Originally a communications and travel link between the villages on Norway's western coast, Hurtigruten (formerly known in the United States as Norwegian Coastal Voyage) provides an up-close look at the fascinatingly intricate fjords, mountains, and villages that were once isolated and difficult to navigate. The Hurtigruten itineraries are often described as "the world's most beautiful voyages," as they provide access to some of the most stunning scenery and the unique cultures of Norway, many of them above the Arctic Circle.

Nine Hurtigruten ships sail year-round on Norwegian coastal express routes. Options include 6-night northbound, 5-night southbound, or 12-night round-trip sailings, calling at 34 ports in each one-way segment. Others spend part of the year on Antarctic and Chilean Fjord itineraries or take trips to Spitsbergen, an island midway between Norway and the North Pole. The MS Fram also makes summer expeditions to Greenland as well as a world cruise. These are also working ships, transferring both cargo and passengers, but the ships have the look and feel of traditional cruise ships. However, Mother Nature is the star of this show. Tour leaders on board all voyages assist with practical, cruise-planning details, but these are not traditional cruises. 405 Park Ave., Suite 904, New York, NY, 10022. 800/323–7436. Cruise Style: Small-ship.


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