Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
kiwigirl

Just returned - Bergen - Kirkenes - Bergen

Recommended Posts

We just returned from our Norwegian Coastal cruise on the Trollfjord. We had great weather....only rain we had was the last 2 days of the cruise.

 

If anyone has any questions, I would be happy to try and answer them. We did excursions almost every day except 2 maybe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did you book your excursions before or after you boarded? What was some of your favorite excursions or were there any that you wouldn't bother to do? Also, any other tips for first time Hurtigruten sailers would be great!

 

We are booked on the Polarys next March and are looking forward to a cold but exciting trip.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're thinking of doing this same cruise next March in hopes of seeing the Aurora. We'll pack for cold weather. How long were you in ports that had excursions? Did the ship do a lot short dockings to take on or let off cars and passengers?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Did you book your excursions before or after you boarded? What was some of your favorite excursions or were there any that you wouldn't bother to do? Also, any other tips for first time Hurtigruten sailers would be great!

 

We are booked on the Polarys next March and are looking forward to a cold but exciting trip.

 

We did book all of excursions prior to the cruise. We were traveling with my in-laws. We did the Geiranger with Trollstigen Pass. This was about a 7.5 bus ride that included a couple of stops, with one being a little snack and then a dinner in Molde just before getting back on the ship. This was an impressive drive along the mountainside. Beautiful views of waterfalls and landscape.

 

My husband did the river kayak in Trondheim. He said it was marked as a level 4 but said it was more like a 2 at the most. I don't know if this changes based on the time of year.

 

He and his sister did the SAMI Culture in Kjollefjord. They enjoyed it. This one was in the late afternoon and was during our dinner. People who had the early dining time (6:30) were able to go to the second seating when they got back from the excursion.

 

We all did the Russian Border in Kirkenes. The gentleman we had as the guide was very good, but spoke fast. He did the whole tour in English and German (I believe), so it was hard to keep track some times. In all honesty, I wasn't that impressed with the border. It's a drive through the town, stop at a bunker to see a short video and then to the border. There isn't a lot to see and just a very small souvenir hut.

 

We did the Breakfast at the North Cape. This is very early (5:30am) but we were very lucky and had clear skies with no rain or fog. It was very windy once we got there but no rain. If you do this, I would go right to the breakfast and eat first. Everyone from the buses went right outside. The breakfast area is very small. We ate first while it was empty and watched everyone outside. By the time they all came inside, we were done and went outside and it was empty....no fighting the crowds in either area. Also, be aware that the breakfast isn't anything special (at least in my opinion). It was the same as what was served in our hotel in Oslo.

 

 

My husband and in-laws did the Midnight Concert in Tromso. They said the music was beautiful but you are not allowed to take photographs inside the cathedral.

 

 

We also did the Bronnoysund Village Walk. This was about an hour and it was a nice, leisurely stroll through the town.

 

We did the Atlantic Road but unfortunately this was the only day that we had rain. This excursion is done during dinner so you won't be in the dining room. Dinner is served in a small restaurant about half way through. It's Bacalao (salt cod) stew. You will also have an opportunity to have this on board the ship.

 

My sister in law did the Trondheim & Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. She enjoyed it but again, no pictures allowed inside.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We did book all of excursions prior to the cruise. We were traveling with my in-laws. We did the Geiranger with Trollstigen Pass. This was about a 7.5 bus ride that included a couple of stops, with one being a little snack and then a dinner in Molde just before getting back on the ship. This was an impressive drive along the mountainside. Beautiful views of waterfalls and landscape.

 

 

 

My husband did the river kayak in Trondheim. He said it was marked as a level 4 but said it was more like a 2 at the most. I don't know if this changes based on the time of year.

 

 

 

He and his sister did the SAMI Culture in Kjollefjord. They enjoyed it. This one was in the late afternoon and was during our dinner. People who had the early dining time (6:30) were able to go to the second seating when they got back from the excursion.

 

 

 

We all did the Russian Border in Kirkenes. The gentleman we had as the guide was very good, but spoke fast. He did the whole tour in English and German (I believe), so it was hard to keep track some times. In all honesty, I wasn't that impressed with the border. It's a drive through the town, stop at a bunker to see a short video and then to the border. There isn't a lot to see and just a very small souvenir hut.

