Why I Decided to Cruise Norway's Coast With Hurtigruten


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.


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

 Nidaros Cathedral


As I mentioned in my previous post I recently went on a twelve day cruise up and down the Norway coast with Hurtigruten.  On our second day we stopped in a beautiful city with a population of close to 190,000 people named Trondheim.  We only had four hours at the stop which was actually one of our longer times to go on shore.  We were allowed to leave the boat at 8:00 AM and had to return by noon.  As you can see it was still dark but I got some great photos of the sunrise.



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Visiting the Famous Snowhotel in Kirkenes Norway

Hello from Norway!  I think I'm somewhere near the city Trondheim which is also referred to as the Paris of Northern Europe.  I decided to take a 12 day cruise beginning and ending in Bergen Norway with Hurtigruten Cruise lines

One of the tours I decided to do was halfway through the cruise at one of our northern most stops in Kirkenes which is only a few miles from the Russian border.  Many people on my ship took a tour bus to see the Russian border.  There was only time to do one chore and I chose this one I'm so glad that I did and spite of being colder then I think I've ever been in my life.  I grew up in the state of Vermont but have lived in Florida for nearly a decade and it just isn't as easy to travel to cold-weather places. 

I took a lot of photos at the Snowhotel because it was so interesting and I haven't ever seen anything like it.  People pay as much as $600 and more of a night to stay there.  There is a bar and a restaurant.  There are also reindeer on the property and dog sledding is available. 

I have mixed feelings about dog sledding. This was my second such excursion. When I was in Alaska I wanted to try it and especially see if the dogs were treated well. You can read my account here:

Dog Sledding in June on the Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska


DSC03248-1_ppOne of the things I like most about going dog sledding is playing with the dogs.  They just love attention and are so well behaved! 

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"Venice Never Quite Seems Real, but Rather an Ornate Film Set Suspended On the Water." ~ Frida Giannin


 I was fortunate enough to visit Venice for the second time in two years  during July 2016 and this time it didn't rain the entire time!  I was there for five days following a Mediterranean cruise that left from Venice and visited Greece as well as Croatia.  I've never been really excited about the thought of visiting Venice and wasn't overly impressed with this incredible city after my first visit but definitely fell in love with this area that is like no other during my second visit!

Here is one of my very edited HDR images that I took two years ago when there was a slight break from the rain that happened most of the time I spent there:


Going on a Mediterranean cruise was at the top of my bucket list at the beginning of the summer.  When I started to do research into this trip I realized that leaving from Rome, Athens or Venice were some of my options.  I chose to leave from Venice for two reasons.  I thought it would be easier to get to the cruise ship and I plan to spend some time at whichever port I chose to leave from.  I was most drawn toward Venice as Rome and Athens seem like a really large cities to me.  I was traveling solo and felt more comfortable in a smaller city like Venice versus Rome. 

For those of you who are interested in a Mediterranean cruise leaving from Venice it costs 45 euros to get from the Venice airport to the port.  I gave the driver a €5 tip which I could tell he was quite shocked!  I was unpleasantly surprised when I exited the ship one week later and learned that a water taxi was my only option to get to my hotel.  The water taxi cost me €80.  I didn't let it bother me too much as there was no choice at that point. 

I stayed at a wonderful hotel right on the Grand Canal that had a balcony and an amazing view.  The view was so incredible I had to drag myself out of the room to go do things as opposed to just watching the action on the Grand Canal.  The sunrises and sunsets were not a disappointment either!  The name of the hotel I stayed at is called Hotel NH Collection Venezia Palazzo Barocci.  This hotel is in the San Marco area of Venice.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to stay on the Grand Canal.  The location was great as I could walk everywhere I wanted to go, the breakfast was good, the Wi-Fi was reliable and the beds were comfortable.  The staff was also very friendly and accommodating!



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Visiting the Magical Greek Island of Santorini Again With New Eyes


 Going on a Mediterranean cruise was at the top of my bucket list this year.  My choices were to leave from Rome, Venice or Athens.  I chose to leave from Venice as I knew I would want to spend some time there once I got back.  I had only been to Venice for a couple of days a few years ago and it rained the entire time.   

I also wanted an itinerary that visited the Greek island Santorini.  Although I visited there two years ago I was very sad while I was there.  I learned that our Black Lab named Shadow, who was around 16 years old, was extremely sick as my plane was boarding in Athens.  I could not have made it home on time to say goodbye to him.  It would've cost $3500 for a one way ticket to get home. 

I did think about just going home as I felt terrible that my husband was alone.  We knew shadow had been very ill for a long time, but I really didn't think anything (or hoped) nothing bad would happen when I was so far away. 

                                                          Here is the post I wrote about what happened: 

What Do You Do When a Tragedy or Emergency Happens at Home While Traveling?

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