What to Expect
PACING: This 15-day small ship Norway cruise program covers over 34 ports of call along Norway's majestic, unspoiled landscape including one night in Bergen before the cruise and one night in Bergen after the cruise. This cruisetour is moderately paced.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Most sightseeing is on air-conditioned / heated coaches with guides. Some optional shore excursions, included sightseeing and included port of call orientation walking tours require walking on uneven terrain. Embarking and disembarking the ship also requires a fair bit of walking.
CULTURAL FOCUS: This program offers great cultural opportunities to experience the local way of life away from the bustle of the cities, and to learn about Norwegian history and culture through the onboard discussions and port-of-call walking tours with your Cruise Director. Travelers will be served typical Norwegian cuisine aboard ship. The rugged people of Norway have long been among of the world's most intrepid fishermen, going out in all season to fish the rich northern Atlantic waters, so you'll find seafood on the menu quite often, including at breakfast. In addition, Norway's northern latitude, with it's long, intense summer days but relatively short growing season, means that Norwegians have developed truly creative ways to get the most from the land, including growing root vegetables and using pickling and preserving to produce some truly inspired side dishes and garnishes. Breakfast and lunch buffets offer a variety of choices, while dinners are generally a set menu, consisting of fish, such as Arctic char, or meat dishes, such as venison, steak, lamb, or chicken, and always include a salad or vegetables. You also have the option of substituting the main course on the menu for pasta, soup, or a sandwich.
On your cruise: Though they are working ships as well as passenger ships, the Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Voyage ships look and feel like cruise ships. Most are outfitted with art-filled public areas, exercise rooms, saunas, hair dryers in the cabins, elevators and stabilizers. Unlike traditional cruises, however, there is no organized entertainment on board. Mother Nature is the entertainer! Think of this as your alternative to the traditional cruise. Entertainment may be featured in the lounge on occasion, however; check with your Cruise Director for specifics. Though you stop in many ports, sightseeing time may be limited.
Upon arrival, Hurtigruten will assist you in setting up a Cruise Card for your connivence. The Cruise Card will be linked to a credit card, and can be used to purchase anything on board, from optional excursions to drinks and gifts. You are also able to pay credit card, debit card, or cash if you prefer.
Other things to be aware of about your cruise:
- Distilled water is not available aboard ship.
- Internet service is limited, and at times unavailable.
- Embarking and disembarking, all ports, requires navigating 20 to 30 steps, which may be difficult for slow walkers.
- Handling luggage at disembarkation: Due to the setup of the docking facilities in Bergen, travelers may be required to carry their own luggage from the disembarkation point to the motorcoach, a two- or three-minute walk.
- Although much of our cruising takes place in protected waters, other times our route takes us into open ocean water, which can be quite rough. If you're at all prone to motion sickness, we strongly recommend you bring medication for seasickness.
Clearing customs in Norway: Note that you must clear customs in Oslo, before transferring to your Bergen flight. This will require that you claim your luggage in Oslo, go through Norwegian customs, then recheck it for the Bergen flight. Failure to do so, however, often results in long delays for luggage arrival in Bergen, plus a charge to transport it to the ship.
Temperatures in northern Norway will change during the course of the voyage and perhaps throughout the day. To prepare, the cruiseline recommends layered dress to allow you to adapt to changes, as well as breathable rain and windproof clothing. Be sure to have a good outer jacket over normal clothes. It is important to have good, sturdy walking shoes and hat, etc. for shore excursions, included sightseeing, and port of call orientation walking tours. A helpful hint — you may want to bring an extra pair of waterproof walking shoes for comfort!
DINING GUIDELINES IN NORWAY: General sales tax (VAT) which is 14% on food and 25% on non-food items. Here are some general guide-lines regarding every-day prices:
Glass of beer in a restaurant - $10 - $11
Glass of wine in a restaurant - $13 upwards
Dinner for 2 in a modest restaurant (an entrée plus soda) - $65 - $70
Coffee and pastry in a cafe - $10
Cappuccino / Caffe latte: $6 - $7
American or English newspaper - $7.50
Pizza for one - $22 - $25
Burger meal (Burger King or McDonalds) - $15 - $18
Postage to the US (postcard) - $2
In regular restaurants (one step up from a modest restaurant), a lunch will cost in the region of $25 - $30. A dinner starter will cost around $25 - $30 and an entrée around $45 - $50. Something light, like a Caesar salad, will cost around $28 while a soup will cost around $20.
On your ship, prices will be similar to those on land, with a coffee outside of meal times costing $4.50 and $3.50 for a refill, tea costing $4.25, beer $10, house wine $13 and a soda for around $6.