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Dog sledding anybody done?


cymrucat23
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Totally new to considering a cruise, but thinking of the Northern Lights March 2024. Really want to do Northern Lights and Norway, especially interested in doing a dog sled. Looked at P&O and Cunard. It would be easier from Southampton, but would rather go to Newcastle for a better itinerary (and a shorter cruise and smaller ship).  P&O and Cunard don't seem to have such interesting itineraries, plus a lot of 'at sea' time (I'm not interested in spending lots of time onboard having 'gala' dinners and dressing up) although the accommodation on Cunard looks nicer! I realised Fred. does not seem to be having great reviews lately...but P&O look even worse!  Any advice/opinions welcome, have already gained a good insight from reading posts, thank you.

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Hello. We did the Northern Lights Cruise three or four years ago out of Newcastle.

We are booked again in 2024.

On the last cruise we did three trips. 
A full Day Tour to the  Artic Circle Area, Reindeer Farms and meeting the local Sami People. A superb tour.

Another trip was Dog Sledding. Met all the dogs in their kennels then a 30 Min or about on a sled. Entertaining.

Can not  remember the other trip.

We were booked on a trip on a Train but it was cancelled.

In 2024 we hope to go on the Train Trip and will do the Dog Sled again.

We saw the Lights twice, both at 2 in the morning. So be prepared for out on the deck thro the night. Take warm clothing.

We are on the Balmoral in 2024 which is our favourite Fred Ship.

P and O have a wider generation of passengers.

Fred more of a Country House atmosphere. Although not stuffy and always have a great time.

We are keen Dancers and Fred caters for us. Ballroom and later in the evening modern.

Cruised with Fred 10 times and Food, Service and Entertainment always good.

Any more questions just ask.

 

 

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1 hour ago, cymrucat23 said:

Totally new to considering a cruise, but thinking of the Northern Lights March 2024. Really want to do Northern Lights and Norway, especially interested in doing a dog sled. Looked at P&O and Cunard. It would be easier from Southampton, but would rather go to Newcastle for a better itinerary (and a shorter cruise and smaller ship).  P&O and Cunard don't seem to have such interesting itineraries, plus a lot of 'at sea' time (I'm not interested in spending lots of time onboard having 'gala' dinners and dressing up) although the accommodation on Cunard looks nicer! I realised Fred. does not seem to be having great reviews lately...but P&O look even worse!  Any advice/opinions welcome, have already gained a good insight from reading posts, thank you.

 

We have not done dog sledding, but have cruised a lot on both Fred and P&O.  They are much the same regards number of formal nights, (especially if you are looking at Aurora or Arcadia with P&O).  About two formals per week or could be just three over a two week cruise, but on both lines you would be able to eat in the self service on those nights without formal dress if you preferred.  As a new cruiser, are you aware that sometimes you are allocated a table for dinner which you will be sharing with other passengers?  You can request a table for two, but especially if you book nearer to the cruise date, you may not be able to get one.  Fred has said he is intending to bring in a flexible dining option, which means you would be able to go into the restaurant when you wish and can also specify certain table sizes each night, (if available, or if you are prepared to wait), but afaik it has not been brought in as yet.  P&O do have a "Freedom Dining" option which you can choose on booking (again according to availability).  Otherwise you will be expected to eat at the same time each night and sit at that same table, each day, (usually about 6.30pm or 8.30pm).  Having said that some people are very happy to sit on a bigger table and can enjoy the company of people they can get to know over the cruise.  If you go with Fred on Balmoral, I suggest asking for either the Spey or Avon restaurants that are smaller and very pleasant.  Fred's other ships do have quite a lot of tables for two in the main set dining restaurants, but I am not sure about Aurora/Arcadia as we always choose freedom dining with P&O.  We have never travelled with Cunard, but they are reported as being more formal and their drinks are apparently incredibly expensive, so prices can work out a lot more than they at first appear. 

