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Top Hurtigruten Ships
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Hurtigruten ships provide a comfy home while touring Norway's charming cities, towns, islands and mountain scenery. Atmosphere onboard is casual, as these ships are on a mission to transport freight and traveling locals in addition to the international mix of passengers making a cruise out of it. Most of the all-Norwegian crew speak English, many fluently. Tipping is optional, though many will remember the dining staff. On the expedition ship Fram, the line recommends 50 kroner per person, per day.
Dining, with meals included for full one-way and roundtrip passengers, takes place in a single restaurant. Breakfast and lunch are open-seating buffets with a good selection of tasty Norwegian and international selections. Dinners are set-time, reserved-seat, three-course meals. Special diet requests should be made in advance. A 24-hour cafe is pay-as-you-go, most often used by those making short voyages. Liquor is highly taxed, and passengers may bring onboard their own alcohol supply for consumption in cabins.
Apart from summertime departures with an occasional musical group aboard, there is no scheduled entertainment. The Arctic Circle crossing ceremony can be a rousing show for those chosen by King Neptune as victims (ice water initiation) and others watching. Mostly, everyone eyes the constantly changing scenery from the decks or in the nicely furnished observation lounges and midship lounge bars, while some also read and play games. Norwegian paintings and sculpture attractively decorate the entire fleet.
An extensive program of tours, some geared to the seasons, include city walking tours, museum and church visits, birding, dog sledding, kayaking, Lapland (Sami) cultural tours, and half-day trips to the North Cape. All tours may be pre-booked online.
Norwegians are mostly aboard to travel point-to-point and to attend onboard conferences, with the next largest nationality being German, then British, other Europeans, Americans and Australians. Mid- to large-size groups may be aboard. Most are well traveled and sophisticated, yet unpretentious individuals who are content to enjoy the spectacular scenery and picturesque communities. Many will be able to speak decent English. The average passenger age is around 50, with families few and far between. However, one of the charms of these voyages is that the passenger load changes often with point-to-point travelers embarking and disembarking along the way.