Moffen, Spitsbergen
Photo: Jeannine Deckx Gielen/Guest image Photo

Explorer Voyage Practical Information MS Nordstjernen

From passport and VISA requirements to general on-board information - get to know MS Nordstjernen before you embark on your explorer voyage.

 Accuracy

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. Should we become aware of any significant change, which may be considered to have an effect on the enjoyment of your holiday, we will do our utmost to advise you.

Public holidays and religious festivals may also affect the availability of resort and hotel   facilities. Tourist offices can provide details of such events. 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, and customs and lifestyles may differ from those to which you are accustomed. 

Changes to the itinerary and excursions

Every voyage is unique. All routes and excursions are provisional and subject to change as weather, sea and ice conditions may affect the itinerary. Excursions may also be subject to minimum/maximum numbers. Hurtigruten AS reserves the right to change the itinerary and the content of excursions without prior notice (see terms and conditions). 

Children

Hurtigruten AS cannot allow children under the age of 5 to travel with us to Antarctica. There is no age restriction on our other destinations. For safety reasons, children under 12 years of age will be considered for participation on each landing. It is entirely at the Captain’s discretion to allow children on shore landings. 

Disabled cabins/Mobility

MS Nordstjernen has no handicap cabins and is not suitable for wheelchairs. In ports where tidal conditions or other circumstances require use of a portable gangway, or during landings with tender boats, it is not possible to use/take wheelchairs. 

Environment and green navigation

Our Captains take pride in route planning that minimises the load of the engines and reduces emissions. All waste is stored on board until it is deposited for treatment ashore. We never 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 litter, please use them. We ask you to respect the saying: “Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures”.

 Expedition Team

The on board 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. 

Note: The Expedition Team is only on board for Svalbard/Spitsbergen voyages.

Medical facilities

In the event of a serious emergency, the nearest hospital will be contacted. Medical consultations as well as medication will be charged to the passenger affected. It is compulsory to carry sufficient travel/health insurance. If you depend on medication, remember to bring sufficient supplies to last through any unforeseen delays. We also recommend that you keep your medication in your hand luggage properly labelled and with clear instructions for its use. If you depend on vital drugs, please inform the ship’s doctor upon arrival. Illness on board can lead to quarantine and orders from the ship’s physician and captain must be followed. 

Mobile phone

On Nordstjernen, there is no mobile or internet connection on board, except while at port in Longyearbyen and Barentsburg. 

Passport and VISA requirements 

Please take a few minutes to familiarise 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 valid identification. For some destinations your passport must be valid for more than six months after you return to your home country. At check-in on board passports will be collected on board the vessel, in order to clear immigrations and customs. They will be kept throughout the whole voyage. We regret that we are unable to accept any liability if you are denied access to a flight or entry into a country or are otherwise affected by difficulties or costs resulting from your passport not being approved or if you have not obtained the required documentation. It is the responsibility of each passenger to ensure they comply with any visa travel document requirements at the time of travel. 

Note: This is not appliccable for the following sailings with MS Nordstjernen:

Safety on board

The ships comply with all safety requirements and our vessels traveling in icy waters are suitable for this. 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 each cabin door. We stress the importance of becoming acquainted with the ships’ safety plans.

Special safety regulations will apply on landings with the tender boats. Please follow the instructions given by the Expedition Leader and crew. Special lifejackets for use during landings will be handed out to all passengers before first landing. A mandatory briefing regarding the safety guidelines will also be given. 

Ship’s security

Hurtigruten complies with the ISPS-regulations (International Ship and Port Facility Security Code) where all luggage is subject to X-ray/metal detector inspection at a facility or ship. The ISPS regulations also include hand baggage scans in all ports of call throughout the course of the voyage. 

Special requests

If you have special requests please inform us at time of booking. We will do our best to meet such requests but can not 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.

 Tender boat landings

These sturdy boats enable water based exploration and safe landings in otherwise inaccessible areas. On all landings in PolarCirkel boats guests are required to wear proper footwear. In Antarctica it is mandatory to use provided rubber boots for all landings. For all other destinations boots can be useful. You are welcome to bring your own boots. 

Vaccinations

On some voyages vaccinations are required. All passengers are responsible for ensuring they comply with any requirements at the time of travel. 

