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Which ship for 12 day classic voyage

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I am keen to do the Bergen-Kirkenes-Bergen voyage next year, probably in June. I have previously heard that some ship are 'better' for this than others. We have cruised previously on the mainstream lines and are aware this will be different. So any expert advice would be appreciated.

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Do your homework and check out all the ships on the Hurtigruten website. Three have balconies (Trollfjord, Midnatsol, Finnmarken), one is a lovely small traditional ship (Lofoten), etc. everyone who has sailed frequently has a favorite......and all the "favorites" are different. We prefer the Midnatsol and Trollfjord ( identical ships), thought the Midnatsol is now in the Antarctic, because we like a balcony (useful only in warm weather) and it seems to be more stable in the infrequent rough water. There really is no bad choice.....the scenery is what makes the trip.

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It would probably make recommending easier if you were to say what you see as important on your trip.

 

As above, there's no 'bad' ship...

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We made our decision based on a combination of factors. We went in the winter, so a swimming pool wasn't an issue, but we did want a hot tub. We also wanted a gym, so that narrowed our decision. Then we looked at which ship departed from Bergen on the dates we could travel. That narrowed our choice down to a few ships, and we went on the Midnatsol, which was perfect for us. When in port we got to tour the Trollfjord (sister to the Midnatsol) and Lofoten (a delightful museum ship, but for us it didn't have some of the features we wanted). The good news is the itinerary is identical, so it's a matter of which ship has the features that are important to you. The reviews on CruiseCritic are helpful, too, although many of the disappointed passengers expected a main line cruise experience, so they were unhappy.

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I have traveled on MS Lofoten, MS Vesteraalen, MS Nordlys, MS Nordnorge, MS Polarlys (before renovation, but I have visited it post-renovation in 2016), MS Finnmarken and MS Trollfjord. So a good part of the range of the possible ships. Each one has its pros and cons, but as previously said it comes down to what you are looking for in a ship and in this experience. My personal favorite is MS Lofoten, but I would not recommend her to everybody. So if you give us more information about you and your taste it's easier to recommend which ship would be "better" for you.

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I would recommend Midnatsol or Trollfjord as they have the biggest and most spacious panoramic lounges. After all it is the amazing scenery that is the most important on a cruise like this, and with that in mind these two ships are ideal.

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MS Trollfjord was actually my least favorite of all the ships I've travelled on. For me it is too big and too "blingy" and too close to a regular cruise ship. I didn't like the layout and I didn't like the two-storey panoramic lounge (and also, it had the worst wifi signal - maybe I've been unlucky). So I really think it's difficult to advise without knowing what the OP's priorities are.

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So I really think it's difficult to advise without knowing what the OP's priorities are.

 

But no response by the OP to any suggestions in the 13 days since the advice was first requested...

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If you love pools and big nice cabins you should go on Finnmarken. If you love Whirlpools you should take Midnatsol or Trollfjord. If you just like the nature, scenery a nice panoramic salon then go for Nordkapp or Nordnorge. Both of them have the panoramic windows arranged in a corner shape, so more spacious than on the Polarys and the Kong Harald. And don't go during the most populated times of the year, the experience is double as good.

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MS Trollfjord was actually my least favorite of all the ships I've travelled on. For me it is too big and too "blingy" and too close to a regular cruise ship. I didn't like the layout and I didn't like the two-storey panoramic lounge (and also, it had the worst wifi signal - maybe I've been unlucky). So I really think it's difficult to advise without knowing what the OP's priorities are.

 

Well, I have only been on the Trollfjord, but I loved it. The Vista lounge was never so crowded that you could not get a decent seat, and I had no problems with WiFi either in my cabin or in the Vista lounge except for 1-2 hours on the whole trip. I found the staff very friendly and the food excellent.

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I have many questions that I'm hoping you all could answer for me.

We are considering the 12 day Bergen to Bergen cruise next summer. This will be a family trip, my in-laws (mid to late 70s), my SIL, and my husband and me (early 50s).

 

My husband and I are the only ones who have gone on cruises but nothing like Hurtigruten. I understand that this is unlike the "mainstream" cruises that we have been on in the past so I'm trying to find out as much information as possible. My in-laws are the ones who are putting the trip together but they are relying on their travel agent for all of the information.

 

Excursions:

- Do they have to be booked prior to the cruise? I know that there are a couple that can only be booked on board.

