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Havila Voyages


philbob84
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I booked January 2023 in November 2022.  At least now, you can book in USD.  We had starboard Seaview Deluxe cabins but spent very little time in them even when I was working.  There are so many comfortable areas to sit and watch the scenery go by.  I do think we spent most of our time on the starboard side but a lot of time in the evenings in the front seating in the bar.

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On 9/18/2023 at 10:58 AM, Jacqueline said:

I just booked the Northbound, for next September 25. We got a balcony cabin and it seems that there are just two?

Should I call and see about getting the starboard side, if possible?

The website doesn't list all the cabins, you do have to call or email (calling is quicker, keep the time difference in mind).  When I booked they listed one cabin on each side, and they offered to switch it, but I decided I wanted that one anyway.  Port or starboard is up to you, they dock on the port side.

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I'm curious how the dining works.  I understand there are 3 meals per day in the dining room.   But what is the availability of food at the cafe?  Are there included items available all day for those who are on a voyage?  I'm trying to get an idea of how food availability compares to a normal mainline cruiseship. 

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On 9/17/2023 at 11:56 PM, hallasm said:

Booking on their website works fine - I would just recommend reading the terms and conditions - especially with a view to deposit of 20% or 100% and the balance due 42 days before the departure date. The deposit is not refunded due to cancellation.

They do offer 3 options, at least on the US website, and it sounds like they're refundable up to a point, except for the cheapest (saver) one.  Definitely good to read all the conditions BEFORE booking though, so you make the right decision.   I booked over a year in advance, and chose the super flex for peace of mind, and given the world situation at the time, knew the most I could lose would be the 20%.

 

Having recently had to pay in full for a Viking Christmas on the Rhine tour in December 2024, (over a year ahead of time!) Havila's system seems pretty nice.  I didn't get the bill for our 2023 Mid-February Havila voyage until January 2023.

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5 hours ago, adonisr said:

I'm curious how the dining works.  I understand there are 3 meals per day in the dining room.   But what is the availability of food at the cafe?  Are there included items available all day for those who are on a voyage?  I'm trying to get an idea of how food availability compares to a normal mainline cruiseship. 

 

The Cafe is open most of the day. The food is included if you are on the voyages but I'm not sure if that will be true after the anniversary year cruises.  Food looks delicious and from reports on Cruise Critic and Facebook, it is!  I can't wait to go!   

 

 Here are the current menus from the Havila website.

 

Opening hours

08:00 – 22:00 with adaptations to the sailing route.

Coffee machines on the ship, mineral water and snacks at reception. You can also buy single meals in the Havrand restaurant.

 

Havly Cafe - Havila Kystruten (havilavoyages.com)

 

Havila Food Stories - Havila Kystruten (havilavoyages.com)

 

 

 

Does @Flyinby or anyone else know if the Havly Cafe food will be included next year for those on full voyages?

Edited by oakridger
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21 hours ago, oakridger said:

 

Does @Flyinby or anyone else know if the Havly Café food will be included next year for those on full voyages?

On our trip, the Havly Cafe was not free except for those with Havila Gold packages.  It may just be a temporary promotional feature that it's free for all with the round voyage, but I don't know for sure.  We did have the gold package since it came with the Jr. Suite, and it was really nice having the option of eating at the café whenever you felt like it.  The food was very good, and there was enough variety, along with the regular items and snacks, that we never tired of it.

 

If nothing has changed, eating in the main dining room, you can (I heard) just ask for something from the Havly instead. I always found something on the menu, so never verified that.

 

We also got a couple of free dinners at the Havrand, and one was some sort of special night, where there's no menu (for choosing), they just brought you 7 different items (one at a time), and explained thoroughly what they were.  Just small servings of each, but I was surprised at how good they all were.  I'm not an adventurous eater (when in doubt, head for the burger and fries 8^), but all were good and I ate and enjoyed things I'd never have even tried normally. Even better, we got a northern lights alert in the middle, and as we left they assured us that we'd be able to continue on when we got back (which we did).  The staff there was great.