 

I agree that Fred has the better itineraries and also his ships usually do a fair bit of scenic cruising when along the coast of Norway, even on days when you are not in port, whilst P&O will go out into sea, which can mean rougher sea conditions as well.  You will always have a sail in/out of port which can be very scenic in Norway, though of course there will be long hours of darkness in the winter up there.  The Northern lights may be seen at that time of year of course but no guarantee that you will see them - may take a lot of standing out in the cold.  Prices can be lower on P&O, though if looking at inside/outside cabins they are very small on the P&O ships.

 

Hope that helps a bit, but if you do a Norway winter, be aware you will need really warm clothing (layers) and some sort of good boots with extra tick socks as it does get incredibly cold - especially if standing outdoors hoping to see the lights.  It was minus 27C at night when we were in Alta late March a number of years ago.  Enjoy whatever you choose, hope this helps a tad.

 

Edited by tring
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Thank you tring, yes I was aware of the table for 2 booking and the possibility of sharing tables (we are not that antisocial 😂), just not so keen on the very formal stuff, don't mind trying the odd 'dress up' evening!  Don't drink alcohol, so not bothered about costs of that (much prefer a nice cup of Earl Grey, would probably bring my own supply). I have read all the advice in this forum regarding extreme cold weather gear as well, so anticipate being prepared for that. Have to agree the itinerary with Fred. is much more appealing, but it seems pretty expensive for the 9 night cruise in March.  I have noted that prices can come down sooner to the departure date....maybe I should wait a bit?  Many thanks for the info and advice.

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1 hour ago, 1160451 said:

Hello. We did the Northern Lights Cruise three or four years ago out of Newcastle.

We are booked again in 2024.

On the last cruise we did three trips. 
A full Day Tour to the  Artic Circle Area, Reindeer Farms and meeting the local Sami People. A superb tour.

Another trip was Dog Sledding. Met all the dogs in their kennels then a 30 Min or about on a sled. Entertaining.

Can not  remember the other trip.

We were booked on a trip on a Train but it was cancelled.

In 2024 we hope to go on the Train Trip and will do the Dog Sled again.

We saw the Lights twice, both at 2 in the morning. So be prepared for out on the deck thro the night. Take warm clothing.

We are on the Balmoral in 2024 which is our favourite Fred Ship.

P and O have a wider generation of passengers.

Fred more of a Country House atmosphere. Although not stuffy and always have a great time.

We are keen Dancers and Fred caters for us. Ballroom and later in the evening modern.

Cruised with Fred 10 times and Food, Service and Entertainment always good.

Any more questions just ask.

 

 

That sounds great, Fred. is sounding much more appealing to me now in contrast with the others (though Saga looked quite interesting....until I saw the prices)! Can I ask 1160451, were the excursions expensive...though of course prices will change for 2024, guessing you need to book in advance too? Many thanks, I may ask more questions later 🙂

 

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Hi. I can’t remember the exact cost of the trips BUT I do recall we did considered them very expensive.

Just remembered the spreadsheet I keep for all our holidays costs. 
The cost for two of us for the Cruise excursions was £790. I think that was for three. The costing says £440+£175+£175. So as you see very expensive.

I recall we said well it’s only once, but hey ho we have booked again.

It was that good.

Yes we booked in advance. 
The Northern Lights were worth the cost of the cruise. Incredible and very moving.

Edited by 1160451
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Hi Cymrucat23,

I have quite a lot of information that might be of use to you. I write a diary with basic information for each port that we visit to use for future reference.

 

We did a cruise with a very similar itinerary to the on that you are interested in on Balmoral from Newcastle in February 2022. Our cruise was 14 nights because we travelled up to Alta but it visited all the ports on your itinerary.

I will share the ship and port information in separate posts because there is a lot of it and I’ll start with the dog sled tour.

 

My husband did the Husky sledging tour when we were docked in Tromso on our P&O cruise in 2017. I wasn’t able to do it as I have some mobility issues which mean that I can’t sit on low seats or walk safely in very slippery conditions. He loved the trip and this is what he wrote when he got back.

