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Havila Capella


gwenmarie
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37 minutes ago, Eric53 said:

Four of us were on the Capella late Sept. into early Oct. for 12 days. A wonderful cruise. New ship, only 6 Americans on board with about 100 passengers total. A tour group from Germany made up the majority of the rest of the passengers.  I just posted a review - sorry for the delay and it should be up on this website in a few days.  No complaints - well a few very minor ones mentioned, but all in all I would rate this about a 95 out of 100!  Highly recommend the ship, the crew, the country, the scenery - and on, and on, and on.

Some of us [that would be moi, at least] don't read the reviews section.  Could you copy/paste your review here?  TIA

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On 11/12/2022 at 6:59 PM, Eric53 said:

Four of us were on the Capella late Sept. into early Oct. for 12 days. A wonderful cruise. New ship, only 6 Americans on board with about 100 passengers total. A tour group from Germany made up the majority of the rest of the passengers.  I just posted a review - sorry for the delay and it should be up on this website in a few days.  No complaints - well a few very minor ones mentioned, but all in all I would rate this about a 95 out of 100!  Highly recommend the ship, the crew, the country, the scenery - and on, and on, and on.

 

Thanks, it's nice to finally get some information on this...we're booked for Feb. 14 '22 round trip, and really looking forward to it!  The lack of any reviews had me wondering if it was "real", so I went right to your review.

 

I'll no doubt have a few questions, so thanks for the email offer; with our mid-late February trip, I'm assuming the weather won't be great, so it's hard to know what to plan.  I'm glad to hear you went on the Russian border excursion...one question, it describes it as 'strenuous', and that covers a wide range, so did you consider it strenuous or just a bit of uphill/stairs  and walking?

 

We are planning a full day in each Bergen and Oslo...sounds like maybe we should add a day in Bergen at least, but I'm wondering how the weather will limit things.  It's also hard to imagine how to fit in excursions with such limited time in port, but I guess it works.

 

Anyway, thanks again, much appreciated, and you'll probably get a few more questions as we prepare.

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Do the Havila ships have loading doors or gangways on the starboard side of the ships?  I have only been able to see pictures of the ships on the port side online and YouTube where the gangway and loading doors show clearly.  I'm getting ready to book a round trip Bergen/Kirkenes/Bergen so I'm looking at cabin locations.

 

Thank you!

~Nancy

Edited by oakridger
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The starboard side is pretty clear here:

https://www.havilavoyages.com/about-havila/media/havila-capella-delivered

if that's of any help.

I can't really tell from the pictures if there are cargo doors there, but when booking our trip for this February, I checked with Havila about which side they generally docked on, since I wanted our cabin to be able to view the towns and mountains as much as possible on the short stops, and was told they dock on the port side (I know that's the origin of "port side" but ships dock on different sides since they don't have "steering boards" now 8^).  

I should know more in about a month when we return from the trip.

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Thanks for sending this along @Flyinby!  It looks to me like there aren't any cargo doors on the starboard side when I zoom in as much as my computer will go.  I'd love to hear your impressions of Havila when you get a chance.  I've taken this trip on Hurtigruten and absolutely loved it but wanted to try Havila this time.  

 

Have a wonderful time in Norway!

~Nancy

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I have never been on a Hurtigruten ship, so I can't compare. But I finally choose Havila, because it was a much better price, and it is a brand new and very modern ship.

I first was a bit concerned about never having a buffet and have to order everything by the menu, but this worked quite well. Some items on the menu changed every three days, and you could order as much as items you want. And there have been a lot of very interesting and tasty dishes. So the food was much better as I would have expected. 

We took every chance we had to leave the ship, also for 15 minutes only walks! There is always something to see.

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11 hours ago, directionfinder said:

I have never been on a Hurtigruten ship, so I can't compare. But I finally choose Havila, because it was a much better price, and it is a brand new and very modern ship.

I first was a bit concerned about never having a buffet and have to order everything by the menu, but this worked quite well. Some items on the menu changed every three days, and you could order as much as items you want. And there have been a lot of very interesting and tasty dishes. So the food was much better as I would have expected. 

