Iglu’s Marketing Manager, Natalie, went on a Norwegian adventure with Hurtigruten. Here’s what she thought of her first experience onboard MS Midnatsol, sailing as MS Maud from March 2021 following extensive refurbishments. .
I am lucky enough to have been on large cruise ships and river ships, but I have never experienced an explorer ship like Ms Midnatsol. I was invited to the two night annual Global Conference, and joined the ship in Bergen.
After a short flight to Bergen, my first day was exciting and full-on. I was whisked up to the top of Mount Ulriken by cable car, to enjoy the beautiful view of the city. The mountain didn’t just offer guests a superb view of Bergen, it also offered visitors the chance to zipline across the mountain. So within two hours of landing at Bergen airport I was strapped up in zip-lining gear, and whizzing across a mountain! After this whistle-stop view of the city, we were taken to our basecamp for the next two nights, Ms Midnatsol.
After settling into my lovely mini-suite I joined the group for dinner. Having had a busy day I was excited to sample the ships cuisine, and tonight we had booked the Pampas Antarctica dining venue. The South American inspired restaurant did not disappoint, the food was incredible and the sharing meat platter for two was truly delicious. I have to admit I was defeated by the portion size, and still regret not being able to eat it all.
I woke up to a beautiful view of the Hardangerfjorden fjord, feeling revitalised after a good night’s sleep in the comfortable cabin. After a quick shower using the Nordic Cloudberry shower gel provided, I was ready to enjoy some new experiences. However, before the next adventure I refueled with a delicious breakfast of smoked salmon and eggs. I would have indulged more as the buffet had an excellent selection of food, including freshly made pastries, cereals, and much more, but I was still full from the feast the night before.
After breakfast I attended several, very interesting, lectures onboard. I was fortunate enough to listen to a lecture by Thor Heyerdahl Jr - the explorer and son of world famous adventurer who led the Kon-Tiki expedition. The presentations were inspiring, and brought out the inner explorer in me that I didn’t realise was lying dormant. By the end of the session I was ready to kayak with whales in Antarctica! But before I got too carried away I had the spectacular Hardangerfjorden fjord to explore. I had a quick snack for lunch, and then I was taken by tender boat through the fjords. The experience was exhilarating and the views were absolutely breathtaking. I was immersed with views of unspoiled snowcapped mountains, beautiful Nordic houses, and lush valleys. Words really can’t describe how beautiful the Norwegian coastline is.
Tonight we were sailing back to Bergen, so after another delicious meal I went outside to simply enjoy the scenery. The water glistened as we sailed under the glittering bridges and as we approached Bergen we passed another Hurtigruten ship - Ms Trollfjord. This is a great experience, as most of the guests from each ship come out on deck and cheer as the ships pass each other. Once we arrived back in Bergen I partook in a nightcap in the bar.
Luckily my flight wasn’t until the evening, so I had all day to explore the picturesque city. First stop was the fish market. Even if you’re not a fan of fish it’s worth going, as there is an array of colourful culinary fish delights. I then jumped on the Bergen ‘toy train’ for a quick tour, and afterwards explored the quaint shops along the waterfront. If you’re looking for a fun souvenir you must visit the moose-themed shop located near the colorful buildings in Bryggen, where you can buy everything from moose bottle openers to slippers.
Hurtigruten offer a fantastic way of exploring Norway; most of the staff onboard grew up here, so they really are experts of this destination. Another plus is that the cruise line doesn’t have to use a pilot boat in this area, because the captain knows it so well, and the ship is small enough to get to places that larger cruise lines can’t. After a day out exploring, it’s lovely to come back to a comfortable ship with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The only negative is that I wish I could have stayed for longer, as I had so much fun. Although the trip was active, I felt rejuvenated from being onboard a relaxing ship, and being immersed in such a tranquil destination.