Hurtigruten

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Hurtigruten Cruises has been in business for over 125 years, sailing the rugged Norwegian coastline. Mainly a coastal and inland waterways small ship cruise line, Hurtigruten has branched out to add unique expedition cruises. From the Northwest Passage and over to Russia’s Franz Josef Land and south to the Falkland Islands and Antarctica, Hurtigruten offers interesting and educational voyages. The company is included here because of their breathtaking fjord cruises in Norway, the remote Northwest Passage itinerary as well as coastal voyages.

Ships:  With 14 ships in service and two electric hybrid ships to be launched in 2018 and 2019. Hurtigruten ships can maneuver into small inlets and bays as well as navigate through icy polar waters. 

How Many Passengers:  Many of the ships can accommodate between 300-500 guests. While their oldest ship, built in 1956 accommodates around 160 guests, newer ships carry 260 to 600+ guests.

Personality:  Definitely a casual vibe. The ships are beautifully designed Scandinavian-style, where minimal is optimal. Not fancy but chic modern with plenty of glass in public areas to let in the 24-hours of daylight during peak summer sailings. Art collections adorn the public areas along with comfy seating that encourages passengers to meet, mingle and relax. 

Fellow Passengers: The average age of passengers is 35 to 65 and up which skews slightly older than most small-ship and river cruise lines. Kids are welcome, but there aren’t any children’s programs or babysitting. Probably not a lot of families though some multigen groups are common. Guests sail Hurtigruten for one reason: to explore and experience something entirely different from everyday cruising. They are interested in onboard enrichment lectures, hiking remote terrain, trying new foods and being outdoors. 

Cabins:  While the older ships have smaller, cozy cabins, staterooms on the newer ships are spacious and well-outfitted. En suite facilities, TVs, a sitting area and storage space are common on the newer ships. Some cabins on the few older ships may have a shared bathroom. Both window and inside staterooms are available. As stated on their website, some cabins on some ships may be subject to vibration noise and feel. It’s important to double-check when you make your reservation so that if this would ruin your trip, be sure to request a cabin without any engine vibration. 

Dining:  The newer ships have a main dining room as well as a casual café. Some have a separate à la carte restaurant. Bottled water is included at meals. Being a Norwegian cruise line, fish is served and plentiful. Breads are freshly baked as are pastries and desserts.

Amenities: Ship-wide wifi, sun deck and observation decks, outdoor pools, fitness room, library and massage facilities.

Best For: Forty-somethings through middle aged and retirees. A keen interest in the outdoors and the flora and fauna that it entails. Although it’s definitely perfect for active folks, you can also stay onboard and relax as ice bergs silently float past your window. 

Included Alcohol: Beer and wine are included with lunch and dinner but in-between meal times, you will pay extra for wine, beer and spirits. Also, if you buy alcohol ashore, it will be held for you until the cruise is over. 

Gratuities: Not included.

Where They Go:  Expedition ships head to the Arctic, Antarctica, Svalbard and the Northwest Passage. Cruise ships ply the coastal waters around Norway as well as inland waterway fjord cruises.