MS Richard With
One of six Contemporary-class ships, the 623-passenger MS Richard With bears the name of Hurtigruten's founder and the visionary behind Norway's coastal express service, which debuted in the late 19th century. The handsome, art-laden ship runs classic north- and southbound routes from Bergen to Kirkenes, operating quiet and comfortable voyages for the fjords-going crowd while doubling as a ferry and cargo service for remote communities in the north and above the Arctic Circle.
What We Love
Lounges: The public spaces were designed to give a good selection of perches for enjoying the passing scenery, from the high-up forward observation lounge and the adjacent bar with oversized windows to a light-flooded arcade linking the dining room and conference rooms on the main deck.
Best Known For
Coastal Routes: The route takes you to popular destinations such as the Geirangerfjord, the cathedral city of Trondheim, and the North Cape, while also calling at charming, lesser-known villages where locals board and disembark. In short, the itineraries are a kaleidoscope of all the Norwegian coast has to offer rather than a small sampling of the big highlights.
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Who It's Best For
The Armchair Crowd: Though there are opportunities for active exploration in port, these cruises draw a low-key, largely European bunch who prefer having the beautiful and ever-changing maritime and mountain views delivered to them without too much effort on their end.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Consider the Season: Every time of year has it advantages and drawbacks: The summer months have the longest days, but the ship is also very busy, and the best seats for viewing the scenery may be at a premium.
Some Stops Are Short: Some of the stops — designed primarily for cargo and passenger pick-ups — are as short as 15 minutes. To maximize your time ashore, you can spring for the gangway as soon as the ship ties up. Be sure to listen for the whistle that calls you back.
Theodore W. Scull is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has written several books on crossings.