MS Otto Sverdrup Review and Specifications
Specifications of MS Otto Sverdrup
|Year built||2002 / Age : 18|
|Builder||Kvaerner Kleven Verft AS (Ulsteinvik, Norway)|
|Class||cruiseferry (Ro-Pax ship)|
|Ferry route / homeports||Bergen-Kirkenes|
|Speed||15 kn / 28 kph / 17 mph|
|Length (LOA)||139 m / 456 ft|
|Beam (width)||21 m / 69 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||15690 gt|
|Decks with cabins||6|
|Former names||MS Finnmarken|
Review of MS Otto Sverdrup
Launched in 2002 as "MS Finnmarken", MS Otto Sverdrup cruise ship was the first of three Millennium-class Hurtigruten cruiseferries - together with the fleetmates ms Midnatsol and ms Trollfjord. In 2021, Hurtigruten adds 4 old ships to the company's expedition fleet - Spitsbergen (2009), Midnatsol (2003), Trollfjord (2002) and Finnmarken (2002). This fleet also includes Fram (2007) and the 3 newbuilds - Roald Amundsen (2019), Fridtjof Nansen (2020) and TBN (2021).
Following a USD 35 million (~EUR 32 million) drydock refurbishment and refit (January 4 through March 8, 2020), the ship was renamed from Finnmarken to "Otto Sverdrup".
The Norway-flagged vessel is named after the Norwegian sailor and Arctic explorer Otto Neumann Knoph Sverdrup (1854-1930). He participated in the polar expeditions of 1888 (Greenland) and 1898-1902 (circumnavigation of Greenland via Nares Strait, mapping approx 260,000 km2 / 100,390 mi2 of the Canadian Arctic territories).
The Finnmarken ship was named after Finnmark (formerly known as “Finmarkens amt”) - a county located in Norway’s extreme northeastern part, boarding with Finland (south) and Russia (east).
History - construction and ownership
The shipowner Hurtigruten is a Norwegian passenger shipping company specializing in cruise and ferry services. The "Norwegian Coastal Express Route" (Bergen-Kirkenes) is a cargo-passenger ferry service along Norway's western and northern coast. Hurtigruten's cruise ferries sail nearly the entire length of Norway and complete this roundtrip itinerary in 11 days. The route also includes Lofoten Islands and Vesteralen Islands.
MS Finnmarken is Hurtigruten's first ship to bear this name after- the 1912-launched Finnmarken. Launched in 2002, the vessel belongs to the same class as the fleetmates Midnatsol and Trollfjord but is fleet's only to have both Jacuzzis and swimming pool on the sundeck. Another signature feature is the bow accessibility on Deck 5 (Promenade) where passengers can walk all the way to the front of the ship.
Cruise itinerary program
MS Finnmarken itinerary program is based on Norwegian Coastal Voyages. Ship's routes include the beautiful Norwegian fjords. Finnmarken is mostly used as a ferry for both passengers and cars. However, some guests stay on board for round-trip 12-day itineraries out of Bergen and Kirkenes.
MS Finnmarken has a total of 282 cabins (of which 32 Suite, 192 Oceanview, 55 Inside rooms) in 10 grades. Finnmarken's cabins as sizes vary from 86 to 398 square feet. Three are wheelchair-accessible. Most ms Finnmarken staterooms are 75-140 ft2 Oceanview rooms. The largest aboard ms Finnmarken are the Grand Suites (400 ft2). All staterooms include amenities like television, hairdryer, safe, European style bedding and bath products. The Mini-Suites also have large picture windows and a sitting area, and the suites include bathrobes, mini bar, coffee and tea, fresh fruit daily, sparkling wine upon arrival.
Shipboard dining options - Food and Drinks
MS Otto Sverdrup ship has 3 restaurants - Aune (dining room), Lindstrom and Fredheim.
Aft on Deck 4 is Aune Restaurant (Aune Main Dining, fka Imag Restaurant). This is the ship's complimentary Dining Room (capacity 335 seats) with floor-ceiling windows, buffet station in the middle, self-service beverage station (for coffee-tea-juices), an outdoor seating area (alfresco terrace). The Galley / Kitchen is adjacent to the Restaurant. Aune Restaurant serves complimentary Breakfast (7-10 am), Lunch (11:30 am - 2:30 pm) and Dinner (2 fixed seatings - at 6:30 or 8:30 pm). Breakfast is buffet-style (bacon, eggs, sausages, cold meats, cheeses, seafood, bread selection, cereals, fruits, porridge, desserts). Lunch is also buffet-style (salads, soups, hot/cold meats, seafood, vegetables, desserts). Dinner is 2-seating and waiter-served (3-course menu, including traditional Scandinavian dishes). Wine by the bottle is offered at extra cost. Hurtigruten has a wine package available for purchase at the Reception. At Dinner additionally is offered a la carte menu items (light snacks, sandwiches, hot meals). Meals are prepared with locally sourced fresh ingredients from the ports of call. Soft drinks, beer, and wine are included for all meals. Tea and coffee are included throughout the day.
