November 21, 2014

Norwegian Hurtigruten Cruise Advice 2019

Hurtigruten is perhaps most known for its cruises along Norway's western and northern coast between Bergen and Kirkenes. But the fleet also offers expedition cruises in Antarctica, Iceland, Greenland, Spitsbergen, Northwest Passage and more.

Hurtigruten being the Norwegian Coastal Express has 11 coastal ships sailing almost the entire length of the country, calling 34 ports and completing the round-trip journey from Bergen to Kirkenes and back again in 12 days. The trip along the Norwegian coast is known as the "World's Most Beautiful Sea Voyage." If you want to explore further, the Hurtigruten's expedition ships MS Fram, MS Midnatsol, MS Spitsbergen, MS Nordstjernen and MS Roald Amundsen can take you on voyages across the Atlantic Ocean, to Antarctica, Greenland, Iceland, Spitsbergen, the Americas, and Europe.

The History of Hurtigruten

The 780-mile coastline from Bergen to Kirkenes in the late 19th century was a route to transport goods and people, and it was operated by all types of vessels - steamers, single-sailed yachts and other. However, the services were infrequent and unreliable; ships rarely sailed at night, the journey between north and south was a long and arduous.

To improve the situation, the local authorities invited shipping companies to offer routes between Trondheim and Tromsø, or Hammerfest. Nighttime sailing was very risky at that time as there were only 28 lighthouses north of Trondheim, making. However, the owner of a new company Richard With, from Stokmarknes showed an interest in the route despite the hazards.

In 1893, steamer, DS Vesteraalen, started operating along the coast of Norway, establishing a regular sea link. The service offered departures, at first from Trondheim to Hammerfest and later from Bergen to Kirkenes. This critical connection was called “hurtigruten,” - "the fast route".

Richard With's did not stop at the Norwegian coast. He wanted to expand his services further and in 1896, transported a prefabricated hotel from the mainland to Svalbard placing it outside Longyearbyen, and till now it is called “Hotellneset” ("Hotel Point"). Later, Richard With's steamer DS Lofoten started running the "Sportsman's route" from Hammerfest on mainland Norway to Svalbard.

These were the beginnings of Hurtigruten's adventurous and unique operations. The destinations now include Greenland, Iceland, and Antarctica. Hurtigruten’s coastal ships now carry freight and guests along the coast of Norway to 34 daily ports. Every day a ship departs Bergen heading north to Kirkenes making a full round trip lasting 12 days which is considered “the world’s most beautiful voyage.” For more than 120 years, the Hurtigruten ships have been the best way to explore the Norwegian coast, its nature, and local life.

Why Cruise with Hurtigruten

With the experience, dating back to 1893, the Hurtigruten explorations are for the people who value learning and personal growth and are looking for new horizons. The fleet is committed to sustainable explorer travels in Polar Regions. The cruise tours offer unique experiences in a way that leaves as little as possible environmental footprint.

REASONS TO TRAVEL WITH HURTIGRUTEN

Unique Destinations

The most famous Norwegian coast itineraries bring travelers from all over the world to the heart of Norway as well as on explorer cruises around the world to explore Antarctica, Arctic islands or Alaska.

The Norwegian Coast

The cruises along the Norwegian coast are famous all over the world as they allow you to experience Norway's beautiful fjords, rare wildlife and charming ports under Northern Lights or the Midnight Sun. Hurtigruten ships take you on the trips where no other ships go. All cruise tours with Hurtigruten are unforgettable adventures filled with fantastic scenery and active experiences.

Explorer Cruises

The history of exploring polar regions dates back to 1896. The experienced Hurtigruten staff offers you breathtaking adventures in the remote nature on voyages taking you close to the wildlife, local culture, and incredible scenery. The explorer voyages, take you from the polar bears to the penguins in Antarctica.

Good to know

Hurtigruten ships have Expedition Teams.

On all Hurtigruten cruises, you will be accompanied by an expert Expedition Team who are your hosts on board and ashore. They give lectures in subjects such as geography, history, wildlife and more.

Hurtigruten cruise tours give a Northern Lights guarantee.

They are 100% sure that on your 12-day Hurtigruten voyage the spectacular Northern Lights will make an appearance. It is even backed up with a promise that if the northern lights do not show up during your voyage, they will give you another 6 or 7-day Classic Voyage FREE OF CHARGE! Your Hurtigruten experience will be with zero regrets.

When sailing with Hurtigruten, you are always on an expedition. It is not just a transportation service. You will always spend time with adventurers who value new experiences. There are no casinos or any dress code on the ships. You will find a casual, relaxed atmosphere, great food, and all the equipment you need to explore the destinations.

In 2019 and 2020 new shipped will be added to the fleet: modern, hybrid MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fridtjof Nansen. The ships are named after two of Norway's most famous explorers.

Committed to sustainable travel.

The fleet operates in some of the world’s most pristine and vulnerable natural surroundings and takes the responsibility seriously trying to reduce the environmental footprint.