We took every chance we had to leave the ship, also for 15 minutes only walks! There is always something to see.

Yes, the lack of a buffet concerns me, but I'm glad to hear you didn't find it much of an issue.  Come to think of it, a couple of river cruises we did had no buffets, and I quickly got used to it.

 

I appreciate the comment about leaving the ship at even very short stops.  I'm always taking photos, and now that you mention it, I'm sure there would be some interesting sights near the ship...just as long as we don't get distracted and left behind...8^).

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15 hours ago, directionfinder said:

We took every chance we had to leave the ship, also for 15 minutes only walks! There is always something to see.

 

I spoke with someone last week who went on the Hurtigruten Bergen/Kirkenes/Bergen route and did actually step off the ship in all 34 ports!!!  And, yes, even the ones that docked for 10 minutes at 3am.  

I'm not quite that inspired but do plan on getting off during my waking hours in most ports. 

 

@directionfinder thanks for sharing your recent experience.  Good to hear that the food and meal service scheme works well. 

 

~Nancy

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11 hours ago, oakridger said:

I spoke with someone last week who went on the Hurtigruten Bergen/Kirkenes/Bergen route and did actually step off the ship in all 34 ports!!!  And, yes, even the ones that docked for 10 minutes at 3am.  

I'm not quite that inspired but do plan on getting off during my waking hours in most ports. 

Now you've done it.  The seed is planted, and there may be no way to avoid it.  Looking at the schedule, I think I could do the "lite" version, of getting off at least once in every port, even with the shorter February days, at least long enough to get a few photos. Not necessarily every stop, but at least once in each port.

 

The earliest I'd have to be off would be 5:45AM, (on the last day of the trip), and the latest I'd have to be dressed for ten degrees (maybe) and off-ship would be 10PM, at least if the schedule holds, and only on maybe 3-4 of the days.  That sounds do-able, and I'm not sure I'll be able to avoid it now.

 

I'm hoping the northern lights coincide with some late-night stops.  The best photos need maybe 10-15 seconds of exposure on a tripod, and a moving ship doesn't work well for that.  There are workarounds, which I'll use when on the ship if northern lights appear, but I'd happily get up at 1AM if we were stopped and were treated to a display.  So I may have to sleep with one eye open...8^). At least on the nights when the possibility is good.

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We're booked on the Havila Polaris on 6 February and just learned (from Havila's website) that the trip is cancelled.  Despite knowing that the ship would not be available in late December, we (nor our travel agent) still have not received any notice from Havila.  Now, we're scrambling to figure out what to do.  Seems a Hurtigruten voyage is available the next day but at almost double the price for a lesser cabin.  How disappointing.

 

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6 hours ago, mvogel said:

We're booked on the Havila Polaris on 6 February and just learned (from Havila's website) that the trip is cancelled.  Despite knowing that the ship would not be available in late December, we (nor our travel agent) still have not received any notice from Havila.  Now, we're scrambling to figure out what to do.  Seems a Hurtigruten voyage is available the next day but at almost double the price for a lesser cabin.  How disappointing.

 

Sorry to hear that; I heard the Polaris was delayed and they had canceled its first 4 scheduled voyages, back in December but it seems odd that your agent didn't get notification, especially if the booking was paid or he'd been in contact with them.  Could the email have been missed or diverted to spam?

They're saying now that they expect it to be ready go into service Feb. 11, but if they don't have it yet I wouldn't hold my breath unless they have the ship and it's started operation.  Hope you're able to work out the Hurtigruten situation so your trip can still work out, even if it's a day later.  If you learn any more, let us know.

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@mvogelhave you tried to schedule the previous or next voyage on the Capella (or Castor) instead?  Others have reported on either the Hurtigruten Cruise Critic forum or the Facebook page that they have switched to the other Havila ship at the same cost as their Polaris booking.

 

Good Luck and please let us know if you can switch!