Midship-portside on Deck 4 is Lindstrom Specialty Restaurant. Suite-category passengers dine complimentary at Lindstrom daily (all-inclusive breakfast and dinner). Other cabin grade passengers can also dine at Lindstrom (breakfast and/or dinner) but at extra charge (a la carte priced menu, premium wine list).
Midship on Deck 7 is Fredheim Restaurant featuring large windows (partially obstructed by lifeboats). Fredheim is open all day and offers international "street food". Fredheim is complimentary only for Suite passengers.
Shipboard entertainment options - Fun and Sport
MS Finnmarken has a Naturalist for lectures about ports of call. There is a fitness centre onboard with cardio equipment and free weights, as well as two saunas (separate for men and women). The heated swimming pool, as well as the two Jacuzzi whirlpools, are on Deck 7. The Beauty Salon and Spa offer manicures, pedicures, cuts, and massage treatments.
Next are listed MS Otto Sverdrup ship's main venues
- Conference Rooms (two portside - Lyderhorn and Lovstakken; two starboard - Rundemannen and Ulriken; host multimedia presentations, lectures by scientists/wildlife experts, films about Norway; no onboard show program is offered)
- Floybaren Lounge and Bar (show lounge with full-service bar and live music for entertainment)
- Finstuen Club Room
- Morestuen Cafe (24-hour cafeteria with full-service Bar and a la carte menu for sandwiches, burgers, snacks, drinks, hot meals)
- Internet Cafe (for personal laptops only; Wi-Fi onboard is free, shipwide coverage is provided)
- Boutique Shop sells Norwegian souvenirs, Hurtigruten-logoed merchandise, jewellery, limited toiletries, warm clothing, postcards, toys (stuffed animals).
- The cruise ship has full-circle Promenade Deck - an open-air deck space perfect for daily observation (including wildlife viewing) and strolling. A unique feature of this vessel is that even its bow is passenger-accessible.
- 4 smaller Conference Rooms (for special occasion events)
- Stiftsstaden Lounge and Bar (with a full-service bar)
- Babbettes Cafe (serves as patisserie for speciality coffee and daily special sweets)
- The Cafes (seating areas often used for reading)
- The swimming pool is with heated water and flanked by 2 Whirlpools. The pool deck has plenty of sunloungers and small tables with chairs.
- Brotoppen Panorama Lounge and Bar (indoor observation lounge with floor-ceiling windows; has an Internet Cafe and a small dance floor)
- The ship’s wellness centre includes TRIM Fitness, Outdoor Gym, 2x Saunas (men/women), locker rooms with showers, reception desk, Spa & Beauty Salon (massage room, haircuts, face-, hand- and foot treatments). TRIM Fitness is a 2-room gym (open 6 am - 12midnight) equipped with a stepper machine, an elliptical machine, treadmills, rowers, exercise bikes, free weights, weight machines, medicine balls, yoga mats.
- The Sun Deck is the place for Hurtigruten’s special ceremony “Arctic Circle baptism”, including a Neptune-costumed crewmember, icy seawater, and a shot for warming up.
- Observation Deck (deck 8) has an open-air promenade space providing the best vantage points for passengers to enjoy the Arctic scenery along the current itinerary route. The area is accessible via both stairs and the aft elevator.
Otto Sverdrup Science Centre (deck 4 forward, on the below photo) is a large "scientific lounge" (research lab) packed with high-tech gadgets (including microscopes and touch screens) and latest digital technology equipment. The venue consists of Library, Lecture Halls, Photo Center (photo- and video-processing studio), Conference Room, Expedition Team Room, dedicated areas for themed educational activities (workshops in biology, marine life, geography, photography, etc), Bar. Hurtigruten's Expedition Team provides here passengers with scientific information and technology assistance.
Follows the complete list of MS Finnmarken lounges, clubs and other entertainment venues for kids, teens and adults.
- Car Deck (capacity of 47 cars)
- Cafe (24-hours open cafeteria with full-service Bar and a la carte menu for snacks, sandwiches, burgers, hot meals, drinks). The Cafe serves mainly local passengers, who use the ship as a port-to-port ferry boat.
- A small Kids Playroom (no organized activities or babysitting) is equipped with a ball pit, chairs, table for craft activities, legos). There is a Video Games Arcade with consoles.
