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Havila Voyages


philbob84
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Thank you everyone for the great info. Few questions for our Feb Northbound:
  1. What did folks do for trip insurance? First time cruiser so this is all new. 
  2. What were your top 2 excursions? Did snowmobiles and dogsleds offer better chances of seeing Northern Lights? 
  3. Does port side have a nice view of each town that you sail into? 
  4. We are flying in from California-- not easy to get to/from Bergen and Kirkenes! Arriving 1 day early into Bergen, and thinking of staying 2 extra nights in Kirkenes in case the Northern Lights viewing doesn't go as planned. Any flight and pre/post tips welcome! 
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Hi @Nlights2025,

 

We took the Havila  roundtrip in early spring of 2023.  So random thoughts and musings on your questions:

 

1.  We had trip insurance for the trip.  At the risk of repeating something you already know,   trip insurance options are best when purchased within 14 days (generally) of first trip deposit.  There are a couple companies that offer policies with purchase deadlines after that.  There are intricacies with this stuf, pre existing condition coverage among other things.  Some rely on coverage provided by premium credit cards.  In any event, I think it is prudent to insure travel.

 

2.  Experience Lofoton - more of a life/culture trip, not adventure like dog sledding.  We had an excellent guide that made the region come alive with their insightful commentary and details.

 

As for northern lights -  seeing the northern lights while dog sledding would be a magical experience, I think February would provide good opportunites to see the light for a good portion of the trip - from the ship.  We saw the lights twice north of Tromso.  

 

3.  We had a port cabin.  Honestly, even on cooler days we bundled up and were deck-side to watch and photograph port approach and departure.  I do not specifically recall any advantage to port side cabin for sight seeing.  Traveling north, I would suspect you probably catch some sunsets from your  port side cabin, though. (If that is a "thing" in February for most Northern Norway.  😀)

 

4. You are right - limited options from US to Bergen.  We flew into Oslo for a few days then took train to Bergen.  In Bergen, we enjoyed walking around the area of old Bryggen. A visit to Mount Floyen (funicular is availble.  not sure about Feb - but a hike could be an option?). Bregenhus fortress, shopping and a Norwegian sausage at Trekroneren.

 

Have a great trip! 

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9 hours ago, Homerody said:

  Experience Lofoton - more of a life/culture trip, not adventure like dog sledding.  We had an excellent guide that made the region come alive with their insightful commentary and details

 

Great info!  Can you expand a bit on your Lofoton experience?  Did you take a ship's excursion or go out on your own?  If on your own, can you share the name of the company and the guide you mentioned?  I was on Hurtigruten in 2005 and thought Lofoton area was the most intriguing part of that excellent trip.  I can't wait to see it again in June 2024!  I couldn't make it work in my schedule to do a few days detour there unfortunately so will see it from Castor.

 

Thank you,

~Nancy

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1.  I bought my insurance through Generali.  Fortunately never needed to use it.

 

2.  North Cape and dog sledding in Tromsø were our favorite excursions.  We’d take a pass on the visit to Saltstraumen and the bus tour around Hammerfest.  We missed the Atlantic Road excursion which others enjoyed.

 

3.  We went in January and saw the northern lights several times though it was quite cloudy most of the time.

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11 hours ago, oakridger said:

 

Great info!  Can you expand a bit on your Lofoton experience?  Did you take a ship's excursion or go out on your own?  If on your own, can you share the name of the company and the guide you mentioned?  I was on Hurtigruten in 2005 and thought Lofoton area was the most intriguing part of that excellent trip.  I can't wait to see it again in June 2024!  I couldn't make it work in my schedule to do a few days detour there unfortunately so will see it from Castor.

 

Thank you,

~Nancy

We did the Lofoten Havila excursion.  For our trip, I briefly researched independent shore excursions - but gave up due to 1) limited availabilty of alternatives at the time, 2) little cost advantage. 

