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Clueless about Hurtigruten 'Northern Lights' cruise in January.

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    Clueless about Hurtigruten 'Northern Lights' cruise in January.

    No, not what I hope to see but all the nitty gritty bits concerning what to take, what money I night need and roughly how much (12 days) and in what form. What sort of clothing on the ship, is it warm or chilly on board, don't worry I'll be well wrapped up outside. I'm going on my own (OAP) and have never cruised before so I haven't a clue about anything. Any hints, tips or 'must haves' would be grately appreciated. I've been wanting to do this voyage for years but now it is booked I am wondering what I have let myself in for !!!!
    (Oh I tell a little fib, I went on a 14 day cruise round the Galapagos in 1995, it was stunning.)

    #2
    Originally posted by Sue, High Peak, Derbyshire View Post
    No, not what I hope to see but all the nitty gritty bits concerning what to take, what money I night need and roughly how much (12 days) and in what form. What sort of clothing on the ship, is it warm or chilly on board, don't worry I'll be well wrapped up outside. I'm going on my own (OAP) and have never cruised before so I haven't a clue about anything. Any hints, tips or 'must haves' would be grately appreciated. I've been wanting to do this voyage for years but now it is booked I am wondering what I have let myself in for !!!!
    (Oh I tell a little fib, I went on a 14 day cruise round the Galapagos in 1995, it was stunning.)
    A good place to start would be reading some , or all , of the reviews on this site so here is a link to the 34 reviews available


    http://www.cruise.co.uk/cruise-revie...stinationid=34
    Pete




    sigpic
    If I can't be SKIING then CRUISING is the next best thing

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you for that, it was VERY helpful. I am going on the Trollfjord so had only looked for that ship and there was only one review. It's the practical hints I was looking for, re clothing on board, and money. I've put a question so perhaps these points will be answered too.

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        #4
        You'll need Norwegian currency as, by the nature of the Hurtigruten voyages, you'll spend time ashore in all kinds of interesting places. Also, you'll need a credit card. As for clothing, you need to dress in layers as on deck will be bitterly cold and below decks will be warm, but not over heated. Get used to using your camera on a night time setting as much of the time it will be dark. Don't forget to put on sunscreen when on deck in daylight. The sun can be quite strong even though it feels cold. Have a great time. I hope you get to see a great spectacle. Judith

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          #5
          WE did this last December on the Midnatsol, the ship inside is lovely and warm, with a heated bathroom floor which dries your clothes beautifully!!! Outside you will need very warm clothes, thermals, warm hat, scarf, many many layers. We found spikes were very helpful for in the ports as it was often very icy. They do sell them on board but it is cheaper by far to buy them before you go. As for currency, we changed some Norwegian before we went but used very little of it, just a small amount for coffees, gifts etc. We paid for our excursions on board by credit card. They do supply blankets to wrap up in whilst on deck. Do wrap up warm, you will spend a lot of time outside watching the lights, and boy, are they worth it, enjoy!!

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            #6
            We have done the Northern Lights voyage 3 times. On board you can wear normal indoor clothing. We have found the library on Trollfjord can be chilly needing a fleece or similar, and you need to be prepared with a coat to dash onto the bitterly cold deck when the 'lights' are spotted. The observation lounge is usually blouse or shirt-sleeve temperature as is the restaurant. If in doubt have a jumper or fleece handy. Cabin temperatures are centrally controlled and usually just the right temperature so the thin looking duvet is more than adequate.
            Outdoors you need to dress in layers, increasing in number until you get up to Kirkenes. Good walking or snow boots are a must. Bergen is usually similar to British temperatures in winter, but often wet!

            As for money we never take any NOK. The only time I needed cash was for mixers (for spirits bought in Amsterdam or Copenhagen on the way to the ship). This was in one supermarket that did not take cards, and they pointed us to an ATM round the corner to draw cash with a debit card. All other purchases and museum entries have been made with a credit card (usually cheaper than buying cash).
            Hurtigruten allow spirits in your cabin and the bar staff are only too happy to give you a beaker of ice on request. There is enough to see in most towns without spending money at all. Excursions are paid for on board using your cabin card/credit card.

            It is never really dark in winter, rather twilight, so don't worry too much about camera settings - auto can cope most of the time. However, time exposures are essential for the 'lights'.

