Norwegian Coastal Voyage – Bergen, Norway
|DAY 1: Bergen. Arrival in Bergen. Catch Hurtigruten transfer from Bergen Flesland Airport to Hurtigruten terminal at Nostebryggen Quay. Boarding starts at 16:00.|
We arrived at Bergen Flesland Airport at 16:50, too late to catch the 17:00 transfer to Hurtigruten Pier at Nostebryggen Quay. The transfers depart daily at 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:15, 17:00 and 18:30 (from Nov-Mar the last transfer is 18:45)
We were travelling with Tony’s mum who was 92 years old and so speed was not of the essence. Bergen Flesland Airport was a cozy size and the immigration and customs procedures were pretty straight-forward.
Whilst waiting for our transfer we looked for drinks and the first thing that hit me at the airport was the price of goods here. Yes, I knew that Norway is an expensive destination but 22 NOK for a small bottle of take-away orange juice was a bit of a shock to the system. That’s almost 7 AUD for us (based on AUD/NOK exchange rate of 3.2 at that time).
Transfer to Hurtigruten’s Pier
Hurtigruten arranges its airport transfers through Turistbuss Bergen and on the dot of 18:30, the coach pulled in at the bus-stop. When you exit the airport, follow the signs for Hurtigruten transfer buses.
The ride to the Pier was short one, but already we got the sense of being in winter wonderland. As the bus was not allowed to enter the cruise terminal we had to lug our three cases into the terminal building, plus wheel Tony’s mother.
A person at the reception desk pointed us to the elevator and we’re on our way to board our ship, the M/S Richard With. Finding the way to the gangway was not so straight forward in the dark. There was no sign of any trolley available and no one available to assist. Our first thought is that the security was pretty poor given that anyone could have sneaked on board.
Boarding the M/S Richard With
It was dark and we finally found the entrance door. While I waited with Barbara and the bags, Tony went to look for our cabins. An officer, who was passing by, saw me with the bags and Barbara in wheelchair. He was surprised that no one actually helped us and he personally carried our bags to our cabins. What a nice guy.
Travelling with a 92 year-old was not without challenge, especially in winter. It was a long day, especially for Tony and I as we had been on the road for 35 hours the day before. What a relief to finally make it. The cabins were small but comfortable and the light snack provided was more like a buffet.
At 22:30 the ship prepared to leave and the bell tolled three times. We sailed away into the night, travelling north and west through the Hjeltefjord. This was where the Vikings once sailed westwards to a place they called Hjaltland, the Shetland Island.
The boat has a nice feel about it and although we’re not cruising types, we knew that we were going to enjoy this voyage.