One of life’s greatest adventures is to cruise the coast of Norway through the many fjords. This trip had been on my list since I first learned of it in 1994. I was fortunate to finally take this trip in August of 2014.
I reserved my journey through Hurtigruten which is primarily a local ferry service, but it has become an off-the-beaten-path type of cruise for many.
Hurtigruten offers a 6-7 day southbound voyage from Kirkenes to Bergen and reverses the itinerary for the northbound journey. Depending on the departure date, with an inside cabin, the average cost of the transportation is around $1225. This cost does not include food. I took the option that included breakfast only and I paid $614 for three days on the ship. Food on the ship, and in Scandinavia in general, is expensive ($30 for a hamburger in a mid-scale restaurant is not uncommon, $11 for a Big Mac, $8 for 4 oz. of beer) so be prepared. Like all cruise ships, one is issued a room key that one uses for all purchases onboard. This account can be set up with a credit card.
Due to the short amount of time I had to explore all of Scandinavia that I could, I was not able to take the full southbound journey. I boarded the ship at 2:15 a.m. on a Friday morning in a town called Bodo (we flew to Bodo from Helsinki, $159) and sailed to Bergen arriving on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Above is a picture of the MS Richard With arriving at the Bodo Port.
Once we set up our accounts, we went to bed for a few hours. I didn’t want to miss much of the trip, so I was up after three hours of sleep and in the observation room enjoying all the beauty. An announcement came on that we were about to cross the Arctic Circle (another goal of mine) and that anyone who performed a “special task” would receive a souvenir of the crossing
The Arctic Circle Marker, below.
Below is the cruise director with her special task set-up. Anyone who drank a spoonful of cod liver oil, was awarded the spoon as a souvenir.
I do have a confession to make. I wanted the spoon, but I did not want to swallow the oil so I held it in my mouth and ran to the nearest restroom to spit it out.
The ship made several stops at small towns along the way. Most stops were about an hour which allowed passengers to embark and disembark the ship. As I mentioned earlier, Hurtigruten is primarily a ferry service used to transport people to these remote communities. At most of the stops, we had time to run to a grocery store to find more affordable food to take back on the ship or time to stop for a $16 glass of beer. The itinerary for the three days that I was onboard is below.
The scenery was spectacular. A few pictures are below. At some point, I would like to add a more extensive photo gallery of the trip. Stay tuned~Isabella