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jonikal

Is the MS Spitsbergen actually going to sail?

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After 4 consecutive cancellations in May and for the June 10 sailing, we have just been informed that the ship will finally be sailing on June 21. We were originally booked on the inaugural voyage on May 8. Trying to unravel all the arrangements from airline tickets to other details was not something we would want to repeat. It left us very disappointed with the lack of communication and help from Hurtigruten US. I can only sympathize with the other passengers who have also had their sailings canceled and are undergoing similar frustrations.

 

We only found out that the June 10 sailing had been canceled because we located the ship on a marine traffic website indicating a June 19 departure from its current location and not because anyone from Hurtigruten bothered to keep us informed. Interestingly the Spitsbergen is temporarily called Norway Explorer so it took a while to locate it near Trondheim where evidently it is still being worked on. Keeping fingers crossed that she will be fit for the sea and that things will run smoothly on board. From previous experience, Maiden voyages are not necessarily known for trouble-free sailing.

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Wow. This is such a bad start for this ship. Hopefully this is the right time this time.

Also, I'm worried about the apparent inefficiency of Hurtigruten US, you are not the first to complain. I hope this will not be the model followed by other countries' local offices (so far, I'm pretty happy with Hurtigruten France and have no desire to experience what you did).

Please keep up posted when you actually sail and when you come back.

After all this I wish you a wonderful trip.

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Thanks for your kind thoughts, SarniaLo. I too hope we have a wonderful cruise after all these problems and that the ship's crew will show a more positive side of Hurtigruten personnel. I will do a report on our voyage - if it actually happens.

;)

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Maiden voyages are not necessarily known for trouble-free sailing.

 

While I sympathise with you over the lack of information and Hurtigruten US's apparent inefficiency, you got it in one at the end of your post!

 

For exactly that reason I would never buy a cabin on a maiden sailing or any sailing planned for soon after. Delays and cancellations on those sailings are not a Hurtigruten 'thing', they're (sadly) fairly common. Harmony of the Seas, for example, was recently slated on one of her early voyages for a number of quite serious issues.

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While I sympathise with you over the lack of information and Hurtigruten US's apparent inefficiency, you got it in one at the end of your post!

 

For exactly that reason I would never buy a cabin on a maiden sailing or any sailing planned for soon after. Delays and cancellations on those sailings are not a Hurtigruten 'thing', they're (sadly) fairly common. Harmony of the Seas, for example, was recently slated on one of her early voyages for a number of quite serious issues.

 

Yes, we too are familiar with problems related to maiden voyages. We did not anticipate, however, that the replacement offered for our canceler early May sailing would still turn out to be this ship's maiden voyage in late June. Just hope that Hurtigruten will inform us in plenty of time so we don't find ourselves flying to Norway only to find out the ship is still not ready. We find it hard to believe that the company's executives still don't have a solid reading on the status of this ship after so many people have been canceled and inconvenienced. It has to be a public relations nightmare for them and their disappointed customers.

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Perhaps a highly public but polite request for answers to your questions on Hurtigruten's Norwegian Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/HurtigrutenNorge/) might concentrate some Norwegian minds and bypass the not-very-responsive US operation?

 

 

Many thanks for that suggestion. I notice that the postings are in Norwegian - is it ok to post in English, or is there an English-specific site? Not much of a facebook user here :o

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Many thanks for that suggestion. I notice that the postings are in Norwegian - is it ok to post in English, or is there an English-specific site? Not much of a facebook user here :o

 

I have yet to find a Norwegian who doesn't speak English that is anything less than superb!

 

Hurtigruten do have a US Facebook page but I would expect you to get a Head Office based response on the Norwegian page.

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I have yet to find a Norwegian who doesn't speak English that is anything less than superb!

 

Hurtigruten do have a US Facebook page but I would expect you to get a Head Office based response on the Norwegian page.[/quote

 

Despite posting on the Norwegian facebook page over 2 days ago, we have not seen any response. Other postings after ours were responded to by Hurtigruten which can only mean that by not answering they are still unable to assure us that the ship will be ready to sail by June 21.

 

This is not acceptable.

 

We are within one week of boarding an aircraft and still have no idea whether we are going or not. Of course it could also happen that we fly over there only to find out that the ship won't be sailing after all. From other postings that also seems to occur. If passengers are treated in this cavalier manner before sailing, it is mind-boggling to think of the services they would extend to us should we find ourselves over there without a ship.

At this point any advice would be appreciated. Have tried to phone the HQs in Norway but the line is constantly busy.

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I'm not sure what to advise. This must be so annoying and frustrating (and such a bad image for Hurtigruten).

Maybe try to get in touch with another European branch? The UK one for instance?

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I am surprised and disappointed that you have not had a response but cannot think of anything else you might do.

 

All I can say is that the Hurtigruten people on the ships offer a far, far better experience.

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I am surprised and disappointed that you have not had a response but cannot think of anything else you might do.

 

All I can say is that the Hurtigruten people on the ships offer a far, far better experience.

