Norway, as a country, and as a travel destination, is doing EVERYTHING right. There is some of THE most beautiful scenery in the world (and I have seen much of Europe, and Canada), and the way to see this is on a Norwegian-owned ferry ship, that handles not only full room and board passengers, but day trip passengers as well as mail and freight, etc. It is a ferry company that also is a small cruise line company. My research found that the MS Finnmarken (named after an area of northern Norway where the North Cape is located and the Sami people) was the best ship to see this amazing part of the world, and I absolutely loved it! This company employs NORWEGIANS to work on the ships, not island people from the far east. The cuisine is coastal Norwegian local food, and you learn about the salmon and cod farming industries, tele-medicine (Tromsoe), climate change research, and how Norway is able to offer free medical and education to citizens. This is still a safe destination, and since they don't belong to the EU, they don't have the burden of supporting countries like Greece or other southern European countries struggling for any means of survival. They were historically a poor country, until they found their current source of revenue: oil. But they also are developing other industries that will help support the economy, once the oil is gone. They are thinking ahead, and they put the welfare of Norwegians, and their guests, first, before trying to save the rest of the world. This is truly THE trip of a lifetime. Most of the 500 passengers on this ship had saved an entire lifetime for this trip. The size of the ship allows it to go into the smaller places the huge cruise ships cannot get to. You experience true Norwegian culture every day, and the backdrop of the Midnight Sun and the incredible snow-covered mountains makes this worth every penny of the fare. Stay in Bergen a night or two before the cruise. You can take local trips to the southern Norwegian fjords from there. I would repeat the trip in a heartbeat! Bravo Hurtigruten! And especially the MS Finnmarken!
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