Hurtigruten make the best of It!
Hurtigruten Kong Harald. My wife and I have just returned from an aborted cruise to hopefully see the Northern Lights. Unfortunately the Kong Harald has just undergone a refit and Hurtigruten clearly tried to bring her back into service before she was ready. This is unfortunate for a number of reasons. Hurtigruten have an excellent reputation, offering the unique service of a super ferry/ cruise ship to a highly unusual destination, and this failure could damage their good name. I would hope not. In spite of the obvious difficulty of looking after 320 people 'stuck' in Bergen Harbour when expecting to be journeying north, and in subsequently having to rebook everyone on flights back whence they came, the company made every effort to minimise the disappointment and disruption. We were kept up to date in the early stages, when there was clearly a hope that the technical difficulties would be overcome and the cruise could go ahead. Once the decision was made to cancel the cruise a large team of local travel agents was assembled on board to assist in arranging our repatriation, and everyone worked tirelessly to achieve outcomes suitable to individual requirements. We ourselves were booked on. BA flight back to Heathrow within 24 hours of the decision to cancel. During the period of uncertainty as whether the cruise would take place or not, Hurtigruten provided a 'free' coach tour of Bergen, all meals as per programme, plus complimentary wine with meals and free drinks during the evening. While we remained in port work on the unfinished items from the refit continued, for example kitting out the shop and laying carpets in the new disabled friendly cabins, but none of this was allowed to intrude on the needs of the guests. In short, in my view, the company did all within their power to try and minimise the disappointment felt by all their customers, and they are to be commended for this. However, as there is a programme of refits planned for some of their other vessels, Hurtigruten might do well to allow more time for the works to take place in future.
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