Hurtigruten vs Elite Luxury Kenya - Tour Companies Compared
Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.
Overall — 4
Value — 3.8
Guide — 3.3
Activities — 3.8
Lodging — 3.5
Transportation — 3.8
Meals — 3.8
Overall — 0
Value — 0.0
Guide — 0.0
Activities — 0.0
Lodging — 0.0
Transportation — 0.0
Meals — 0.0
5.0 July 2018
I technically took the abbreviated version of this exact cruise a few years back, essentially a one-way trip through the Fjords starting in Bergen and going up to Kirkenes on the Russian border. It was a graduation present from my grandfather, and we took the trip together. He is not the most mobile of travelers, and a cruise was a great compromise for us. I loved being able to talk and read with him on the many rocking chairs looking out the ship's walls, and it was helpful to get the occasional reminder from the Captain about the feature we were passing. We got a solid feel for Norway's coastline and culture from watching attentively from the boat, and also getting off at the majority of the daytime stops. We took part in a bunch of the optional activities (which we booked right beforehand, there was no trouble with that) and there were plenty of options we both liked. One my favorites was seeing a Sami settlement, learning about their culture and how they farm reindeer. The bus ride that took us from the boat to the Sami was also incredible -- the landscape had totally changed, we saw the rows and rows of fish racks, and we even saw wild reindeer run past! The optional activities also meant that when I wanted to take a hike one day, I could go and my grandfather could do whatever he wanted, and we'd see each other in a couple of hours.Read more
A couple of other things that made this trip for us: the food and the ship itself. The ship's room was definitely close quarters, but my grandfather is a big man and we still had no trouble with anything. The entire ship is handicap accessible, and there is a gym and a hot tub I utilized multiple times! Most importantly: the food. My grandpa is a HUGE foodie and an adventurous eater, and that was definitely his primary concern, and we were both satisfied with the quality of the food. We both felt there was a good balance between having good food, and having enough classical Norwegian food. Plus, if you feel like getting fancy, there is a separate restaurant on the ship that is an extra fee.
The only reason I give "guide" a lower rating is because we weren't really guided for much of the ship, only during the optional excursions and the occasional information from the captain.
5.0 January 2015
The Hurtigruten, which travels the coast of Norway north from Bergen beyond the Arctic Circle almost to Russia, is nothing short of gorgeous. You get to stop in big cities/towns like Tromso and Trondheim, but also in little villages,including one known as the farthest north in Europe. You also get to cruise down some beautiful fjords. One of the best features is that the ships double as cargo carriers along with passengers, so at every stop you can watch the crew load and unload the supplies that keep these far-north villages going all year round. (The summer trips are almost all 24-hour daylight, while the winter trips are mostly in darkness.) There's nothing fancy about these ships, and the food isn't as memorable as on some other ships, but the experience is hard to top. Hurtigruten has expanded beyond Norway, too, but I haven't taken any of their other trips.Read more
Tour Hurtigruten Company Reviews
5.0 June 2016
Before we began the cruise, we spent three days in an apartment in Reykjavik. I would recommend a stay in Iceland to anyone cruising in that part of the world. Iceland is beautiful in a wild and unique way.Read more
MV Fram, built by Hurtigruten in 2007 especially for cruising the polar regions, is a wonderful ship. According to Hurtigruten, it carries 318 passengers, but we were told the ship was full on this voyage with 227. The average age of passengers was typical for an expedition-type cruise, i.e., younger than on large ships. There were two or three people with physical handicaps (one in a wheelchair) and a number of children. Eighty to ninety percent of the passengers were Scandinavians (93 Norwegians) and Germans. There were only four Americans aboard, along with a handful of people from other English-speaking countries. The official language of the voyage was English.
Check-in on the ship in Reykjavik was chaotic. Help with luggage was available upon request; otherwise everyone managed their own bags. As on more traditional cruises, a cruise card was used for all purchases aboard. There was a small gift shop with clothing appropriate for the voyage, along with some souvenir items and toiletries. Alcohol, soft drinks, and premium coffees could be purchased. Shore excursions were included in the cruise price, and all passengers were given windbreakers as a memento of the voyage.