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10 hours ago, philbob84 said:

are you able to bring food and drinks on board. i know there are limits with a standard cruise. but since this is a ferry system I figure it might be diffrent. Washington state ferry people are literally driving with costco runs

We'd pick up a few things now and then when getting off at stops, and it apparently was fine since we carried it on openly.  Not alcohol though, and no bags full of groceries, just something we saw we may want to try, or something they didn't have on the ship, just minor stuff.  I don't think I'd try bringing on bags full of groceries or anything like that, seems sort of insulting unless you have a special diet that they can't provide.

 

While it technically is a "ferry", for those doing the north or south or round voyages it's not like any ferry I've seen.  They've done a good job of combining a basic ferry service with a very comfortable and enjoyable voyage ship.  A bit like a "cruise", but on a smaller vessel without all the fluff and activities, no casino, no bingo, art shows, cooking demos, etc.  They do have a few things, such as you can get ice water dumped on you when you cross into the arctic circle, but that's just now and then, for those interested.

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1 hour ago, philbob84 said:

did you do any excursions or time in a port town? Also i presume the ship is a bit on the quiter side with most in bed early?

 

I can answer for myself: on my June sailing I will be up past midnight in the Havblikk Lounge enjoying the scenery with the Midnight Sun! The sights are why I am sailing!

 

~Nancy

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10 hours ago, Flyinby said:

On our trip, the Havly Cafe was not free except for those with Havila Gold packages.  It may just be a temporary promotional feature that it's free for all with the round voyage, but I don't know for sure.  We did have the gold package since it came with the Jr. Suite, and it was really nice having the option of eating at the café whenever you felt like it.  The food was very good, and there was enough variety, along with the regular items and snacks, that we never tired of it.

 

If nothing has changed, eating in the main dining room, you can (I heard) just ask for something from the Havly instead. I always found something on the menu, so never verified that.

 

We also got a couple of free dinners at the Havrand, and one was some sort of special night, where there's no menu (for choosing), they just brought you 7 different items (one at a time), and explained thoroughly what they were.  Just small servings of each, but I was surprised at how good they all were.  I'm not an adventurous eater (when in doubt, head for the burger and fries 8^), but all were good and I ate and enjoyed things I'd never have even tried normally. Even better, we got a northern lights alert in the middle, and as we left they assured us that we'd be able to continue on when we got back (which we did).  The staff there was great.

The latest from Havila is the voyage includes breakfast, lunch and dinner and baked goods in the cafe.  Not sure if that means we can do any of the three at the cafe or we have to use the dining room.  We're looking at it as an adventure and plan to roll with whatever they offer/allow.

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On 9/22/2023 at 12:22 AM, philbob84 said:

did you do any excursions or time in a port town? Also i presume the ship is a bit on the quiter side with most in bed early?

We did seven excursions, Geirangerfjord (only in winter), Tromso dog sled, North Cape from Honnigsvag, Russian border in Kirkenes, taste of Vesteralen, plus the bus/city tours in Trondheim and Hammerfest.  We enjoyed all the tours...city tours we could have optionally walked but in winter and being unfamiliar with things the tours were a nice familiarization, and took you to places too far to walk.  We got out at some of the other stops and walked around, best if they're a couple of hours or near that, but some went out on shorter ones.  The daily talks in the evening help a lot in finding out what's feasible during the shorter stops.

 

The ship (at least on our trip) was generally pretty quiet but not like "library quiet", just relaxing and peaceful...no noisy groups like you see on some cruise ships.  Being winter and dark at 5:30 or thereabouts, we didn't spend a lot of late nights upstairs in the panoramic lounge except when going in to warm up during northern lights, but even then it was just pleasantly friendly chat, not rowdy or crowded.  Of course, as Oakridger said, during midnight sun times, one would most likely want to be up and about, and the lounge would be great for that.

