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#21
Hustonville, Kentucky (south of LEX)
85 Posts
Joined Jun 2015
We are planning a 12 day round trip next year in Oct-Mar time period. This conversation has been great. I really want to go in November, 2018. Any reports of that time? NL are a MUST! Good weather would be nice, and some fall color.
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MS Caribe II--Caribbean 1984
HAL Zandaam--Alaska 2013
#22
France
780 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
November, I think, is probably the worst season for a first trip! It is too late for autumn colors (they rather occur between mid-September and mid-October from North to South, at the end of October most of the leaves will have fallen). It might be a bit early for snow, and in general it is a very wet and gloomy month (much more chance for clouds, so less chances for NL).
I would advise either going earlier (early October for instance), or later. For instance January if you still want to experience the polar night, or end February/early March for the real winter experience with plenty of snow, and some daylight to enjoy the landscape a little bit more (but still long nights for the NL).
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#23
Toronto, Ottawa Valley ON, and Dunedin FL
14,503 Posts
Joined May 2001
I've only ever been to Norway in November, and I can attest it was rather bleak. Although there was still a fair amount of colour up in the hills. I was as far north as Alesund and Lillehammer.
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#24
Hustonville, Kentucky (south of LEX)
85 Posts
Joined Jun 2015
Thank you both so much for the input. I can do either early October or March 2019 (though I would hate to wait that long!) Would we see NL in early October or is the best bet for that March? That is our quest and bucket list--to see NL.
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#25
France
780 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
For Northern Lights it does not matter much. During the season (late August to mid-April), seeing the NL comes down to solar activity and clear skies, both of which are impossible to predict. Maybe look at the weather statistics to see which month has the less precipitation on average (look at Tromsø for instance) but I would say the chances are the same. If you want to increase your chances for NL, maybe combine the Hurtigruten trip with a land-based stay (for instance, exit the ship on the Southbound voyage in Tromsø or Lofoten, depending on which one appeals to you the most). If you are on land you have more opportunities to move around when the weather is bad above you.

The choice of season would depend more on what is the overall experience you want to have. In terms of daylight both would be about the same. October is autumn, colors on the tree, not much snow, milder temperature. March is winter, cold crip air, snow (so snow activities), gorgeous lights and colors during sunrise/sunset. It will be two very different experiences but both are good choices.

If you want some more input you can look at my blog (adress in signature), I have done this trip once in end September/early October and several times in winter (February and March) so maybe the pictures can give you an idea and help with your decision.
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#26
Germany
62 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
@SarniaLo

I have just dusted off my long forgotten school French (my teacher would be so upset, I think I forgot more than I ever learned) and read through your Christmas 2010 HR cruise. Stunning. Simply stunning (coming from somebody who went through a week of winter stoms during her HR Christmas cruise, with gale force winds and the water splashing all up to the panorama lounge on deck 8).


Originally posted by ljgordon54
Would we see NL in early October or is the best bet for that March? That is our quest and bucket list--to see NL.
If that is your quest and bucket list... a cruise, even a HR cruise, simply might not be your best option.

I agree with SarniaLo, on land you have more opportunities to move around. You might be better off taking a regular land vacation (Canada, Alaska, Iceland, Norway/Sweden/Finland), staying in the same spot for a week or two and either renting a car or taking excursions hunting the lights (with experienced guides who will know where there is the least light pollution and how to set your camera). Even combining a HR trip with a land tour might be a better option - you could take the northbound cruise and spend a few days in Kirkenes (then either fly back south or catch a different ship back to Bergen) or hop off in Tromsø, the Lofoten or Vesterålen on the way back south, as suggested. (HR offers "land adventures" you can add to your cruise, at least on the US website)

And even if you do that there is no guarantee. You might end up with a week of bad weather, winter storms, cloudy skies, rain, snow.

Early October will be nice, Norway in fall is lovely (if the weather cooperates). March will (most likely, unless winter comes as late as it did this year) mean early spring in the south and still winter and snow in the north. I took a train trip through Scandinavia in February/March a decade ago and Bergen was still cool late in February, norther Norway/Sweden was freezing (-14C/6F and three to four feet of snow in Boden, Sweden), Helsinki was bleak and Stockholm, which was my last stop, was definitely in the early stages of spring in late March (approx. 10C/50F). I love the light you have in Scandinavia in February / March. I did not see a single NL on that trip though. We saw one (!) on our HR cruise in December (it was green to the eye but lasted 15 minutes only). Iceland (Akureyri area) in the last week of August had amazing NL for a few nights in a row when we were there in 2014, greyish fog but across the whole sky and for hours, like dancing clouds. You just never know. You can have two weeks of bad weather or low solar activity or bad luck, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, you could run into bad weather and end up stuck in Harstad because all northern ports are closed due to storms. Or you have amazingly clear skies, high solar activities and five/six nights of lights.

No matter what, you will be stuck on the ship. No chance to stay longer in a place that is perfect for lights. No chance to move out of the city a bit to minimize light pollution (neither can you turn the ship lights off completely). No option to move from a to b where the weather might be nicer.
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#27
Hustonville, Kentucky (south of LEX)
85 Posts
Joined Jun 2015
Wow, such good information. You have given me lots to think about. I am so glad I found this thread. I will share this with my husband and be back if/when we have question.
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MS Caribe II--Caribbean 1984
HAL Zandaam--Alaska 2013
#28
California
1 Posts
Joined Oct 2017
Originally posted by kiwigirl
We just returned from our Norwegian Coastal cruise on the Trollfjord. We had great weather....only rain we had was the last 2 days of the cruise.