- Do they normally sell out prior to the cruise?

- Is there a big difference between level 2 and level 3? My FIL has some limitations.

- I see that there are some excursions that are as long as 7 hours. I understand that we would be brought to the ship at the next stop.

- Can you ever do more than one excursion in a day?

- Are there any excursions that are on the top of list? Any at the bottom?

 

Ships:

- I understand that there are 3 ships that are considered modern. I think we are leaning towards the Midnatsol or the Trollfjord.

- Is there a preferred cabin location on these ships to keep motion at a minimum?

- On Deck 6, I see that there is an outdoor walking path. It appears that this is right outside of the rooms. Has this ever been an issue for anyone? Do people hang out in this area?

- From what I can see in the catalog, the lifeboats block some rooms, but are there certain rooms that we should definitely avoid?

 

Other:

- how long is the train ride from Oslo to Bergen? I don't fly on small planes so we will be taking the train both ways.

- do the expedition ships do the same cruise as the classic comfort ships?

- are there lecturers that come on board the classic comfort ships?

 

Sorry for so many questions. I think this is about it for now. Thank you for any help you can provide.

 

 

denyse

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I have many questions that I'm hoping you all could answer for me.

denyse

 

I try to answer a few of them...:

All ships on the norwegian Coastal route doing the same Route. Only the Real Expedition cruises go elsewhere in the world. The trainride from Oslo to Bergen takes about 8 Hours. It ja a very nice route and you will enjoy it. If you go during summer holidays I would suggest you go for First Class on the train... it is Not so crowded.

The Walking in Front of your cabin Window is Not the Problem, because you'd be outside too... but you would like to close the shades because of people looking in. So I would not go for a cabin on that deck. Go one up! Some of the excursions go indeed from one port to the next or even further... it is a relaxing way to see some of the countryside. I have never done the whole trip back at once; only many port-to-port part cruises; also took my car a few times with me... (it is a ferry too) So this is what I can tell you for now... You'll love it.

Edited by crizzlyhug
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I have sailed with Hurtigruten many times (but never in summer) and the vast majority of the excursions did not sell out in advance (the only exception I have in mind is the snowmobile excursion in winter) and you can book them on board the ship. There is actually quite a push towards passengers to get them to book an excursion, and I very much doubt they would not be able to accomodate you. Each day the tour leader will present the excursions for the upcoming days and will give you some time to book. This way you can also ask questions about the physical requirements and see for each excursion if your FIL can handle it or not.

When the excursions are several hours long, they usually get you back on the ship at the next port of call. An excursion that could be really good in summer is the bus excursion from Geiranger. If you take this excursion, you see Geirangerfjord from the sea on the way in, and from the mountain on the way out. I think the landscapes on the excursion are quite spectacular.

 

In addition to the 3 newer ships (Midnatsol, Trollfjord and Finnmarken), 3 of the ships from the 90 generation have been entirely remodeled with a modern scandinavian look, so if you are looking for a modern looking ship you can also consider them (MS Polarlys, MS Kong Harald, MS Nordkapp, and MS Nordnorge will be remodeled during the winter).

 

I have traveled once on the deck 5 on MS Nordlys, which has a similar situation as Midnatsol's deck 6. There were people in front of the window quite often. It's not a big issue during the day because there is a reflective outer surface on the window and you can't see in when it's light outside. At night it was a problem when we had the light on in the cabin as you could see inside very well from the deck, so we had to close the blinds, but in summer there is very little to no darkness so maybe not so much of a problem. As said above I use the cabin mostly for sleeping so I don't spend a lot of time in it.

The most stable cabins are in the middle of the ship and in the lower decks. The higher up you go, and if you go more to the front or the back, the more you will feel the movement. However most of the route is in sheltered waters between islands, there are only a few streches of open sea so the sea should be calm most of the time. The ships have stabilizers which help.

The cabins with obstructed views are clearly indicated as such (they come a little bit cheaper). An obstructed view does mean that, so if you take such a cabin you should expect no to see much of the view from the cabin. If a cabin is not in the "obstructed view" category then you are fine.

 

The train ride from Oslo to Bergen is actually a little over 6 hours, not 8 hours. You can book the tickets on the Norwegian rail website https://www.nsb.no/en . Tickets go on sale 90 days in advance and you can get cheaper tickets by buying them in advance (although this year in summer even the cheap tickets were not that cheap). There is not a "first class" defined as such, but there is a "Komfort" option, you are in a special coach with more room for the legs, free coffee/tea and overall more comfort (so about the same as a first class). It is a beautiful train ride, very scenic.