 

27th 2017. P&O excursion

Husky sledging.

The bus left the port terminus at 16.30 and took about thirty minutes to reach the Tromso Wildlife Centre. The journey was during sunset and the views were quite dramatic. The centre was out in the countryside and we were taken first into a large wooden building for coffee/tea, cake and to meet our guide. This building was comfortable with tables, chairs, fire pit, toilets and a small shopping area.

The guide was excellent and explained everything about the dogs' working life whilst we walked around the site visiting the kennels, breeding area and sleight boarding area. All of the dogs were very friendly and people were allowed to cuddle the puppies.

I was on a sleigh by myself with the driver.  The ride took about thirty-five minutes over undulating ground and at times you could see the lights of Tromso in the distance. The ride out in the deep snow was a wonderful, although bouncy, experience.  We got back to the ship at 20.00.

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My husband and I are veteran cruisers and will sail with any cruise line and any ship that takes us to where we want to go and have never had a bad cruise but we really like the Fred Olsen product for the reasons below and would choose FO over P&O and Cunard;

 

Things I like about FO in no particular order:

  • The overall mature age group.
  • Entertainment geared to the age group with several production shows per cruise.
  • Production show team involved in general cruise activities.
  • Small ships.
  • Less visited ports and varied itineraries. 
  • Laundrette. 
  • Welcome back drinks appropriate to the climate at each port.
  • Evening turn down service and chocolate.
  • Beautiful flower arrangements all over the ship.
  • Speedy room service.
  • Captain’s welcome and farewell receptions with plentiful drinks and canapés.
  • Loyalty reception for 'gold and above'.
  • Luggage labels, tour excursions booklet and glossy cruise itinerary booklet delivered by post.
  • Helpful and delightful crew members.
  • Pub prices.
  • Several 'always available' dishes in the dining room. 
  • The 2 speciality restaurants, Colours and Tastes and Vasco’s, have high quality food at a reasonable price.
  • Cruise points for competition wins.
  • Reserving seats on ship’s tours for passengers with mobility issues.
  • Ballroom and Sequence dancing every day with dance hosts.

This is my list of items that for cold weather cruises:

 

·         Brought/forgotten - used/not used.

·         Forgotten

·         Highlighter pens

·         Polo shirts

·         Casual, thin day wear for around the ship

 

·         Brought and used.

·         Thermal vests, long johns, socks.

·         Water/wind proof jacket

·         Fleeces to layer

·         Scarf

·         Neck warmer

·         Thick hat with ear protectors 

·         Thermal gloves

·         Silk glove liners

·         Camera tripod

·         Snow/lined waterproof boots

·         Crutch/walking stick ice spike

·         Hand/foot warmer gel pouches

·         Brought and not used

·         Ski goggles

·         Crampon studs

·         General information

·         The captain will make an announcement when the lights appear over the tanoy in public areas and on channel 1 on the cabin TV. 

·         The advice was to leave the TV on through the night with the volume turned up if you wanted to hear the call.

·         The ship is warm inside so have appropriate clothing for that too. We had concentrated so much on Arctic weather clothes that I didn't pack much indoor wear!

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Our Balmoral cruise was in June 2022 and was up to Northern Norway and Svalbard. The relevant information from this cruise for you is about Newcastle and boarding the ship. We left home in Staffordshire 2 days before we boarded and stayed a night in Bridlington and then stayed overnight in Newcastle.

The port is at Coble Dene which is about 10 miles from Newcastle city centre. We stayed at:

The Travelodge Quayside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

  • the hotel was large and had its own car park.
  • Parking was free for Disabled Badge holders.
  • I had booked an accessible room for £48 including wifi and the room was huge with views across the promenade and river (room 330).
  • I was surprised to see the Lavazza coffee pod machine as well as a kit Kat each…nice touch.
  • We had a very pleasant walk along the promenade and then ordered a pizza to eat in the room.
  • The only downside was the size of the TV which was small in comparison to the room so I needed to wear my glasses!
  • We were in bed and asleep by 10pm after a lovely day.

