Norwegian Fjord Cruises

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Aug 7th, 2012, 02:25 PM
  #1
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Norwegian Fjord Cruises

I have several questions here that are not fully mutually exclusive.
First, if you have cruised with Hurtigen, please tell me about it. I have read both good and bad.

Secondly, if you have gone with a big ship cruise,such as Princess, Holland-America, or Royal Caribbean, how far into the fjords was the ship able to penetrate? In other words, could you get a good look at the scenery.?
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Aug 7th, 2012, 02:26 PM
  #2
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Sorry. I meant Hurtigrund. Brain fatigue plus old age.
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Aug 7th, 2012, 02:30 PM
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We were on Crystal 3 years ago, and we saw incredible, beautiful scenery. I don't think this is an issue.
We had a geologist onboard who gave commentary as we cruised certain areas and he had huge maps to explain what you'd be seeing ahead. He'd also been on our Alaskan and South America cruises, and he added a lot to the experience. For some scenery, many of us got up and were in the lounge by 6 am and the geologist was already there, as were the waiters with hot chocolate, coffee, and pastries.
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Aug 7th, 2012, 05:12 PM
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"Hurtigen" -- Strike one!

"Hurtigrund" -- Strike two!

Luckily, before you strike out, we lob an easy one to you -- Hurtigruten!

Here are a couple of trip reports:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ruten-long.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...rney-south.cfm

There are quite a few more which should answer most of your questions.
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Aug 7th, 2012, 05:27 PM
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The Hirtigruten is a very low-key trip. It is really a public transport ship for coastal Norway. You do get to see a lot of stunning fjords, but there is no entertainment or tour guides for you. You can take a side trip if you wish. We took the all-day North Cape bus tour in the north, which was interesting but the tour guide was obsessed with statistical facts about the area, and never stopped talking all day! Whew! We rejoined the ship at the end if the day. And the stops are rarely very long. However, if you would enjoy a relaxing trip sitting in the view lounge reading and watching the scenery go by, you will like it. We did. And the food was plentiful and very good.
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Aug 7th, 2012, 07:33 PM
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H u r t i g r u t e n
Geez/ To think I missed it twice.
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Aug 8th, 2012, 02:20 AM
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charnees gave an accurate and fair description of Hurtigruten - "low key" is the word.

The traditional cruise ships sail into the fjords. One of the top experiences is Geiranger. The ships sail through the whole fjord between those incredibly steep slopes and throw anchor in the bay at the end of the fjord. Then you have a full day for trips into the scenery. I recommend very much the glacier tour.

Here you will see a photo with a cruise ship anchoring in Geiranger:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geiranger

If budget is not the question I would prefer a regular cruise over the Hurtigruten.
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Aug 8th, 2012, 05:07 AM
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I have done the Hurtigruten trip twice now, in addition to the trip I reported on (http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ruten-long.cfm) I went again this March with DH. I'd go again tomorrow if I could .

This trip report inspired my first trip btw: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ern-lights.cfm

They are very relaxed ships, no need to dress for dinner or anything. Plenty of shore excursions available, though in most places it is possible to see everything without an excursion.
This year DH went to the North Cape and I went on the alternative fishing village trip. I preferred that to the North Cape trip tbh. Probably the best trip I did.

How much entertainment on board depends on the ship and the tour manager. I went on the Vesterålen both times, one of the smaller ships. The first trip the tour manager gave a few interesting talks, and organised a couple of walks himself. The second time, different tour manager and she was not as interactive, no talks, a couple of videos that was all.
We did have a jazz band from Trondheim Uni join us and entertain us on deck though! I understand some of the bigger ship do have evening entertainment occasionally - even if it is provided by the guest themselves.
The scenery is the main entertainment, and the northern lights if you are there outside the summer, of course.
We never felt the need for anything more - all that fresh air and scenery and we hit the sack pretty early most nights!

The big ships don't visit as many ports - simply because they are too big for most of them.
Places like Alesund get overrun when a cruise ship calls, whereas the guided tour for the Hurtigruten is small and manageable.

