4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
Hurtigruten began operation in 1893, as a scheduled means of transportation between cities, towns and islands along a 1,500-mile coastline between Bergen in the south and Kirkenes, some 240 miles above the Arctic Circle. Today, the line continues to offer the same coastal itineraries, as well as expedition cruises in the Arctic and Antarctic, and beyond. The emphasis throughout is communing with nature, immersion in local culture and embracing Norwegian folklore and cuisine.
You'll meet a real cross section of society on a Hurtigruten voyage. Norwegians use the local coastal service as a means of transport and often only stay on for a couple of ports. Other travelers treat the Bergen-Kirkenes-Bergen round trip as a regular cruise and come from all over the world but particularly the U.K. and Germany.
On the expedition ships, again, there will be multiple nationalities, including more North Americans. Expect to meet the kind of people who care about sustainability and value learning and adventure over luxury. You'll find some families onboard the Norwegian voyages and even the expeditions, which tend to attract an older audience.
Not really. There's no formal dress code, although you should not arrive at dinner in shorts. The non-expedition ships are slightly dressier than the expedition fleet.
The most popular activities for cruisers choosing Hurtigruten are the land-based shore tours, and with several port calls in one day (on the Coastal Voyages), there are plenty of opportunities for passengers to get out there and see Norway's vast wilderness. Among the most popular choices are hiking, kayaking and cycling and in winter, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and husky driving. On northern lights sailings, staying up late to try and see the lights (or requesting a wake-up call) is also quite popular.
On the expedition voyages, you'll rarely see anyone skip a shore excursion, and onboard the lectures always draw a crowd as well. Many cruisers also enjoy participating in "citizen science" projects.
No, and the pricing structure is complicated. On the Norwegian coastal voyage, you can opt for a Basic, Select or Platinum package, all of which have different inclusions. The Basic package is very basic indeed -- you don't even get included tea or coffee; the others have varying inclusions related to beverages, Wi-Fi and dining. None of the packages include excursions, though you can purchase excursion bundles to save money.
On the expedition cruises, soft drinks, wine and beer with meals, and tea and coffee and limited Wi-Fi are included. Some excursions by Zodiac are included but others cost extra.
Gratuities are not expected, but tip boxes are available for anybody who wants to reward a crew member.