Review: Troll Fjord and Midnatsol
Cruise - Ocean Cruise
The cruise for people who hate cruises
37 people found this review helpful
If you would rather spend two weeks locked in a cage with rabid dogs than go on a cruise- may I present Hurtigruten. Forget Captain's cocktail parties and glittery shoes, bring on dog sledging and bobble hats, tho the later is not obligatory, merely advisable. Hurigruten is the shipping line that is the postal service, delivery man and bus service rolled into one, plying the coast of Norway from Bergen all the way up to Kirkenes way above the Arctic Circle. Started in 1893 the fleet has a total of 22 ships and daily departures from Bergen. Some of the bigger ships have some modern additions, the smaller ones hark back to a more basic maritime design but hey it is unlikely you will get scurvy and no one will deny you a shower and a comfy bunk. Call me a whoos but I do like my creatures comforts and so I delved into the coffers and booked a suite, mainly because I love the design of the aft cabins (available on some, but not all, ships) and I like to wake up, make my coffee and wander outside to watch the fjords float by still dressed in my rather charming and snug dressing gown! The ships pop in and out of ports large and small and are welcomed in each, sometimes by one person keen to offload whatever is being delivered to them, sometimes by a family greeting a returning loved one, and sometimes, in the middle of the night, by no one at all apart from a lone forklift driver to load and unload as needed. In some ports you can go ashore for a few hours, some a few moments but regular as clockwork Hurtigruten plies up and down. The shore tours are cleverly designed to show you the beauties of the country – from a coach, from a boat or from a dog sled, the choice is yours and there are some really memorable trips. Rattling along through the Article twilight behind a team of dogs with the snow glinting in the fading light, enjoying cake and coffee (cake figures a lot, we love cake!) with an uninterrupted view of a glacier, enjoying wonderful music in a concert just for us in the Arctic cathedral in Tromso- just a few of the options. There is a bar on board, but this being Norway the prices are eye watering so if you like a drink of an evening, stock up on your max. duty free allowance when you fly in and then you only need a small mortgage for the mixers! The food however is included and is wonderful, especially if you are pescatorially inclined. Breakfast is a very generous and varied buffet and dinner is a set menu, with choices, and served to you at your table. There is a smart little booklet, Coastal Flavours, at the entrance to the dining room giving you the history of all the dishes, it is charming and informative and a 'must read'. One special evening buffet is the fabulous North Cape Buffet – a celebration of seafood which is just amazing, King crab, the most delicious fish roe, cod, prawns – all totally wonderful and if you are veggie or a carnivore worry not, you too are catered for. Crossing the Arctic Circle is celebrated with the appearance of King Noor, who graciously welcomes you to his kingdom – by pouring ice down your back! Stock fish makes an inevitable appearance, it has been eaten for hundreds of years and the drying racks can be seen up and down the coast. We were told by a guide on one of our trips that in order to be rendered edible the dried fish is greatly improved by a good bashing with a hammer. Well personally my feeling is that anything that requires application of a hammer to be eaten probably shouldn't be eaten, but I leave it up to you. A highlight for us was the Viking Feast in a recreated longhouse on the Lofoten Islands, an atmospheric recreation and done with dignity and attention to detail, a delight. So much to suggest and a number of options too for when the best time is to go. We loved our Autumn trip, lots of light, lots of sun and also really good value. Middle of winter we also loved, very little light, lots of snow, and the trip options change to include snowy pursuits. Do brave the jacuzzi on deck, it will take your breath away when you get out but hey, boring isn't on the schedule! Hurtigruten is not a cruise, it is a journey, put it on your bucket list and, as they say in Norway, nyte!
37 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.