Cabin Vs Suite on a Hurtigruten Cruise in Norway

When planning a cruise there’s that moment where some of us can’t help but ponder the price difference between a cabin and a suite and wonder if we can justify it. Of course there are those who are able to live the suite life every time, but for most of us the cruise itself is a treat, and kicking it up to the next level is something that is not taken that lightly.

I recently cruised through Norway’s fjords with Bentours on Hurtigruten’s MS Midnatsol searching for the northern lights. I spent most of the journey in my humble, but very sweet cabin on level six. Then I went to do an inspection of some of the suites towards the end of the trip, just to see what they were like. This was a dangerous move.

As soon as we stepped into the suite hallways with their polished wood and pretty blue carpets I knew I was in trouble, and before we had left the first suite I was asking the hotel manager, Magne Gjervig, if people could pay to upgrade towards the end of the cruise. He said yes, and explained that depending on the cruise they were sometimes able to offer quite reasonable discounts.

Before I knew it I was at reception asking about the rates, and saying “put it on my cruise card!” The rates vary so much between the cruises, times of year and other circumstances that it would be misleading for me to go into the exact rate. But let’s say it wasn’t exactly cheap, but it was certainly worth it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d loved my cabin.  As I’d been travelling solo I had my single bed down throughout my stay with the other optional bed left as a couch. I had a bathroom with a shower, and a mysterious “varmekabel” switch which I soon discovered heated the bathroom floor.

There was a desk, a small coffee / bedside table, and those cute cruise cupboards that always make me smile. I was more than happy with the amount of storage and the size of the cabin but then again I was travelling solo so the cupboards would have filled up a lot faster and it may have felt more crowded with a second person in the room.

Cabin onboard Hurtigruten Cruise of Norway

I loved my porthole window, but unfortunately I was on deck six, which was one of the outer decks that people could walk around, and I was towards the back of the ship. The lights towards the front of deck six were turned off at night so the bridge has a clear view, but they had to be left on at the back which meant I had a light outside my porthole and couldn’t leave my curtains open to watch for the northern lights or be woken naturally by daylight.

When I moved on up (and in fact Primal Scream’s Movin’ On Up was playing on my UE Boom as I frantically packed up my cabin) I was able to experience how the other half lived. Even if it was just for the last two nights of the cruise.

Where I once had my porthole, in the Valmue Suite I now had a huge private deck which took up half the back of the ship. If you look at the photo of the back of MS Midnatsol, you’ll see that the first level underneath the upper deck is divided down the centre, whereas the next level down has three individual balconies for the next suite level. Needless to say I was pretty excited about having so much space to myself.

My single bed was replaced by a king sized one, I had a bath (a bath!), a separate shower, and a second toilet, which I ended up using for luggage storage (one slight surprise was there wasn’t anywhere to hide luggage away, but I guess people have their cases taken away to be stored, and I got around that one on my shorter stay).

There was a lounge suite and coffee table, a dining table with chairs, and a desk area, as well as a bar fridge, stereo, an assortment of glasses, and a flatscreen TV. Not that it was turned on when I was around.

I had considered buying a little plant for my cabin at the start of the trip and leaving it with someone when it was time to say goodbye. Here I found a beautiful orchid in the middle of the room. And there was something I wish every cabin and hotel room around the world had… a kettle with tea and coffee. I do love starting the day gently with a couple cups of white tea before I see or speak to anyone for the first time.

Whereas in my cabin I had needed to put on shoes and a big jacket to go outside and check if it was raining or if the stars were out and there was a chance to see the northern lights I could now see the sky and the view from my bed, the couch, the table, even from in the bathtub if I leaned a little to the left.

Suite on Hurtigruten's MS Midnatsol The dining room and meals are the same regardless of the kind of room or suite you’re in, but the suites had the option to have breakfast in bed for 125 NOK (around $20 Aussie dollars). It was a selection of the same food I could have had for free downstairs in the dining room, but I had to try it on my first morning, and almost clapped when a trolley that would have had trouble fitting into my old cabin arrived with fresh fruit, breads, cold cuts, eggs and coffee.

It was heaven. A little slice of heaven travelling through the fjords and upgrading mid-trip is a travel tip I may be a fool to share with others. I have now promised myself I’ll try to end every cruise with such a treat. If I get there before you, that is!

Amanda Woods was a guest of Bentours on Hurtigruten and flew with assistance from Virgin Atlantic

Want to know more about a Hurtigruten Cruise in Norway? Check out my Chasing the Northern Lights in Norway story, learn about the Hurtigruten cruise excursions  or check out the travel tips from onboard astronomer Ian Ridpath.

And if you love cruising you may also want to check out my reviews of Azamara Quest in the Mediterranean, cruising the South Pacific with Holland America’s MS Oosterdam, and a river cruise with a difference in Venice on Uniworld’s River Countess. Or you may like to find out what it’s like to spend a week on a luxury hotel barge holiday in Burgundy.

If you liked this story and fancy sharing it, here’s a Pin we prepared earlier…

Half way through my Hurtigruten cruise in Norway I changed from a cabin to a suite. So how did they really compare and is it worth the extra money for a bit of luxury?

About the Author

As a journalist who loves to travel and is fond of a chat I'm oh so happy when I'm sharing travel tales and tips. When I'm not travelling or writing about it I can be found out and about with friends, curled up at home with a good book or watching an addictive tv show promising I'll stop after one more episode. Amanda on Google +

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  1. Helen FREDERIKSEN says:

    OMG what a wonderful story and beautiful photos Amanda Woods.

  2. Hi Amanda, thank you so much for this insight. My partner and I are planning on travelling on the MS Midnatsol on an Antarctica cruise in March 2017. The cruise itself is soooo super expensive for a cabin but I have now asked for the suite costs also just because of this post. I doubt we will be able to afford it but here is to hoping!

    Thank you again for this post! I will certainly be pinning it 🙂

    • Hi Lauren, oh how exciting! I LOVE Antarctica! Did you see my posts on that already? I explain some of the rules with ship sizes and what it means when you’re down there. You may want to also check that out before booking. Just pop Antarctica into the search bar and those stories will come up. And let me know how it goes, I’d love to hear what you think.

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