If anyone has any questions, I would be happy to try and answer them. We did excursions almost every day except 2 maybe.
We are looking into the Hurtigruten and are wondering whether to do the 12 day or the 7 day? Was the 12 days to long? Also how was the south bound part of the cruise.
Thanks
#29
France
780 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
The ports visited at night on the Northbound trip will be visited during the day on the southbound trip, so you will see different parts of the coast on both directions. You get then a rather complete view of the landscape of coastal Norway.
I think the Southbound trip has 2 of the most beautiful days of the whole journey, particularly the day between Harstad and Svolvaer, sailing through the Vesteraalen and Lofoten archipelago, and also the day after that, crossing the Arctic CIrcle and sailing along the Helgeland coast. It also has the less interesting day (again, for me), which is the last half-day before arriving in Bergen. What I do now often is exiting the ship in Trondheim on the Southbound journey. From Trondheim it is easy to go back to Oslo (by train or plane).
Whether you find it too long or not depends a lot on your particular likings. I have done this trip several times and never got bored, but I'm perfectly happy being on deck for hours watching the landscape go by (and I do landscape photography so that keeps me busy).
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#30
1 Posts
Joined Oct 2017
This report and the questions and answers are so helpful, thank you! I have booked the Finnmarken Bergen-Kirkenes for early July 2018. I am trying to figure out about clothes, limiting myself to a rolling carry-on bag. This will be tbe first part of a 3 week trip, continuing to Finnish Lapland and then Helsinki and Copenhagen that I expect will be warmer. I know to prepare for rain, and I have trusty lightweight hiking shoes. So in August it was tank tops/t shirts even north of the Arctic Circle? Would a fleece suffice when windier on deck or for excursions? Thank you for your advice! I understand there are laundry machines on this ship. Any other packing tips for a solo traveler? Many thanks!
#31
USA
2,592 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
Originally posted by scottb80
We're thinking of doing this same cruise next March in hopes of seeing the Aurora. We'll pack for cold weather. How long were you in ports that had excursions? Did the ship do a lot short dockings to take on or let off cars and passengers?
Are you planning on the Trollfjord also?

We've started a Roll Call for the early March Trollfjord RT, the one with the "Astronomy" program.

This will be our first trip to Norway (my first to Scandinavia; DH has been to Stockholm and Oslo on business many years ago), and our first cruise with Hurtigruten.

It's "suddenly" half a year closer to sailing than when we made our reservations

GC
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#33
San Diego, CA
811 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Originally posted by Gracie4
We are looking into the Hurtigruten and are wondering whether to do the 12 day or the 7 day? Was the 12 days to long? Also how was the south bound part of the cruise.
Thanks
My apologies. For some reason I didn't get a notification that there was a post here.

It may be to late, but we really enjoyed the 12 day. It never felt like time was dragging. We had an excursion almost each day (I think we only skipped one or two days). I was surprised that I enjoyed just sitting in the lounge each day. I think one thing that made it enjoyable was that we had a room on Deck 6 with a window. If we were in the cabin, we were able to look out and if we saw something of interest, we were able to get outside quickly.
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07/17 - Hurtigruten Trollfjord - Classic Roundtrip Voyage
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#34
San Diego, CA
811 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Again, my apologies for the late response.

So I live in Southern California and have lived here all my life. I am definitely not a cold weather person. I tried to make sure that I did the layering thing. So glad I did. I found that the buses were very warm for me. I had to be able to get down to short sleeves (or tanks) while on the bus and have a light jacket or other long sleeve to throw on when we got off the bus.

I found the same to be true on the ship. I saw many people in long sleeve fleece or heavy jackets. I stayed with my short sleeves and a light sweater or jacket and would bring my windbreaker with me if I wanted to go outside. I do wish I had brought a better hat to wear outside. It definitely would get windy out there. We got extremely lucky and only had rain the last two days of the trip going back to Bergen.

There are washer/dryers on board. On Deck 4 behind the reception area. You need to get a token from reception. Different people had different situations. My husband got a couple of tokens on the first day (this included the detergent pod). When my MIL went to get hers, they wouldn't give them to her until she had her laundry ready to go. I believe there are 4 washer/dryer combos.



Originally posted by One Rainy Day
This report and the questions and answers are so helpful, thank you! I have booked the Finnmarken Bergen-Kirkenes for early July 2018. I am trying to figure out about clothes, limiting myself to a rolling carry-on bag. This will be tbe first part of a 3 week trip, continuing to Finnish Lapland and then Helsinki and Copenhagen that I expect will be warmer. I know to prepare for rain, and I have trusty lightweight hiking shoes. So in August it was tank tops/t shirts even north of the Arctic Circle? Would a fleece suffice when windier on deck or for excursions? Thank you for your advice! I understand there are laundry machines on this ship. Any other packing tips for a solo traveler? Many thanks!
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- denyse
______________________
07/17 - Hurtigruten Trollfjord - Classic Roundtrip Voyage
07/07 - Tahitian Princess - Tahiti
12/05 - Carnival Liberty - E. Caribbean
07/98 - Sky Princess - Alaska
05/96 - Carnival Jubilee - Mexico


click here to email me