Parking at the port car park is expensive. It was £12 per day last June. I used these 2 websites, JustPark.com and YourParkingSpace.co.uk, and found that you could park at the Premier Inn by the port for a lot less.

 

Day 3. Wednesday 22nd June.

Boarding Balmoral.

Time change: +1 hour

A.M. warm and sunny

P.M. as above 

Sea Conditions: calm

We left the hotel about 10.30 and drove to Coble Dene to find the Premier Inn where we had booked car parking. We also located the entrance to the cruise terminal complex and then drove down to the terminal building. 

As it was still too early to check in, we decided to drive to Tynemouth which we discovered had a very pleasant small town centre and a magnificent ancient castle. We spent 30 minutes there enjoying the scenery before driving along the coast road to Whitley Bay. There were lots of small coves which then gave way to long stretches of golden sand.

I spotted a car park/WC sign do we stopped, found a parking space, visited the very clean loos and enjoyed watching the people having fun on the beach in the glorious weather. We had a coffee/tea and a cake before setting off back to the port. 

The check in process.

  • we were allocated a 1.15pm check in time but nobody asked us about that.
  • We were able to leave our luggage at the terminal building where he dropped me off before he went to park the car at the Premier Inn.
  • Jim said that there was plenty of space to park and he didn’t need to notify anyone. He said that the walk was barely 10 minutes from the car to the terminal.
  • Fortunately, there was only a short queue so we got through check in quite quickly.
  • There was a shuttle bus from the terminal building to the ship.
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This is the information for each of your ports

Day 4. Monday 14th February 2022

Alesund, Norway. 08.30 to 15.30 (all aboard time)

A.M. cold (high of 3*c), mainly overcast

P.M.

Sea conditions: extremely rough through the night until we got into the Alesund fjord.

I’d set the alarm for 07.00 so we could watch part of the sail-in but we were almost docked by the time we got outside. There was snow on the mountains which surround the city but it was just wet underfoot in the built up areas.

We had not booked a tour and were hoping that the tourist train would be running which it was!!

Jim decided to go for a wander and I got the tourist train.

Jim had climbed the stairs to the viewing point and then walked down the hill to the town centre so he got back on board around 12.45.

A good day.

Alesund.

  • the ship docks very close to the city centre.
  • There is a small terminal building with toilets and helpful visitor information personnel.
  • It is a short walk to the commercial centre where there is a good variety of shops although Norwegian prices are very high!
  • The busses for the ship's excursions are parked near to the terminal building 
  • There is a bus station for local busses on the quayside.
  • The hill top viewing point can be accessed by a flight of 400+ steps or by road 
  •  

City Tourist Train.

  • the train was parked just a short walk from the terminal exit.
  • Today’s journey was for 40 minutes and cost NOK 200pp (£16.65)
  • Unfortunately, the road to the view point was too icy so the route was changed to doing a tour round the town.
  • The commentary today was in English and was informative. 
  • The first train was at 10.00.
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Day 6. Wednesday 15th February 2022

Tromso - 11.00 and overnight

A.M. clear sunny sky and very cold…-6*c. Thick snow and ice under foot.

P.M. As above but even colder. Fortunately, there wasn’t any wind

Sea conditions: A strong swell until we got into the fjord where it was calm.

07.00 seems to be my default waking up time so we had coffee and then I got dressed and headed outside to enjoy the sail-in along the fjord. It was very picturesque.

We had breakfast as the ship began its docking manoeuvre and the call came to start disembarking just after 11.00.

 

We got shuttle number 4 just after midday and it took us to the centre of town (15 minutes) where we got off outside the Radisson Blu hotel.

We walked (slithered!) along by the harbour before turning into the shopping area where we had been told the #26 bus stopped. We took the bus to the cable car and got talking to 2 very nice young gentlemen from London who stayed with us on the bus to show us the stop nearest to the cable car.