 

On the tour (Havila separated passengers based on language preference) we had about 20 people -Europeans that spoke Engllsh - except for us 2 Septics.  So the bus was not crowded,  The group was inqusitive (in a good way) and naturally curious with lots of good questions and discussions with the super informative tour guide.  We had the opportunity to visit a gallery and a chat with the fols there and then a walking tour where we saw and learned about cod drying racks and importance of fishing in the area.

 

Also, I liked the fact that the tour had some free time for us to walk around.  The tour was later in the day, so we saw great dusk scenery.  Always a bonus.

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10 hours ago, UDChE89 said:

1.  I bought my insurance through Generali.  Fortunately never needed to use it.

 

2.  North Cape and dog sledding in Tromsø were our favorite excursions.  We’d take a pass on the visit to Saltstraumen and the bus tour around Hammerfest.  We missed the Atlantic Road excursion which others enjoyed.

 

3.  We went in January and saw the northern lights several times though it was quite cloudy most of the time.

Would agree on North Cape.  When we visited it vas very wet and extremely windy.  But it was fun to see the "northern most" (don't believe everything I write) point of Europe. And then head to the comfort of the building for the exhibits and a hot coffee and cafe snack.

 

Saltstaumen illicits a loved it or hated it response.  We thought it was good.  Would I recommend it to every one?  No.  But I have an interest in natural phenomena - so it was relevent for me. But is water eddys are not your thing, that I'd recommend skipping.

 

For cities - such as Trondheim and Alesund a self guided tour (with pre-prepared maps and research) fit the bill for us. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

First time to Norway and first time on a cruise. We are doing a roundtrip Havila cruise from Bergen in mid May 2024. I’m struggling with what to pack.  I understand the layering concept but how warm do I really need. Ie a parka? I realize this is a well discussed topic but I can’t find much on the Havila string and the excursions and nights on board on deck aren’t really discussed much as far as clothing. Thanks in advance. 

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On 12/29/2023 at 5:44 AM, doingourthing said:

First time to Norway and first time on a cruise. We are doing a roundtrip Havila cruise from Bergen in mid May 2024. I’m struggling with what to pack.  I understand the layering concept but how warm do I really need. Ie a parka? I realize this is a well discussed topic but I can’t find much on the Havila string and the excursions and nights on board on deck aren’t really discussed much as far as clothing. Thanks in advance. 

I see you are from New Hampshire.  So I'll assume (will all the associated risks) that you are well acclimated to the New England cold and winters. So we have a common basis for comparison. 

 

For our trip (which was in March/April) we had medium weight jackets (not heavy winter parkas) and light wind/water proof summer jackets.  We used both.  Hats and gloves came in handy too.  But we were there at a slightly different time, and we did spend a lot of time on deck in all types of weather (we even had a bit of light snow one day.  and  enjoyed the sun and 50ies (F) temps on deck chairs on another day. and we "braved" windy upper 20ies (F) to catch the northern lights from deck.) On shore - the worst weather day was in the North Cape where we had temps in the 40ies with a very strong winds (30mph +) and periods of wind swept rain.

 

I think the key is to have water proof shoes, and wind and water proof outer gear along with layers and mutiple weight sweaters/sweatshirts that can be used with whatever outer layer is needed.

 

YMMV.  But hopefully my long winded post gives you a starting point.

 

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May is difficult in regard to weather in Norway - it can still snow, others days might be quite warmish but mostly it is still cool and you will need a rainproof and warm parka besides a lighter jacket. a scarf and hat might become handy , too, especially when on deck outside. Deck 9 on Havila ships is great to walk around, but it can be very windy. On deck 6, you'll find a lot of comfortable seating inside with great views through the large windows. It's near to the café with coffees, teas and delicious goodies - included in your fare if you booked a roundtrip.

Enjoy your time!

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Thanks!  I was thinking I may need to bring two jackets.  I was trying to avoid that but after seeing both of your responses I think I will need both the parka and a lighter jacket.  Between being too cold and overheating it's a challenge to pack light.  

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