Information on Hurtigruten Cruises


For much more than a century, a daily coastal passenger and cargo service has linked three-dozen cities and towns along the rugged island-studded coast of Norway, from Bergen in the south to beyond the North Cape. Over the years, the Hurtigruten (fast route) has attracted not only locals but increasing numbers of foreign tourists who use the ships to travel from one place to the next or to make the 6-day one-way or 12-day round-trip cruise.

Fleet

Nearly all Hurtigruten’s ships are large, roll-on, roll-off vessels. For passengers, this means larger and more modern cabins, panoramic lounges, conference facilities and even summertime entertainment than exists with the two remaining classic passenger-cargo ships dating from the mid-1950s and mid-1960s. The line also operates the Fram, a relatively new expedition ship.

Itineraries

Although most of the route follows the coast, the ships do travel inland along the spectacular Geigranger fjord in the high season, and shore excursions visit other fjords and the North Cape. Most port calls are short with just enough time for a quick look, while several larger cities warrant stays of a few hours. Calls that are made during the night in one direction have more convenient hours in the other. In the off-season, the ships may have lots of empty cabins, while the summer months can see not only every cabin taken but also deck passengers coming aboard for short passages out to isolated communities. May and early June are preferred by regular passengers as the days are long and the crowds have not yet arrived. In the dead of winter, the White Nights produce the northern lights. Seas can be rough when the ships venture out beyond the barrier islands north of Bergen and when rounding the North Cape, but these open-sea transits are relatively short. In the past couple of decades, NCV has begun to use its older ships on summertime cruises to Spitzbergen, Iceland and Greenland, and to the Arctic Circle. With the addition of the Fram in 2007, the line offers year-round cruises in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, including Antarctica.

Dining and Decor

The food aboard the ships is distinctly Norwegian and caters better to European tastes than to non-adventurous Americans. There are ample choices at the breakfast and lunch buffets, but not so for dinner, which is served from a set menu. Meals are included for those making the complete round voyage or the full northbound or southbound trip, then returning by air or bus and train. The ships are galleries of attractive Norwegian art, both paintings and sculpture.

Programs

Since the ships dock adjacent to the town center at most ports, it is easy to simply walk off and explore on your own, though most dwell times are very short. Trondheim is an exception. Shore excursions, fairly priced, are available for accessing sights away from the ship, for scenic drives along fjords and up to the North Cape.

Onboard Experience

What is fairly billed as the world’s most beautiful voyage has taken on the qualities of a cruise, yet at a moderate price for such an expensive country as Norway. The experience is shared with other Europeans, including local Norwegians and some British.

For more information on Hurtigruten cruises, visit our website at http://bit.ly/i1aqjO

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