The MS Midnatsol came into service in 2003. This Millennium Class vessel, together with its sister ship, the MS Trollfjord, conform to strong environmental principles in their modern design and extensive use of Norwegian materials in all interiors. Named after the Norwegian midnight sun, the Midnatsol lives up to this in its sunny, colourful interior décor, which includes the sun motif in many of the modern art pieces displayed throughout the ship.
This combined cruise ship, car ferry and cargo ship, which calls at 35 ports in its seven day journey between Bergen and the Arctic town of Kirkenes, is ideal for the seasoned traveller who will enjoy the drama of the Norwegian coastline and the chance to explore some of the smaller, isolated communities dotted around these northern fjords and islands. Passengers can combine the southbound journey into a 12-night cruise, which includes daytime stops at ports only visited at night during the northbound leg of the journey. The Midnatsol has a large panorama lounge built over two stories in the bow of the ship, with huge expanses of glass that allows the passenger to experience the changing view in perfect comfort.
The MS Midnatsol sleeps 638 passengers in a variety of comfortable but compact suites furnished with twin beds. Several have private verandahs and bay windows. Only the interior suites have TV. The Grand Suite and Captain’s Suite are more spacious, with dining areas, separate bedrooms and floor to ceiling windows giving access to the verandah. Four of the cabins have wheelchair access.
Buffet-style breakfasts and lunches are served in the main dining room. Breakfasts include full English, Continental or Norwegian specialities of cold meats cheeses and fish. A typical Midnatsol lunch buffet offers a selection of salads, soup, fish, pate, hot and cold meats, vegetables and a good choice of desserts.
Dinner is a set meal with a soup or salad to start, a main course and dessert. The menu is posted each morning, although for an extra charge you can order from the a la carte menu the day before. This includes Norwegian dishes such as a starter of reindeer tartare, a reindeer steak for a main course, or a cheese plate instead of a dessert.
Up on deck 5, the Midtsommer Café is open 24 hours a day and offers pre-prepared snacks, pizzas cooked to order, burgers and hotdogs, although these are not included within the price of your cruise.
As Hurtigruten puts it, the ship’s entertainment comes courtesy of Mother Nature. This is what gives a cruise on the Midnatsol or any of its sister ships plying the Norwegian coastal route its special appeal. The ample observation decks cater to this, allowing passengers to immerse themselves in the scenery and atmosphere of this iconic coastline.
The Gulf Stream drives the warm waters from the Caribbean beyond the Faroe Islands and into the Norwegian Sea, warming the Norwegian coast so that it never freezes even above the Arctic Circle, allowing the Hurtigruten cruise ships to operate all year round.
You can observe the spectacular Arctic scenery in the warmth of the Paradis Bar, which also has a dance floor and piano for evening entertainment. One of the delights of these cruises is that they are never out of sight of the land and there are many opportunities to stop and explore.