            I hope that you have a super voyage and you see lots of lights

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Cooke, Ashby View Post
              You'll need Norwegian currency as, by the nature of the Hurtigruten voyages, you'll spend time ashore in all kinds of interesting places. Also, you'll need a credit card. As for clothing, you need to dress in layers as on deck will be bitterly cold and below decks will be warm, but not over heated. Get used to using your camera on a night time setting as much of the time it will be dark. Don't forget to put on sunscreen when on deck in daylight. The sun can be quite strong even though it feels cold. Have a great time. I hope you get to see a great spectacle. Judith
              Thank you to all who have replied. I am much clearer now on what I need. The hint about getting used to the camera is a must because I have just bought a camcorder specifically for this trip. The spikes are a good idea, don't want to risk any broken bones. It doesn't seem as if I need to take much money as I can use my cards when needed. Sunscreen, never thought of that, the lady at Hurtigruten suggested getting sunglasses to cope with the snow glare even though I have the type of specs which go dark in the sunlight, she said that they might not be strong enough? Any ideas.? I know I'm a bit of a fussppot but I don't want to be unprepared and risk spoiling my adventure.

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                #8
                Hello Sue, I was on board the Finnmarken earlier this year on a Northen Lights voyage ( amazing! ) take plenty of layers for when your outside on deck etc but inside the ship I found pretty warm, and wore jeans with cardigans or a jumper. You will need your credit card for your onboard purchases and maybe just a little NOK for your ports of call but not too much, If you have any further questions dont hesitate to email me emmad@cruise.co.uk thanks!
                See something you like?

                Dont hesitate to call me on 0800 408 6129, email me on and please visit my blog at for all the lastest cruise stories!

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Sue, High Peak, Derbyshire View Post
                  Thank you to all who have replied. I am much clearer now on what I need. The hint about getting used to the camera is a must because I have just bought a camcorder specifically for this trip. The spikes are a good idea, don't want to risk any broken bones. It doesn't seem as if I need to take much money as I can use my cards when needed. Sunscreen, never thought of that, the lady at Hurtigruten suggested getting sunglasses to cope with the snow glare even though I have the type of specs which go dark in the sunlight, she said that they might not be strong enough? Any ideas.? I know I'm a bit of a fussppot but I don't want to be unprepared and risk spoiling my adventure.
                  Camcorders are much better in low light than still cameras and are quite good at capturing the lights (you can see how good on the viewing screen). Check whether there is a 'night' or 'low light' setting but avoid using it unless essential because it gives noisy (speckly) pictures.

                  I wear self darkening specs and they were OK in snow on a sunny summer glacier in Canada. However, on a winter voyage I doubt, like mine, whether there will be enough light to darken them, never mind create snow glare.

                  Many passengers I met had strap on spikes etc for the snow. The worst places to walk are the roads which can be sheet ice compacted by traffic. The bigger towns grit (not salt) the footpaths and places like banks seem to clear the pavements altogether. Still, if you get off the popular routes to see some out of the way sights it can be quite tricky.

                  Did any one mention taking a good thick hat that covers the ears? If it is windy, this AND your anorak hood together can make you a lot more comfortable. And some find 'long johns' help too although loose fitting clothing does a good job of keeping the warmth in on its own. As you will see from my clothing picture, I also wear glove liners (silk is better than wool) inside my insulated waterproof gloves. They allow you to handle your camera without totally exposing your hands.

                  Aurora-w.jpg
                  Arctic-clothes-in-Tromso.jpg

                  Sorry to ramble on but some of these thoughts come from winters in Moscow, Scandinavia and North America.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    No, ramble on as much as you like, I'm grateful for any hints anyone has. I am making notes, woolly hat, silk glove liners, long johns (although I had already thought of that), you'd think I was going to the North Pole but they will all come in for our worst Derbyshire winters (not that we actually have many). I hope I get to take some good photos too, I have booked a full 12 day round trip as I thought I would have more chance of capturing them over a longer period. The one disappontment is that I wanted to visit the Lofoten Islands but they don't offer that excursion in the winter months, you just wave at them as you go past. I have not booked any excursions yet, I ticked off the ones I wanted to do but when I added it up it was almost doubling the cost of my cruise so I'll have to whittle it down somewhat.
                    Thanks again for your advice and if you think of anything else........................!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Sue, High Peak, Derbyshire View Post
                      No, ramble on as much as you like, I'm grateful for any hints anyone has. I am making notes, woolly hat, silk glove liners, long johns (although I had already thought of that), you'd think I was going to the North Pole but they will all come in for our worst Derbyshire winters (not that we actually have many). I hope I get to take some good photos too, I have booked a full 12 day round trip as I thought I would have more chance of capturing them over a longer period. The one disappointment is that I wanted to visit the Lofoten Islands but they don't offer that excursion in the winter months, you just wave at them as you go past. I have not booked any excursions yet, I ticked off the ones I wanted to do but when I added it up it was almost doubling the cost of my cruise so I'll have to whittle it down somewhat.
                      Thanks again for your advice and if you think of anything else........................!
                      The round trip is a great idea as it doubles the chance of seeing the lights especially north of Tromso and you do see different ports during daytime on the way back.
                      I do assure you that it can be a lot colder in North Norway than Derbyshire in winter. The last time we went we walked from the ship into Kirkenes at -20C PLUS wind chill and snow (and thoroughly enjoyed it). There is a monument to a Russian soldier on a hill and a lovely church on the way in, and you can recover in a warm shopping mall before walking back.

