Visiting the Top of the World: Honningsvåg, Norway

Why I Decided to Cruise Norway's Coast With Hurtigruten

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The above photo was taken from a scenic view while in Kirkenes, Norway.

In February 2017 I decided to cruise Norway with Hurtigruten.  The ship I was on is named the Finnmarken.  This was a 12 day round trip cruise this started in Bergen and ended back in Bergen after making many stops as far north as Honningsvåg and Kirkenes which is not far from the Russian border.

The first thing I should tell you about going on a cruise with Hurtigruten is that their ships are working ships.  That is why they make so many stops.  It is also more of a ferry.  New passengers get on and off the ship in various locations quite frequently.  People in Norway use these ships to get from one area the country to another.

I have been on 12 cruises in the past five years.  I have cruised with Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise lines, and Holland America.  Cruising with Hurtigruten was such a different experience.  Many people go on cruises for the entertainment and to party.  I know because I have done so in the past ;)  There was no entertainment such as singers, bands, and speakers and t is also very expensive to party as one glass of wine is 14 USD. 

In spite at the lack of entertainment on the ship, this was definitely one of the most fun adventures I have ever been on.  One of the best things about this cruise was the scenery.  The ship is never far from the shore and it makes frequent stops.  I also got to see the Aurora Borealis also known as the Northern Lights because of the time of year I went. 

I have written three posts about this cruise.  Here they are:

Visiting the Famous Snowhotel in Kirkenes Norway

Visiting the Beautiful City of Trondheim, Norway and the Nidaros Cathedral

Visiting the Top of the World: Honningsvåg, Norway

I will be writing more in the coming weeks.

 

  Here is a list of just a few reasons why I recommend cruising and seeing the very beautiful country of Norway on a Hurtigruten cruise: 
  • Norway is an incredibly beautiful country with very friendly people
  • The food is very good and will accommodate special diets such as my vegetarian diet.
  • If you like to stay connected on a cruise I was able to purchase an Internet package for about $50 for 12 days and it works remarkably well.
  • The ship is very efficiently run.  Whenever you asked for or need anything, someone will try to help you right away.
  • The excursions were plentiful and interesting.
  • You can drink the water from the tap in your cabin which tastes really good.
  • The floors in the bathroom are heated.
  • The staff make frequent announcements about upcoming sites to see.  You can hear these on the TV in your room. 
  • The rooms are a nice size for a cruise ship.
  • Hurtigruten will sometimes offer discounts to solo passengers.  Some cruise lines do not give you any discount at all if you are in a cabin alone.  One time I had to pay more to travel alone in my own cabin.
  • The ship stops frequently so you get to see a lot of Norway's coast even if  you don't go on many excursions.  Cruising with Hurtigruten might not be for you if you are looking for typical cruise entertainment and/or a party atmosphere.  After dinner each night a few friends and I would go to a lounge and have a couple cups of tea and talk before retiring for the evening.  There was one night when someone offered us a bottle of champagne and we each had about a quarter of the cup.  I suppose that was enough for me as I slept well that night... Yes I am a lightweight! 
  • If you are a photographer...You WILL go home with a lot of fantastic photographs as Norway is a very picturesque country and you are almost always cruising by an interesting area!

 

A Hurtigruten cruise might not be right for you if:

  • You like long stops at the ports to walk around as opposed to going on an excursion.  I think the longest stop we had at a report was about four hours.
  • You like to dress up and go to fancy dinners at night occasionally.
  • You like to party, listen to music and dance when you are on a cruise ship.
  • You want your room thoroughly cleaned each day.  My room was cleaned on a regular basis, but you had to ask when you wanted your linens changed.  Like most cruise ships they encouraged you to use your towels more than once which was fine with me.

If you do decide to go on a cruise with Hurtigrutin:

  • Don't be foolish like me and not pack a tripod if you are a shutterbug - especially if you are hoping to get good photos of the Northern Lights
  • If you travel in the winter be sure to pack your very warmest clothes.  As you can see in my photo below I am wearing two sweaters along with a very warm winter coat, a thick scarf, a warm hat and special winter gloves for very cold weather.
  • Don't bother packing dress up clothes.  I didn't see anyone dress up for dinner even though it is a sit-down dinner.
  • If you are a Vegetarian like me you will find plenty of food at the breakfast and lunch buffet.  Just be sure to tell them that you want a vegetarian dinner.  They do accommodate special diets.
  • Twelve days on a cruise ship might be too long for some people.  Hurtigruten offers shorter cruises where you only go up the coast once and these cruises are less expensive usually.

Me in Honningsvåg, Norway:

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The ship itself is very nice and kept clean.  Hurtigruten is very environmentally conscious so they will not deliver the daily schedule to your room each day as some cruise ships do.  You can, however, get a copy of the days events at customer service.  Once again they were very good about telling us when something interesting was coming up and when the Northern Lights were out. 

Here are some photos of the interior of the ship.  Most people spend their time in lookout lounge or out on deck.  There are only about 400 people on the ship which is relatively small compared to other cruise ships I have been on.  I found people to be very polite about letting people take photos and there usually was plenty of room for everyone to get a good view or shot out on deck. 

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Here are some photos of the inside of the ship:  the first few are of the viewing lounge.  The windows were generally very clean.  I actually got some very good photos from this lounge.  The last photo is near the gift shop and excursions booking desk.

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Thank you so much for stopping by.  I hope I've described what it's like to cruise with Hurtigruten.  Please feel free to leave any questions or comments for me.  I hope you all have a wonderful week!

~ Michelle

 

 

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