 views, and quaint village ports is all I'd need.

 

The food options do concern me a bit, but I frankly do not like "cruise food" all that much. Simple is better imnho.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I booked a cruise... I'm going solo... but a question I have is.. can I bring food and drink on the boat? I was thinking snacks for the room, and bottled water? I would pack this in my luggage. Or if I need too.. while in a port, grab some things to bring on.

 

Did I also read about buying a coffee/tea package?? Has anyone done this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I booked a cruise... I'm going solo... but a question I have is.. can I bring food and drink on the boat? I was thinking snacks for the room, and bottled water? I would pack this in my luggage. Or if I need too.. while in a port, grab some things to bring on.

 

Did I also read about buying a coffee/tea package?? Has anyone done this?

 

Yes, you can bring your own food and drink onboard; many of the port to port passengers do this and picnic on the boat, especially the younger passengers. We sometimes stop in a cafe for coffee on shore, especially when the weather is rainy. There is a tea/coffee package that anyone can purchase and it is a bit pricy (I think the coffee in the dining room is really good, the cafe so-so). Some of the cabins now have kettles, etc. (Arctic Superior and Expedition Suites).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FWIW I am looking at doing this in 24 - 30 months so I am gathering information. I actually like the idea of the train to and from Oslo. I think the only thing I'd miss is an indoor pool/spa since I do like to sit and soak. But for me no excursions, 24/7 views, and quaint village ports is all I'd need.

 

The food options do concern me a bit, but I frankly do not like "cruise food" all that much. Simple is better imnho.

It looks indeed that it could be a cruise that suits you. Unless you are very picky with food, I'm sure you will find things to your liking.

 

There are spas (outdoor) on several ships, and even a swimming pool on MS Finnmarke (outdoor as well, I think, or at least in part).

 

When I do the round trip, I like now to exit in Trondheim on the way back (instead of going all the way to Bergen) and taking the train back to Oslo. It is not as beautiful as the Oslo-Bergen train, but still quite interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The food options do concern me a bit, but I frankly do not like "cruise food" all that much. Simple is better imnho.

 

I'm picky but have got by: I didn't lose any weight!

 

If you don't like what's on offer, ask if you can have [insert food of choice, but not too exotic].

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I booked a cruise... I'm going solo... but a question I have is.. can I bring food and drink on the boat? I was thinking snacks for the room, and bottled water? I would pack this in my luggage. Or if I need too.. while in a port, grab some things to bring on.

 

Did I also read about buying a coffee/tea package?? Has anyone done this?

 

As has already been said, yes, you can take food and drink on board.

 

As for the tea/coffee package, we bought it once and wouldn't do so again. It's expensive and the periods during the day when free isn't available are unlikely to cause any withdrawal symptoms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's now some 2 1/2 years since I was on the Polarlys. It was truly the voyage of a lifetime, and I would love to go again. My friend and I went in late winter (i.e. March), and it was bitterly cold but worth it because of the snow covered beauty along the coast.

 

As has been said liquor and wine are very expensive, so I took gin and tonic onboard with me. I would get a glass of ice at the cafeteria and take it back to the cabin and have my drink. I admit to taking it up to the panoramic lounge as well with no problem.

 

I enjoyed the food. Dinners were set menu with local fish or meat (reindeer one night), more root vegetables than green or leafy ones, and always good desserts.

 

I will continue to go on traditional cruises from time to time, but I much prefer the ambiance and style of Hurtigruten.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FWIW I am looking at doing this in 24 - 30 months so I am gathering information. I actually like the idea of the train to and from Oslo. I think the only thing I'd miss is an indoor pool/spa since I do like to sit and soak. But for me no excursions, 24/7 views, and quaint village ports is all I'd need.

 

The food options do concern me a bit, but I frankly do not like "cruise food" all that much. Simple is better imnho.

 

Most of the ships have a hot tub, and a sauna on the top deck. I know that is true for the MS Trollfjord.

 

I thought the food was very good. Hopefully you like fish, as there is a lot of this (cod, salmon, shrimp, etc.) and we had duck one night (wonderful) as well as reindeer (like venison). Growing up on a Norwegian family, I would have to say the food was "nouvelle Norwegian" as it was not the heavy food I was familiar with. It was wonderful though to hear from our dinner wait staff (who are also the cabin stewards) that what we were having was brought aboard that morning from some local farm or fisherman's boat. The baked goods such as bread and rolls was wonderful, and Norwegian cheeses and lunch meats or salami were plentiful at both the buffets.

 

I purchased both water and sodas ashore, as well as some little snacks, and there is no problem taking these on board and keeping in your cabin. There is no refrigerator in your cabin though (perhaps in the suites), but it is easy to get a glass of ice from any of the bars. I got the coffee/tea package but really did not get my money's worth (the mug was tiny too). Be aware that water is not included in your meals, and you are discouraged from bringing your own into the dining room. That being said, I bought one of the ship's brands of water the first night, and brought it back refilled in my cabin every meal after that, and no one batted an eye.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Am I mistaken or did I read on here recently that water was now included in meals for most cabins?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Am I mistaken or did I read on here recently that water was now included in meals for most cabins?

 

According to the 2026-2017 Coastal Norway brochure, water is included for the top two cabin categories, Expedition Suites and Arctic Superior. "One bottle mineral water for lunch and one bottle for dinner". Should be interesting to see how that is managed. I think this is the correct latest info.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Most of the ships have a hot tub, and a sauna on the top deck. I know that is true for the MS Trollfjord.

 

 

Folks may like to know the currently only Finnmarken, Midnatsol & Trollfjord on Norwegian coastal route (plus Fram on Expedition cruises) have jazuzzi/hot tubs. They were previously also installed (at stern) on Richard With, Nordnorge& Nordkapp but they have all bee removed.