 

All ships on the Hurtigruten Norway line do the same itinerary. There are usually no lectures outside of the ships that are labelled as "expedition", but there is a tour leader on every ship which will have daily meetings about the excursions and also often will give you an overview of the highlights of the day. There may be also a few animations on board (you can learn how to fillet a salmon for instance) and/or some educational movies shown. But the main interest of the trip is the landscape you can see from the ship 24/7.

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Another couple of questions...

 

- Embarkation - Do we have to carry our own luggage on board or is it like regular cruise lines where we check the bags in and they're delivered to the room.

 

- Is there somewhere that sample menus are posted?

 

- On the lower decks, is there much noise if you're above or on the car deck?

 

- What are most of the beds like? Are most single beds or can they be pushed together?

 

 

Thank you again.

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Another couple of questions...

 

- Embarkation - Do we have to carry our own luggage on board or is it like regular cruise lines where we check the bags in and they're delivered to the room.

 

- Is there somewhere that sample menus are posted?

 

- On the lower decks, is there much noise if you're above or on the car deck?

 

- What are most of the beds like? Are most single beds or can they be pushed together?

 

 

Thank you again.

 

I can answer some...

They did deliver the luggage to our cabin...I was on Trollfjord.

Breakfast and lunch are buffets, with many choices. Dinner is a fixed menu, and it is posted at lunch . If it includes something you don't eat, I've heard you can arrange a substitution.

 

Not sure on the other questions.

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If you board the ship in Bergen, there is a check-in process a bit like in an airport and your luggage will be delivered to your cabin (maybe in Kirkenes as well, but I'm not sure). If you board in another port you need to carry your bag on board but if you have difficulties with that someone on the ship will help you, just ask.

 

The car deck in itself does not generate a lot of noise, you might hear noise from the cargo door opening (it's on the port side - left-hand side - of the ship, about mid-ship) but I don't think it's really bad. More problematic can be the noise and vibration from the bow thruster (front/back of the ship) and from the engine (back of the ship) when the ship arrives in port and leaves port. During sailing the noise of the engine is subdued, but I would avoid cabins at the back of the ship, and maybe the front in the lower decks. This is less of an issue on the newer ships (Finnmarken, Midnastol, Trollfjord) I think, but I'm not overly sensitive to noise.

 

Most of the beds are single beds that are attached to the wall (in many cabins, one of the beds folds up completely against the wall, and the other folds up as a sofa that you can use during the day) so they cannot be pushed together. To have a real double bed on most ships you need to go in a suite. The cabin descriptions will give an accurate account of how the beds are laid out so study it carefully if that is an issue, there can be slight variation from ship to ship.

 

As said above menus for dinner are posted during lunch at the latest (I've been on some ships where all the dinner menus were posted outside of the restaurant at the start of the trip). If there is an item you don't like just contact someone from the restaurant staff - there is usually someone in attendance at the restaurant's entrance for instance - and you can ask for a substitution. If you have special dietary requirements it's better to tell the staff at the beginning of the trip and they will find suitable food for you.

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Re: Excursions. On the trips we have taken, the only excursion that always seem to sell out was the Sea Eagle Safari. If you plan the take a North Cape excursion, it is better to wait to get a better idea of the weather....it is never 100% accurate, but you want to avoid dense fog.

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From memory, the Sea Eagle Safari and Tromso Dog Sledding trip were sold out on our trips.

 

We find it best to book excursions as soon as we are able. There's nothing worse than watching a trip that you wanted to take depart without you.

 

As far as the North Cape excursion is concerned, it was snowing quite heavily (with some brief breaks) when we were there and that only added to our enjoyment of the experience.

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From memory, the Sea Eagle Safari and Tromso Dog Sledding trip were sold out on our trips.

 

We find it best to book excursions as soon as we are able. There's nothing worse than watching a trip that you wanted to take depart without you.

 

As far as the North Cape excursion is concerned, it was snowing quite heavily (with some brief breaks) when we were there and that only added to our enjoyment of the experience.

 

You're right... I have been to north cape a few times. During summer sunshine, during summer thick fog, during summer rain, and during winter snow... Actually winter was the most impressing. Fog was alright if you know what you can see in clear skys. If you don't know you'll hate the fog.

