Sunday, 2 December 2012

12 days with Hurtigruten: Day 11

Our fellow passengers

Fellow Passengers

a number of the 16 who travelled south

The website Cruise Critic describes a typical Hurtigruten passenger thus:

Americans form a minority (about 10 percent) of the passengers, and those who find the line attractive are usually well-travelled and sophisticated, and yet unpretentious individuals who are comfortable among Europeans. They tend to be independent sorts who like to take control of their own vacation experiences, and are perfectly content simply enjoying the passage of spectacular scenery and picturesque communities.

The average age of the typical passenger is toward the high end of the spectrum, and families are few and far between. However, one of the charms of these voyages is that the complexion of the passenger load often changes literally from hour to hour as the portion made up of point-to-point travellers can shift in age radically between the many and varied port calls.

Whilst we are not American, we are assuming that Cruise Critic would regard their advice and guidance to be equally valid for British travellers.

On our trip there were only  16 “sophisticated, well travelled, unpretentious, high end of the age spectrum” fellow passengers undertaking the round trip plus 3 going one way (north) only, 3 of the 19 were single travellers. We were joined by a number of short trip passengers travelling from one port to another. This varied from 3 to 29 (who were travelling between two ports and eating their Christmas dinner at the same time).

It is absolutely true that this trip is not suitable for anyone who delights in the attractions of the modern 5000 passenger cruise ship with 24 hour everything. Whilst the ship’s cafe is open 24 hours a day, there you pay for everything and it is not cheap. Entertainment is that which you make for yourself and diversion comes from making the effort to talk to fellow sophisticates!

Our group did consist of “experienced travellers” who in the main, had chosen the boat for what it was and also for what is was not. A few had been on Hurtigruten before and for one, this was his 31st trip and he had already booked his 32nd for March 2013! All of us enjoyed each other’s company and we got on very well as a group. At various ports. we all visited larger vessels operating the route and universally agreed that we had the better deal for seeing Norway in winter. Those who came onto our small ship from the large vessels for a look around seemed to be rather envious of our homely atmosphere and the fact that we all knew each other and socialised most of the time. One commented that there were so few travellers on their ship (65!!) that they never met each other because the ship was so large.

Hurtigruten MAP_0013

To Trondheim and further south

Today is a day of long sailings and not many ports (4). At around 7 am we arrive at Trondheim and are berthed next to the largest ship of the fleet MS Finnmarken. This

MS Finnmarken

behemoth (as far as we are concerned) can manage 1000 passengers and currently has more on it (150 plus another 150 who came on-board for breakfast) than we have had in total over the last 12 days.


Although it has been light for some while today, my camera records that this sunrise picture was taken at 1226


and that this sunset picture was taken at 1448. The duration of sunset was the longest I have ever seen and one of the most beautiful with a red sky going from one side of the horizon to the other for a long time and slowly contracting to the west.

We are conscious of the fact that we are now travelling through less interesting countryside (as compared to the harsh beauty of the far north) and also that we are travelling to catch flights home. We have been given our final onboard bills and agreed the refund process for cancelled trips and packing is something to be fitted in before we have to vacate our cabins by 1000 tomorrow.

We are also further depleted in number because five people got off at Trondheim to complete the journey to Oslo by train. Travelling now does feel very much like going home and the scenery has become less interesting. We can understand why some choose to get off at Trondheim and get the train to Oslo for a speedier return, never-the-less, we will have done the complete trip from Bergen to Kirkenes and back which gives us some satisfaction – it might have felt like cheating had we got off early.

We continue to get off the boat for some quick exercise whenever we get to a port in order to walk off some of the calories we have eaten.

We got off at Molde on the way north and do so again on the way south – we were last here a week ago and in these seven days, the town has got out all of its Christmas decorations and the town and its shops windows look very

Molde Pig-1

Molde Pig

Molde Christmas

Molde Christmas-1

nice indeed.

I am also able to add to my collection of Norwegian

Molde Manhole whale

Manhole Cover photographs with one from Molde which features a whale. These pictures were taken with an Ipod camera and therefore are not very good – sorry.

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