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Photo: Trond G. Johnsen - Guest image Photo

MS Nordstjernen: Practical information and Life on board

From entry requirements to Expedition Team - here's everything you need to know before travelling with MS Nordstjernen.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: MS NORDSTJERNEN

The information and descriptions have been checked by our staff and/or local agents to ensure they are correct. However, changes may occur after the date of publication and there may be occasions when Hurtigruten or local suppliers may withdraw some facilities. Many areas we visit are very remote and affected by prolonged cold weather or difficult terrain. Provision of facilities will be subject to local conditions.

Some of our itineraries are to areas without, or with very limited infrastructure. This, combined with some of the most extreme (polar) conditions on Earth we have to appreciate that wind, weather and ice – changing seafloor conditions and other things may and will determine our detailed programme.

For safety reasons, children under 12 years of age will be considered on each landing. It is entirely at the Captain’s discretion to allow children on shore landings.

MS Nordstjernen is not suitable for wheelchair users. The ship has no accessible cabins or lifts. Guest in need of special assistance must travel with a companion.

Hurtigruten Svalbard and MS Nordstjernen’s skilled crew offer life-affirming experiences close to nature’s most spectacular landscapes, genuine cultures, exceptional people and amazing wildlife. Preserving these resources in their natural, unspoiled condition is our priority - you will always experience the highest environmental awareness on board and ashore.

Our captains take pride in route planning that minimizes the load of the engines and reduces emissions. All waste is stored on board until it is deposited for treatment ashore. We never dump deposit waste in the sea and we ask you not to leave any waste when you are on shore excursions. In populated areas there are containers for depositing waste, please use them. We ask you to respect the saying: “Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures.”

Depending on the operator with whom you have a contract, mobile phones will function in Longyearbyen and Barentsburg. Check with your carrier for details.

Safety is always the priority and the ship’s Captain will decide the final itinerary during the voyage, therefore every voyage is unique and all published routes are only indicative.

MS Nordstjernen complies with the ISPS-regulations (International Ship and Port Security System) where the luggage could be subject to X-ray/metal detector inspection upon arrival port. The ISPS regulations could also include a hand baggage scan in Longyearbyen.

Depending on the weather, several layers should be worn underneath. We suggest wearing several layers as the temperature may vary quite a lot during the day. For the Svalbard expediton cruises we have a limited number of thermal suits available on board in various sizes. These can be borrowed by guests who wish to spend a lot of their time on deck.

Flights, transfers & add-ons

Scheduled Flights

The airfares offered are special package tour fares, which cannot be altered or cancelled without charge. All flight package prices are based on specific booking classes. If the relevant booking class is not available a supplement may apply. In economy class, you will be served snacks or sandwiches per airline. If these are not included in the airline's service, you can purchase drinks and snacks for a fee. Routes within Norway are in Economy Class.

Luggage allowance varies between airlines and charges may apply if you exceed this, or carriage may be refused. As a rule, each guest can carry a piece of hand luggage weighing approx. 6-8 kg (dimensions and weight depend on the respective airline) on board. Your baggage allowance is set to 1PC (23 kg), but may vary depending on the flight connection; please check with your airline. Further transport guidelines can be found in the respective terms and conditions of our flight partners. If you are planning to take a wheelchair or need assistance at the airport please advise us at the time of booking. Flights may be made early in the morning or in the evening, but they are always adapted to our travel arrangements.

Please note that some flights may be transfers or stopovers. Time and/or route changes as well as a change of the machine type are reserved. Our common flight partners are Norwegian Air Shuttle and Scandinavian Airlines. Please note that rebooking or reimbursement of an already issued ticket will be charged before departure. A transfer or refund of a ticket after travel is not possible. Any flight times advised at the time of booking are provisional and subject to change; please check before you travel.

Please see the voyage pages for available flight packages. Our Reservations Team will be able to advise you of availability, prices and other details. Any flight times advised at the time of booking are provisional and subject to change; please check before you travel.

Hotels booked by Hurtigruten are equivalent to internationally recognized 4-star level. The hotels are centrally located and most convenient for your booked arrangement – close to the airport and the port as well. Solo travelers might be given single rooms that are smaller in size or double rooms for single occupancy.

All rooms at Radisson Blu Polar Hotel and Funken Lodge have private facilities and at Coal Miners’ Cabins the guests share toilet and bathroom facilities. Charges for the use of some services and facilities may apply. Hotel prices include breakfast, unless otherwise stated in your confirmation.