 

Once at the lookout point at the top we spent about 20 minutes enjoying the amazing scenery. We then went into the cafe and had 1 small coffee and 1 large chocolate muffin for NOK97 = £8.60.

After an hour we took the cable car down and got the bus back to Tromso. After a bit of a wait the shuttle bus arrived and we were back on board at 04.15.

Tromso Port

  • the port is industrial.
  • It is situated about 2 miles out of the city centre.
  • There isn’t a terminal building.
  • The shuttle busses and ship’s tour busses depart from the bottom of the gangway.
  • I didn’t see any taxis or private tour companies but couldn’t see all the parking area so there may have been some.
  • There was a shuttle service into Tromso town centre which was free for us but £10 for those on a saver fare for unlimited journeys.

Tromso City

  • the city centre has a wide variety of ships and eating outlets
  • There are walkways along the harbour area.
  • There appeared to be boat trips and sightseeing tours being offered but I’m not sure if they were running while we were there.

Cable car

  • I had done my research online at home so I knew that it was possible to get a bus from the town centre to the cable car.
  • The Bus stop for bus #26 was quite close to the shuttle bus drop off point.
  • Busses were quite frequent.
  • Tickets must be purchases from the ticket machine (Instructions can be accessed in English) by credit card before boarding. Unfortunately, this machine wasn’t working so we bought our tickets at the shop across the road… NOK40pp = £3.30pp
  • Tickets must be validated on the machine on the bus.
  • The journey takes about 20 minutes and the driver will call out when to get off.
  • There is a short walk to the lower station where the ticket office is situated.
  • Tickets are NOK280PP = £20.  or NOK220pp = £18 or pensioners
  • Each car holds about 20 passengers. 
  • At the top there is a cafe, toilets, a viewing platform and access to open space where people were skiing etc.

 

Day 7. Thursday 17th February 2022 - Formal Night - WE GOT AURORA PHOTOS!!!

Tromso - all aboard by 17.30

A.M. cold and overcast

P.M. as above 

Sea conditions:

As Jim was going on his ice fishing excursion we were awake at 07.00. He went for breakfast and then left the cabin at 09.00. I did my ablutions and spent a bit of time tidying up before going for breakfast. I did the morning quiz and spent time catching up on my diary.

The rest of the day passed as usual until we went up to the Observatory Lounge for the 10pm quiz. It was then that people were telling us that the Aurora was visible above the ship so we rushed out and managed to get some great photos on my phone once I turned off the flash.

We were in and out of the lounge for an hour because it was so cold but the lights faded after half an hour so I went off to bed and Jim came down a bit later…. A good day!

JIM. ICE FISHING WITH A LOCAL.

There were seven participants in the group which consisted of five men and two women.  Before setting off each person was asked for their body and feet sizes so the correct weatherproof gear could be collected. On leaving the port it took half an hour to collect the gear from the company’s base in Tromso. The drive to the lake took approximately fifty minutes and this was through stunning countryside with the added bonus of great views of a golden eagle and two white tailed sea eagles. Once at the lake it took about fifteen minutes to kit everybody out with snow suits, snowshoes, reindeer skins for sitting on and walking poles.  A short walk to the fishing holes followed, each person was designated to one, and the short fishing rods were baited up and presented to each person. I thoroughly enjoyed the fishing and the group got on very well with each other but we failed catch any fish. Tea or coffee and cake was provided along with a fire on the ice to keep us warm. After nearly two hours we packed up and re boarded the coach for the journey back to the ship. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience but was disappointed because the driver chopped the wood for the fire, on the ice, about a meter and a half from where I was fishing. IMG_3912.JPG.abbe4af6cac9dd480c392b0030907add.JPG

 

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Day 11. Monday 21st February 2022

Bodo - 08.00 to 19.30 (all aboard time)

A.M. brilliant sunshine with an icy wind

P.M. as above

Sea conditions: slight swell

As we both had ship's excursions this morning, I made sure that the alarm went off at 07.00.

