Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cruising with the Hurtigruten

After taking advantage of yet another huge smorgasbord breakfast at our hotel (Norway definitely has the best breakfasts of any country we've been to and it was always included in our hotel cost), we packed our bags and walked about 10 minutes to the Port of Trondheim to board our ship the MS Nordlys.We were heading south to Bergen on an overnight cruise and very much looking forward to more gorgeous scenery, this time of the ocean and the fjords.

The Hurtigruten line started over 100 years ago and were the only means of transportation of people and freight north to south in Norway. Although they are working ferries the ships are quite popular as small cruise vessels; offering cabins, meals, "entertainment" (yes, I meant to put that in quotes) and shore excursions. The entire journey round trip from Bergen north to Kirkenes and back is 11 days and has 34 ports of call. Many consider it to be "The World's Most Beautiful Sea Voyage."

The majority of the passengers were doing the entire trip and were happy to have new people to talk to. We heard lots of stories about the trip north, the days of only a glow of light but no actual sun, sea eagle spottings and the variety of seafood offered at lunch. There was one elderly man who cornered us soon after we boarded and proceeded to tell us about the amazing display of Northern Lights he had seen the night before- which was a lie. And others on-board were calling him out on it. Scandal on the high seas!

There isn't a lot to do on board except cozy up with a book and take in the scenery. It was a perfect relaxing day and a half. We went outside frequently, bundled up against some seriously cold wind, to see the beautiful sky and fjords and islands. At 3pm there was the most amazing sunset!

Of course we had our evening happy hour before joining the rest of the passengers for dinner. Dinner was an ok 3 course meal of reindeer starter, halibut and a berry soup for dessert.

After dinner we had aquavit in the lounge and went outside on a search for the Nordlys (Northern Lights) but never saw them. The only disappointment of the trip (now planning for Greenland! ;) We did however see lots of stars, shooting stars and constellations.

The next morning was another gorgeous day, sunny and bright. We would be arriving in Bergen around 2:30 in the afternoon. After a big smorgasbord breakfast we packed up our bags and handed them to the the porters who would make sure they were taken off the boat and ready for us to pick up.
We sailed through a small gathering of rocky islands, they were soooo close to the ship! As we came closer to Bergen there were more and more small towns nestled along the fjords. We even saw steam rising off the water in one bay!

For lunch we decided to have Weinerpølser (hotdogs) and fries from the cafe (seriously hotdogs are the national food of Norway, everyone eats them!). But when we went to order we noticed that there was a choice of either a hotdog with a brod (bun) or a hotdog with fries. When we asked if we could have our Weinerpølser with a brod AND fries the man looked at us like we were crazy!

Goodbye MS Nordlys, hello Bergen!

Lots of pretty, pretty cruise pictures here

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