Please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the required travel documents you will be asked to provide prior to boarding the ship. It is the sole responsibility of the guest to identify and obtain all required travel documents and have them available when necessary. A passport is the only identification accepted on a Hurtigruten voyage. Passports must be valid for at least six months after the scheduled return date of the trip.

We regret we are unable to accept any liability if you are denied access to a flight, or entry into Spitsbergen, or are otherwise affected by difficulties or costs resulting from your passport not being approved, or if you have not obtained the required visa or other documentation.

Hurtigruten offers a choice of optional Pre- and post-programmes that can be added to your Hurtigruten journey. This can be a half or full-day excursion or an overnight tour. Due to changing conditions, the order of sights might vary. A minimum number of participants applies. For guests who are not fully mobile, pre- and post-programmes are on request.

Transfers are included as shown in your booked arrangement. Hurtigruten offers bus transfers from airport to the pier and some hotels. The transfer times comply with the ship arrival and departure times and your flight arrival and departure time. Waiting times at the airport are possible. The duration of the airport transfer can vary depending on the destination but it takes usually between 45-60 minutes (depending on traffic). Exceptions are possible where a longer transfer time is needed due to a greater distance between airport and port. With your travel documents you will receive further information on your transfer.

For guests who are not fully mobile, wheelchair-accessible transfers are on request.

LIFE ON BOARD MS NORDSTJERNEN

Guests are respectfully reminded that only beverages provided by from the ship’s restaurant and bar can be consumed on board. Alcoholic beverages purchased in ports-of-call will be stored by the ship and delivered to your cabin on the last day of the sailing.

According to Norwegian law, persons over the age of 18 are allowed to purchase beer and wine. Spirits are only available to persons over the age of 20 years.

A cruise card will be issued upon arrival on board as part of the check-in procedure in accordance with ISPS regulations. All our guests are requested to wear this card when disembarking the ship in all ports of call and landings. The card serves as a control system on the gangway enabling the ship to know which of our guests are on board and ashore at any time. This card will be used as a charge card to make all onboard purchases. The card is the only means of payment for the on board facilities. A running tab of all purchases will be kept for each card. The evening before the voyage ends the account will be totalled and settled on board, either by credit card, or in cash. We regret that there is no facility for cash withdrawals or currency exchange on board. Please note that when using your credit card on board the ship, your account will be debited in Norwegian Kroner (NOK). The rate of exchange will be the one validated by your credit card company.

Every day the Expedition Team distributes a daily programme with a list of port calls, landings, lectures, meals and activities on board. All our published plans are subject to change.

Please note the use of passenger-operated drones is not permitted during your voyage. This is for general safety as well as the protection of the vulnerable wildlife and other passengers’ personal security.

The sockets in your cabins are 220V/50hz. The sockets are continental two pin sockets. Please bring an adapter/converter if you should need it.

It is not common to tip on Hurtigruten ships, but if you feel that individual crew members should be rewarded for providing exceptional service it is entirely at your discretion. We also have traditional gratuity boxes on board.

Announcements are given in English and German. Lectures are in English with simultaneous translation to German. In some occasions lectures will be given in German and translated simultaneously to English. Daily Programmes will be in English and German. There will be English, French, German and Nordic speaking staff on board.

The ship complies with all safety requirements and is suitable for sailing in icy waters. Upon arrival on board all passengers will be instructed in safety procedures, and the use and location of the safety equipment. There is a safety plan situated on the inside of the cabin door.

We stress the importance of becoming acquainted with the ships safety plan. Special safety regulations will apply on landings with the Polarcirkel boats. Please follow the instructions given by the Expedition Leader and crew/staff. Special lifejackets for use during landings will be handed out to all passengers before landings. A mandatory briefing regarding the safety guidelines will also be given.

You can hand in your mail at the reception, and for a limited amount covering service fee and stamps we will forward the post in every port where it is possible. The time from sending the postcard to when it gets to the recipient may be relatively long. Hurtigruten AS has no responsibility for lost mail.

Seasickness pills are available for purchase at the reception. If you are prone to seasickness, it is recommended that you bring pills that you are familiar with.

On board MS Nordstjernen, smoking is only permitted in designated areas on the outside aft deck. Please do not smoke in your cabin. To show respect for the environment, please use the provided ashtrays when smoking. Throwing cigarette ends overboard is strictly prohibited.

