Hurtigruten Cruise

Cruising Norway's West Coast: Bergen - Kirkenes

King Neptune preparing guests for the Artic Baptism.THE HURTIGRUTEN CRUISE begins in Bergen and takes seven days following the Norwegian coast to reach the village of Kirkenes deep in the Arctic Circle. You can also take the seven day cruise back to Bergen and stop at different sites. On the Northward passage, the vessels stop at Alesund, Trondheim, Svolvaer, Tromso and other Norwegian ports.

HURTIGRUTEN HISTORY: HERTIGRUTEN (literally "Express Route") traces its origins to 1893 when there was a government contract to improve communications along Norway's long, jagged coastline. SS Vesteraalen commenced on the first round-trip journey from Trondheim on 2 July 1893 bound for Hammerfest, with calls at various ports along the way. The ship arrived in Svolvær on Monday 3 July at 8pm (after 35½ hours) and reached its northbound destination of Hammerfest on Wednesday 5 July, completing the northbound leg between Trondheim and Hammerfest in a total of 67 hours. She was captained by Richard With, considered the founder of Hertigruten.

MV Polarlys (Polar Lights) one of the Hurtigruten Fleet. WHY GO? The whole essence of cruising the Norwegian coast is to get a sense of where the Vikings originated and the landscapes they were familiar with. There are enough onboard amentities to suit most travellers, and Onshore - plenty of excursions to places that might take you years to get to during your normal scheduled vacations.

ISLAND-HOPPING: The route takes you through many islands. With the extra excursions you get about 3 - 4 hours to explore an area, otherwise you can have a look around the town that your cruise liner drops anchor at. One really worthwhile excursion is a visit to a Viking Longhouse where you have dinner with the Viking chief and his ladies.

VIKINGS WERE HERE! There are a number of museums which present an interesting history of the Vikings and later Norwegian travellers. Bergen, Tromso, Alesund and Tronheim have great museums.

Our vessel, The Polarlys berthed at Honningsvag 70 59'N - well inside the Arctic Circle.

Map of  Hurtigruten Route along Norway's west coast RED DOTS = Sites Visited

ITINERARY for Norway's Hurtigruten Cruise

  • HOW TO GET THERE: Arrive in Bergen, Norway and a shuttlebus will take you to the ship.
  • WHEN TO GO: All year. Different seasons, different experiences of landscape.
    Bergen is the bustling capital of Norway's fjord district, with its old wooden buildings in the Bryggen Wharf, remnants of its Hanseatic past. In earlier days, it was easier to get from Bergen to the Continent by sea than it was to get to Oslo, a fact apparent in this city's architecture and culture. You board the Norwegian Coastal Voyage this evening.
    In the morning, the ship will be crossing the open Stadthavet and heading for Torvik. En route, you'll stop in the beautiful Art Nouveau town of Ålesund. (Between April 15 and September 14, all ships call at Geiranger in the Geirangerfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to see the beautiful Brudesloret, Friaren, and the Seven Sisters waterfalls.) After a call at Molde, its magnificent view of the Romsdal Alps made it a favorite vacation spot of Henrik Ibsen. The ship will navigate the Hustadvika, a belt of islets and skerries, before docking at Kristiansund.
    The ship arrives early this morning in ancient Trondheim, where you'll have time to explore this jewel of a city, Norway's first capital. The first Viking sale of goods from "the new found land" took place here about 1000 AD. Timber from Leiv Eriksson's Vinland estate was sold to a Bremen merchant. Charming streets, the peaceful harbor, the old city bridge and the restored wooden buildings in Bakklandet as well as the great gothic cathedral of Nidaros, where the new kings of old Norway once received their official blessing. From Trondheim, the ship sails on to Rørvik, where the southbound and northbound coastal ships meet.
    Today you'll cross the Arctic Circle. The globe on the island of Vikingen serves as a marker. There are spectacular sites ahead: islands and skerries with majestic rock formations, whose origins are the stuff of legend. After Bodø, the ship heads out to open sea for the Lofoten Islands with their picturesque cabins on stilts and weathered wooden racks with drying cod. In the evening, she'll navigate the narrow Raftsund Strait, passing the looming crags of the Trollfjord.
    This morning you'll pass the medieval Trondenes church before calling at Harstad for breakfast. Afterward, you'll sail across the Vågsfjord past the great island of Senja with its diverse countryside of farmland, pine trees, and plunging peaks. Later you'll stop at Tromsø, the "Paris of the North". In the 19th century, Russian, British, Dutch, and German ships called here before heading off on Arctic expeditions for hunting whales, walruses and seals.
    Finnmark's landscape is austere in its beauty, teeming with wildlife. Watch for rookeries of puffins and gannets along the cliffs and pods of orca hunting for herring. After calling at Honningsvåg, the capital of the North Cape, the ship heads east toward the pretty fishing villages of Kjøllefjord, Mehamn, and Berlevåg. On the seventh day, you'll arrive at Kirkenes, the journey's northern terminus and turning point.
Our Take:
A Hurtigruten cruise is one of the world's amazing journeys. Take every opportunity to go ashore and visit these Norwegian cities and especially the ones inside the Arctic Circle. Take the extra excursion to the Viking Longhouse and spend an evening dining with the Viking Chief. The food, quick friendships, entertainment and excursions will keep you busy - so you'll probably have little time just to laze around. After a 7 day cruise, you will return reinvigorated.