Room, Separate Ladies & Gents Saunas.
Foyer, Laundry Room.
Club/Bar, 4 Conference Rooms, Lokalen Café, Shop, Fjorden
Arcade, Games Room, Childrens' Play Room, Polarset Restaurant.
Lounge, Hurtigruten Observation Lounge & Bar, Library, Sun deck.
My Photos of M/S Polarlys
& Cabins On
the Sun Deck
Polarlys [Polar Light]
was completed in 1996. Built at Ulstein
verft, Hatlø, Norway,
Fylkes Dampskibsselskap, Tromsø
and the Hurtigruten
[Coastal Express]. At
11,341 grt, a speed of 18.5 knots, 123m long, 19.5m wide, 50m high
and with a draft of 4.9m
she carries 691 passengers in 482 berths with 50 car spaces.
is a Cruise-Ferry
carrying passengers [tourists as well as local people on their
everday business], mail & supplies up and down the Norwegian
Coast, from Bergen to Kirkenes on a 12 day round voyage, calling at
34 ports along the way. Ports called at during the night one way, are
visited during the day on the return journey
is spotless throughout and warmly decorated with many sculptures,
paintings and other forms of art all around her public areas.
Polarlys is not a cruise ship, so don't expect Casinos, Glitz, Bingo,
Art Auctions, Chocs on your pillow etc. Refreshing to be away from
all that. M/S Polarlys is the third ship to bear this name. The first
was launched in 1912 and had 141 beds with a top speed of 13.45
knots. The second was delivered in 1952 and remained in service until 1993.
are no lifeboat drills for passengers since we are sailing in
sheltered waters & never have 36 hours or longer continuous
sailing. We had a tour of the Bridge on the 2nd day. Amazing! So
similar to an aircraft cockpit. The Capt. & 1st Officer [or
Chief & Safety Officers]
sit in 2 chairs with the control panel between them & all the
various monitors around & above them. They only have to feed in
the next port of call on departure and the ship takes itself.
engines, 2 main propellers, 2 forward thrusters & a 5th
propeller inside the hull which is only lowered when needed & can
rotate 360º. Polarlys can maintain a speed of 7knts using this
propeller alone. She can be turned around on herself & we left
various ports pulling away directly sideways. There are 2
stabilisers, 3m long and 70cm wide; although as we mainly sail
between the coastal islands & the mainland, encountering very
little open sea these were not employed during our trip. Glass
windows to see below in the docking arms & controls on the arms
for use when docking. 63.1 litres of fuel per nautical mile we were
consuming & had 280,000 litres of drinking water available on board.
Polarlys - Loading Ramp open
a working ship, at each port of call, passengers boarded &
others disembarked. Cars were loaded on/off and it was quite
mesmerising watching the forklift truck drivers loading and unloding
the supplies in super quick time. Sometimes we were in port for no
longer than 15 minutes.
gangway and loading ramp are both automatic folding into the side of
the ship. No waiting around for gangways to be put in place. There
are retractable steps at the top of the gangway to overcome the
differing water levels, and incorporates a wheelchair lift. Why don't
other ships use these?
Gangway rising as we pull away
buffet style in the Polarlyset Restaurant between 8 &
10am. A nice airey room, with a second seating area [which wasn't
always open] with windows looking out aft. Cereals - mainly of the
muesli type & cornflakes. Drinking yoghurt to go on top and/or
milk. Plenty of cheeses, cold meats and fishy things, herrings and
others which I have no idea what they were. Lots of breads/rolls and
for toast too. Variety of crackers, biscuits, crispreads & semi
sweet biscuits-jams etc. Ready made omelettes of 4 different types
& porridge. Juices & coffee/tea. Both hard & soft boiled
eggs were available every morning. Bacon, eggs and other hot items
were available on some days.
was served at 7pm in the restaurant [during
high season there may be more than one sitting].
It is a set meal, usually with no choice, of meat or fish with
potatoes and veg. [Vegetarians & other special diets are catered
for with prior notice]. The evening menu is placed outside the dining
room doors early afternoon.
are not included for port-to-port passengers. Breakfast is 105 NOK
& Dinner 270 NOK. Dress code is informal, though most people
changed for dinner into 'smart casual' clothing.
on our trip wasn't included [it
is on longer voyages]
so we ate in the Lokalen Café. A traditional Norwegian
'Cold Table' / Carvery was available if required at 205 NOK. Other
passengers said it was very good.
