I can’t deny that there was more than just a little bit of me that felt very guilty about booking this ‘coastal steamer’ (aka cruise) along the coast of Norway. Anyone who has read Along The Med on a Bike Called Reggie (just £2.49!) will no doubt recall my occasional (OK, frequent) digs aimed at the cruise ship crowds that I encountered as I travelled along the Mediterranean coast. But here I am, two years later, on a cruise ship, sorry, coastal steamer being the kind of tourist that I sneered at as a cyclist… Hypocrit? Perhaps. But this:
…is a world away from this (that I just spotted in a window whilst walking down the main street of Molde, our current port of call):
I dare say that most people on board the Celebrity Cruises ship would reject a cruise on the MS Lofoten within seconds of it being offered. They would have good reason; it’s over fifty years old, a bit rusty, has dated features, broken fixtures, wobbly tables and chairs, faded signs, stained carpets, doors that stick, lights that don’t work, showers that are cramped, no stabalisers(!)… the list could go on. But it has charm and character, not just a bit, but a lot.
Not that Hurtigruten shuns the world of big ships. Just a few moments ago the smallest and oldest ship in the coastal steamer fleet – the Lofoten – has encountered one of the newer and largest – the Trollfjord. I wonder what the people on those balconies are thinking? Are they pitying us down here or envying us?
Or are they just thinking ‘why is there a skip on the deck of that ship?