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Norway on Hurtigruten

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Jan 29th, 2014, 08:26 AM
  #1
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Norway on Hurtigruten

We're flying to Oslo March 26 for five days, then to Kirkenes to board the southbound Hurtigruten ship to Bergen. I have a few questions I hope you can help me with. Do we need some type of snow boot? I'm not crazy about our Sorrels - heavy and hard to walk in since my husband has had back surgery and I'm 70. I've wanted to take the dog sled trip out of Tromso but heard it's hard on the back. Opinions? What about the day trip to the Lofeten (sp?) Islands. I've heard it's very picturesque. We'll be in Bergen for two days, and I've heard there's a Viking village outside of town . Is it worth the time? Thank you all for your input.
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Jan 29th, 2014, 09:17 AM
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Dog sledding is very hard on the back. If you have any back problem it is probably best not to do it. I'm not even sure you can do it southbound in Tromsø. Consider the midnight concert though.
The bus trip through the islands is generally regarded as one of the best excursions offered by Hurtigruten.
You need good shoes with a good grip. It will probably be icy rather than snowy at that time, as the snow melts during the day and refreezes at night. Certainly in early March 2012 it was icy in most places, including in Oslo. Consider a set of spikes you can put under your shoes. If you don't have any they sell them on the ships, and in Oslo too.
Many attractions around Bergen don't open until May.
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Jan 29th, 2014, 11:01 AM
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Thank you. You're correct - no dog sleds southbound. Probably not a good idea with our arthritic backs. Will book the island trip though.
The travel agent is suggesting the Norway in a Nutshell train trip instead of going directly from Bergen to Oslo. Your opinion?
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Jan 29th, 2014, 11:24 AM
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I haven't done NIN. I took the train direct from Oslo to Bergen, which was lovely and quite long enough a train trip for me.
There are a few reports on the NIN trip on the forums. Generally people break it into two days I think, as it is a very long single day.
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Jan 30th, 2014, 03:53 PM
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Information on NiN here: http://www.norwaynutshell.com/en/explore-the-fjords/
March though is very much out of season and you could have pretty rough weather. Good idea to keep your plans flexible and check the forecast before. You wouldn't need to book any of the transport, though you can save by booking a non-flexible ticket on the railway between Myrdal and Oslo.
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Jan 30th, 2014, 05:39 PM
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I took the southbound Hurtigruten cruise from Kirkenes to Bergen about seven years ago. Also in the early Spring. Wonderful trip! I don't recall the dog sled as an offered excursion, but did take the city tour of Tromso, and the bus tour of the Lofoten Islands. Very much enjoyed both. While cold (obviously!), so beyond layers, I did find helpful silk long johns! I highly recommend the day long Norway in a Nutshell. We arrived in Oslo by dinnertime. Beautiful scenery, and great fun on the bus-train-boat-train-bus transfer from Bergen.
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Jan 31st, 2014, 08:32 AM
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March is not spring in Norway, March is winter! Even in the lowlands the snow is not gone before late April and in the mountains not before late June.
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Feb 2nd, 2014, 09:18 AM
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Thank you all. I'm excited about this trip. Yes, we're taking our light hiking boots and long johns. Beer on the Hurtigruten is $10 - $15/drink, so we'll be drinking water and coffee.
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Feb 2nd, 2014, 11:38 AM
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Buy the coffee mugs. You only need a few cupsful to get your money back, and it is an easy to pack souvenir.
I have 3 of them now .

You can take booze onboard to drink in your cabin. You could buy it at duty free on arrival in Oslo for instance, otherwise you need to find a state booze shop.
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Feb 2nd, 2014, 11:40 AM
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Oh, and no one actually checks what is in your red coffee mug, so you can pour something a bit stronger into it if you want.
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Feb 4th, 2014, 07:48 AM
  #11
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Thank you for the red mug idea. We were planning on packing a couple bottles of amber colored adult beverages, but I'd rather be on deck than in a stateroom. Very excited about this trip.
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Feb 4th, 2014, 08:36 AM
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Have a wonderful time, but be careful, it's addictive!

