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Cruising the fjords in October 2014

My wife and me are planning cruising the Fjords in Norway in the begining of October 2014 for 2-3 weeks (from various reasons this is the only time we have). We searched the web for options and came up only with the options going with Hurtigruten. Other companies just don't go in October. My questions are:

  1. Are there any other companies other than Hurtigruten that suggest cruising the fjords in October? (Maybee i'm missing something).
  2. As far as we understand Hurtigruten curises are modest (no etertainment and etc on the ship). We are ok with that, but does it mean the ships are more like shuttle ships than actually cruises? I mean, does the purpose of the ship is to bring people from one point to another or will it go into beautiful places even where no one needs to get in/out of the ship?
  3. We plan cruising from Bergen to Kirkenes by sea, and then move on to Finland by land. The purpose is not just getting to Kirkenes, but actually enjoy the cruise. Will Hurtigruten suit for us?

Thanks,
Gil

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As far as we understand Hurtigruten curises are modest (no etertainment and etc on the ship). We are ok with that, but does it mean the ships are more like shuttle ships than actually cruises?

We were overnight deck passengers (no cabin) in 2003 on the Nordnorge between Mehamn and Kirkenes. We had just completed a ski from Finland to Norway and were on the Hurtigruten to get back to our start in Finland. While the Hurtigruten line promotes the voyage as a scenic cruise (which it is), its ancestry and current function is transportation between Norway's costal towns. During the night I woke from time to time when the Nordnorge docked at the coastal villages to load and unload passengers, freight and even roll-on/roll-off automobiles. Its a highly functional ship having side thrusters and not needing tug boats to dock.

As you noted, the vessel did not seem to have formal entertainment (no water slides, bands or swimming pool) that I saw in my overnight experience. The entertainment is the voyage in itself with the vessel traveling within sight of land and the scenic coastline of Norway. (October is after the equinox and you will have more night than day. Try to time your trip for moonlight for a visual treat of moonlight on snow/ice). I understand that you can purchase "extra" sightseeing experiences, but did not see that happen given that we were only on the ship from evening to the next mid-morning.

So yes, the purpose of the line is transporting people, cargo and automobiles from point to point, but its route is a scenic coastal route within sight of land. Passengers did self-entertaining, viewing scenery as noted, and the Germanic tourist seemed to enjoy fast paced "volks walks/marches" around the deck after breakfast. (And the dinner and breakfast buffet seemed like banquet dinning after a week plus in Sami cabins and huts.)

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Gil:
Assuming the subterranean lava flows in Iceland don't result in a full-blown volcanic eruption, my wife and I will be on the Finnmarken in September for the voyage south from Kirkenes to Bergen. If the volcano erupts. . . who knows?

We did quite a bit of research on the Fjords voyages and ended up with Hurtigruten. We've corresponded with many folks about the line and the voyage. It is nothing like a "cruise” on Holland America, Princess, Royal Caribbean, etc. You are, in fact, a passenger on a working ship, not a ship that is focused on the comfort and entertainment of the passenger. The appointments on the various Hurtigruten ships vary. We are on a newer ship and it has a pool and a Jacuzzi, but that's about it. We understand the food is good but not a cornucopia of non-stop treats. There's breakfast, lunch and dinner, period. You pay for a cup of coffee if not consumed during breakfast. Also, you might want to check the frequency and the times (24 hour cycle) that the ship docks. Many stops are in the middle of the night, and if you have a cabin lower in the ship, may be awakened with the noise accompanying the movement of cargo. Also note, may stops are very brief--less than an hour. Regarding the "shore excursions"; if you take one you will disembark, take the tour via vehicle then "catch up" with where ever the ship docks at the conclusion of the shore excursion.

Knowing all this, we thought we'd give it a try. If not luxurious, it will be different. . . and the scenery will be unparalleled

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Update from Norway. We boarded the Finnmarken Thursday and for the first two days the visibility was about a quarter-mile. The sea dissappeared into the Norwegian mist throughtout most of both days. The third day it cleared briefly and for about 6 hours the vouage lived up to its slogan. Today the voyage is okay, but only okay. You might want to do some additional research about going all the way to Kirkenes. There is alot of knitting and cross-word-puzzles being done on board.

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A Journey in Which I Travel North
On the World’s Most Beautiful Voyage
Searching for the Ever-Elusive Midnight Sun.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/09/19/travel/reif-larsen-norway.html?emc=edit_tl_20140920&nl=travel&nlid=16954398

But the real attraction of the MS Trollfjord was the view. On sightseeing cruises like the Hurtigruten, landscape is transformed into a kind of currency — an inherent (albeit shifting) value placed upon unimpeded sightlines. By boarding a ship that declares itself “the world’s most beautiful voyage,” passengers maintain an expectation of transcendent topographic voyeurism.