My 83-year old mother and I are planning a trip to Norway for summer 2017. Thinking about Hurtigruten between Kirkenes and Bergen (or vice versa) and looking for opinions on which direction (northbound is 1 day longer), as well as best way to travel to/from Kirkenes and then follow the cruise with a few days in the Bergen area. Logic says to travel south, so we end in Bergen, but I don't want to shortchange the cruise experience, especially in the fjords, since this is not a trip we will be repeating. Opinions and/or ideas would be welcome; thanks!
I haven't taken the trip, but know that it stops in different towns in different directions. Hurtigruten will help with booking add-on transportation or you can book a flight pretty easily, perhaps together with your trans-Atlantic flights. Norwegian and SAS both fly nonstop between Oslo and Kirkenes, but it looks like flying to/from Bergen requires a connection in Oslo, so you might do the Oslo-Bergen part by train, which is also scenic. I recently read that fares are cheaper on the Norwegian version of the Hurtigruten web site (but it is in Norwegian).
Hi Allison, my husband and I travelled from Trondheim to Kirkenes and then back to Trondheim a few years ago with Hurtigruten and really enjoyed it. I think that the easiest way to decide between your options would be to look at the sailing schedules and shore excursion options and work out which would suit you best. The time docked in each port varies, sometimes not long enough to see much on your own, sometimes plenty of time. The same with shore excursions, some are only offered travelling north, some only travelling south. In summer the ships travel through Geirangerfjord which I believe is beautiful. Unfortunately on our trip in early autumn there was a severe storm and although we were booked to sail from Bergen and visit Geirangerfjord we had to meet the boat in Trondheim instead. I should also tell you that Hurtigruten managed the whole process extremely well and flew us from Bergen to Trondheim to meet the ship and arranged a whole day outing to Roros to fill in the missing cruise day, which we really enjoyed. We went on 2 shore excursions, one to a Viking feast which was good fun and the other to a midnight concert in the Arctic Catherdral in Tromso which was beatiful. I guess the other things that would influence your decision would be your travel plans around the cruise and the ease for travelling to and from home. We spent time in Bergen before the ship and travelled to Oslo by train afterwards which fitted in well for us. Hope that you have a good time planning and that you enyoy your trip.
In addition to replies you get here, look at the Cruise Critic Hurtigruten Forum: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=821
Thank you for the helpful replies. I am re-thinking the direction since it appears we would hit a couple of places at night and would miss at least one excursion of interest if we travel southbound. I have found the Hurtigruten website a bit UN-user friendly, but their brochure was a bit more help. I also found one site with prices in US dollars and another with prices in Euros, but written in English, that is offering a better discount right now; it doesn't appear to be the Norwegian site, so the multiple site thing has me scratching my head a bit.... I had forgotten about Cruise Critic, so thanks extra for that suggestion! So many pieces to try and keep track of that I'm always glad to get the major components booked so I can relax a little!