Which ship are you on?
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Feb 5th, 2014, 08:32 AM
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We'll be on the Nordlys. No hot tub, but it fits our time allotment. I called to ask about the tipping policy and discovered that there isn't one. Quit different from other countries we've been to - from the hand out to a "suggested amount" print out on our beds. I told my husband that he can have all the lutefisk and lefse he wants.
I'd love to be able to be out for extended periods of time, but we have a farm and horses, so two weeks is a comfortable amount of time to be away.
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Feb 5th, 2014, 08:45 AM
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You can collect an envelope from either the restaurant or the tour guide on your last day, and put a tip in that. You hand it in as you leave the restaurant either on the last evening or the following morning after breakfast. The money is divided amongst all the crew, not only those you see. There is no obligation to so though.

I'm sure you will have a wonderful time. Just remember the scenery is the main entertainment on board. If you are lucky you could get to see the aurora, though I don't think they announce them any more at night.
It is a very relaxed trip, no dressing for dinner, and everyone is normally very friendly.

I can understand having horses cuts down on travelling. My son's in laws have Shires. It is a major undertaking for them to go away, unless one of their daughters has time off to farm sit.

I hope you have a great time, don't forget to report back afterwards .
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Feb 6th, 2014, 07:45 AM
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Nordlys has a good sauna. Not many people use it, the crew sometimes, so usually you can go in alone. If you ask at reception, they'll heat it up for you. It's in the hold of the ship next to some work out equipment, so nothing fancy but it's a good size.

Lofoten is stunning

I did Kirkenes - Bergen on the Nordlys a couple of years ago.
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Feb 6th, 2014, 08:00 AM
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I'd forgotten about that Menachem. I didn't use either the sauna or gym on the Kon Harald, but that has both too.
Even the Vesterålen has a gym.
I think that was used mostly by the crew too. A couple of people we met used it daily, much to the crew's chagrin as they were not allowed to use the gym if guests wanted to use it.
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Feb 6th, 2014, 09:03 AM
  #17
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Thank you so much for all of the information. The gym would be great since we both need stretching exercises to stay semi-limber. A sauna would be great. I'm really looking forward to this trip, and all of your information just makes me more excited.
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Feb 6th, 2014, 08:34 PM
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Gym: some exercise bikes and weights, and a nordic trainer, if I remember correctly. But it's there at least.
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Feb 8th, 2014, 05:56 AM
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Tipping is not that widespread nor expected in Norway. Taxi drivers don't expect a tip, neither does anyone in a hotel. In a restaurant you would normally pay by credit card in a mobile card reader. You are usually asked to enter the amount, leaving you the opportunity to tip, but since that money goes to the owner and probably doesn't get distributed it's quite OK to just enter the amount on the bill. Be careful that you don't give away your pin number by entering that instead. Norway has a decent minimum wage and restaurant workers are not dependent on handouts - you will never get snide remarks not leaving a tip. Most Norwegians and the government would like to see the end of this concept.
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Feb 8th, 2014, 07:15 AM
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we did the Hurtigruten a bit differently. Took NIN from Oslo to Bergen (one day) arriving Bergen at 6:00 pm. Spent three days in Bergen, boarded Hurtigruten and had a split reservation...Bergen to Trondheim (2 days), spent a day and overnight in Trondheim and next morning boarded another Hurtigruten, one day to Bodo (took side trip to the Svartisen (Black ice glacier) . Stayed overnight in Bodo and rented a car. Boarded the Lofoten ferry and spent a day driving from "A" ro Svolvaer, overnight)...took another car ferry with a few stops back to the mainland..then drove two days to Tromso, backtracked to Narvik, turned in car ansd took the ovrnight train to Stockholm. On board the Hurtigrtuen, since we were not "thru" passengers, we skipped the formal meals and found that the cafeteria (deli) was more than adequate and way less expensive. Here are pics below.
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