The MS Richard With is one of the Hurtigruten coastal liners sailing the western coast of Norway year-round between Bergen and Kirkenes. The cruise ship/ferry was built in 1993, has a passenger capacity of 623, and can carry a dozen cars for ferry passengers. The MS Richard With has 458 beds, which may seem a little out of sync with the total number of guests, but the day trip ferry passengers do not have access to the cabins or dining room.
Who Was Richard With?
Many cruise travelers may be curious about the ship's name. In 1893, Norway gave Captain Richard With the contract for a weekly Trondheim to Hammerfest route that would improve communications along Norway's rugged coast by carrying mail, cargo, and passengers. It's very appropriate that the MS Richard With was named for the Hurtigruten group's founder.
Following is a photo tour of the ms Richard With and some information on the cabins, dining, common areas, and activities on the coastal route.
The Hurtigruten ms Richard With has a daily printed schedule much like you find on all cruise ships. The difference is that the cabin stewards don't leave the next day's schedule on your bed during nightly turn down; you need to pick up a paper copy at the shore excursion desk.
However, as this photo shows, the ms Richard With also uses a whiteboard to post daily statistics that might change during the day. For example, the number of guests, cars, nationalities, and bicycles might change a couple of times during the day since passengers board and disembark at each stop. Since the ship might stop a half-dozen times in a day, that board can change often. The weather might also change, but having it on a whiteboard makes it easy. Great idea, isn't it?
This outside cabin is on deck 3 and has a Pullman bed that folds down on the right, and the sofa on the left can also be used as a bed. Each of these cabins has a private bathroom with shower. One of the nicest features is the heated floor in the bathroom. These cabins on the ms Richard With are basic but adequate for two guests. Some of the cabins have double beds, while others like this one have separate beds. All the cabins have individual specifications.
In addition to the outside cabins, the ms Richard With also has interior cabins, superior outside cabins, mini-suites, and an expedition suite.
Breakfast on the ms Richard With is served buffet style in the Polar Dining Room on deck 4, with lots of fruit, vegetables, cereals, breads, egg dishes, and even yogurt and cheeses. Very nice selection and the fruit smoothies were especially good. Coffee and tea are self-serve.
At all meals, cruise guests must swipe their cabin card to have access to the dining room. Ferry guests (those who haven't booked a cabin) are not allowed to eat in the main dining room, but they can pay to eat an a la carte meal in the cafe.
Hurtigruten MS Richard With Dining Room Buffet
Like breakfast, lunch and dinner on the Hurtigruten ms Richard With are served buffet style. The lunch buffet has hot and cold dishes, salads, cheese, and breads. Of course, there's always a dessert selection. Coffee and tea are self-serve. I loved having broiled or baked salmon at lunch almost every day.
The intimate Raftsundet Restaurant is forward on deck 4 near the Troll Bar and shore excursion desk. It's also called Norway's Coastal Kitchen. This tiny specialty dining venue is a la carte and reservation-only. It's perfect for a special meal and an opportunity to try some superb Norwegian dishes. Since the ship serves most of its meals buffet-style, it was a pleasant surprise to experience such a memorable gourmet dinner.
The menu was outstanding, beautifully presented, featured mostly Norwegian products, and included:
- Scallops, cauliflower cream, and spicy Chorizo sausage
- Pan-fried cod tongue and klippfisk (dried cod)
- Reindeer carpaccio with marinated mushrooms, cranberry cream, crisp bread, and Lofast cheese
- Creamy crayfish soup with vegetables and parsley oil
- Cod loin, with carrots, lentils, chive sauce and herbs
- Arctic char with green cabbage, potatoes, and a white wine sauce
- Fish cake, crispy fried haddock, remoulade, and potato sticks
- Reindeer with goat cheese, pickled red onions, turnips, and black currants
- Aged sirloin with red wine sauce, mushrooms, and baked beetroot
- Cloudberry cream, panna cotta, and a cloudberry shot
- Chocolate terrine with blueberry sorbet
- Apple tart with hazelnut ice cream
- Cheesecake made with Norwegian Nyr fresh cheese
Hurtigruten Cheese Board
Selection of Norwegian cheeses, fruit compote, nut and fruit breads, roasted nuts and honey
Giant King Crab on the Hurtigruten ms Richard With
We didn't have this giant King crab for dinner, but it did remind me of those we pulled out of traps in Kirkenes and ate freshly steamed.
