Review: MS Midnatsol
Cruise - Ocean Cruise
Expectations exceeded ...and more!!!
143 people found this review helpful
Although we are quite well travelled (India, New Zealand, Borneo as well as much of Europe) we had never fancied a cruise. So after attending a P&O cruise taster session we had planned to go to the fjords in May 2012 on P&O's Oceana for our first ever cruise. Prior to that we had hoped to enjoy a last minute break in the sun sun before Xmas but after reading reports about how good the Northern Lights were going to be this year we decided to book a holiday in the hope of seeing them!! Hurtigruten cruise stood out as the best way to see more of the fjords (34 ports) and also experience the Northern Lights. We were definitely not disappointed! We could not fault the ship (Midnatsol), the service or the food (my husband could not believe the choice of seafood on offer)…..absolutely first class!! Sleeping on board had been a concern for both of us but we needn't have worried. Even the port stops through the night didn't disturb us. The cabin size and comfort had also been a concern but we were pleasantly surprised (we only had the standard cabin). The ship had a very relaxed atmosphere and the dress standard was casual. There were lots of different nationalities on board which was great. The announcements were made in English, Norwegian & German. We would not hesitate to book another Hurtigruten voyage as the whole experience was fantastic!
There were 4 or 5 computers available for internet access and free Wi fi was on this particular ship. The evening entertainment was minimal (which suited us) – this was a band that played "middle of the road" music (great singer) but there was plenty of other areas to sit if you didn't want to listen. There was a well stocked "library" of books to read and a few games. There was a very small gym which I intended to use and the deck hot tubs looked inviting but sadly I didn't get round to using either. Unfortunately it was the worst weather conditions in 10 years (for that time of year ) – there was insufficient snow for the husky sledge ride to take place which was a huge disappointment – and that also had an impact on the scenery. Basically it was too warm!! We did embark at a few ports – visiting a museum at one place – but the lack of daylight did have an effect on what we could see in the towns we visited. Due to high winds the itinery had to be changed but we were kept well informed. For our last port of call we ended up at Alta instead of Kirkenes but we couldn't fault the efforts of the Reception team (Silja in particular about whom I've written to Hurtigruten) who rescheduled our flights to avoid a long coach journey which would have been horrendous for me.
Due to booking only a week prior to departure I had failed to realise that we would experience minimal daylight hours especially after crossing the Arctic Circle but that was my error. The ship conducted a celebration when we had crossed the Arctic Circle which included "Neptune" pouring iced water down your neck which was a laugh (don't worry it wasn't compulsory – my husband thought I was mad!!). On our last night – even though the weather conditions were far from perfect – the Northern Lights made quite an impressive appearance! Instructions had been posted about the correct camera settings to use which was invaluable – I doubt if I would have managed to take such successful photos of the Northern Lights otherwise especially as I was using a relatively new camera. The only downsides were having to fly to Norway (outward flight ok as direct to Bergen from Gatwick) but return journey was via Oslo which due to our late booking really pushed up the price of the holiday and made it a long trek back. The other negative was the price of alcohol – a bottle of wine was £27- although you could take your own you were only allowed to drink it in your cabin. Water was served without question at mealtimes and the lack of alcohol probably did our livers a favour!!! However we did take 2 cartons of red wine (as hold luggage allowance 20kg each plus 10kg ea hand luggage!). I can recommend the hot drink package (think it was approx £20) – you purchase a souvenir Hurtigruten thermal mug with which you can get unlimited tea & coffee for the entire cruise. On the last 2 days I confess to filling our mugs with the red wine we had bought with us….naughty I know but we had bought some of the £27 wine and a few drinks during the cruise so didn't feel too guilty!!! Vicky & Piret at the Hurtigruten booking office also went the extra mile answering my many queries about the trip(phoning me back & emailing me) especially as we were first time cruisers! I have forwarded my compliments to their Team Leader as I was so impressed with their helpful service. Thanks to Alan & Debbie of the Silver Travel Team too for their invaluable advice! In all honesty if the weather conditions had been perfect (at least so we could have done the Husky sledge ride) this would have been an outstanding holiday!! Here's to the next Hurtigruten cruise…
143 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.
Silver Travel Advisor Recommended Partner: Hurtigruten