Author: Randal Brown
We travelled from Bergen to Kirkenes and back to Bergen on a recent cruise on the Kong Harald. We really enjoyed our trip. The ship is firstly a working life line for all the towns, cities and villages visited during the journey. We found our Cabin functional and comfortable. It was an outside cabin on deck 5. It was spotlessly clean and servcied each day. The meals on board were served in the restaurant. Breakfast and lunch were buffet service with ample seafood available for both, but always offering hot and cold meat options. Dinners were set three course meals with no choice. The food was always excellent and the waiting staff were very friendly and helpful throghout the journey. We enjoyed the excursions arranged by the ship. The most memorable was the Reindeer sledding and dog sledding at Camp Tomak. You leave the ship at Finnenes and travel inland to reach the camp. The day was full of new experiences and we particularily enjoyed the dog sledding through the atric landscape only illumimated by the moon. We finished with a meal of reindeer stew in a sami yurt before leaving to rejoin the ship at Tromso. We managed to see the Northern Lights on two nights but the displays were weak. There are four conditions you need to experience the lights: Good Solar Activity, No Cloud, Little or no Moon light and of course you need to be there at the precise time! We were travelling during a period of Full Moon which significantly reduced our chances. So if you really want to see the Aurora travel when the moon is in it's new phase to increase your oportunities. We were amazed by the nighttime scenery we saw while looking out for the lights, The moon lit up the fjords in a most magical way. We loved the ports we visited even where we could only hop off for a quick look. We especially liked Tromso, Trondhiem and Alesund a beautiful art nouveau town. This was a wonderful holiday which we will remember for years to come. We would do it again but work harder to ensure we improved our opportunities to see the Northern Lights.