About Hurtigruten cruises

Hurtigruten, the "fast route", used to be the most important communication link between the north and south of Norway, transporting mail, cargo and passengers. Today a cruise with Hurtigruten is a breathtaking experience; a glimpse into the Norwegian coastal life and traditions, as well as a front row view of the majestic Norwegian scenery. Find out yourself why it is often referred to as the world's most beautiful sea voyage!

Frequently asked questions:

What is the difference between the northbound and southbound route?

The Northbound route starts in Bergen and reaches Kirkenes in 6 nights / 7 days. The Northbound route is sometimes referred to as the "cultural" stretch since it stops in the cities like Ålesund, Trondheim and Tromsø at daytime. If you want to visit the Geirangerfjord, you need to travel northbound between June and August.

The Southbound route travels from Kirkenes to Bergen in 5 nights / 6 days. It is often called the "nature" stretch since you for example pass the Vesterålen and Lofoten Islands during daytime. Also other highlights like Raftsundet, the Helgeland coast and Torghatten and unique excursions like breakfast at the North Cape (during summer), a Midnight Concert in Tromsø or a tour to Vega are experienced only on the southbound route. 

Both stretches have their charm and uniqueness. For deciding on which stretch you prefer, you might also want to have a look at the possible shore excursions that can be done each way.

What are the differences between the ships?

The Hurtigruten fleet consists of fourteen ships of which eleven operate on the Norwegian Coastal Voyage route all year round. The ships are divided into three categories: Millennium ships built after the year 2000, middle generation ships built in the 1990s (with the exception of MS Vesterålen) and the traditional ship built in the 1960s.

The facilities provided by the ships are uniform, but the choice of colours, materials and design means that each ship retains its own character. They have large, comfortable lounges providing good views, fully licensed restaurants, cafés and bars, and souvenir shops that also sell a selection of toiletries. The very newest ships have several bars, restaurants and cafés with varied menus, extended conference facilities and internet cafés. All the ships, with the exception of MS Lofoten, have good facilities for disabled people and have lifts.

Ship Category Built Renovated Passenger capacity Car capacity Jacuzzi
Midnatsol Millennium 2003   1000 35 yes
Trollfjord Millennium 2002   822 35 yes
Finnmarken Millennium 2002   1000 35 yes
Nordnorge Middle generation 1997 2016 623 35 yes
Polarlys Middle generation 1996 2016 619 35 yes
Nordkapp Middle generation 1996 2016 622 35 yes
Nordlys Middle generation 1994 2019 622 35  
Richard With Middle generation 1993 2018 623 12  
Kong Haralad Middle generation 1993 2016 622 12 yes
Vesterålen Middle generation 1983   516 35  
Lofoten Traditional 1964 2003 400 0  
Spitsbergen   2009 2016 335 0 yes

What is meant by "working ship"?

Hurtigruten ships operate on a set schedule, and carry goods, vehicles and passengers between ports. You may expect some noise and vibration in a few cabins, which may be more noticeable during the loading of goods. This varies depending on the location of your cabin and the type of ship. With the exception of MS Lofoten all vessels are equipped with stabilizers. On the Norwegian coast the ships enter the open sea for a few hours on only a few occasions. The majority of the time the ships sail between mainland Norway and the coastal islands where the sea is generally calmer.

What is included in the tour price?

An overview of the services included is specified for each tour (at the bottom of the tour page).

Will I meet a representative from Authentic Scandinavia during my trip?

Since we offer tours throughout the Nordic countries, the Baltis and Russia we do not have staff available to meet you in person during your travels with us. Please rest assured however that we are always available through phone and email during our office hours and through our emergency phone outside our office hours should you require any assistance during your travels.  

Is airport transfer included?

Airport transfer is not included in the tour price. You can use public transport which we will provide information on. It is also possible to use the Hurtigruten airport shuttle (additional cost).

Do I need to book excursions in advance?

It is possible to book excursions on board but you might risk that they are fully booked, especially those with limited space like RIB safaris etc. Excursions by bus are usually still available. If you want to make sure you can join the excursions you want, we recommend booking in advance. Authentic Scandinavia sells the excursions for the same price as they are sold for on board (small price differences might occur due to the exchange rate).

What is the weather like?

Temperatures along the Norwegian coast in winter usually vary between 2°C and -10°C. Summer temperatures vary between 10°C and 25°C depending on the latitude. Read more about the weather.

What do I need to pack?

Take practical, warm and windproof clothing for going out on deck. During autumn and winter, bring long (woolen) underwear and warm socks, a scarf, gloves and a warm hat. Smart, but casual clothes are worn on board. No need to wear formal clothes for dinner; jeans with a nice shirt absolutely do (only exception is for cruises over Christmas and New Year's where you might want to dress up a bit). Good footwear is vital for excursions. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars and camera as well as your sunglasses (also during winter).

You can bring up to 50 kg luggage on board but please make sure you don't bring more than what you can carry yourself since there is no luggage service. You have to store your luggage in your cabin or in the luggage room (at your own risk). 