Jim left the cabin for his walking tour at 08.15 and I went to the theatre at 08.45.

Bodo Port 

  • the port is small and situated close to the town centre.
  • There isn’t a terminal building so tour busses were waiting at the bottom of the gangway.

Bodo town

  • the town centre is a short walk from the port.
  • It is a typical modern small Norwegian town with plenty of shops, a harbour and marina, good quality housing and some rugged countryside.
  •  

Izzy - INTRODUCTION TO BODO. 1.5 Hours. Departed at 09.00.

  • We met in the theatre and made our way to the bus.
  • i had a pre-reserved seat near the front.
  • The guide spoke reasonably good English. 
  • The coach was clean, modern and had socially distanced seating.
  • The tour took us through the town where the guide pointed out the churches, museums etc (all post war buildings) 
  • We had a short stop at the most historical church but it was so cold and icy underfoot that I decided to stay on the coach.
  • Our 2nd stop was at a viewing point with a panoramic view of the Lofoten islands but, again, it was too cold and icy underfoot to get off for a better view.
  • We were back at the dock at 10.30….a lot of Money and not a lot to see!
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Day 12. Tuesday 22nd February 2022 (22022022!!!!)

Narvik - 07.15 to 19.30 (all aboard time)

Ship’s excursion - Arctic Train

A.M. Brilliant sunshine but extremely cold

P.M. as above

Sea conditions: Calm

Narvik Port.

  • the port is small and industrial. 
  • There isn’t a terminal building .
  • Tour busses are parked about 100m from the gangway. 
  • There were a couple of taxis parked in the car park.
  • There was a private 'yacht' docked next to Borealis that belonged to a Russian billionaire (£54,000,000 to build)!

Narvik Town

  • The town centre is about 1km from the port and the road is uphill.
  • The town has a variety of shops and cafes, a war museum and the railway station.

Arctic Train

  • we met in the theatre at 11.05 and were advised to set off walking to the bus as I walk slowly.
  • We were both issued with a packed lunch as our trip took place over the lunch period.
  • I had a seat near the front of the coach already reserved.
  • The coach journey to the railway station took 5 minutes and went through the centre of Narvik.
  • The train was chartered by FO and was waiting for the 5 shuttle busses when we arrived.
  • We were directed to specific seating compartments depending on our bus number.
  • The seats were in a 2&3 configuration.
  • There were toilet facilities at the centre of the train.
  • The journey goes out and returns by the same route and doesn’t turn round so it is important to sit on the right hand side if the seat faces forward (left side if backward facing)
  • The journey takes approximately 2 hours.
  • There was a taped commentary in English on the outbound journey where information was given on points of interest.
  • The scenery was spectacular, especially since we had glorious sunshine for the whole route.
  • The train made 3 stops where passengers could disembark for a few minutes.
  • It was comfortably warm on the train but bitterly cold on the small stations…..-15*c!!
  • We arrived back at the ship at 14.20
  • A great experience.IMG_5974.thumb.JPG.7c9d9fc3371349c073225c1e12d63e26.JPG
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6 hours ago, cymrucat23 said:

Thank you tring, yes I was aware of the table for 2 booking and the possibility of sharing tables (we are not that antisocial 😂), just not so keen on the very formal stuff, don't mind trying the odd 'dress up' evening!  Don't drink alcohol, so not bothered about costs of that (much prefer a nice cup of Earl Grey, would probably bring my own supply). I have read all the advice in this forum regarding extreme cold weather gear as well, so anticipate being prepared for that. Have to agree the itinerary with Fred. is much more appealing, but it seems pretty expensive for the 9 night cruise in March.  I have noted that prices can come down sooner to the departure date....maybe I should wait a bit?  Many thanks for the info and advice.