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I had an inside cabin on deck 4 (just to the stern of reception) on the Trollfjord and had very little noise in ports. Keep in mind that at all ports, the port side it to the pier, so you are likely to have less noise on the starboard side (where I was). See photos for the beds in these cabins (which have since been redecorated).

 

I did not book any excursions until I got onto the ship, but for some of the more popular ones, you may want to book ahead. I got the last spot on the Sea Eagle excursion, for example. A number of the others are on tourist buses, and we were told they just schedule and additional bus for more popular trips if they book up ahead of time.

 

I would second booking your train tickets on-line early. Comfort Cabin (1st class) seats can sell out, and these are much nicer seats (also reserved) than the regular fare.

 

In Bergen you check your bags on the dock when you check in, and they are delivered to your cabin. When arriving back in Bergen, you put your bags outside your door in the morning and then claim them on the dock upon disembarkation (in the afternoon).

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Thank you so much SarniaLo for all of this information. I'm gathering everything and will be sending it to my in-laws and we'll be talking about it tonight.

 

 

I have sailed with Hurtigruten many times (but never in summer) and the vast majority of the excursions did not sell out in advance (the only exception I have in mind is the snowmobile excursion in winter) and you can book them on board the ship. There is actually quite a push towards passengers to get them to book an excursion, and I very much doubt they would not be able to accomodate you. Each day the tour leader will present the excursions for the upcoming days and will give you some time to book. This way you can also ask questions about the physical requirements and see for each excursion if your FIL can handle it or not.

When the excursions are several hours long, they usually get you back on the ship at the next port of call. An excursion that could be really good in summer is the bus excursion from Geiranger. If you take this excursion, you see Geirangerfjord from the sea on the way in, and from the mountain on the way out. I think the landscapes on the excursion are quite spectacular.

 

In addition to the 3 newer ships (Midnatsol, Trollfjord and Finnmarken), 3 of the ships from the 90 generation have been entirely remodeled with a modern scandinavian look, so if you are looking for a modern looking ship you can also consider them (MS Polarlys, MS Kong Harald, MS Nordkapp, and MS Nordnorge will be remodeled during the winter).

 

I have traveled once on the deck 5 on MS Nordlys, which has a similar situation as Midnatsol's deck 6. There were people in front of the window quite often. It's not a big issue during the day because there is a reflective outer surface on the window and you can't see in when it's light outside. At night it was a problem when we had the light on in the cabin as you could see inside very well from the deck, so we had to close the blinds, but in summer there is very little to no darkness so maybe not so much of a problem. As said above I use the cabin mostly for sleeping so I don't spend a lot of time in it.

The most stable cabins are in the middle of the ship and in the lower decks. The higher up you go, and if you go more to the front or the back, the more you will feel the movement. However most of the route is in sheltered waters between islands, there are only a few streches of open sea so the sea should be calm most of the time. The ships have stabilizers which help.

The cabins with obstructed views are clearly indicated as such (they come a little bit cheaper). An obstructed view does mean that, so if you take such a cabin you should expect no to see much of the view from the cabin. If a cabin is not in the "obstructed view" category then you are fine.

 

The train ride from Oslo to Bergen is actually a little over 6 hours, not 8 hours. You can book the tickets on the Norwegian rail website https://www.nsb.no/en . Tickets go on sale 90 days in advance and you can get cheaper tickets by buying them in advance (although this year in summer even the cheap tickets were not that cheap). There is not a "first class" defined as such, but there is a "Komfort" option, you are in a special coach with more room for the legs, free coffee/tea and overall more comfort (so about the same as a first class). It is a beautiful train ride, very scenic.

 

All ships on the Hurtigruten Norway line do the same itinerary. There are usually no lectures outside of the ships that are labelled as "expedition", but there is a tour leader on every ship which will have daily meetings about the excursions and also often will give you an overview of the highlights of the day. There may be also a few animations on board (you can learn how to fillet a salmon for instance) and/or some educational movies shown. But the main interest of the trip is the landscape you can see from the ship 24/7.

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Thank you Barrheadlass for the information about the luggage.

 

 

I can answer some...

They did deliver the luggage to our cabin...I was on Trollfjord.

Breakfast and lunch are buffets, with many choices. Dinner is a fixed menu, and it is posted at lunch . If it includes something you don't eat, I've heard you can arrange a substitution.

 

Not sure on the other questions.

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