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Peggy Sue

first time cruiser questions

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Hi,  

 

We will be booking a 12 night Norway cruise for September 2020 on the MS Finnmarken.  We have taken several ocean voyages to Alaska, Europe and Caribbean ..but we have never experienced the type of cruise Hurtigruten offers.   Given our experience has been with the mainstream cruise lines, we have a few questions we hope you all will be able to answer.  (Thank you!  I've already learned a great deal reading the posts here!)

 

Dining -- Understand breakfast and lunch are buffet and dinner is plated ... Will we be assigned to a specific table for dinner?  Are they dining seatings (early/late)?  

 

Drinks - Recently the mainstream cruise lines have been incuding drink packages, etc., so we never really have to think about bottled water, soda, beer, wine etc.  Are there drink packages offered, and if so, are they worth the money?  Given the cruise line is "green" do they even sell bottles of water?  

 

Sailing in September, I'm assuming the weather will be cool .. but who knows, we might have a few warm days too .. how is AC on board?  

 

Entertainment .. Assume lectures?  Any musicians on board in lounges etc. during the evening?  

 

We are very happy dress is casual all the time .. traveling from the US, luggage restrictions and the need to bring warm clothes is a concern.  Any hits from you experienced travelers about what is a must to pack?  Anything you can think of that we don't need to bring along?  

 

Cabin .. We are reserving a Artic Superior - Double bed with unobstructed view .. Assume our cabin will be serviced at least once a day for new towels, etc?  

 

What do you consider a "don't miss" excursion?  What excursion do you suggest we avoid?

 

read somewhere that excursions are often discounted onboard, however no refunds are given if the excursion was booked at the full price prior to the cruise .. what's your opinion?  Book those that we really want to do and wait on any others to judge weather and possible discount?  

 

Thank you for sharing your experiences!  I love planning our vacations and we are really looking forward to a different cruise experience and seeing the beauty of Norway!

 

Peggy Sue

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Hi Peggy

very specific questions - I’ll do my best to answer and other Hurtigruten cruisers will add.

 

Dinner at the first night as well as one night in each direction is buffet - don’t be later for the buffet if open seating.

You’ll be assigned a table and time - you can ask to change both table and time.

In MDR no choices of menu - fixed menu - see other topic on menu offering.

 

Drink package available - fair prices on wine by glass. Water served at dinner - even tap water in Norway is ‘bottle quality’

 

can be cold - you are going quite far north - even in June it can be cold. You might be lucky and experience Northern Lights in September

 

excellent lectures but no music or shows

 

Casual all time - bring layers windbreaker and rain gear - hat warm boots and gloves. Layers is the solution.

 

Same daily tidy as for the ocean cruises.

 

Avoid excursions in general very high priced - I’ll suggest North Cape - excursions will be discounted on board but popular excursions are sold out. - you normally have to buy a discounted package.

 

indeed a beautiful voyage - be prepared for some rough seas - primarily the first and last day of the 11 day RT - enjoy your cruise.

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Some additional infos.

 

Dinner menu is fixed, but there is a possible substitute for the main dish if you don't like it. The menu is posted the day before usually (or in the morning) and you can ask for the change until lunch the same day (only one substitute option each time). If you have specific dietary requirements better let Hurtigruten know in advance and they will accomodate you.

 

The wine package is expensive. It is possible to buy one bottle only and have it last over several meal (the staff will keep it for you with your cabin number).

 

Unlikely to have very warm days in September. A warm day would be 15°C and it will cool significantly at night (and of course it gets colder as you go North). In the North it's not unlikely to have freezing temps at that time. The inside of the ship is usually on the warm side, you can adjust somewhat the temperature in your cabin.

 

The cabin is serviced every day, you can choose to have your towels changed or not (put them on the ground if you want them changed).

 

Not all ships have lectures, so check before departure (the one advertising for "expedition team" on board will have lectures). Entertainment on board is minimal, usually no music in the evenings, no movies, no casino. A few activities are offered each day but they are short. The trip is all about landscape and scenery and you should be able to keep yourself entertained on your own.

 

Regarding clothing, indeed layers are the way to go. Bring a good windproof and waterproof jacket (breathable if you can) but it doesn't have to be very warm if you have the appropriate layers. The speed of the ship will generate wind in itself so cannot stress out enough how important the windproof aspect is. Beanies, scarff and gloves may come in handy. Numbers of layers will depend on your tolerance to cold. I have good merino wool underwear so I'm usually good with one layer of underwear and one warmer layer under the jacket. I would bring longjohns at this season, you might need them in the North.

 

Excursions is quite a personal matter. I've been 8 times on the trip with almost no excursions, while some people wouldn't consider it. Maybe North Cape for the symbol (and it's less crowded at this season). "Taste of Vesteraalen" also might be worth it to give you a sense of inland scenery (but you miss out on a great sailing). I don't think many excursions would book out in advance at this season, so I would wait until you are on board (it's usually cheaper). Cancelled excursions will be refunded even if booked in advance, but they will be refunded based on the current price in NOK and not the price you paid, sometimes the difference is substantial.