King Crab Amuse at the Raftsundet Restaurant
This tiny bite of King crab was just enough to tease our appetites. I was wishing for about a dozen more legs until I took the first bite of my reindeer carpaccio.
Reindeer Carpaccio Starter at Raftsundet Restaurant on the ms Richard With
This reindeer was raw, thinly sliced, and topped with mushrooms, creamed cranberries, and served with a piece of Lofast cheese from Lofoten.
The pannacotta pudding (called a krum kake in Norway) in the dish at the bottom right is topped with cloudberries, which are only found in the cold, Arctic climate. The shot of cloudberry liqueur is surrounded by spun sugar, and the scoop of ice cream in the middle sets the whole dessert over the top.
The Los Holtes Cafe
Ferry guests can pay cash or use a credit card at the small snack bar and cafe, and cruise passengers can pay with their cabin key card if they have registered a credit card with the reception desk. This cafe serves a nice assortment of drinks, breakfast items, sandwiches, etc.
The Panorama Lounge on the MS Richard With is forward on deck 7 and offers great views of the sea. It's a great place to sit, especially if the weather is uncooperative.
Sea Troll Bar
The Sea Troll Bar on the ms Richard With is forward on deck 4. It has comfortable seating, a large video screen for watching sports, and part of the lounge is used for lectures and meetings.
Fitness Center on the Hurtigruten ms Richard With
Many of the travelers on Hurtigruten ships are eager to stay in good shape, so the fitness center is as busy as on traditional cruise ships. It features great views, so you can work out without missing any of the spectacular scenery.
Not a lot of children cruise on the MS Richard With, but those that do have a small playroom dedicated to their fun.
Hallway on deck 4 of the Hurtigruten ms Richard With
Deck 4 is the hub of action, and it has all three dining venues, a lounge, the kid's playroom, the shore excursion/cruise director's desk, and some meeting/lecture rooms. The seats lining the windows are usually filled since they offer good views and still allow you to people watch all the foot traffic on deck 4.
Cod Liver Oil and Champagne - Crossing the Arctic Circle Ceremony
Hurtigruten's ships cross the Arctic Circle twice on a round-trip sailing from Bergen or Kirkenes--once on the Northbound voyage and again on the Southbound voyage. Crossing the invisible line is celebrated on all the Hurtigruten ships.
I've crossed going Southbound twice. On the MS Midnatsol, we celebrated with a spoonful of cod liver oil chased down with a shot of cloudberry liqueur. On the ms Richard With, we celebrated with a shot of cod liver oil chased down with a glass of champagne. Cod is one of Norway's most important products, and cloudberries are a very special Arctic fruit. Not sure if the champagne has any special significance, but it did wash down the cod liver oil.
Guests get a souvenir spoon and a certificate recognizing that they crossed the Arctic Circle.
I haven't personally done a Northbound crossing of the Arctic circle, but I've heard that since the ship is entering the Arctic that ice is put down your back. I think I like the Southbound crossing ceremony better.
Klippfish and Klippfish Chips
Most of the time onboard the Hurtigruten MS Richard With is spent eating, sleeping, watching the ship dock or pull away from tiny towns, or just taking in the magnificent Norwegian scenery as it passes by. However, the ship's crew has onboard activities like the Crossing the Arctic Circle ceremony, lessons on how to marinate salmon to make grave laks (gravlax), or a chance to try one of Norway's most famous snacks, klipfish chips. Klipfish is cod that is salted, dried outdoors, and then served as thin chips or rehydrated to make fish dishes like bacalao.
Hurtigruten ms Richard With Coastal Liner
The MS Richard With or any of the other Hurtigruten classic coastal liners are a perfect way to experience western Norway. The voyage is ideal for active adults. The typical Hurtigruten cruise traveler is older, but the company is expanding its active shore excursion options, so young (or more active) adults can also enjoy activities like kayaking and riding in a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) in the summer months or snowmobiling and dog sledding in the winter.
Since the ships make the Bergen to Kirkenes voyage year-round, travelers can experience the fjords and western Norway in any of the seasons. Each has its own special ambiance, and the Hurtigruten ms Richard With crew will help you discover and explore this magnificent part of the world.
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