Having been invited to spend last weekend with Hurtigruten, we were pretty happy to discover that we would be bedding down on none other than the MS Kong Harald; the first of the Hurtigruten fleet to be transformed with an extensive refurbishment. Having spent Friday night in a rather wet and windy Bergen, we practically sprinted through the Hurtigruten cruise terminal (we say practically rather than literally because Norwegian’s do pastries even better than Mr Kipling does cakes. By the time we were to board, we were stuffed so full of cinnamon buns that we didn’t have a run in us).
Once on board, all memories of a rain sodden city tour slipped away and the cosy but contemporary interiors immediately lulled us into a state of ‘hygge’. The Norwegians are pretty big on making themselves comfortable, so we had high hopes when it came to the unveiling of the redesigned MS Kong Harald. That said, the final product exceeded even our highest expectations and made it impossible not to grab a coffee, make yourself comfy in a window seat and watch some of the world’s most awesome scenery passing by just outside. Unless it was evening of course, in which case you’d find us in the lounge, awaiting the appearance of the Northern Lights with a glass of something chilled in our hand.
If you think exploration cruising means sacrificing your creature comforts, think again; MS Kong Harald has what it takes to change your mind.
Who knew huskies could cause quite so much hysteria amongst a group of well-travelled adults? “Are you in a husky room?” was the question on everybody’s lips. Said huskies weren’t even real ones but black and white images tucked behind the ginormous pillows on our double beds. You see, these black and white back boards were the differentiator between the cabins that had been refurbished and those that hadn’t. Snow-covered hills thick with pine trees were also depicted on the monochrome headboards of the newly refurbished polar suites and, along with sleek beech units and a sizeable flat screen TV, made for quite the home-from-home amidst the Norwegian Fjords.
It is undeniable that the dining options aboard expedition ships aren’t comparable to those on the world’s biggest contemporary cruise ships. However, Hurtigruten’s refurbishment of MS Kong Harald has brought a touch of class to the dining areas and the food is the freshest you’ll find anywhere on the waters. Torget is the ship’s main buffet dining room, whilst you’ll find bistro fare in Brygga and we had some of the best starters of our lives in the fine dining restaurant, Kysten.
Have you ever tried fish ice cream? No? Well don’t, it leaves a taste in your mouth that no amount of strawberry or chocolate chip can get rid of. Not that we didn’t try, sampling several of the flavours on offer at Multe. This laidback lounge is the place to head when you no longer concern yourself with calories; attempts to refuse the pastries and ice creams on offer here are futile, with the exception of that anything fish flavoured. Cosy blankets and super-soft sheepskins are strewn over rocking chairs and benches, the walls covered in a combination of quaint embroideries and chintzy crockery. We even spotted a doily or two…
Further along deck 7 sits the Panorama Bar, the best spot on the ship to wait for the long-abated appearance of the Northern Lights. As its name suggests, the lounge features panoramic windows from which to take in those amazing views across the Norwegian Fjords. Make yourself comfy in all-encompassing egg chairs, forcing yourself back out of which is a mission in itself. There’s teal and walnut galore in here since the refurb, although the view across the fjords remains the real star of the show.
Fancy experiencing Hurtigruten’s refurbished MS Kong Harald for yourself? There’s never been a better time, thanks to an exclusive Northern Lights Promise that means you’ll receive a FREE VOYAGE if the Northern Lights do not appear at some point during 12-day Classic Round Trip departures between 1 October to 21 March. Call your Sales Consultant today to find out more.