 

 

Here, just for fun, is an update on the saga of a ship that may or may not exist. Thanks to a kind internet friend, I was able to phone the CEO of Hurtigruten on his mobile in Norway this morning. He was mainly curious about the identity of the person who gave me his mobile number - which I declined to provide. When I asked about the status of the MS Spitsbergen and her projected sailing date, he said he was totally unaware about ship operations but that he would make sure someone would get back to me before COB today. I found it quite stunning that a new ship, that is supposed to become such a star among the fleet, has not appeared on this CEO's radar, especially after it has caused 4 cancellations thus far which has to have set the company back financially. Anyway, true to Hurtigruten's usual MO, at least in our experience, there has been, of course, no promised phone call. I really believe they are expecting us to fly across the Atlantic to find out whether the ship is ready or not. Truly breathtaking.

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Update! Just received notification that the Spitsbergen WILL sail on June 21.

It's in writing so in the event that changes at the last minute, at least we will have evidence that we acted in good faith.

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Glad it's working out finally!

You should have mentioned to the CEO the bad press that is starting to appear for Hurtigruten on travel forums. Maybe that would have made his radar beep.

I find surprising as well that he would not be aware that the launching of their new ship is not going as planned, so either he was giving you a diplomatic response to avoid being caught is some angry discussion, or this is really worrysome. Hurtigruten sells trips on ships, this is their product. What is the CEO doing?

 

Anyway, I wish you now an amazing trip. Please report back!

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This whole experience has been quite educational, to say the least. Thanks for all your help along the way. With help from a sympathetic reader, I have managed to amass some effective ways to get noticed. But really, it shouldn't have to be this way. Yes, I will be happy to report back :)

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I'm glad you have got the reassurance you sought! Was it directly as a result of your phone contact with the (out of touch!) CEO?

 

Enjoy your trip!

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I'm glad you have got the reassurance you sought! Was it directly as a result of your phone contact with the (out of touch!) CEO?

 

Enjoy your trip!

 

 

Unfortunately, I do believe it was my phone call to the CEO that finally got us the answer we wanted. It has been quite an education trying to get information that should have been readily available to customers - but on the plus side, I now have an excellent list of useful contacts should this type of thing ever happen again - not to mention all the extra grey hairs :rolleyes:

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I very much hope it doesn't happen again to you or anyone else. It's not acceptable!

 

However, as I said previously, we have always found the Hurtigruten people on board their ships to be really good.

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However, as I said previously, we have always found the Hurtigruten people on board their ships to be really good.

I couldn't agree more.

Hopefully MS Spitsbergen is no exception to this.

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Oh just when we thought we were finally ok.....I had taken someone's advice on this blog to try contacting Hurtigruten UK since they are apparently more efficient than the one in the US. I duly sent an email several days ago requesting the sailing date of the Spitsbergen and received their response this morning.

 

Unfortunately the vessel will be not sailing at this date, instead the maiden voyage will be July 2nd.

 

 

Best Regards,

 

Have contacted the folks in Norway who sent me the confirmation letter yesterday asking for a phone call. After this, I wonder what second prize is? Two trips with Hurtigruten?

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Seriously??

Send a SMS to the CEO with the link to this discussion... There is serious damage control to be done. I'm a serious Hurtigruten customer but this is not acceptable.

 

There have been several issues like this this year, the ships that went into refurbishment were all delayed, the winter stops last longer than announced, MS Lofoten is now in drydocks for who knows how long, and now this... All this would be sort of OK if the customers were handled in a decent way, but apparently they are not (or at least, some of them,there have been many testimonies of this here. Too much.). I have had trips canceled with Hurtigruten before and I have always been treated with efficiency and fairness, so I hope this is not being lost in the new business plan. I'm worried.

 

And above all so sorry (and angry) for you.

Edited by SarniaLo

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The Brits made a big boo boo and have been chastised by HQS. Still sailing on June 21. So useful having the phone number of management. :)

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What a rollercoaster ! (but I feel slightly better ;) , and relieved for you)

Maybe Hurtigruten Uk is trying to push British customers to a later sailing? If there were 5 sailings cancelled, they must have quite a crowd lining up for the upcoming trips.

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I have been following this thread as we are on the August 4th sailing. I am also worried about the lack of information on the ships status. We have booked a superior inside cabin. I have inquired about pictures for these rooms on Facebook and by phone. The answers have not been correct. The ships that have already refurbished still show old pictures of some stateroom types. Strangely, the Hurtigruten UK site has a few more updated pictures than the U.S. site. I hope the ship is complete when you board. Please report back for your fellow frustrated cruisers.

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The christening of the Spitsbergen is to take place on the 6th July. This information is from Hurtgruten's US Facebook page. Is it possible that it would have a maiden voyage prior to its being christened? I would have thought that unusual.... But so much of this unfortunate story is. e18c41a43a388d6a9744b00e8cafe5d8.jpg

Edited by LittleFish1976

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