Is there a guide on board?

Yes, there is a tour leader on board all year round, speaking English and often additional languages. On some departures this service is managed by the reception. The tour leader can assist with information and booking of excursions as well as transfers. 

Is there entertainment on board?

The emphasis on board is on relaxation and getting away from the commercial entertainment which is so often a part of conventional cruises. Hurtigruten's aim is to get closer to unique environments and share the experience with the passengers.

Hurtigruten offers some on-board activities, demonstrations and presentations. The activities, which take place inside the vessels and outside on deck, are related to the seasons and areas you are sailing in, for example the Arctic Circle baptizing or a king crab presentation (no shuffle board, bingo and the like). You are invited to join in all these activities which will be announced in the day-to-day programmes. 

Musical entertainment on some stretches of the voyage may be offered in the bar area.

Is there a doctor on board?

On the Norwegian Coastal Voyage, ships do not leave territorial waters and are rarely far from land. There is no doctor or pharmacy on board and medical assistance is available at ports or, in an emergency, by helicopter. 

If you are prone to seasickness, we suggest you carry effective medication. Some tablets are
available on board for sale but they may not be appropriate for every passenger.

How about mobile phone and Wifi usage?

All ships have pay phones. There is generally good coverage for mobile telephones.

All ships with the exception of MS Lofoten have a Wifi network on board (additional costs apply unless you have upgraded to service level select or platinum).

Do I need an electrical adapter?

The electric current supplied in the power sockets on board the ship is on the 220-volt AC standard, and requires a 2-pin continental-type plug. If you need power adapters or converters you can buy one in the shop on-board the ship.

Are there laundry facilities on board?

Laundry rooms with washing machines, dryers and irons are available on all ships. Tokens may be purchased from reception.

Is smoking allowed on-board?

Smoking is only permitted in designated areas on the outside decks. It is not permitted when the ships are in port and fueling. Smoking in the cabin is prohibited and subject to a fine.

What is the currency on board? Are credit cards accepted?

The currency used on board is Norwegian Kroner. All major credit cards (VISA, Master Card, Diners and American Express) are accepted on board. Please note that a PIN code is required when paying with your personal credit.

Hurtigruten offer a Cruise Card system on board allowing you to charge all on-board purchases to your cruise card. Cruise card accounts can be created at all points of payment on board the ship (credit card or cash in NOK, EUR, GBP or USD as deposit required). 

What are the cabins like? 

The facilities of the cabins vary between the ships and the various cabin grades. Towels and shower gel/liquid soap are provided in all cabins. Most of the ships have hair dryers in all cabins. If not, you may borrow one from the reception. Tea/coffee making facilities are available in Arctic Superior cabins and Expedition Suites. 

There are safety deposit boxes in suites on MS Midnatsol and MS Trollfjord, and in all cabins on-board MS Finnmarken and MS Spitsbergen. Hurtigruten cannot accept liability for any loss. Valuables may be handed in at reception to be kept in the ship`s safe.

What are check in and out times?

Check-in will take place inside the ship in reception area in all ports except Bergen where you find a terminal.

The times for checking out of cabins are according to the ship’s timetable. On arrival in Bergen, Kirkenes and Trondheim (southbound) special rules apply:

  • Cabins for departure from Bergen are available from 18:00 hrs.
  • Check-out on arrival in Kirkenes is before 8:30 hrs.
  • Check-out on arrival in Trondheim (southbound) is before 8:00hrs.
  • Check-out on arrival in Bergen is before 10:00 hrs.

Can I choose my cabin in advance?

For the cruises of 5 days or more, it is possible to choose your cabin in advance for an additional cost (you need to upgrade to service level select and pay a fee for that unless you do the full cruise Bergen-Kirkenes-Bergen where choice of cabin is included with select).

For all shorter cruises and if you decide to keep the service level basic, your cabin will be assigned to you upon check-in. 

What is the difference between the service levels and what is the cost?

Since 2017, Hurtigruten operates with three different service levels: basic, select and platinum. Our tour prices are based on the basic service level. It is possible to upgrade to select which includes free Wifi, complimentary tea and coffee, choice of preferred dining time (if available) and - for the voyages over 5 days - the option to choose the cabin (against a fee for the stretches Bergen-Kirkenes and Kirkenes-Bergen; no cost for Bergen-Kirkenes-Bergen). The upgrade to platinum (only possible for voyages over 5 days) includes all select services plus inclusive drinks with dinners, specialty dining, visit to the ship's bridge, private airport transfers and other services.

The cost for the upgrade is not a fixed price but depending on availability on each departure. Please contact us on [email protected] or through the request form during the booking process for an offer. 

Is there a child reduction?

Yes, children up to 15 years receive a reduction of 25% on the adult rate.

Do I need travel insurance?

Yes, this is always recommended but Hurtigruten requires all guests to have travel insurance including cancellation cover and providing medical cover for illness or injury and repatriation while overseas.