We had never been on a serious ship before. We knew we wanted to take in the scenery of Norway, and in comparing various cruises available, and with the advice of GCTC we settled on the Hurtigruten. We’re so glad we did. We can’t say enough positive things about the shipboard experience and the wonderful Norwegian scenery. After spending a few days in Bergen (it is a jewel of a city in a fantastic setting and has a wonderful art gallery), we boarded the Hurtigtruten Kong Harald. The ship had recently undergone a refurbishment and was just gleaming. The room was great — very comfortable. The dining was superb with open seating buffet breakfasts and lunches and a seated dinner, which featured local and seasonal Norwegian food, with a good sampling of seafood, and local specialities such as reindeer. Each night’s dinner was different and delightful. The crew was friendly and professional.
Just watching the scenery was wonderful.The landscape along the coast of Norway is as dramatic as it is beautiful. As this was a summer trip, the ship traveled through the Gerainger Fjord which is just spectacular. You have the opportunity to see smaller towns, and larger cities, cargo loading and unloading, and port activities in remote settings. Of the larger stops, we had half a day in Trondheim and visited the Nidaros Cathedral, Archbishop’s palace and the archaeological excavations. In Bodo, we had a chance to watch the shrimp boats unload and also to take in a lunch time jazz concert in the town square. We also stopped in Tromso, which has the very intersting Nordnorsk art gallery.
We passed the Arctic Circle marker and got a certificate!
Each stop had its own surprise: for example, on our evening stop at Solvaer, we happened on a Harley-Davidson gathering. In Honningsvåg, we visited a local artist who makes art out of debris from the ocean. Also in Honningsvåg the 7 level, 650 passenger Kong Harald was berthed next to the 18 level 3274 passenger MSC Splendida. What a contrast, and illustrated the beauty of the Hurtigruten ships.
We ended our trip in Kirkenes,15 km by road to the Russian border. Sad to say goodbye as it had been a wonderful week and we we would have liked to have stayed on to do the return journey. The Hurtigruten provided fantastic service and we’d certainly like to take a trip with them again in the future.
Allison Silvaggio of GCTC made our travel arrangements. All Hotels, transfers and flights worked seamlessly. There were absolutely no problems getting to the very far north and back.