 

~Nancy 

 

Oops....I was typing at the same time as @Flyinby!  We're here in the same time zone.  

Edited by oakridger
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On 1/24/2023 at 3:57 PM, mvogel said:

We're booked on the Havila Polaris on 6 February and just learned (from Havila's website) that the trip is cancelled.  Despite knowing that the ship would not be available in late December, we (nor our travel agent) still have not received any notice from Havila.  Now, we're scrambling to figure out what to do.  Seems a Hurtigruten voyage is available the next day but at almost double the price for a lesser cabin.  How disappointing.

 

I was originally booked on Polaris for the January 9 departure.  On December 20, I got the cancellation notice and immediately rebooked for the January 7 Castor departure.  Havila booked us in the same rooms at the same rate.  Only difference in our booking was that they upgraded our 30 alcohol drinks package to the 50 for free because they don’t offer it any more.  They also paid for our flight changes.

 

I’ve been home for a week and off the cruise for 10 days.  Had a great time with my mother.  We fortunately had separate cabins.  The cabins were good with our only issue being the shower temperature control.  It was very difficult for us to get a consistent temperature and we both came very close to scalding ourselves.

 

As for meals, the food was very tasty though we both found breakfast and lunch to be quite repetitive even with Havila Gold.  My mother doesn’t like creamy scrambled eggs so the menu was limited and even I, who is used to it, got bored of the breakfasts.  There was almost not fruit on offer besides juices which neither one of us drink.  Lunch was even more repetitive especially since my mother eats no fish or shellfish.  Fortunately, Havly Cafe  is available at no cost and they had good food.  It’s not exactly well known that you can eat there instead of the restaurant but we found out because I asked about lunch options since we were going to miss our scheduled seating at our first port due to an excursion.  Dinner was much better as there are two dishes always available in all portions of the menu with four others that rotate (two for dessert) every three days.  Hildring was also great at accommodating my mother’s dietary restrictions.

 

One other thing to note is that you have to select a series of dining times.  Ours were 7:00/11:30/18:00 which were the first seatings.  There were five available a half hour apart. You can’t pick and choose.

 

There were lots of places to sit on the boat and it never felt crowded.  There’s no entertainment so bring your own.  I was actually working half days and found the Wi-Fi to be quite good.  Excursions were good but a bit pricy.  We only had one cancelled so we walked through Kirkenes on our own instead.  Saw some Northern Lights but not much.

 

There were more than a few passengers from our cancelled cruise on the one we took.  Total was about 150.  It was much quieter southbound than northbound.

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8 hours ago, UDChE89 said:

upgraded our 30 alcohol drinks package to the 50 for free because they don’t offer it any more

 

@UDChE89Thanks very much for sharing your impressions about the trip! 

That's too bad that they don't offer a 30-unit package for alcohol packages.  They still list it for the non-alcoholic drinks package though.  

 

Did you report the shower temperature problem to the office?  Did they respond quickly to fix it?

 

It's nice to know that guests can eat at the Havly Cafe if the main dining room meal doesn't appeal to them.  I also wasn't aware of the fixed dining times, but that's fine with me.  

 

~Nancy

 

Edited by oakridger
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On 1/29/2023 at 7:05 AM, UDChE89 said:

I was originally booked on Polaris for the January 9 departure.  On December 20, I got the cancellation notice and immediately rebooked for the January 7 Castor departure.  Havila booked us in the same rooms at the same rate.  Only difference in our booking was that they upgraded our 30 alcohol drinks package to the 50 for free because they don’t offer it any more.  They also paid for our flight changes.

 

I’ve been home for a week and off the cruise for 10 days.  Had a great time with my mother.  We fortunately had separate cabins.  The cabins were good with our only issue being the shower temperature control.  It was very difficult for us to get a consistent temperature and we both came very close to scalding ourselves.