                      The last time we went there was a winter excursion to a Viking feast tour on the Lofotens that was followed by a drive to the next port to meet the ship so you can see some scenery in the twilight.
                      Trondheim is highly walkable and you can see everything that their town tour does. Alesund is also highly walkable and the 400 steps up Mount Aksla is worth the energy it takes. Same for most of the longer stops. Hammerfest church is worth walking to and there is a free museum half way up the hill that has a fascinating story of WW2. In Honnigswag, we walked up the village to the right to the church which is the only building to have survived the German withdrawal in WW2. The church in Vadso is worth a visit as the fort is usually closed in winter (check). Vadso is easy to walk on your own with map. We also thought the free Hurtigruten museum in Stockmarknes was worth a visit. You can also visit other Hurtigruten ships free when they meet in port at the same time. They usually tell you when ships meet both at sea and in port.
                      The excursions we have done and really enjoyed were dog-sledding in Tromso, Ice Hotel in Kirkenes and "Arctic energy" tour in Hammerfest, but we have got off at EVERY port and walked round before doing tours on another voyage.
                      The North Cape is dodgy and tours are often cancelled because of road conditions in winter. If you cannot see the mountain top in mist above Honnigswag as you come in it is unlikely you will see much at the North Cape even if the excursion is on. (Although you would still get the indoor film etc.)
                      We were no convinced that the Ice Sculptures in Svolvaer were worth the entrance fee - peep through the door first if you can.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Not been to Norway in the winter but I have experienced low temps...-18C before windchill. It's the wind which really gets to you.

                        Don't forget a scarf to cover your mouth. Breathing in the cold at such low temps can hurt sometimes. I wear contact lenses but found I had to ditch them during the day and wear glasses. That in itself became a problem as all mine are metal framed and metal gets VERY cold in those temps. Ouch! I rested my glasses on the scarf, which was covering my nose and mouth. A double duty scarf!!

                        Don't make the same mistake I did re a hat. I took my nice snug Arran knitted bobble. Keeps me warm in our climate in the depths of Jan/Feb! Mistake. The 'holes' in the knit lets in the cold. A fleece pull on with a thermolite liner. I bought one the second day. What a difference.

                        I wore two pairs of Fleece gloves too. Both thin as I wanted to be able to use the camera and thick gloves made me even more clumsy.

                        In fact, Fleece is a wonderful fabric, light and brilliant when layered.
                        Have fun and do write a review.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I did the midnight concert at the arctic cathedral in Tromso. I didnt think i would enjoy it but i was absolutely moved to tears, and the snow was falling when we came out, it was wonderful, never been to anything like it, not cheap but money well spent. We wanted to do all the dog sledding etc. but winter came late and there wasnt enough snow in DECEMBER!!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Oh I am so glad that I put the original question. All the hints, tips and comments have filled out my view of what to expect and how to equip myself. I had intended going this year but unexpected health problems resulting in a double bypass put paid to that. However I am recovering well and should be fully fit by January. I will look again into the Lofoten excursion but I'm sure it said it started in April and I think the lady at Hurtigruten said the same. Perhaps they have changed the itenerary. Fingers crossed....again. Anyway I am going to print off all your comments and use it to make out a shopping list of necessities. Can you buy maps of the various places to visit on the ship or do you have to go prepared ?. Being on my own though I might take advantage of the tours on offer rather than striking out alone. I might miss something by myself.
                            Thank you again to everyone who replied and I look forward to posting a review on my return.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              One thing Hurtigruten is excelent with is port information and maps. There is a room which is devoted to information, providing maps and information of all the ports, and there you will find your tour desk, and even the northern lights forecast for that evening so you have no problem there. Due to the short time in most of the ports it is probably better to use the ship for any tours that are far away.You will love it all i am sure.

                              Comment


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