 

 

 

We did the Breakfast at the North Cape. This is very early (5:30am) but we were very lucky and had clear skies with no rain or fog. It was very windy once we got there but no rain. If you do this, I would go right to the breakfast and eat first. Everyone from the buses went right outside. The breakfast area is very small. We ate first while it was empty and watched everyone outside. By the time they all came inside, we were done and went outside and it was empty....no fighting the crowds in either area. Also, be aware that the breakfast isn't anything special (at least in my opinion). It was the same as what was served in our hotel in Oslo.

 

 

 

 

 

My husband and in-laws did the Midnight Concert in Tromso. They said the music was beautiful but you are not allowed to take photographs inside the cathedral.

 

 

 

 

 

We also did the Bronnoysund Village Walk. This was about an hour and it was a nice, leisurely stroll through the town.

 

 

 

We did the Atlantic Road but unfortunately this was the only day that we had rain. This excursion is done during dinner so you won't be in the dining room. Dinner is served in a small restaurant about half way through. It's Bacalao (salt cod) stew. You will also have an opportunity to have this on board the ship.

 

 

 

My sister in law did the Trondheim & Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. She enjoyed it but again, no pictures allowed inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is great information, thanks for responding so fast and so detailed!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We're thinking of doing this same cruise next March in hopes of seeing the Aurora. We'll pack for cold weather. How long were you in ports that had excursions? Did the ship do a lot short dockings to take on or let off cars and passengers?

 

Depending on the day, there were anywhere from 2 to 8 stops in a 24 hour period. A lot of these stops are only 15 minutes....just long enough to load/unload people/cars and other freight. We weren't even aware of most of the stops.

 

I think the longest stop was about 3-4 hours. With many of the excursions you start in one port and then meet the ship in another at the end of the excursion. When this happens, you don't have any time to see the port. The bus will arrive at the ship just in time to board and the ship usually leaves a few minutes later.

 

There were a few stops that were 30 minutes and we got off and did a quick loop into town.

 

Something that I didn't expect....the weather was much warmer than I expected it to be. I live in San Diego so I'm a bit of a cold weather wimp. 60 degrees in Norway is warmer than 60 degrees here. I also always have the fan/ac on in the car. They do not. I found it to be very stuffy and warm in the buses. I finally made sure that I wore short sleeves on days we had excursions, with another shirt over. I would take the outer shirt off as soon as we got in the bus. When we made a stop, I would have to put the shirt and jacket on. I wore my regular tennis shoes most days and only my waterproof shoes a couple of times. I also found it to be very warm on the ship as long as we were inside.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is great information, thanks for responding so fast and so detailed!

Note that most of these excursions are not available in winter, as the excursions will change from season to season.

 

Thank you kiwigirl for reporting. Can I get from your message that you had a positive experience? Could you share what were your likes/dislikes about the ship and the journey?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Note that most of these excursions are not available in winter, as the excursions will change from season to season.

 

 

 

Thank you kiwigirl for reporting. Can I get from your message that you had a positive experience? Could you share what were your likes/dislikes about the ship and the journey?

 

 

 

Yes we have gotten far enough along in the process to see the difference in excursions. We are looking forward to the husky ride as well as some of the other winter activities. Hopefully we will have good weather and be able to catch the Northern Lights when we go in March.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Note that most of these excursions are not available in winter, as the excursions will change from season to season.

 

 

 

Thank you kiwigirl for reporting. Can I get from your message that you had a positive experience? Could you share what were your likes/dislikes about the ship and the journey?

 

 

 

Yes, I would say that, overall, it was a positive experience.

 

A few things that I noted:

- wait staff attitudes varied. Because there were 5 of us, we had our own table at dinner. I noticed that rarely were the women served first. They usually just put the plates to whoever they were closest to first. This obviously didn't impact my experience but it was just something I noticed. They also rarely came back with more water for the table. Also, it was very inconsistent as to when we'd be served. Some nights it was earlier and others it was very late. Again, not a big deal, just couldn't figure it out.

 

- it was to warm inside the public areas of the ship for me. This surprised me as I live in Southern California and have never lived in cold climate. I wished I had brought more short sleeve, or even tank tops, with me. I was able to turn the thermostat in the cabin down so at least it was cool while sleeping.

 

- I'd say my biggest dislike is that dinner is a set meal. I wasn't looking for all of the food options available on mainstream cruising but it would have been nice to have a choice of two entrees, especially on the night with the reindeer steak. Saying that, I definitely did not starve.

