Hurtigruten specialises in cruises that explore the Norwegian coastline, its charming towns and beautiful islands, fjords and mountains. The MS Finnmarken is a Millennium class ship, built in 2002, which combines contemporary design with impeccable service, comfort and wonderful opportunities to enjoy the spectacular scenery. This is the only Hurtigruten ship that features an outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi, where you can relax in heated comfort while admiring the view. The large picture windows of the Panorama Lounge allow you to do the same from a well-upholstered armchair. The ship carries a supply of bicycles, which you can hire out for shore excursions to explore the towns and villages along the route that rely upon the Finnmarken and its sister ships for transport and supplies.
A typical voyage heads north from Bergen, following the coast as far as Kirkenes within the Arctic Circle. Fulfilling its cargo carrying and ferry duties, the ship makes several stops along the way, including a couple of longer visits to the larger towns, where passengers can take full advantage of organised shore excursions or explore at their own leisure. Unlike many cruise ships, passengers can access the bow area, where they can enjoy wonderful views from the very front of the ship.
The Finnmarken’s Standard Cabins are comfortable and compact and furnished with twin beds. There are several Mini-Suites that include double beds, and spacious Suites with large picture windows and balcony access. There are also a couple of Grand Suites in the bow, which have two rooms and a private balcony and Jacuzzi.
The elegant Art Nouveau main dining room offers traditional Norwegian cuisine for three meals a day. This includes favourite Norwegian fish, pork, lamb and potato dishes, plenty of dairy produce, cream sauces and soups, as well as some more exotic meat dishes, including venison, ox, elk or reindeer.
Breakfast and lunch are served as buffet meals, with a wide choice of menu options. The evening meal has a set three-course menu, which is posted every morning, although the kitchen staff will willingly make substitutions if you place an order with your waiter during breakfast or lunch. The ship offers a bottled water or wine plan, which gives you unlimited still water, sparkling water or wine at a set price to accompany all your meals.
For an additional outlay, the Morestuen Bistro offers an alternative menu of snacks, sandwiches and hot meals, which are served all day. In summer, Babette’s Café opens for light meals, snacks and ice creams.
Entertainment on the Finnmarken revolves around the enjoyment of Norway’s beautiful coastal scenery and the wide range of shore excursions, the high points of any cruise. Throughout the day, if the ship is approaching something particularly photogenic, a public announcement will be made in time for you to get your cameras ready. The Panorama Lounge is one of the most popular places to congregate and enjoy the scenery, and the bar serves snacks and drinks all day.
In the evenings, there are live music performances at the Floybaren. There is a small internet café near the main dining room, and a quiet club room, called the Flinstuen, with card tables and a library. The ship also has a small spa and beauty salon, which offers a range of hair, skin and nail treatments, as well as massage therapy; the fitness room, open daily until 6.00pm, has all the usual fitness machines, and there is a separate men’s and women’s sauna.