 

No big deal to book early if you are not bothered about sharing a table, but the cheapest prices nearer sailing date are normally guarantee fares, so you would not be able to book a specific cabin either, though you could choose your dining time with a very small payment (currently £2 pppn).  Having said that if you have a problem with a cabin, (e.g. one which is noisy) Fred will do their best to move you to one which is better, if available.

 

Regards excursion prices, Norway is unbelievably expensive, so everything, even a cola or coffee on shore will cost a lot.  You will not want to be drinking alcohol ashore there.  Other countries will have much better priced shore excursions as well as costs ashore.

.  I am not so sure the excursions will vary much, if at all, from P&O as a UK based cruise lines since the tours are contracted from onshore companies (often the same one).  The US based lines do charge a lot more for everything though, including excursions and Cunard is marketed in the US, so probable that they will charge a lot more, but I have no personal experience on that so may be best checking elsewhere.  Onboard costs are tending to go up a fair bit though for all cruise lines, probably to try to make up for losses over covid.  Previously Fred was a tad cheaper than P & O, but I have no idea if that is still the same.

 

If going to Norway it is well worth taking some water and soft drinks on the ship when you board for cabin use, as prices will add up on the ship and you cannot just pick up a couple of bottles cheaply when in port, like you can on the.Med..  Fred will not allow alcohol to be brought on, even for cabin use, will just store it and return it to you by at the end of the cruise

 

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13 hours ago, Izzywiz said:

Hi Cymrucat23,

I have quite a lot of information that might be of use to you. I write a diary with basic information for each port that we visit to use for future reference.

 

We did a cruise with a very similar itinerary to the on that you are interested in on Balmoral from Newcastle in February 2022. Our cruise was 14 nights because we travelled up to Alta but it visited all the ports on your itinerary.

I will share the ship and port information in separate posts because there is a lot of it and I’ll start with the dog sled tour.

 

My husband did the Husky sledging tour when we were docked in Tromso on our P&O cruise in 2017. I wasn’t able to do it as I have some mobility issues which mean that I can’t sit on low seats or walk safely in very slippery conditions. He loved the trip and this is what he wrote when he got back.

 

27th 2017. P&O excursion

Husky sledging.

The bus left the port terminus at 16.30 and took about thirty minutes to reach the Tromso Wildlife Centre. The journey was during sunset and the views were quite dramatic. The centre was out in the countryside and we were taken first into a large wooden building for coffee/tea, cake and to meet our guide. This building was comfortable with tables, chairs, fire pit, toilets and a small shopping area.

The guide was excellent and explained everything about the dogs' working life whilst we walked around the site visiting the kennels, breeding area and sleight boarding area. All of the dogs were very friendly and people were allowed to cuddle the puppies.

I was on a sleigh by myself with the driver.  The ride took about thirty-five minutes over undulating ground and at times you could see the lights of Tromso in the distance. The ride out in the deep snow was a wonderful, although bouncy, experience.  We got back to the ship at 20.00.

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It all looks fantastic, thank you Izzywiz, makes me want to book straight away now! So much information and detail, invaluable. Yes I was fully aware that Norway (like most Scandinavian countries) is very expensive, but your photos and experience makes me feel it is worth it.....and we may only be able to afford to do it once 😞

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Hi Cymrucat23, You are very welcome and I'm glad that the information is useful. I hope you have a  fabulous time and please don't hesitate to ask if you need any more information. Th posters on this site are very helpful!

Regards Isabel 

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17 hours ago, tring said:

 

No big deal to book early if you are not bothered about sharing a table, but the cheapest prices nearer sailing date are normally guarantee fares, so you would not be able to book a specific cabin either, though you could choose your dining time with a very small payment (currently £2 pppn).  Having said that if you have a problem with a cabin, (e.g. one which is noisy) Fred will do their best to move you to one which is better, if available.

 

Regards excursion prices, Norway is unbelievably expensive, so everything, even a cola or coffee on shore will cost a lot.  You will not want to be drinking alcohol ashore there.  Other countries will have much better priced shore excursions as well as costs ashore.