I haven't been in the summer so I haven't been in Geiranger for instance, which Hurtigruten does only in the summer (it is closed all winter due to ice).

I hate the idea of a "normal" cruise. The need to dress for dinner, the sheer numbers on board, etc etc. The Hurtigruten suits my style of travelling, but I realise it is not everyone's cup of tea.

As far as price goes, there is probably not a lot in it in actual fact. Hurtigruten is quite expensive, unless you are prepared to go half board and have an assigned cabin, rather than choosing your own cabin and going full board.
Tipping is optional on Hurtigruten - you can collect an envelope at the end of the trip and put in it what you like. Not compulsory at all.
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Aug 8th, 2012, 05:48 AM
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I loved the Hurtigruten experience. Before the trip I was concerned it might be like one of those big cruise ships, but it wasn't.. Nice cabin and wonderful meals, nothing more but looking at gorgeous scenery. Got off the ship at almost every stop, did our own exploring. Less than 10% were from the US, passengers were mostly Northern Europeans. Passengers got on and off the ship at the different towns and cities along the coast.
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Aug 8th, 2012, 05:50 AM
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I am not a cruise person, but overall we really enjoyed our experience on Hurtigruten, despite some incredibly rough seas that left nearly everyone -- even the crew -- quite sick the first night.

We only did Kirkenes to Bodo. Basically three days, and that was probably enough for us. The schedule was rough since ports were in the middle of the night, and the towns were dead as doornails. Still it was fun, the scenery was spectacular, and food and accomodations were decent. The lounge on top was really quite nice, although we often had to fight for a place to sit due to a very large tour group saving places for each other.

At Bodo, we disembarked, spent a night, flew to Trondheim and rented a car for the rest of the trip -- which we found wonderful taking our time to Bergen and beyond.
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Aug 8th, 2012, 10:12 AM
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If you decide on the Hurtigruten and can choose a cabin go for a starboard one so you aren't disturbed by the night time ports - though I never had a problem with them I must admit.

For a one way trip going south is generally quieter, with less people on board, but you miss out on Alesund and the like.
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Aug 11th, 2012, 12:38 AM
  #12
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I thank you all/ The goal is to see the fjords. The Alesund would be a loss for us. Perhaps we can opt for an extension and drive to the Alesund and take a local boat trip.
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Aug 11th, 2012, 01:59 AM
  #13
 
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I have just received the Hurtigruten schedule for 2013 with some really interesting new journeys- several combining Scotland and Norway. See www. hurtigruten.co.uk
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Aug 17th, 2012, 11:59 PM
  #14
 
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On Hurtigruten you get to see the islands in the Arctic sea too and the Lofoten, which are breathtaking and much more scenic than many of the Fjords, which are spectacular in their own right.
Hurtigruten ships make short calls and the main thing is for them to load cargo quickly. It's also used as public transport. When we were on it there was a choir traveling to a festival and students from Lofoten islands rejoining Uni in Tromsø (and being collected by their friends in the middle of the night with guitar playing, singing, balloons and a bottle of booze). There will always be people on a day ticket traveling in the lounge. They'll camp out there, and the staff will put blankets there for them at night.
If you look closely you can see quite a bit of the local life, and some of the excursions are really quite good.
Take a good look at the sailing schedule, because the ships visit one set of ports going north by day and one set by night and that order is reversed when they go south. Of course, if you do the round trip, you get to visit everything by day. We picked which ports we wanted to see by day, and did the leg Kirkenes - Bergen. "Day" is a relative notion too, because we were in Trondheim at 6 am and then had 2 hours to explore the city.

I especially liked the bit from Kirkenes to Tromsø and if I had to do Hurtigruten again, I would book that bit in stretches and stay a few days, for instance in Svolvaer, Hammerfest and Tromsø.

And another tip: you can buy tickets for short stretches of the Hurtigruten on the spot at any port where the ships call. You can even take your (rental) car on board if space permits.
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Aug 18th, 2012, 03:10 AM
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Hi

You can get additional information on the Fodors Cruise forum - http://www.fodors.com/community/cruises/
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