A cleaning charge of 1.500 NOK will be applied for smoking in your non-smoking cabin, to cover for the cost of cleaning linen and curtains to return it to a non-smoking standard. E-Cigarettes, according to Norwegian law, are the equival of tobacco cigarettes and therefore smoking is only permitted in the designated smoking areas.

If you have special requests (e.g. dietary or medical) please inform us as soon as possible. We will do our best to meet such requests but cannot guarantee to do so and under no circumstance will any such request be accepted by us so as to form part of a contractual agreement.

We kindly remind you to be careful walking on board the ship while at sea, especially venturing out on deck, mind the signs for warning of wet and slippery decks. Be aware the doors toward the outer deck are potentially dangerous in windy conditions. Please adhere to the signs and announcements when it is not advised to go outside. While walking inside, hold on to railings but not to door frames to avoid injury.

The tap water in your cabin is drinkable. Filtered water by the carafe is available at your table during meals, while bottled water is available for purchase.

On MS Nordstjernen, there is no internet connection on board, except while at port in Longyearbyen and Barentsburg. Depending on the operator with whom you have a contract, mobile phones will function in Longyearbyen and Barentsburg.

Facilities & services

All cabins will be ready upon our guests arrival. All cabins (except cabin 304) have a bunk bed. Hair dryers are available at the reception. Shared facilities for E and D grade cabins. Shared shower has a hair dryer.

There are no such facilities on board MS Nordstjernen.

The ship has a small selection of books on different topics that is available to guests while on board.

The ship has spacious outdoor areas. They are perfect vantage points to sit back, relax and watch the world go by.

Your voyage includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. The open seating for the breakfast and lunch buffet creates a relaxed atmosphere. Dinner varies between buffets, set meals and barbeques. The type of dinner is announced in the daily programme. If you have special dietary requirements, such as vegetarian, diabetic or gluten free, please inform your sales office/ travel agent as early as possible, and contact the Head Waiter when on board. The Chefs will do their best to meet your dietary requirements. Beer, wine, and soft drinks are sold in the restaurant during lunch and dinner.

Information about your table number and meal times will be in your cabin upon arrival. Please provide information regarding special requests for seating arrangements. On MS Nordstjernen there is only one sitting for all passengers.

Where possible, we plan our menus around seasonal ingredients, taking advantage of local produce to satisfy healthy appetites stimulated by the fresh sea air. Regular coffee/tea is complimentary throughout the whole voyage. Still water by carafe is complimentary together with your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Other beverages and refreshments during the day are not included, but may be purchased on board in the restaurant, cafeteria and bar. On board MS Nordstjernen your table in the restaurant will be assigned after embarkation.

On MS Nordstjernen, the cabins will not be cleaned daily, but upon request. Fresh towels are available at all times. There is no room service on MS Nordstjernen.

No laundry service is available on the MS Nordstjernen. No dry-cleaning is possible on the ship.

On board MS Nordstjernen there is a very limited selection of clothing and expedition equipment for sale.

Activities & entertainment

The emphasis on board is on relaxation and discovery, not on commercial entertainment, which is often a part of conventional cruises. There is no entertainment on board MS Nordstjernen.

The Expedition Team is composed of an Expedition Leader, an Assistant Expedition Leader, an Expedition Coordinator and several lecturers and experts. Your Expedition Leader will regularly update you on the progress of the trip as well as the different points of interest and wildlife sightings that may occur.

On MS Nordstjernen, there is no Expedition Desk, it is not possible to book optional excursions on board and lectures are mainly given on shore.

The ship has experienced guides, specializing in various subjects . They have in-depth knowledge of the areas we sail in. They will conduct, on a regular basis, talks about topics such as Biology, History, and Geology at the landings throughout the course of the trip. The lectures will mainly be given on shore. Do not hesitate to contact our Expedition Team for any questions or concerns you might have.

These sturdy boats enable both water-based exploration and safe landings in otherwise inaccessible areas. You will need to be fairly agile to board these but there is otherwise no need to worry about travelling in them. The crew will show you what to do and as long as you follow their instructions, after the first time it will become second nature. On all landings in small boats guests are expected to wear proper footwear.

MS Nordstjernen has for tendering/landing/small boat cruising operations 4 small boats for 7 guests and a driver.

Upon arrival on board, there will be a mandatory passenger safety drill before departure. There will also be a welcome meeting where security information as well as practical information about the cruise will be given, and an opportunity to meet some of the Officers, crew and Expedition Team members.

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