What to wear

On board dress is informal. Although some passengers choose to change for dinner the dress code is casual rather than formal. The weather can vary during the course of each voyage or even during the day. To cater for these variations we recommend the layered dress approach that enables you to adapt to changes in temperature and weather conditions easily. For all voyages we advise you to bring breathable rain and windproof clothing. A warm hat, gloves, scarf and thermal clothing can be useful, together with thermal underwear, during the winter months. Sturdy shoes are important for some shore excursions and a walking stick/trekking pole may be useful. 

Flights

Please see the voyage pages for available flight packages. We can also offer regional supplements and upgrades; please contact us for details and prices. 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. Most flights within Europe do not offer a complimentary meal/drink service; please check with your airline. On intercontinental flights this is usually included. We can offer upgrades to business class on some routes. Depending on the airline this may also include seats with more legroom. Please note that upgrading may not apply to all sectors. Our Reservations Team will be able to advise you of availability, prices and other details. Luggage allowance varies between airlines and charges may apply if you exceed this, or carriage may be refused; please check with your airline. If you are planning to take a wheelchair or need assistance at the airport please advise us at the time of booking. Any flight times advised at the time of booking are provisional and subject to change; please check before you travel.

On board information 

Alcohol Policy

Guests are respectfully reminded that only beverages purchased from the ships’ restaurants and bars can be consumed on board. Alcoholic drinks purchased in ports-of-call and from our on-board shops will be stored by the ship and delivered to your cabin on the last day of the sailing. 

Announcements

Announcements will be made over the public address system. There are no telephones in the cabins on board MS Nordstjernen.

Bar service

All ships have a bar with an excellent selection of spirits, wines, beers and soft drinks and a lounge with coffee service. 

Cabins

There is a wide range of comfortable cabins on board. Some cabins on board MS Nordstjernen have washbasin only. Please note that check-in at reception may open before your cabin is ready for use. You will be informed at check-in when your cabin is ready for use. You may expect some noise and vibration in some cabins. This varies depending on the location of your cabin. Please note that cabins on deck C of MS Nordstjernen have passenger access to outside areas, which may sometimes lead to  obstructed views due to passengers walking past. 

Cruise card

A cruise card will be issued upon arrival on board as part of the check-in procedure in accordance with ISPS regulations. The card serves as a control system on the gangway. We regret that there is no facility for cash withdrawals or currency exchange on board.

 Electricity

The plugs in your cabins are all 220V/50hz. Suites have 110V for shavers. The plugs are continental two pin plugs, which may require an adapter. 

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.

Fitness room, sauna, pool and Jacuzzi

There are no facilities on board MS Nordstjernen.

Gratuity Policy

Many of our guests wish to give special thanks to our service crew on board. Of course, how you wish to honour the service given by the crew in bars, restaurants and cabins is at your discretion. In order to provide some guidelines, we recommend 70 NOK (approx 9 Euro, 12 USD) per guest per day as an average gratuity. On MS Nordstjernen we provide traditional gratuity boxes.

Language

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

Laundry

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

 Lectures

The ships’ experienced lecturers command in-depth knowledge of the areas in which we sail. They will conduct, on a regular basis, lectures on topics such as biology, history and geology throughout the voyage. The lecture schedule will be announced every day in the on board daily programme. On board MS Nordstjernen the lectures mainly will be given on shore.

 Observation Lounge

There is no Observation lounge on board MS Nordstjernen 

Outdoor decks

Enjoy the views from the front or back of the ship. Both are perfect vantage points to sit back, relax and watch the world go by. 

Mail

You can hand in your mail at reception, and, for a  service fee and stamp costs, 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 has no responsibility for lost mail.

Restaurant & cuisine

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. Our headwaiter will assign tables prior to arrival. Information about 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 seating 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. 

Room service

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.

Rubber boots

We do not offer rubber boots for rent on board MS Nordstjernen.

Seasickness

Seasickness pills are available to buy in the reception. If you are prone to seasickness it is recommended that you bring pills that you are familiar with. 

Shop

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

Shore excursions

All shore excursions on board MS Nordstjernen are included.

Smoking

On board, smoking is only permitted in designated areas on deck. All cabins are non-smoking. 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 cabin, to cover the cost of cleaning linen and curtains to return it to a non-smoking standard. 

Water

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. 

Walking on board

We kindly remind you to be careful walking on board while at sea, especially venturing out on deck. Look out for the signs for warning of wet and slippery decks. Be aware that some doors leading to the outer decks are difficult to manage 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 doorframes to avoid injury. 

Welcome meeting

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, along with an opportunity to meet some of the crew and be introduced to the key personnel on board.

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