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Selection of food from breakfast (1 photo) and lunch (2 photographs). Breakfast Egg dishes came shortly after. These menus allow unlimited selections (and the crew advise that the expected food wastage has reduced). The dinner menu is 3 courses, with a payment for extra dishes required (but for me, was unnecessary).

 

The specific selections last for 3 days - titled around Green Flavours of the

Fjords / Polar Lands / Arctic / Islands, with the "Always on the Menu" group being quite extensive.

 

I have a good appetite, and have had no need, nor desire, to go to the cafe.

 

A great experience on Havila; Northern Lights appeared on the second night, cloud cover has kept them hidden, but heading south again; early last night there was a small show. Still 4 nights with hopefully some cloudless skies.

27. Breakfast.jpg

63. Lunch.jpg

64. Lunch.jpg

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And if one books a junior suite, havila gold is included.  This gives extra menu items at breakfast and dinner.  As well as having breakfast in the much smaller and serene Hildring restaurant.

 

Pizza in the Cafe was pretty good (and a popular item) along with the 2 or three bakery items they had.  These made a tasty snack.

 

And while they offered room service from Cafe, thru the app, I was not able to order using app due to PIN issues that no Havila staff on board could address.  But the staff at Cafe told me that it is far easier to order by phone or in person and they would bring up the order.

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The lounge usually closes down at midnight.  Northbound was more active than southbound because there’s more passengers.  We had a group of Australians on ours northbound and they kept things lively.  It tended to be very quiet by the fireplaces.

 

We found the lunches to be lacking so we ate in the cafe which had a lot of options.  The finnbif was fantastic.  Each of our dinners in Hildring were great too and they managed my mother’s dietary restrictions well.  Just remember that your meals are at set times by groups if it’s still the same.  Sign up for your dining times shortly after you board to get the times you desire.

 

We did the Art nouveau walkTrondheim by vintage trainExperience Bodø and Saltstraumen, dog sledding in Tromsø, North Cape, and the bus tour in Hammerfest.  We were supposed to do the Russian Border trip in Kirkenes but I think we might have been the only ones who signed up so they canceled it.  We walked around town instead.

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For those qho are thinking about booking a trip on Havila:

Right now there's an offer, ending at the end of October of 5000NOK onboard credit for journeys up to December 2024.. Quite nice...

Food at the Havly café plus regular tea and coffee also seems to be included in 2024, as far as I understood .

@Jacqueline I think you asked about balcony cabins. As far as I know there really are only two of those, being somewhat smaller than the junior suites and lacking the Gold extras. The other cabins with a balcony are either Junior suites or (two) big suites.

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9 hours ago, Jacqueline said:

@grayjay that’s what I thought looking at the deck plans!  It’s good enough for us, space wise. Nice to have a balcony. 
It would be great if those of you who took excursions could review them.  Thanks so much everyone for the information!

Art Nouveau Walk in Ålesund - Was great for us as we had a hectic trip to get to the boat so the thought of 8 more hours to Geirangerfjord was just too much.  It’s a walk around town and then a museum visit in the old apothecary.  Guide was very knowledgeable and friendly.

 

Trondheim by vintage train - Was fun to ride in the trolley.  You do go through more residential areas and you take it to the end where it turns around and comes back part way.  You board a bus to get to it and then from it takes you through the city to the cathedral for a short stop then back to the boat.  It wasn’t a bad trip.

 

Experience Bodø and Saltstraumen - You board a bus and drive through Bodø to get to the Saltstraumen.  You walk down underneath a bridge to see the swirling water.  Would not do again.  Just didn’t see the value.

 

Dog sledding in Tormsø - Our favorite excursion but it is not cheap!  Bus takes you to the dog sled center where our group was split in two.  First group went out for the ride while the second got to learn about and meet the dogs.  Then vice versa happens and everyone gathers for cake and hot drinks before returning to the boat.