The Norwegian coastline voyage is stunningly beautiful. The classic one-way journey covering 1,255 kilometers fjord-studded coastline between Kirkenes and Bergen stops at 34 ports of call, visiting the charming cities of Trondheim, Ålesund, and Tromsø.

Apart from the amazing scenery, one of the best things about Hurtigruten is its hop-on, hop-off possibility. So if you don't have time to do the full route, you can join just part of the coastal voyage with one or two nights on board. Besides, cruises are available year-round.

The Hurtigruten cruise tours are not ordinary cruises, and that's perhaps why the experience is so unique. The cruise ships are also ferries, shuttling local people and supplies between different locations just as it has been for decades.

Around the turn of the century, the route Kirkenes to Bergen was the fastest travel, cutting shipping times significantly and even the name hurtigruten in Norwegian means "the fast route."

Ironically enough, today Norway is the leader in the "slow travel" movement, with Hurtigruten at the forefront.

Hurtigruten cruise may be slow travel, but that doesn't mean there's nothing happening en route. On these cruises, nature takes the central role - it's not a party or showboat. Instead, the crew offers seasonal activities, such as demonstrations or presentations on the locations and phenomena the guest encounter while traveling.

If you want to send pictures of what you see and experience while cruising you can connect to Wi-Fi in most public areas indoors, the bandwidth and signal strength may be limited, though.

And if you prefer to disconnect from the digital world and enjoy the stunning real-time landscapes, the outdoor sun decks and indoor lounges with their extra large windows are at your service.

Breakfast on Hurtigruten

Start the day with a breakfast with a view. Food is always great here.

Night adventures

Summer or winter, staying up late is worthwhile. Norway can offer some unique phenomena in summer and winter. Around the solstice, you can enjoy the pastel colors of the midnight sun, in winter you can watch the unforgettable aurora borealis (northern lights) to illuminate the nighttime darkness.

Sleeping onboard

Sleeping is important, and therefore, the cabins onboard Hurtigruten are equipped with comfortable amenities. But to be quite honest, you won't be able to justify spending much time inside your cabin finding out how much there is to do and see on your cruise.

The best available cabin on an upper deck with a big window, cannot beat staying outside with a 360-degree view of your natural surroundings. Enjoying the beautiful views, you will also have ample opportunities to meet fellow travelers or perhaps to spot some rare wildlife.

Hurtigruten sundeck is another possibility to spend more time in the fresh air.

The ships

Hurtigruten's Norway cruises offer 11 different ships for you to book depending on the departure point, voyage route and season. They all vary in size, facilities, and deck plans. Cabins also vary in size, amenities, and views according to the category.

Hurtigruten vessels are rather small. They carry about 500 guests on average to compare with thousands in the mega-ships. This is their charm, and don't worry - there is still plenty of room for moving around for everyone.

To satisfy fitness enthusiasts, most Hurtigruten ships have small fitness rooms equipped with basic fitness machines, and you can jog on the treadmill while the boat gently dances on the waves. Also, you can use the warm jacuzzi while gazing at the fjords.

Note: Not all the ships have fitness rooms, pools or jacuzzis.

At some shortstop ports of call, you can choose to disembark and have a quick look around, because the ship will be leaving soon. At other, longer stops you can join one of the shore excursions. These guided trips are organized by Hurtigruten team and are designed to get the most from your time on land, and you will not have to worry about keeping track of the time to get back on the ship.

Some excursions, for example, the famous Atlantic Road Excursion, take you from one port to the next allowing more time on dry land for those who need this.

Hurtigruten Atlantic Ocean Road Excursion is a summertime option for travelers on the Trondheim to Bergen leg. Grab a hot chocolate and enjoy the trip.

We recommend planning for what you would like to see along the route and pre-book shore excursions before the cruise starts. Of course, you can also be booked on board the cruise, subject to availability, though. Your travel consultant can assist with this and offer suggestions.

All your Hurtigruten cruises lasting just one night or a full week, include full board in the price. During the cruise, your breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all are guaranteed, and you will be served excellent food. The breakfast buffet offers cold meats, cheeses, fruits, assorted bread and pastries, eggs, cereals, for lunch, buffet has different salad, fish/meat options and dinners offer a mixture of buffets and set menus. Whatever your dietary needs, at every meal you'll find something you like. It's impossible you will leave the dining room feeling hungry, besides in between meals you can always get something for a snack in one of the cafes or lounges.

If you are ready for cruising, Nordic Saga Tours offers a choice of package tours with different cruise durations, often including scenic road and railway trips like the popular Norway in a Nutshell.

If you cannot decide which cruise tour to go for or if it is your first cruise your Nordic Saga Tours travel consultant will be glad to help you with the options and will offer you the itinerary, cabin category and more according to your likings and budget.

Nordic Saga Tours will be more than happy to help you to unlock the wonders of the world with Hurtigruten cruise and assist you to reach some of the most remote and fascinating destinations. The Hurtigruten unique heritage, highly-skilled crew, and diverse fleet will take you from Polar regions in the High Arctic, down to the end of the Earth, Antarctica in the deep South and across Europe and the Americas.