We took this cruise because it offered the opportunity to see the Northern Lights which we did on several occasions. Without seeing the lights, my rating would have been lower. The ship through its announcement system (press the information button on your room phone when you want to hear the announcements) lets you know when the lights appear regardless of the time.
Our cruise left a day late because of bad weather so the ship did not arrive in port until the day after we were scheduled to depart. As is only fair, the ship did put us up at a hotel and provide dinner and breakfast. Other than that, there was no additional compensation. Would have been classy to give each guest a small on board credit or even a free drink once on board.
The ship is going in for a much needed refurbishment in January as while it has some amazing Art Deco details, the cabins and public areas are pretty tired. Hallway carpets are threadbare in places and the cabin carpets are very dirty. In the 10 nights we were on board the ship, our room was never vacuumed, The room itself was functional, we had an Arctic Superior cabin, but we definitely did not want to spend a great deal of time in it. There was a refrigerator and safe in the room which was handy. Glad we are not large people as we don’t know how someone of size would fit in the shower.
We kept learning things that should have been explained when we first boarded like the card that is in the slot that turns on the cabin lights is also what you should insert in the door lock slot if you want your cabin serviced. We also learned that if you didn’t want the dinner meal that was being served a particular evening you could request a substitute (request by lunch that day.) The night’s menu is on the table during breakfast and lunch so you can decide if that one choice is what you want. Definitely suggest you substitute on the vegetarian night - the oat mushroom cake was like a hockey puck.
We had read many positive comments about the food on the ship, but we found it more hit and miss, The roast salmon was wonderful as was the Arctic char. Fish was always super fresh and usually well prepared. The downside is that if you like your food served hot, you may want to lower your expectations, Regardless of which meal you were having, the food was always luke warm at best. Breakfast was the same every day with the exception that some days there were scrambled eggs in addition to the cold fried egg. Lunch was by far our favorite meal as there was frequently mussels on the buffet as well as different types of fish and fresh salad.
If you are doing this journey in the winter definitely bring along add on cleats for your shoes. We learned that every trip someone breaks something slipping on the ice. It was true on our journey as well when someone broke an ankle.
My advice would be to take a starboard cabin as the ship always docks (34 times during an 11 night journey) and people, goods and cars join the ship from the port side. While regardless of the side, you frequently feel the ship docking, the noise is much less on the starboard side.
As others have said there is no entertainment on board, but we knew that going in. There were several lectures that were good as well as the daily review at 5pm many nights.
Cabin was tired looking which hopefully will be remedied by the upcoming refurbishment.