Time for a trip report on my Hurtigruten trip.
I'll do it is sections to keep it readable.
I decided to go on a trip on my own since my husband is spending so much time in France for work. Initially I thought of heading for the sun, as any right thinking person in the Northern Hemisphere would for a trip in February. However every right thinking person in the Northern hemisphere had beaten me to it and nearly everywhere was booked. I could rent a tiny apartment, but that would mean still being alone - just warmer.
So I started looking around for other ideas.
Partly thanks to Cambe’s wonderful TR on the Hurtigruten, and partly because it is something which has appealed for a long time, but I always thought would be too expensive I looked into heading north and Hunting the Light.
Seetheworld provided the encouragement to go it alone, for which I shall always be very grateful.
In the winter months there is no single supplement which makes it an affordable option for solo travellers. I booked just a basic, single, outside cabin, and half board, plus a few excursions, and my flight and transfers. I chose the Vesterålen, one of the older, smaller ships, but still fitted with stabilisers, unlike the oldest two ships in the fleet.
I didn’t stay in Bergen before or after the trip - but I probably would do if I were to go again. My aim was to keep costs as low as possible, since this was a bonus trip, not our main holiday for the year.
I flew direct from Amsterdam, and had a row of three seats to my self. On arrival I collected my luggage and set off to find the bus. There was a man waiting in arrivals asking for people going to the Hurtigruten, so after getting some Krone from the ATM I joined him, along with a crowd of others. We followed him to his bus, loaded our luggage and boarded.
Then he said I’m only supposed to have 35 people, but clearly have more (the bus was full), but that’s OK by me, if it’s OK by you.
So we went with him. He offloaded us at the terminal and took our bags around to be loaded - something the normal transfer bus doesn’t do as I understand it.
It was raining hard in Bergen (no surprise there!) so I was glad not to have to wait in the rain for the official transfer bus.
Once on board I organised a cruise card - my boarding pass could then also be used for payments on-board and would be charged to my CC at the end of the trip, and bought my coffee mug so I could drink tea and coffee whenever I wanted.
We couldn’t go to the cabins until 6 pm, so I wandered around trying to get my bearings. Eventually we could go to the cabins. My bag was waiting outside the door. The cabin was spacious, with enough room for my clothes and to store my bag. It had a porthole, which was fine, with a desk under it, and bunk beds. The bottom one was made up - the top one folded away.
Dinner was a buffet, with free seating. A bit daunting on my first solo trip since I was 18, but I was joined at my table by a charming German. He bought himself a bottle of wine and then shared it with me. The buffet was extensive and tasty, with a wide choice of warm and cold dishes.
We had our safety talk, first one for the Germans on board, then one in English for the rest of us, and were given a book about the trip and a sheet telling us where we would be docking, excursions and sights along the way the following day. We could collect them every evening from the tour leaders desk thereafter.
We were also told to wash our hands thoroughly and regularly and to use the disinfectant gel before entering the dining room, cafeteria or re-entering the ship. This is to prevent Noro virus, which affected one of the ships a few years ago.
There were only about 100 people on board, so the ship was far from full - it has a capacity of 284 beds, and 560 passengers - remember it is a ferry not a cruise ship.
Most seemed to be Germans, with a fair number of British, a few French, 4 Americans, and a Dutch couple.
Finally at 10pm we set sail.
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Hunting the light on the Hurtigruten (long!)
Time for a trip report on my Hurtigruten trip.