 

- I was very unimpressed with the city tour we did in Bergen at the end of the trip. It was an hour driving in a large circle before getting to the hotel. I don't remember if the cost was $50 per person or $25.

 

 

 

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

 

Thank for all the info, we'll be on the Finnmarken in October and looking forward to the cruise. So far we've booked the North Cape without breakfast as our agent says we have breakfast on the ship, so why do it. Someone posted a pic of seeing the NL recently, did you see some? Hoping for NL sightings when we go. Maybe I'll ask for 2 glasses of water, if they don't return for refills....

:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Such a good report thanks. We are on Sept 9 on Polaryls. Looking forward to it but maybe not the reindeer steak. Did you have someone on board that conducted hikes?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi,

 

Thank for all the info, we'll be on the Finnmarken in October and looking forward to the cruise. So far we've booked the North Cape without breakfast as our agent says we have breakfast on the ship, so why do it. Someone posted a pic of seeing the NL recently, did you see some? Hoping for NL sightings when we go. Maybe I'll ask for 2 glasses of water, if they don't return for refills....

:D

 

I'm not sure the North Cape was offered without the breakfast. We were off the ship at 5:30am and didn't return until just before lunch.

 

They bring a slim pitcher of water at dinner. A single pitcher was enough to fill 6 wine glasses about half full. If you're not having anything else to drink, definitely ask for 2 pitchers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Such a good report thanks. We are on Sept 9 on Polaryls. Looking forward to it but maybe not the reindeer steak. Did you have someone on board that conducted hikes?

 

They do put the menu out each morning so you can look at it when you have breakfast. I had heard that you can request something else but we never did. I'm thinking that you'd be able to get a vegetarian dish. My FIL does not eat any type of fowl. One evening the appetizer was Hen Soup. There were 3 colored squares on our table and that was to tell them who got a special meal. For some reason my SIL and I were also listed as not having the Hen Soup. I went ahead and had the replacement soup which was Carrot Soup. This was the only time they had something that was fowl. His travel agent let Hurtigruten know of his meal request at the time of booking.

 

We did not have anyone conducting special hikes that I'm aware of.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi,

 

Thank for all the info, we'll be on the Finnmarken in October and looking forward to the cruise. So far we've booked the North Cape without breakfast as our agent says we have breakfast on the ship, so why do it.

i don't think the "Breakfast in North Cape" excursion (done on the Southbound journey) is available in October anyway. At this date, the only North Cape excursion is the one done on the Northbound journey, in the middle of the day. You get an early lunch on the ship and then go on excursion (11.45amto 2.30pm or something like that).

 

 

Regardind the set menu at dinner, there are two possibilites to change what is on offer : (1) you have a special dietary requirement (vegetarian, gluten-free...), in which case you should mention it upon booking and your meals will be adjusted on a daily basis (2) the menu is posted every day in the morning (or sometimes even the night before), if you don't like one of the course you can ask for a subsitute, it's very easy, but you have to do it before lunchtime for the evening dinner. Just ask a staff member in the restaurant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i don't think the "Breakfast in North Cape" excursion (done on the Southbound journey) is available in October anyway. At this date, the only North Cape excursion is the one done on the Northbound journey, in the middle of the day. You get an early lunch on the ship and then go on excursion (11.45amto 2.30pm or something like that).

 

 

Regardind the set menu at dinner, there are two possibilites to change what is on offer : (1) you have a special dietary requirement (vegetarian, gluten-free...), in which case you should mention it upon booking and your meals will be adjusted on a daily basis (2) the menu is posted every day in the morning (or sometimes even the night before), if you don't like one of the course you can ask for a subsitute, it's very easy, but you have to do it before lunchtime for the evening dinner. Just ask a staff member in the restaurant.

 

 

Last year my Sept 25 start date on the Nordnorge, they did offer the breakfast excursion as well. I remember thinking why would I pay so much extra to do breakfast?

 

I wasn't hungry yet for the early lunch they offered us on the non breakfast excursion so I made myself a sandwhich of bread, cold sliced reindeer and cheese from the buffet to bring with me! :D

 

As far as vegetarian cuisine and menu changes, I talked with Anna at the restaurant desk and she said anyone can request something different ahead of time as SarniaLo says. Also I spoke at length with a vegetarian I met on the ship and she said she also went to the restaurant manager when she boarded to remind them of her dietary preferences. She said the vegetarian options she was given were wonderful. She was from Germany.

