Andrew and Kathy’s Hurtigruten Adventure Gets a ’10’ From Them!
With a milestone birthday and almost milestone wedding anniversary to celebrate, why not take a cruise? Which is what Andrew and Kathy did, although they didn’t fancy a run of the mill cruise. As Kathy really wanted to see Norway in the snow at that, they did some research and decided that Hurtigruten was the cruise for them. Having discussed it with myself they decided that ms Spitsbergen, Hurtigruten’s flagship was for them, and the cruise they chose was the Classic Round Voyage.
They booked an Inside Superior cabin on Deck Six which was ‘quite Ikea’, clean lines, plenty of storage (very Ikea!) and a huge bed. They thought the public areas on the ship were lovely too and made the most of them. Entertainment was low key, just a couple of talks about Norway and Hurtigruten’s upcoming Expedition Voyages which people seemed to be booking thick and fast despite the cost.
Their trip didn’t get off to the best start when Andrews luggage went AWOL for four days, although this is a regular occurence apparently as Bergen airport supply people who have lost luggage with an emergency bag containing toiletries and a clean t-short and socks – what, no knickers?!
Kathy told me that the food on board was great, Andrew braved everything put in front of him and said there was just the one dish he couldn’t eat, some strange fish I believe. Reindeer is much to be recommended he tells me. Not for me Andrew I’m afraid. Kathy isn’t a big meat eater but despite the set menu each evening they catered very well for her and she had delicious fresh fish most evenings. Hurtigruten note the source of all foods on each nights menu, all sourced locally and fresh as fresh. One highlight that Kathy had been really looking forward to was King Crab and she wasn’t disappointed. Crew members take off in a Zodiac and catch the crab, making it a bit of a show, bombing around in the Zodiac showing off, then it is brought on board to be eaten at dinner that evening – delicious was the verdict! Breakfast and lunch was buffet style, plentiful and good selection of dishes, something for everyone.
Andrew and pre-booked two excursions, the husky sledding and snowmobiling. The snowmobiling was during the evening in the dark. They were taken to the start point and made their was on the snowmobiles over a hill back to the ship, with a guide of course. It’s fast and not for the faint-hearted but great fun. The faster you go the easier it is they tell me. Whilst they enjoyed the husky sledding shall we just say that something seems to happen to the dogs digestive systems whilst charging forth and it is probably best to wear a hat and sunglasses and NOT to open your mouth whilst behind the dogs, get my drift? Note, if you are doing this excursion there is no need to book a separate excursion to the Ice Hotel as you get the chance to have a look round while other people are having their turn on the sleds as the hotel is right next to the sledding area. Hurtigruten’s excursions are not cheap but they certainly offer some unique experiences which you wouldn’t be able to do elsewhere so why not grasp the nettle?
Regarding drinks on board, they paid for a wine and water package and probably wouldn’t recommend doing so as you got a couple of bottles of water each night, whilst water is available with meals anyway, and the bottle of wine you get with dinner is chosen for you and you are charged if you want to choose a different bottle. That said, a bottle of wine on board is around £50 so would you pay that each night instead? Prices are inline with Norway where alcohol is extremely expensive, in fact Andrew and Kathy went to a bar on land and beer was around £10 a pint! That would limit anybody’s drinking habit. Oh and rather than a bowl of peanuts there were fish flavoured crisps on offer, not Walkers Prawn Cocktail mind, an aquired taste, again Andrew rose to the challenge good chap he is!
Following the fishy theme, another thing that Andrew tried was Stock Fish, unsalted and dried by cold air and wind on wooden racks. During this process the fish matures and can be kept for years. Hat’s off once again Andrew because I really don’t think I could have tried it.
Kathy wanted snow and she got it! The further North they went the colder it became and the many layers and warm clothes they had taken really came into their own. Note, Hurtigruten do provide specialist clothing for some of the excursions including footwear but it is advisable to take plenty of your own. Kirkenes and the North Cape were a real highlight and Kathy said the only thing she would have done differently is to have a few days in Kirkenes as there we lots of activities and plenty to do – along with lots of snow of course.
All in all, Andrew and Kathy had a wonderful time, they loved ms Spitsbergen and the whole Hurtigruten experience, they have loads of fantastic photos to look back on and they have made memories to last a lifetime. Would they cruise with Hurtigruten again? I most definitely think they would.
For more information on Hurtigruten’s Norwegian Coastal Voyages and their Expedition Voyages please feel free to call me on 0800 408 6084 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to chat to you.
For now, Happy Cruising and Happy Easter folks!