Friday, 25 March 2011

Norway's Hurtigruten

If you are dedicated cruiser then you must expect something different from the Hurtigruten. it is not so much a cruise as more a way of life. You are in fact a guest on an explorer and working cargo ship that calls at ports delivering the mail, doctors supplies, supermarket goods, locals journeying back and forth to work or going to the dentist.
Travelling along Norway's coastline from Bergen to Kirkenes is one heck of an experiece. The beauty of this is that the ship’s ambience changes at each stop as people get on and off. Schoolchildren desperate to try out their English are joined by businessmen in suits and seasoned travellers who decided to break the journey to explore a town or the local area. Don’t think too that what you have here is some sort of tramp steamer. Most of the fleet are modern ships with an intimate friendly atmosphere and some of the newer ones have jaccuzzi, gyms and a spa.
Also you don’t need to get a port or starboard cabin depending if you’re travelling south or north to get a view of the landscape rather than the ocean. The ships weave their way through channels with hundreds of islands of all shapes and sizes either side of you. At times it feels as if you can almost literally stretch out and touch the walls of the steep cliff sides as well as those of the pitched, rich red, mustard yellow and brown houses so beloved by the Scandanvians.
This is not a cruise with vast open water stretching to the horizon either side for hours at a time. Having said that at times the ships veer out to sea and at once are visited by gannets, puffins and other seabirds going about their daily business. This a cruise not about getting to destination but about the cruise itself. Have a great day now.

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