 

As for meals, the food was very tasty though we both found breakfast and lunch to be quite repetitive even with Havila Gold.  My mother doesn’t like creamy scrambled eggs so the menu was limited and even I, who is used to it, got bored of the breakfasts.  There was almost not fruit on offer besides juices which neither one of us drink.  Lunch was even more repetitive especially since my mother eats no fish or shellfish.  Fortunately, Havly Cafe  is available at no cost and they had good food.  It’s not exactly well known that you can eat there instead of the restaurant but we found out because I asked about lunch options since we were going to miss our scheduled seating at our first port due to an excursion.  Dinner was much better as there are two dishes always available in all portions of the menu with four others that rotate (two for dessert) every three days.  Hildring was also great at accommodating my mother’s dietary restrictions.

 

One other thing to note is that you have to select a series of dining times.  Ours were 7:00/11:30/18:00 which were the first seatings.  There were five available a half hour apart. You can’t pick and choose.

 

There were lots of places to sit on the boat and it never felt crowded.  There’s no entertainment so bring your own.  I was actually working half days and found the Wi-Fi to be quite good.  Excursions were good but a bit pricy.  We only had one cancelled so we walked through Kirkenes on our own instead.  Saw some Northern Lights but not much.

 

There were more than a few passengers from our cancelled cruise on the one we took.  Total was about 150.  It was much quieter southbound than northbound.

Thanks for the info on your recent experience.  Regarding the cafe, do you just go to the cafe instead of your regular table, or do you just order it from your table and they bring it?  I'd heard of someone who said they brought it to them from the cafe, which would be handy.  I did see some menus online, and, being a somewhat picky eater, would be likely to be saying "I'll just have a cheeseburger" now and then...I like some seafood but oddly enough, not the items considered the most desirable to some... salmon, trout, lobster, oysters, roe, etc.

 

Too bad about the lack fruit for breakfast, but I guess it is Norway and fresh fruit might be more difficult in mid-winter.  Did they have Oatmeal, Meusli, granola, or anything similar offered at breakfast?

 

I've heard of the shower temperature issues, but not the 'almost scalding'.  Will be sure to leave a quick exit just in case, and I still have enough hair to work for a temporary emergency block of a hot or cold surge 8^).

 

We've booked seven excursions, hopefully none get cancelled, but there's a lot more offered than I'd have thought in late winter in Norway.  I can understand the prices being higher than more conventional cruise stops/times, given the smaller number of potential participants.  But averaging it in with the cost of the voyage, which I think is quite a bargain even if booking a suite, it seems pretty reasonable.

 

Thanks for your report!

Edited by Flyinby
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On 1/29/2023 at 6:51 PM, oakridger said:

 

@UDChE89Thanks very much for sharing your impressions about the trip! 

That's too bad that they don't offer a 30-unit package for alcohol packages.  They still list it for the non-alcoholic drinks package though.  

 

Did you report the shower temperature problem to the office?  Did they respond quickly to fix it?

 

It's nice to know that guests can eat at the Havly Cafe if the main dining room meal doesn't appeal to them.  I also wasn't aware of the fixed dining times, but that's fine with me.  

 

~Nancy

 

They did have the 30 drink non-alcoholic package.

 

I don’t think either one of us reported the shower issue once we figured out how to resolve it.  I didn’t hear anyone else complain.

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On 1/30/2023 at 2:37 PM, Flyinby said:

Thanks for the info on your recent experience.  Regarding the cafe, do you just go to the cafe instead of your regular table, or do you just order it from your table and they bring it?  I'd heard of someone who said they brought it to them from the cafe, which would be handy.  I did see some menus online, and, being a somewhat picky eater, would be likely to be saying "I'll just have a cheeseburger" now and then...I like some seafood but oddly enough, not the items considered the most desirable to some... salmon, trout, lobster, oysters, roe, etc.

 

Too bad about the lack fruit for breakfast, but I guess it is Norway and fresh fruit might be more difficult in mid-winter.  Did they have Oatmeal, Meusli, granola, or anything similar offered at breakfast?

 

I've heard of the shower temperature issues, but not the 'almost scalding'.  Will be sure to leave a quick exit just in case, and I still have enough hair to work for a temporary emergency block of a hot or cold surge 8^).