There were two dinner seatings with assigned tables, but due to the nature of the trip, all but two nights were buffets with open seating. The food was Scandinavian, meaning good fresh fish (such as salmon) at dinner, and smoked or marinated fish as a choice at every buffet. Besides the fish and excellent desserts, the food was uninspired, to say the least. Vegetarians, diabetics, and people with gluten intolerance were provided for. A snack bar with complimentary coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cookies, and small sandwiches was open 24/7. There was no room service.
The cruise itself was an unforgettable experience. After one sea day we reached Jan Mayen Island, a tiny Norwegian outpost 370 miles NE of Iceland. It is inhabited only by fourteen hardy souls who run the weather station there. There is no harbor, no regular air service, and no tourist facilities. The only visitors are the occasional yachts that anchor there. The Fram was the first cruise ship to call there. Our landing was made on a rocky beach from "Polarcirkel" boats (similar to Zodiacs), and required waterproof boots. Jan Mayen is a wild, desolate place with essentially no vegetation. The perfectly shaped volcano last erupted in the 1970's, and the whole island consists of lava rock. The weather was relatively mild, with calm seas and temperatures in the forties. While we were ashore the volcano was obscured by clouds, but later that night the midnight sun appeared and illuminated the snow-covered peak with its glaciers. As if on cue, three Minke whales also appeared.
After another sea day we arrived at Spitsbergen, where our first stop was to be Longyearbyen, the largest settlement in the Svalbard archipelago. As luck would have it, an ice-field totally filled the Isfjorden. The Fram is designed to break through such ice floes, but progress was so slow that after two hours the captain made the decision to cancel that stop and head north. Standing on the bow (fully covered with wind-proof pants, jacket, hood, boots, and heavy long-johns) watching our laborious progress through the ice, I felt a long, long way from home. We saw many birds taking advantage of the shifting ice floes: puffins, guillemots, auks, fulmars, gulls, and arctic terns.
Our trip north along the west coast of Spitsbergen took us past an incredible landscape of mountains, glaciers and blue skies.
The next morning we stopped for a guided tour of Ny Alesund, a small settlement made up of scientists from different countries doing various polar research projects. Cruise ships and yachts do stop there, but there are no facilities except a small gift shop and a museum. Ny Alesund used to be a mining town, and most of the buildings are remodeled houses from that era.
Later that day we made a landing at the beach in beautiful Magdalena Fjord, where blubber ovens were still visible from the days when whaling ships used this natural harbor (ice-free year round due to the Gulf Stream) as headquarters for their activities in this part of the world. While leaving Magdalena Fjord we saw our only polar bears of the trip, unfortunately far in the distance. It was a mother and cub.
After midnight that night (still bright sunlight) we reached Moffin Island off the north coast of Spitsbergen. It's a walrus preserve, so we were not allowed to go ashore but could see the walrus colony quite clearly.
There were other wonderful experiences sailing through the many fjords and past the countless glaciers and bird nesting cliffs of Spitsbergen. Days and nights were spent watching the scenery and profiting from the excellent lectures and slide shows of the scientists aboard the ship. Among them were five Ph.D.s in such fields as Geology, Glaciology, and Ornithology. All were experts on the polar regions and also gave talks on the history of polar expeditions, animals of the Arctic, and the like.
There was no nightly entertainment per se, just a pianist in the lounge, and a couple of events such as a crew talent show. In addition, all passengers were taken on a tour of the Bridge.
The voyage ended on a dramatic note with another passage through the ice-field in the Isfjorden to get to our final destination, Longyearbyen. It took all of the last day, so the scheduled landing had to be cancelled. But the ship's breaking through the ice was such an exhilarating experience that it was worth it.
