Have you ever dreamt about going on an expedition cruise, let’s say to the Arctic?
Or are you looking for a cruise line that sails between the Norwegian Fjords like no other cruise line does?
Maybe this post will help you decide if a trip with Hurtigruten on MS Spitsbergen is for you.
I had the privilege to go on an expedition cruise to Svalbard last year on MS Spitsbergen. For me, it was one of those once in a lifetime experiences and I am still dreaming about my trip. Especially now as it should be the Arctic cruise season.
I want to bring MS Spitsbergen closer to you and give you a glimpse of the public areas.
Of course my experience will slightly differ from a Classic Round Voyage sailings along the Norwegian Coast. Still, the public areas will of course look the same.
So let’s start with some ship facts:
- Year built: 2009
- Year of refurbishment: 2016
- Passenger capacity: 335 (often less for expedition though depending on the destination)
- Beds: 243
- Gross tonnage: 7,344
- Length: 100.54 m
- Beam: 18 m
- Speed: 14.5 knots
Most of your time will be spend off the ship as you are going to explore the area, go for landings, hikes, walks and excursions.
However, the rest of your time is of course spend on board for relaxation and recovery, to listen to those interesting talks and lectures presented by the expedition team and to mingle with fellow guests.
COMPASS SERVICE CENTRE (RECEPTION AREA)
The reception area is in the heart of the ship more or less. This was used for checking in guests, to assist with inquiries and to purchase items from the shop, which is just next to the reception.
Also, copies of the daily overview and the expedition desk were located here. If guests wanted to purchase excursions or partake in kayaking, they could register their interest at the expedition desk and speak to a member of the expedition team.
The shop stocks all sorts of different items.
You can buy clothes in case you have not packed properly, souvenirs such as postcards or little glass polar bears, toiletries and also snacks.
It was like a little corner shop in a way and lots of people bought items from it, myself included.
The Explorer Bar is a multipurpose venue. It was used for briefings, lectures, sometimes evening entertainment and to hang out and have a chat with other guests.
Additionally, the water, tea and coffee station were in the Explorer Bar and some biscuits were served every day here between lunch and dinner.
It is a lovely venue and also has the access to the bow of the ship where you get one of the best views, in my opinion, on the entire ship.
PANORAMIC LOUNGE – EXPLORER BAR
The Panoramic Lounge is kind of an extension of the Explorer Bar, like the second level, but a bit more secluded and quieter.
People often were sitting here to read a book and watch the scenery as the windows are wide and allow for great views.
It was sometimes used for lectures as well and for showing videos such as “The Frozen Planet.”
BRYGGA BISTRO AKA SCIENCE CENTER
Brygga is normally the bistro on MS Spitsbergen when she does the Classic Round Voyage along the Norwegian Coast. However, during expedition cruises it is used as a temporary Science Centre.
Telescopes and different types of samples were placed there for investigation. Additionally different types of rocks and feathers of animals were spread out for us to look at, touch and feel and inspect.
Also, some snacks such as tiny croissants and teas could be found there for guests to enjoy.
TORGET – MAIN DINING ROOM
MS Spitsbergen only has one dining room where breakfast, lunch and dinner is served. So, you will always know where to go for food 🙂
Breakfast and lunch were always buffet and dinner was mostly a set menu. However, occasionally dinner would also be buffet style depending on the occasion or time of the dinner. For instance, if a landing was finishing late, a buffet would be served.
The food was always excellent and I enjoyed eating it tremendously. You might not get as much variety as on bigger ships, but there is a good reason for this.
First of all space, but the other reason is so much more important. All ingredients are used up one way or another during a Hurtigruten voyage. For example, if you have cauliflower as a side during dinner, you might find cauliflower soup as the soup option for lunch the following day.
Sustainability and managing food and waste in general is a high priority for Hurtigruten. Thumbs up for me!
The Sauna, Fitness Centre and Hot Tubs are all located on deck 7 on the aft of the ship.
There is only one Sauna for guests with one shower, extra towels for guests to use and some hangers where you can hang your bathrobe or towel.
There are different times for different genders to use the sauna and sometimes they can be mixed as well. It was inconveniencing me to some extend as sometimes I wanted to go to the sauna before a landing, but then it was only open to men at that particular time.
You basically always had to check when the sauna was open to men, woman and everyone and then work your needs around that.
Still, once you were in the sauna it was great. The views definitely added to the relaxation.
The Fitness Room on board MS Spitsbergen is rather nice. I actually used it a few times during my 14 day cruise.
It has a few basic machines such as treadmills, bicycles and a rowing machine as well as some yoga matts for stretching and weights. For its size it is adequately stocked in my opinion.
Not many of the Hurtigruten ships have a pool or hot tubs, but luckily hot tubs can be found on MS Spitsbergen.
I used them several times during my trip and they come with the most amazing view. A transparent glass shields you from the wind, but you still are able to admire the scenery.
It was bliss to get into the hot tub when I was almost frozen solid after some landings and especially after the polar plunge.
One of the nicest hot tub experiences I ever had due to the view.
I am sorry I do not have better pictures of the observation deck, but this is basically on the highest deck of the ship. It is this big and wide open space with lots of room for guests to come and observe wildlife and nature.
It is also great for Northern Lights spotting as you will have unobstructed views.
Would you want to sail on board MS Spitsbergen? Have you sailed on any of the other Hurtigruten ships?
If you find this post useful or informative, you might be interested in these related posts from my expedition trip:
- Travelling On MS Spitsbergen To Svalbard – My Best Moments And Highlights
- MS Spitsbergen – Arctic Superior 622 Cabin Review
- My Hurtigruten Expedition Cruise in Pictures – Svalbard, The Arctic, Part 1
- My Hurtigruten Expedition Cruise in Pictures – Svalbard, The Arctic, Part 2