Lokalen Cafeteria is open 24hrs: serving all sorts of open
topped & 'normal' sandwiches, along with quite a variety of hot
dishes including soups, fries, pizza, sausages for int'l tastes &
'Specials' during the main meal times. Cakes/desserts, yoghurts,
chocs, soft drinks, juices. Coffee, tea, wine & beer is available
too. Hot food is cooked to order and brought to you.
sampled:- 1st night:-Onion soup. Poached cod with boiled potatoes
and carrots/swede with Hollandaise sauce. Chocolate 'cake' with ice
cream - a small piece of very rich/heavy 'cake' with a large slab of
vanilla ice cream with apricot sauce, a blob of cream & a slice
of what looked like apple but wasn't. No one at the table knew what
night:- Sea Salad, which was all sorts of shellfish,
mussells/cockles/oyster/prawns & others on a salad base. Roast
lamb with potato au gratin & veg. Cheescake, proper baked one,
with a blueberry & an apricot? sauce & another slice of the
night:- Mushroom Soup [cream of], Poached Salmon with boiled
potatoes & veg. Apple compote & pancakes with cream.
are offered seconds or basically as much of the main course as you
want. The food was all very tasty and well presented. Potatoes served
in separate dishes to help yourself. Alcohol is expensive; 175 NOK
[£16] for 2 glasses house wine & a beer! All drinks are put
on a 'slate' and you pay the Head Waiter before 10pm on your last night.
are 3 public lounges:- The Panorama Lounge affords superb
views of the passing scenery with large panoramic windows forward and
to the sides. Monitors show the ship's position. The room is kept
dark for maximum viewing, except for a small area at the rear. The Midnatsol
Club/Bar is more lively with lots of chrome, a dance floor and
the lights to go with it. A band played here one evening. This is
also the room where coffee is served after dinner.
main stairwell is glassed with balconies [decks 5,6 & 7] on each
side giving good views; an 'atrium' in reverse. There is only one
lift here and a second towards the stern. The Fjorden Arcade
with swivel chairs runs along deck 4 starboard from the Atrium
to the Polarlyset Restaurant. Here there is a small Games Arcade and
Childrens' Play Area.
Observation Lounge to Port
Observation Lounge & Bar
has lots of small sculptures and art objects around the comfy viewing
chairs. At the rear of this is the small Library, in which people
mainly watched the skiing championships on the TV, but there are 2
small glass cabinets containing some English books, and an electric
fire in the hearth.
Observation Lounge to Starboard
by several artists are displayed on board, including Kåre
Tveter, Hanne May Scheen & Nicolaus Widerberg. The interiors are
bright but not overly so. There are also some ship models including
one of previous Hurtigruten, Lyngen and one of Polarlys herself. A
large framed poster shows images of all the past and present
Cabin, 503, 'large' outside, forward to port. Small, 2
beds, one which was a sofa during the day & the berth which can
be folded up against the wall if need be; ours was just left down;
both were very comfortable. Duvet & 1 pillow each, but extra
pillow & blankets were in the cupboard if required. One double
wardrobe, 2 cupboards with shelves.
Radio: Announcements can be on or off in cabin. No TV: no Ice
buckets: no glasses - but 2 plastic glasses in bathroom.
larger than on a lot of cruise ships. Shower has a curtain, which
doesn't stick, as the shower is large enough for 2. Soap dispenser -
shower gel /shampoo dispenser. Hairdryer [the usual Aliseo 550w wall
mounted] & a heated floor [lovely]! Double-mirrored cabinet, 3
shelves each side. No bath mat. One large and one hand towel provided each.
mini-suites have a double bed, TV and fridge.
dressing table with mirror & small-mirrored cupboards with
shelves each side. Cupboard with shelves underneath. Chair &
table, 2 electrical outlets. 220v European 2 pin plugs required. The
room card must be placed in a cardholder to activate the power in the
cabin. Any card will do, if you need to leave your batteries
charging, but it must save a fair bit of electricity.
standard outside cabins had parallel beds, no table and less
is expensive in Norway and ship's prices are the same as those on
land. It is suggested one takes a bottle of duty free for drinking in
your cabin. This is acceptable provided you do not take your own
drinks into the lounges. There is no waiter service per se, you get
your own drinks if desired from the bar. Cabins are cleaned &
towels changed each morning, but beds not turned down at night. The
cabin stewardesses seemed to be the waitresses in the evenings. There
is no room service. Announcements are made in 4 languages, but no
calls to bingo:) All are interesting and informative about the sights
we are about to pass by. No tipping, unless you feel someone has done
an 'extra' for you. No drinks station for free tea/coffee. This can
be purchased from the Café, where you can get hot water if you
take your own, and the water in the cabins is perfectly drinkable.
is a Tour desk situated on deck 4, with various tours available in
some ports. These are reduced in number during the winter months.
There is a fitness centre and separate Ladies & Gents Saunas on
deck 2. A key is required for entry from reception. There is also a
prison down here:) I hope it only gets used for transporting Baddies,
and not for unruly passengers! A laundry room is on deck 3 with 3
washers & driers, tokens available from reception. Also an iron
and board. Although there is a 'hospital' on the ship, there are no
medical staff as you are never far from land. Appointments can be
made for you ahead of arrival with a doctor or dentist. The crew are
trained in first aid if required.
in all a wonderful experience. If you have any questions please mail
My Photos of M/S Polarlys
& Cabins On
SAS flights back were not uneventful, with one cancelled, delays and
then -5 mins to catch the next in Copenhagen. Caused by a baggage
handlers strike in Copenhagen earlier in the day. But arrived at
Heathrow only 1½ hrs late. Straight home, arriving just after
midnight to relieve the Grandparents who needed a week's rest!