A slow boat, uncaring crew - not worth the money
by Paul B
The Noorderlicht is a small vessel with tiny cabins, tight quarters and mediocre staff. I was provided with one towel that was to last the week, each passenger was expected to clean the bathroom/shower after use (a squeegee was provided) and we had to wash our dishes. I did not expect a luxury cruise, but for $1000 a night I did expect more. The tables were barely cleaned and the ship was dirty. The staff did not care about the passengers at all. The Noorderlicht is marketed as a small sailboat which has the advantage of being able to navigate smaller waterways. In truth the boat's size is a significant disadvantage. The average cruising speed for the Noorderlicht is 6 knots compared a modern cruise ship which is roughly 20 knots (3X faster). Going slow is an extreme disadvantage. On our trip the polar bears were north and we did not travel to see them as the boat was too slow. The boat almost never sails (only 1 sail works), so you do not get to experience sailing but are under engine power. Svalbard is beautiful. Definitely worth the trip, just take a different boat.
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