- Explorer Bar Lounge is an indoor observation lounge (Finnmarken ship's largest) with comfortable furniture (plush sofas and chairs) and floor-ceiling windows. The lounge has also an Internet Cafe (with 2 PC stations) and a small dance floor. The Internet Cafe is for personal laptops only (cables are not provided). Wi-Fi onboard is free, with shipwide coverage.
MS Otto Sverdrup - user reviews and comments
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MS Otto Sverdrup Wiki
The Finnmarken cruise ship belongs to the fleet of the Norwegian coastal voyage operator Hurtigruten (cruise ferry services). The vessel joined the fleet in 2002 as number one of the new Millennium-class liner. It is larger than the so-called modern ships (built in the 1990s) and offers amenities not found on its predecessors, like outdoor swimming pool, health club, outdoor/indoor cafe. Cruise passengers are 50+ Europeans and some Americans.
Fun fact is, that the first Hurtigruten ship with the same name was introduced in 1912. The new Finnmarken's onboard experience is marked by Art Nouveau style decor. Eleven Norwegian artists created all drawings, oil paintings, watercolours, lithographs, charcoal drawings, sculptures. Even the glass-walled elevators and the saunas have sea views.
Finnmarken ship cruises along Norway's coastal regions. Some use the vessel as transportation (ferry boat), others book the full 12-day cruises between homeports Bergen and Kirkenes. This route reaches Russia's border, stopping at uniquely picturesque 34 cruise ports along the itinerary. All voyages are made over the course of 6 days, with daily stops at different ports, and a return journey of the same duration. Norwegian coastal cruise passengers can opt for 5-11 nights stays, with the full 12-day sailing from Bergen to Kirkenes, then going back southbound. In most ports of call are offered Hurtigruten-sponsored excursions and tours. A ceremony "Crossing the Arctic Circle” welcomes newcomers.
On Hurtigruten Norwegian coastal voyages, the company offers flight-cruise package deals. Bookings are protected with ATOL Certificate. ATOL stands for "Air Travel Organisers' Licensing" (Civil Aviation Authority, UK).
Finnmarken refurbishment 2020 review
During the scheduled for 2020 drydock refurbishment (January 4 - March 8, by Fosen Yard AS, in Kvithylla Norway), the Finnmarken ship was renamed to "Otto Sverdrup". The USD 35 million drydocking project included complete renovations to all staterooms (cabins and suites) and recategorization. For the project were used only natural Scandinavia-sourced materials, like birch, granite, oak, wool. Aft on Deck 8 (former wellness area/gym and sauna) were added 5 large suites with floor-ceiling windows.
The refurb also added 4 new restaurants - Aune Restaurant (Hurtigruten's new, Scandinavian-themed Dining Room), Lindstrom Restaurant (speciality dining venue), Fredheim Restaurant (named after a hunting station in Svalbard Norway) and an outdoor grill bar (Deck 8).
Another new venue is the Science Center (Deck 4) - education room also serving as cruise ship's expedition team headquarters. A larger wellness complex (Spa lounge, Gym, Panoramic Sauna, massage treatment rooms) was added on Deck 7. Ship's outdoor pool deck was redesigned and fully renovated, the Gift Shop expanded, the Car Deck transformed into boat-launch area serving cruise liner's own fleet of RIBs and inflatable boats and for expedition equipment storage.
Ship's passenger capacity was reduced from 628 to 526 via double-occupancy only rooms and reduced number of cabins (282 to 263).
MS Otto Sverdrup Itineraries
The below listed MS Otto Sverdrup cruise prices on itineraries are only indicative and Per Person (in US dollars, based on double occupancy). These are the cheapest Hurtigruten fares on the ship’s lowest category cabins available for booking. Cruise fares typically change with departure dates approaching, last minute deals, discounts, promotions, independent travel agency offers.
|Date||Cruise Name||Departure Port||Price from|
|2020 May 03||6 days, one-way from Bergen to Kirkenes||Bergen||$1447|
|2020 May 03||10 days, one-way from Bergen to Trondheim||Bergen||$2086|
|2020 May 03||11 days, round-trip Classic Norwegian Coastal Voyage||Bergen||$1670|
|2020 May 09||6 days, one-way from Oslo to Bergen||Oslo||$1204|
|2020 May 14||6 days, one-way from Bergen to Kirkenes||Bergen||$1447|
|2020 May 14||10 days, one-way from Bergen to Trondheim||Bergen||$2086|
|2020 May 14||11 days, round-trip Classic Norwegian Coastal Voyage||Bergen||$1670|
|2020 May 20||6 days, one-way from Oslo to Bergen||Oslo||$1204|
|2020 May 25||11 days, round-trip Classic Norwegian Coastal Voyage||Bergen||$1896|
|2020 May 25||6 days, one-way from Bergen to Kirkenes||Bergen||$1447|
|2020 May 25||10 days, one-way from Bergen to Trondheim||Bergen||$2086|
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