.  I am not so sure the excursions will vary much, if at all, from P&O as a UK based cruise lines since the tours are contracted from onshore companies (often the same one).  The US based lines do charge a lot more for everything though, including excursions and Cunard is marketed in the US, so probable that they will charge a lot more, but I have no personal experience on that so may be best checking elsewhere.  Onboard costs are tending to go up a fair bit though for all cruise lines, probably to try to make up for losses over covid.  Previously Fred was a tad cheaper than P & O, but I have no idea if that is still the same.

 

If going to Norway it is well worth taking some water and soft drinks on the ship when you board for cabin use, as prices will add up on the ship and you cannot just pick up a couple of bottles cheaply when in port, like you can on the.Med..  Fred will not allow alcohol to be brought on, even for cabin use, will just store it and return it to you by at the end of the cruise

 

Thank you for that tring 🙂 I have now booked for 1st March with Fred. on Balmoral. Will take water, but not really a drinker of anything else other than tea and coffee.......so as mentioned, alcohol is not of interest (probably just as well, given Scandinavian prices)! Bit difficult deciding what might be the best cabin for us (that is affordable) gone for 6061 - here's hoping its relatively quiet. I may be asking more questions in the future.  Thank you to all for your advice and help. 🙂 

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17 hours ago, cymrucat23 said:

Thank you for that tring 🙂 I have now booked for 1st March with Fred. on Balmoral. Will take water, but not really a drinker of anything else other than tea and coffee.......so as mentioned, alcohol is not of interest (probably just as well, given Scandinavian prices)! Bit difficult deciding what might be the best cabin for us (that is affordable) gone for 6061 - here's hoping its relatively quiet. I may be asking more questions in the future.  Thank you to all for your advice and help. 🙂 

 

That cabin will have a nice big window and is fairly central so should be relatively stable in rough seas and you will not have engine noise there (the cabins low down and to the rear of the ship have a lot of engine noise), but maybe I would not have chosen a cabin next to an exit or under prom deck as you can sometimes get disturbance from those locations, despite it being quite a high grade cabin.  If booked, you may as well leave it for now as it could be fine and always a chance they may upgrade you, but do not let them upgrade you to the A grade cabins which are both at the very front of the ship (so will be very rocky in bad seas) and are over the theatre which can be noisy by day when they have rehearsals as well as during performances.  A rough guide for choosing cabins is often mentioned as cabins above, cabins below and cabins either side - though always a chance you could get a noisy neighbour so nothing foolproof and other cabins can be fine, even if in locations which some would not want to choose.  The important thing is to tell reception of you are getting noise, since they will move you if somewhere else is available.  

 

Enjoy the cruise,

 

Barbara

 

 

 

Edited by tring
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6 hours ago, tring said:

 

That cabin will have a nice big window and is fairly central so should be relatively stable in rough seas and you will not have engine noise there (the cabins low down and to the rear of the ship have a lot of engine noise), but maybe I would not have chosen a cabin next to an exit or under prom deck as you can sometimes get disturbance from those locations, despite it being quite a high grade cabin.  If booked, you may as well leave it for now as it could be fine and always a chance they may upgrade you, but do not let them upgrade you to the A grade cabins which are both at the very front of the ship (so will be very rocky in bad seas) and are over the theatre which can be noisy by day when they have rehearsals as well as during performances.  A rough guide for choosing cabins is often mentioned as cabins above, cabins below and cabins either side - though always a chance you could get a noisy neighbour so nothing foolproof and other cabins can be fine, even if in locations which some would not want to choose.  The important thing is to tell reception of you are getting noise, since they will move you if somewhere else is available.  

 

Enjoy the cruise,

 

Barbara

 

 

 

Thank you again Barbara, yes already booked, spent a lot of time deciding on the cabin position and yes thought the mid position would be most stable and possibly fairly quiet. So as you say, will leave it as it is for now.....thank you for the advice on the A grade cabins 🙂  Only got just under a year to wait now!  

 

Many thanks.

 

Carol

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