We had a few hours in Longyearbyen before our flight to Oslo (included in the cruise fare). The settlement has a history of coal mining and other attempts at making a profitable permanent town here, including many international disputes over sovereignty, especially between Norway and Russia.
The Fram is a beautiful small ship, nicely appointed with a large observation lounge, lecture rooms, attractive public areas, a fitness room, two on-deck hot
tubs, and interesting art work. Our cabin was tiny but acceptable. The service was impeccable and friendly, although with mostly open seating we didn't have much personal interaction with the dining room staff.
The Expedition Team was fantastic, comprised of exceedingly competent and knowledgeable men and women.
All in all, this was an incredible cruise for someone who wants to get way off the beaten path. A memorable experience all around.
Tour Hurtigruten Company Reviews
|Tours||16 Trips||5 Trips|
|Average Trip Price Per Day||$ 384||$ 442|
|Operator Type||Small Ship & Expedition Cruise Line||Group Tour Operator|
|Size||Regional Expert||Local Specialist|
|Headquarters||Tromsø, Norway||Nairobi, Kenya|
Once known as "Norwegian Coastal Voyage" in the U.S., Hurtigruten adopted its traditional Norwegian name a few years ago, and remains, in many minds, "The World's Most Beautiful Voyage."
What Makes Them Stand Out?
They operate cruises to lesser known locations and focus on providing unique nature experiences and excursions. They’ve been a leader in constantly improving how they treat the landscape and try to maintain as little harmful impact as possible.
Who Travels With Them?
Hurtigruten’s cruises are perfect for adventurous travelers looking to “connect with your inner explorer.” Excursions tend to be very active, and do take place in harsher environments - it will most likely be cold! And while you certainly won’t be roughing it, the Hurtigruten ships aren't the newest vessels on the seas, nor are they equipped with large numbers of amenities. But the scenery and experiences are hard to beat.
Where Do They Operate?
The 11 Hurtigruten ships ply the Norwegian coast from Bergen to Kirkenes, near the Russian border, making the round trip in just under two weeks (but many passengers choose to go just one way). They also run voyages to Spitsbergen (a far northern Norwegian island also known as Svalbard) and other Arctic locations, as well as Antarctica.
Why Travel With Them?
For spectacular views, and incredibly unique experiences ashore. You'll stop in some fascinating cities and fishing villages; sail down gorgeous fjords and view snow-capped mountains; cross the Arctic Circle; pay a visit to the Top of Europe (the northernmost point on the Continent); and watch as the ships unload supplies for the locals at each stop -- the Hurtigruten is both cruise passenger and cargo ship.
Also called “Kenya Safaris” this company is very locally minded, offering boutique travel experiences including honeymoon, and fully customized travel.
What Makes Them Stand Out?
Elite Luxury Kenya provides a travel experience in Kenya that will introduce travelers to another side of the African safari. No frills, yet comfortable, the travel options seem to distinctly be designed to showcase traveling beyond the safari. Though this is not to say safari’s are not a focus. Rather for them, a safari holiday with them means you’ll get a very diverse tour in terms of activities, excursions, and accommodations.
Who Travels With Them?
Those seeking an affordable Kenya, Tanzania, and / or Uganda experience. Their tours are private and completely customizable. As a smaller company travelers may find that accommodations are less luxury in feel than an established luxury safari brand, however you will be very comfortable and well taken care of. And if local touches are important to you, these will make your trip especially enjoyable.
Where Do They Operate?
Despite what the name suggests, Elite Luxury Kenya also provides tours in Tanzania and Uganda. Part of their mission is to introduce travelers to Kenya and these other destinations beyond the typical safari. To that end you may enjoy a beach holiday, gorilla trek, or hike up Mount Kenya.
Why Travel With Them?
Kenya based and small, traveling with them is a way to support local business and in return have a fully local experience. You will get a sense of the “real” Kenya, while also experiencing all the classic safari moments.
Tours are led by local knowledgeable guides, and your trip is designed by experts for a personalized touch - this helps ensure your trip to Kenya fulfills everything you want to see.