 

Almost a year later, I still feel my Hurtigruten cruise late September of 2016 was the best vacation of my life. Saw the Northern lights 5 nights!:hearteyes::hearteyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Did you book your excursions before or after you boarded? What was some of your favorite excursions or were there any that you wouldn't bother to do? Also, any other tips for first time Hurtigruten sailers would be great!

 

We are booked on the Polarys next March and are looking forward to a cold but exciting trip.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

 

 

We just came back from the return trip on Polarlys. Make sure you are in a renovated cabin. We were in an inside cabin on deck 3 and it was unrenovated. Although the condition was good the layout does not allow for large cases to be placed under the bed so you are always moving them around. The renovated cabins also have more storage whereas we just had a small robe and an open shelf. We only did 2 excursions... The Geiranger Fjord and the North Cape. Regretted not doing the Atlantic Road but thought it not ideal in a large bus. The food was amazing on the Polarlys. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole cruise. No need really to do a lot of excursions although you will be travelling at a different time of year to us.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Edited by retep55555

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We're thinking of doing this same cruise next March in hopes of seeing the Aurora. We'll pack for cold weather. How long were you in ports that had excursions? Did the ship do a lot short dockings to take on or let off cars and passengers?

 

 

 

Just returned from the Polarlys round trip.... We were often only in port for 15 mins... Not long enough to get off really. Some ports were 30, 45, 60, 90 minutes which was worth getting off. You always dock right in the middle of the town so everything is relatively close by. There is often not a lot to see in these towns. Some ship's excursions start in one port and they travel overland and pick up the ship at another port. The ship stops at ports during the night too so don't choose a cabin near the car ramp. I would not pre book any excursions... Wait to you are on board. One the first day they will have a talk on all the excursions for the first half... Bergen to Kirkenes. None of the excursions were booked out and you could book up to the night before and sometimes on the same day.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Such a good report thanks. We are on Sept 9 on Polaryls. Looking forward to it but maybe not the reindeer steak. Did you have someone on board that conducted hikes?

 

 

 

Just back from the Polarlys... Yes they do offer hikes and one is free which we did. They also put the menu for the night on the table at breakfast time so it is a good idea to check it. On the night of the reindeer steak I asked for an alternative which was fish but you have to prearrange this. The food was superb!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forgot to mention I did the midnight concert excursion too which was very good and worth the late night.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are planning a 12 day round trip next year in Oct-Mar time period. This conversation has been great. I really want to go in November, 2018. Any reports of that time? NL are a MUST! Good weather would be nice, and some fall color.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

November, I think, is probably the worst season for a first trip! :) It is too late for autumn colors (they rather occur between mid-September and mid-October from North to South, at the end of October most of the leaves will have fallen). It might be a bit early for snow, and in general it is a very wet and gloomy month (much more chance for clouds, so less chances for NL).

I would advise either going earlier (early October for instance), or later. For instance January if you still want to experience the polar night, or end February/early March for the real winter experience with plenty of snow, and some daylight to enjoy the landscape a little bit more (but still long nights for the NL).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've only ever been to Norway in November, and I can attest it was rather bleak. Although there was still a fair amount of colour up in the hills. I was as far north as Alesund and Lillehammer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you both so much for the input. I can do either early October or March 2019 (though I would hate to wait that long!) Would we see NL in early October or is the best bet for that March? That is our quest and bucket list--to see NL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For Northern Lights it does not matter much. During the season (late August to mid-April), seeing the NL comes down to solar activity and clear skies, both of which are impossible to predict. Maybe look at the weather statistics to see which month has the less precipitation on average (look at Tromsø for instance) but I would say the chances are the same. If you want to increase your chances for NL, maybe combine the Hurtigruten trip with a land-based stay (for instance, exit the ship on the Southbound voyage in Tromsø or Lofoten, depending on which one appeals to you the most). If you are on land you have more opportunities to move around when the weather is bad above you.

 

The choice of season would depend more on what is the overall experience you want to have. In terms of daylight both would be about the same. October is autumn, colors on the tree, not much snow, milder temperature. March is winter, cold crip air, snow (so snow activities), gorgeous lights and colors during sunrise/sunset. It will be two very different experiences but both are good choices.

 

If you want some more input you can look at my blog (adress in signature), I have done this trip once in end September/early October and several times in winter (February and March) so maybe the pictures can give you an idea and help with your decision.

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
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance with Steve Dasseos of TripInsuranceStore.com
      • 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...