 

We've booked seven excursions, hopefully none get cancelled, but there's a lot more offered than I'd have thought in late winter in Norway.  I can understand the prices being higher than more conventional cruise stops/times, given the smaller number of potential participants.  But averaging it in with the cost of the voyage, which I think is quite a bargain even if booking a suite, it seems pretty reasonable.

 

Thanks for your report!

You walk through the cafe to get to the restaurant.  If it is after your seating time, plus fifteen minutes or so, they won’t seat you.  They alternate sides of the restaurant for each seating.  They did have oatmeal/porridge and that did rotate every three days.  The cafe doesn’t open until 8.

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16 hours ago, oakridger said:

@Flyinbywhen does your trip begin?  You mentioned February!  Which ship will you be on?  I guess I'm just a bit excited to have a fellow Californian trying out Havila too!!

 

Have a wonderful time!

 

~Nancy

Thanks, we're excited too! we fly out Wednesday the 8th from San Luis Obispo to Oslo.  2 nights in Oslo, then the train to Flam for one night, then train to Bergen for 2 nights before boarding the Capella on the 14th.

 

I got a kick out of this, I was searching  for some info and this came up:

https://www.allertravel.com/arne-og-carlos-knitting-under-the-aurora-borealis

 

Turns out they're on the same ship, same time...so if we find out we didn't bring enough warm clothes, we can just ask them to knit us up some extra stuff 8^).

 

The ship looks great, with the nice front lounge with windows all around, so there's a refuge with a view if it gets too cold outside.  We'll hope for some clear or semi-clear nights, and if we get it have some good chances to see the aurora, but we'll be fine either way.  The temperatures really don't look too bad, even in Kirkenes, but depending on the wind I suppose.  I'm bringing a pair of shorts, just in case...8^).

 

I'll be sure to report back, to give a California perspective on the trip and Havila.  Did you ever decide on your booking?

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1 minute ago, Flyinby said:

I'm bringing a pair of shorts, just in case.

Ha ha!  You are quite the optimist!!  It will be so wonderful if you see the Aurora.  I have never seen them.....yet.... but for sure won't on my trip in June!

 

I hope you are still watching this thread now as I have a question.  I tried to book online yesterday and the website that was supposed to be in English was in Norwegian when it got to the booking forms to fill in.  I am fine translating the first parts but when it gets to the more detailed payment and optional excursions, I wasn't able to easily translate.  I didn't want to sign up for something I am not absolutely sure of.  My email to Havila has not been answered.

 

Which website did you use to book?  I was trying on Havila homepage - Havila Voyages

 

Thanks,

~Nancy

 

 

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2 hours ago, oakridger said:

Ha ha!  You are quite the optimist!!  It will be so wonderful if you see the Aurora.  I have never seen them.....yet.... but for sure won't on my trip in June!

 

I hope you are still watching this thread now as I have a question.  I tried to book online yesterday and the website that was supposed to be in English was in Norwegian when it got to the booking forms to fill in.  I am fine translating the first parts but when it gets to the more detailed payment and optional excursions, I wasn't able to easily translate.  I didn't want to sign up for something I am not absolutely sure of.  My email to Havila has not been answered.

 

Which website did you use to book?  I was trying on Havila homepage - Havila Voyages

 

Thanks,

~Nancy

 

 

That's odd, I tried https://www.havilavoyages.com/ (make sure 'EN' is selected up at the top, with the British flag symbol) and if you click on the 'detail' of the voyage you want (make sure the 'EN' is still there), and then 'book' it should stay in English.  You can use the login link at top to create an account if you want, maybe that will make a difference, but at that point it stays in English for me, through choosing the voyage and the cabin etc.

 

Maybe try using a different web browser than you tried...sometimes they remember what once was chosen, and just keep going back to that.  Or try using your phone, if you haven't, or a different computer if you don't have a second browser.  I haven't had that happen so I'm just guessing at what I'd try.

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