Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Lofoten and some reflections

When I was researching this voyage the major decision other than dates was which ship to travel on. The Hurtigruten ships vary in size but the oddball ship is the Lofoten. It was built in 1964 and the others were built between 1982 and 2003.


Some of these photos may have appeared before but it helps to gather them all in one place when describing the ship.

This was our cabin, 406 which was wonderful. While most passengers sat in the public lounge areas we could relax in privacy and go out on deck when we felt like it. The back deck was only a few steps away. Why we were upgraded to this class I will never know, but it was appreciated.

The only real issue was the rattling of the door lock at night which I fixed with a wad of toilet paper. The windows were a bit dirty with salt but even after the crew cleaned them, the spray from the sea dirtied them up again.


The shower which delivered plenty of hot water and was easy to use. Toiletries are supplied.


Sink and toilet.


The aft deck had plenty of tables and chairs for the days when it is warm enough to use them.




We never sat up front to get the view forward, but it looked comfortable. It was usually all occupied.


One of the shared showers on the lower decks. 


Another raised deck at the back of the ship.


Dining room. The food was really good and any dish with fish in it was excellent.


Our table. We were fortunate to have two interesting men to talk with, each of who had traveled extensively. Typically at breakfast and lunch we would sit other tables, depending on what was available.

Crew members do two trips back to back for 22 days and then get 22 days off. They are well paid by Norwegian standards and they are very efficient, friendly and helpful.



The lower bunk bed. We found the beds comfortable.


The upped bunk.


You really need to be agile to climb up into the top bunk. Marianne found it difficult because her feet are sensitive and the rungs hurt. I did not seem to have any problem and my legs are longer which made getting down the ladder easier.


Our window after it had been cleaned. An hour or so later after we put to sea it was dirty again.


The second level. This is where I thought we would be.


A single with a porthole. You would use the shared toilet and shower rooms.


Toilet.


Washer and drier.


Shower.


A long corridor. 


The French ladies who looked at (and envied) our room invited us down to see their rooms on level 1.


A double room where both beds were at the same level. No bunks.


Room under the beds for storage.


Another version.


Sink.


The rooms with the larger numbers are closer to the back of the boat and get much more engine noise and vibration. Try to get a lower number.


Another shared shower. One of the passengers said they had looked at similar inexpensive rooms on the larger ships and they were not much different or bigger than those on the Lofoten..


The carpet was in good condition and everything was spic and span.


Just before we disembarked for the last time, I took some photos while the ship was relatively empty. This is the bar. Alcohol on the ship is expensive.


I could always get a free cup of coffee from this urn.


Bar lounge. The seats are comfortable.


One of the lounges. Many passengers had laptops and were connected to the internet which Hurtigruten charges for. Since I upload so many photos I try to avoid using the provided service and buy a SIM card with a lot of data. I bought this Orange Holiday Europe SIM card for $50 that gives 10 gb. My phone allows tethering so I connect my laptop and Marianne's Chromebook to the internet via the phone acting as a hotspot. It worked very well most of the time though there were occasional dead spots. I used about 6 gb.

Europe now allows roaming though out all the European countries so you can use a SIM card from another European country in Norway.


Shop and cafeteria.

The Lofoten is pronounced Lo-fo-ten where the O's are long such as in photo. The main accent is on the fo.

Hurtigruten is apparently in a bit of a quandary about the ship. It is old, probably expensive to run, and takes a lot fewer passengers than the larger ships. However it is small and can get into some ports that are too small for the larger ships to dock which is very important for the people who live at those ports. And of course, there are those pesky passengers who absolutely love the ship and are devoted to it. Even the crew members are so proud to be part of this ship. The decision will apparently be made in about 2021 so if you want to try this vintage experience, then do it soon. You will either love it or hate it with no in between.

I suspect we will be doing the north voyage on this ship sometime in the future and we will be requesting room 406 no matter what it costs.

It would be interesting to do the voyage in Winter to see the northern lights but it would be bitterly cold and the seas could be rough. The days are even longer in Summer, but demand is greater and the prices are higher. In Autumn (Fall), there would be less snow on the mountains. Overall I am pleased we did the trip at this time of year and we were very lucky with the weather.

So do this trip. It's exhilarating.

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