 

North Cape - Bus trip to the northern most point.  It was a nice visit with a little museum after you brave the winds to get your selfie with the monument.

 

Hammerfest Town Tour - It’s a bus ride through the town with a stop at a point overlooking it.  If I recall correctly, there’s one other stop you get out at on this tour but it’s mostly sitting in a bus for an hour.  You do this one southbound where there just aren’t many options for excursions.

 

In other ports, we did get off and walk around.  Biggest one for us was Kirkenes because our excursion choice, Russian Border, was cancelled due to lack of sign ups.  We were also somewhat restricted because I was working in the evening.

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Thank you for all the information. I just booked r/t mid-October 2024 on the Pollux. Only hiccup is that this journey spans full moon time on either side. But it’s the only date in late 2024 that works for our schedules. Also sprang for one of the Lighthouse Suites.

Edited by Marylebone37
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12 hours ago, UDChE89 said:

Art Nouveau Walk in Ålesund - Was great for us as we had a hectic trip to get to the boat so the thought of 8 more hours to Geirangerfjord was just too much.  It’s a walk around town and then a museum visit in the old apothecary.  Guide was very knowledgeable and friendly.

 

Trondheim by vintage train - Was fun to ride in the trolley.  You do go through more residential areas and you take it to the end where it turns around and comes back part way.  You board a bus to get to it and then from it takes you through the city to the cathedral for a short stop then back to the boat.  It wasn’t a bad trip.

 

Experience Bodø and Saltstraumen - You board a bus and drive through Bodø to get to the Saltstraumen.  You walk down underneath a bridge to see the swirling water.  Would not do again.  Just didn’t see the value.

 

Dog sledding in Tormsø - Our favorite excursion but it is not cheap!  Bus takes you to the dog sled center where our group was split in two.  First group went out for the ride while the second got to learn about and meet the dogs.  Then vice versa happens and everyone gathers for cake and hot drinks before returning to the boat.

 

North Cape - Bus trip to the northern most point.  It was a nice visit with a little museum after you brave the winds to get your selfie with the monument.

 

Hammerfest Town Tour - It’s a bus ride through the town with a stop at a point overlooking it.  If I recall correctly, there’s one other stop you get out at on this tour but it’s mostly sitting in a bus for an hour.  You do this one southbound where there just aren’t many options for excursions.

 

In other ports, we did get off and walk around.  Biggest one for us was Kirkenes because our excursion choice, Russian Border, was cancelled due to lack of sign ups.  We were also somewhat restricted because I was working in the evening.

That's too bad about the Russian border tour, I don't think the descriptions (at least when we booked it), do it justice.  We probably only had about a dozen, maybe 20 when we went.  Our guide was Ernst Sneve, who lived there in the war years, and had some childhood experience in the underground caves where the citizens hid, so he had some very interesting stories up to the current day.  We toured the caves, then had a very nice and scenic bus ride through the countryside, through towns, past lakes, etc. on the way to the border...very scenic in winter.  At the border, there's a small shop that sells his book, some souvenirs etc., and being at the border in the current situation was a bit eerie, but not bad, and I was glad we chose that tour.

 

Some friends of ours did the Saltstraumen tour on the southbound leg, and they agreed with what you say, nothing great.  I suppose if you hit it at just the right time and tides it would be exciting to see, but other times it's not all that great, apparently.

Edited by Flyinby
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  • 2 months later...
4 hours ago, doingourthing said:

First timer to Norway. Looking at May, June or July on Havila. Probably round trip. 
Any thoughts on the best time to go?  Mostly interested in seeing the fjords at their best but would love fewer people. 
 

You’ve got some competing interests there.  The cruise does go through Geirangerfjord in the Spring and Summer itself but that’s also when the major lines show up too.  We did it in January, skipped the Geirangerfjord excursion and never felt like we missed anything.  You will sail through fjords throughout the entire trip.

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