 

Fair Winds & Weather.

 

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's easy enough for them to manage the water - they just put a sticker on your room key.

 

The food was amazing! The breakfast and lunch buffets had plenty of choices to satisfy everyone in our group. Both are the traditional smorgasbord style but there are plenty of "familiar" foods available. The one thing was that the selection varied somewhat by day so we learned early if something looked interesting or it was something we knew we liked we had better get it on the days it was available. I can't imagine even the pickiest eaters going hungry. And leave room for dessert at lunch!! (or three or four!)

 

Dinners as was mentioned before are on the small side. Actually, they are reasonable portions. But all very good. Lots of fish, but we had reindeer, chicken, pork, as well. Each dinner also had an appetizer course and a dessert. Meat was typically served with a root vegetable cooked one way or another. (This was September and might be different other times of year.) The dessert at dinner could frequently be found at the lunch buffet the next day.

 

Meals in the cafe looked good but were pricey by American standards - about $20 for a pizza or hamburger with fries.

 

It was easy to get off and buy snacks and beverages at grocery stores in towns and walk back on the ship, they do not care like they do on the mass cruise lines and we frequently carried a couple of cans of beer back on to enjoy in our room. The bartender on the ship was pretty stern and after watching another passenger get a talking to for carrying a beverage around in a plastic cup from their bathroom we used our hurtigruten coffee mugs. I think the cost averaged somewhere between $4 and $5 per day for the round trip and as my cousin and I are big coffee drinkers we thought it was worth it.

 

If I was piecing my trip together a la carte and could pick my meals i'd go for the breakfast and lunch each day and get dinner just a couple of nights and fend for myself the others.

 

I ate and drank everything i wanted, did lots of walking in town on my own and on tours, and came home after two weeks in norway weighing just one pound more than when i left. YAY!!!

 

I can't wait to go back!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I can't imagine even the pickiest eaters going hungry.

 

I'm quite picky and I've never left a Hurtigruten ship having lost weight.

 

However, I've always left believing that the food has been the least inspiring aspect of the trip.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were on Midnatsol last year, late October into November 11 days round trip. I thought the food was amazing. Every dinner we had was cooked perfectly. Lunch was my big meal of the day and the spread was always a side variety. And so many desserts served with pitchers of custard, fruit or chocolate sauces.

 

The meal times varied to match up times between ports or excursions and that was a bit awkward.

 

We saw great Northern Lights so it was a good time of year for that, quite thrilling.... but having such early sunsets, especially after the time change back to standard time, 2:20pm the night we left Kirkenes, was not good on a trip where seeing the scenery is important. Of course it's a trade off between seeing the Lights versus long days of sunshine the rest of the year. I'd love to go back to do it again in spring or early summer.

 

We did what some others have done with buying a water bottle the first night and refilling it but I think I'd buy the water package next time, it's just easier. There was coffee and tea water for breakfast, also juice for breakfast; coffee and tea water for lunch, so dinner was the meal that was difficult.

 

Whether you buy alcohol on board or in a market on shore it's expensive in Norway, no way around it.

 

Oh yes, if you like to read don't count on having many English books in the library.

 

I enjoyed the room, found the beds good enough but I liked the way one bed folds into a couch for the day and you can fold the other one up and out of the way and give yourself more room.

 

The free internet was great and worked very well almost al the time, only one short time when we were away from shore for a couple of hours.

 

There were a few very nice folkloric presentations that were quite memorable, especially the Sami singer.

 

We did 3 of the shore excursions and glad we did even though they are quite pricey... we went to see Norway so we didn't want to miss out! North cape was very windy and cold but thrilling and the museum there is very good. Didn't have enough time to get all through the gift shop which is also very good.

 

Hope you get to make this special cruise.

m--

Edited by RMLincoln

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think as part of a tour of Norway in summer I had one night at 20 on this line...or similar ferry. I remember the dinner as fixed and fabulous with a piano playing and the midnight sun in a sparse cabin for one somehow easily I looked out of from my bunk bed to the changing gorgeous shore and scenery in pure heaven heaven...I think going along window gazing would be heaven for a week or two and getting on and off as per desire. I remember nice easy food in Norway with granola and yogurt and meats and cheeses in AM but breads too. I loved eating a slice of mild cheese in am...that was new and the energy and food balance very cool at 20...lol..bon voyage. I still have my cheese slicing spatula from this trip in perfect shape 36 years later..I am very sentimental and need a year and major closet and storage and shelf redo to really make my small home work....lol..if I stay.

 

It is totally different..like a fantasy of a nice not luxury train ride but on a ship...with a few extras and neat people all doing it differently...smaller style but plenty of people..very nice wonderful people...

Edited by sjn911

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A bit of an update. Starting this year, there is the option for "upgrading" of the dinner with an "a la carte" option. This happens in a different area of the ship altogether, and it is set up like a real restaurant with a menu with various options for appetizer, main course and dessert. It is suppose to be extra fine dining showcasing local ingredients. If you have already paid for the full board option you pay a little extra (something like 180 NOK for 2 courses and then about 100NOK for each additional course). If you didn't already pay for the meals as part as your booking you can still go have dinner there, for 395NOK for 2 courses, 495 NOK for 3 courses and so on. I think you need to sign up beforehand. I haven't tried so I don't know about the quality.

 

In addition, some ships are being completely redesigned internaly. As part of this redesign, it is my understanding that "standard" dinner will now also be a buffet option, and you can upgrade to the "a la carte" dinner as stated above if you want a more "restaurant-like" experience. This concerns so far MS Polarlys, MS Kong Harald and MS Nordkapp, plus MS Nordnorge at the end of the year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Norwegian Cruise Line Gift Card
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...