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Exploring the Norwegian Coast on Richard With

Wed 26 September 2018

Our Marketing Executive, Margaret, recently enjoyed a voyage along the beautiful Norwegian coastline on board Hurtigruten’s 590-passenger ship, Richard With.

I was very excited about my first visit to Norway, and it is safe to say it surpassed my expectations. I had only ever seen photographs of the stunning Norwegian fjords and the pretty towns dotted along the coastline, so to experience them first-hand was incredible.

I joined Hurtigruten’s ship, Richard With, for an autumnal voyage along the Norwegian coastline from Hanseatic Bergen to the Arctic capital of Tromso. As a working ship, Richard With called at several ports to load and offload cargo and vehicles, and welcome new passengers on board. This created a truly authentic experience. I got to observe the hustle and bustle, and step ashore in ports which aren’t frequented by other cruise lines. For many of these tiny ports, the ship was their main contact with the outside world.

My cabin was well-appointed and had a picture window so I could take in the ever-changing vistas. It provided the perfect base during my voyage. The focus was on the experience, both on board and ashore. The Sun Deck was extremely popular as you could relax and watch the scenery go by. Just when you thought the Norwegian fjords couldn’t get any more beautiful, they did. If you didn’t want to brace the wind, the Panorama Lounge was the place to be. This was an indoor hub where guests would socialise whilst still enjoying the views through the large windows. Regular tannoy announcements kept us all up-to-date with the sailing schedule and lectures taking place throughout the day, delivered by the highly experienced expedition team. Lectures were varied, covering history, wildlife and culture of the regions visited.

Colourful waterfront in Alesund Stunning stained glass in the Arctic Cathedral in Tromso Explore Bergen's cobbled streets Discover lesser-known ports Scenic cruising in Finnsnes Admire stunning fjordland scenery Cruise past breathtaking mountain landscapes Take in the ever-changing vistas from the sun deck Tender boats take guests ashore for independent exploration Hjorundfjord

Meals were served in the beautiful Polar Restaurant, and were very relaxed, with no need to dress up. Breakfast and lunch were buffet-style, and I was spoilt for choice, with both cold and hot stations. There was definitely something for everyone. Dinner was in two sittings, and consisted of three courses. Although it was a set menu, if you didn’t like something, they were more than happy to offer an alternative with no fuss. The staff were so attentive and no request was too much effort for them.

Hurtigruten offer a fantastic choice of optional excursions, suitable for all activity levels, ranging from gentle city walks to brisk guided hikes and tours of local breweries. The Expedition team had a desk on Deck 4 where guests could discuss excursion options and ask any questions. As well as the optional excursions, there was always the opportunity to step ashore for free and explore independently.

The highlight of the voyage for me was a visit to the breathtaking Hjorundfjord. There was a complimentary tender boat from the ship ashore and the chance to explore this hidden gem independently. The sun was shining, illuminating the verdant scenery which was reflected in the calm waters below. It was so peaceful, and the traditional houses with turf-covered roofs added to the charm of this fjord. Hurtigruten is one of the few cruise lines which visits Hjorundfjord, all part of the authentic Norwegian experience.

The magnificent architecture of the towns and cities visited provided a vivid contrast to the blues and greens of the fjords. Hanseatic Bergen was a delight to explore with its maze of cobbled streets and the UNESCO-listed Bryggen Wharf, while Tromso’s iconic triangular cathedral could be seen from miles away. Inside didn’t disappoint, with a stunning stained-glass window being the focal point. I explored the historic city of Trondheim on an optional walking tour which showcased the spectacular Nidaros Cathedral, the world’s northernmost Gothic cathedral. The front of the cathedral was adorned with ornate statues of prophets and kings, as well as sculptures depicting virtues including charity and hope. Trondheim is also renowned for its colourful waterfront, with some of the houses built on stilts.

Traditional turf-covered houses Ice bar, Tromso Enjoy amazing views of the Norwegian Fjords Richard With Tromso Harbour Trondheim Cathedral Trondheim's colourful waterfront Admire the houses on stilts in Trondheim

It is safe to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my voyage along the Norwegian coast. I felt privileged to have visited so many tiny ports and fjords off the usual tourist trail, and witness the vital role that the Hurtigruten fleet plays in connecting remote communities to the outside world. If you are looking to experience the real Norway, then there is no better way than on a Norwegian coastal voyage with Hurtigruten.

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