Hurtigruten Trip 27th - 29th May
Ian Warren – 29-05-2013 – Hurtigruten – MS Nordlys
We were met on arrival at MS Nordlys and given a guided tour of the different cabins, before having a wander around the ship on our own. I must admit that the ship, which is one of their older ones, was even nicer than I had expected her to be. In fact, if I hadn't already known that she was also a working ship I wouldn't have guessed. The public rooms were all very nicely fitted out and the cabins, although basic by some ship standards, were more than adequate. On this ship only the two suites and one mini suite had a television in the room. There are some televisions in the public rooms though.
Entertainment is very minimal on Hurtigruten, as the scenery, the Midnight Sun, and the Northern Lights are what people go to see. There are also no formal nights, so it is informal or smart / casual dress. Gratuities are not generally expected
Because the ship does also carry foot passengers for some of the short journeys, there is a cafe where snacks and drinks can be bought. As with the bar though, prices are more or less in line with cafes and bars ashore. We went to one of the ship's bars for a drink, and two glasses of wine and two beers cost me £29.
Hurtigruten don't push their voyages as being suitable for children, but inevitably there are some onboard from time to time, if only as foot passengers. There is therefore a small room for them with some toys and a ball pool. There is also a small internet cafe on most of their ships, where internet use is free (that makes a change), and there is also a very small gym, together with gent's and ladies saunas.
Hurtigruten will take disabled passengers on all ships (except MS Lofoten and MS Nordstjernen) and have at least one cabin equipped for wheelchairs with a wet room. Passengers who need to use a wheelchair must take their own though, which must be of a standard size and foldable. They also need an able bodied companion to assist them. In mainland Norwegian ports there will be a ramp for embarkation and disembarkation, but not all excursions are suitable. It is advisable to check with the reservation department before confirming any bookings.
We then went to dinner, and the Captain's table had been reserved for us. While breakfast and lunch (if on a full board package) are always a buffet; dinner is normally waiter service at assigned tables. However, this was a turnaround day so it was a buffet. The quality of the food was good though, with quite a big selection. The Captain wasn't with us though, as he had the welcome meetings, however when we had finished he met us and took us to visit the bridge. He then happily chatted to us about the ship and his role. This was very good of him considering that when we left him it was 7.45pm, and the ship actually sailed at 8.00pm
Once ashore we watched her depart, and some of the guests we had chatted to onboard were waving goodbye to us. We then strolled back to the hotel for a glass of wine before a relatively early night.
Points I would make: -
- Bergen is a beautiful town, with too much to do in a few hours, so I would encourage people to add on a couple of days before or after a coastal voyage
- When it is available it is worth having the full board instead of half board, as it will save money
- They have a 'coffee package' onboard, where you get an insulated cup which you can keep, and you get unlimited free refills - not just on that voyage, but also on any other voyage you do with Hurtigruten in the calendar year. Although coffee is free with breakfast and lunch it still seems to make good sense to me, and value for money.