 

Check also this comprehensive discussion : https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2599683-everything-hurtigruten-question-answered/

 

I'm sure you will have a great trip! September is a lovely season with start of fall colors and first Northern Light sightings, keep your fingers crossed for nice weather.

 

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I took a few excursions...the "Breakfast at the Nordkapp" was a good one, and I absolutely loved the "Sea Eagle Safari".  Many people like the midnight concert in Tromso...I did not take it myself. In Tromso you can walk or take a public bus to the Arctic Chapel, and the excellent Polar Exploration Museum is a short walk from the ship. If you are a good walker, you can also walk to the cathedral in Trondheim, although I did take the tour which included the musical instrument museum (I really enjoyed that).  Many places, like Alesund, I just walked around on my own.

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Hi Peggy Sue, You're from Mass? I used to be, but haven't seen a winter in two years now. I'm a little surprised that I keep seeing people saying bring a windbreaker/waterproof jacket. I'm pretty cold tolerant and all due respect to layering, I would bring a coat. I'm going 2 December, so it's different, but I'm bringing all the stuff I didn't toss when we moved to Israel. I'm even thinking of bringing my Bogner ski pants. Why not? I'll be warm as hell and they aren't heavy.

You have lots of time to plan, I just booked today and we're going in 2.5 months!  Have fun! Enjoy the winter; my dogs really miss the snow.

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On 9/10/2019 at 6:43 PM, Peggy Sue said:

Hi,  

 

We will be booking a 12 night Norway cruise for September 2020 on the MS Finnmarken.  We have taken several ocean voyages to Alaska, Europe and Caribbean ..but we have never experienced the type of cruise Hurtigruten offers.   Given our experience has been with the mainstream cruise lines, we have a few questions we hope you all will be able to answer.  (Thank you!  I've already learned a great deal reading the posts here!)

 

Dining -- Understand breakfast and lunch are buffet and dinner is plated ... Will we be assigned to a specific table for dinner?  Are they dining seatings (early/late)?  

 

Drinks - Recently the mainstream cruise lines have been incuding drink packages, etc., so we never really have to think about bottled water, soda, beer, wine etc.  Are there drink packages offered, and if so, are they worth the money?  Given the cruise line is "green" do they even sell bottles of water?  

 

Sailing in September, I'm assuming the weather will be cool .. but who knows, we might have a few warm days too .. how is AC on board?  

 

Entertainment .. Assume lectures?  Any musicians on board in lounges etc. during the evening?  

 

We are very happy dress is casual all the time .. traveling from the US, luggage restrictions and the need to bring warm clothes is a concern.  Any hits from you experienced travelers about what is a must to pack?  Anything you can think of that we don't need to bring along?  

 

Cabin .. We are reserving a Artic Superior - Double bed with unobstructed view .. Assume our cabin will be serviced at least once a day for new towels, etc?  

 

What do you consider a "don't miss" excursion?  What excursion do you suggest we avoid?

 

read somewhere that excursions are often discounted onboard, however no refunds are given if the excursion was booked at the full price prior to the cruise .. what's your opinion?  Book those that we really want to do and wait on any others to judge weather and possible discount?  

 

Thank you for sharing your experiences!  I love planning our vacations and we are really looking forward to a different cruise experience and seeing the beauty of Norway!

 

Peggy Sue

Hi Peggy,

 

I have never been on Hurtigruten however my husband and I did take a cruise to Norway on Norwegian Cruise Lines last year. 

 

I agree with the North Cape...it is a must see. We booked our own excursion with Blue Puffin... https://www.blue-puffin.com/en/

Monika is absolutely amazing, our tour was reasonably priced and I can tell you from talking to others on our cruise ship, we got the most authentic experience by far, and also got to the North Cape (Nord Kapp). 

 

Lori

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On Nordnorge now. I absolutely agree with SarniaLo regarding layering and how cold it can be on deck when the ship is moving. Very.

 

So far, the only excursion we’ve done has been North Cape, and we did it by van with the local taxi company. That was 70 NOK compared to 170 NOK on the ship, and it was very nice, but we were taking a chance (the driver said he would drive us to Kirkenes if we missed the ship; who knows?). We enjoyed it for 70 NOK. At 170, it’s a tourist trap ripoff, although a beautiful one.

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Many questions already answered but I'll just give my experience.

 

Regarding excursions, unlike most above, I took every excursion I possibly could. I loved every one and felt they added so much to my enjoyment of the cruise, getting out and into nature and the thick of things. I did a long review of that coastal cruise where I talk about what excursions I chose.

 

I was there mid September 2016 and saw Aurora 5 nights out of 11. Was pretty magical.

 

The tap water on the table is perfect. 

Here's the link to my review

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2330054-trip-report-ms-nordnorge-sep-25-oct-5-2016/

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