Overall Editor Rating

Fodor’s Expert Review

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.Read More

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.

Top Reasons to Cruise

Norway Coastal Cruising.No-frills, nontraditional cruising is the line’s hallmark, with year-round departures from Norway.
The Hurtigruten Route.The line calls at 34 ports of call on any of the 6, 7, 11 or 12-day coastal voyages.
Unique Excursions.The Northern Lights and remote regions, plus polar circle landings in Greenland, Spitsbergen, and Antarctica are all excursion options.
Simple Transportation.The line offers 1,000 short port-to-port Norwegian coastal cruise possibilities.
No Frills on Board.These are not traditional leisure cruises; don’t expect big-ship amenities or activities.

Is This Line Right for You?

Choose this Line If
Don’t Choose this Line If
You wish to sail past some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, including such remote spots as Antarctica and Greenland.
You don’t mind a ship short on activities and big-ship features that goes to the smaller villages with little to offer but their quaint charm.
You are a confident, independent traveler and comfortable controlling your daily activities.
You require large-scale entertainment activities found on big cruise ships; you will be happier elsewhere.
You want to work out. Some Hurtigruten ships have compact gyms, but the smaller ones do not.
You can’t keep up. Ships call at dozens of villages, and destination-intense activities can be vigorous.

What to Expect on Board

Fitness & Recreation

The itinerary is the primary point of emphasis on these cruises, and dining takes a far less prominent role than on cruises for the American market.

There are two dinner seatings, and the three-course dinners allow no individual selection—everyone on a given evening will have the same appetizer, entrée, and dessert. While the line does its best to meet special dietary requirements, all requests for special meals must be made well in advance of departure. There is a 24-hour café, but it is not free. Liquor, wine, and beer, priced in Norwegian kroner, are expensive.


Destination-rich itineraries are the star on all Hurtigruten ships.

Expect no formal splashy entertainment, casinos, shows, cabarets, or nightclubs. In lieu of traditional programming, cruisers can strike up meaningful conversations with interesting fellow passengers, enjoy the pools and hot tubs on younger ships, or simply look up, out, and beyond to appreciate privileged tranquility and beauty.

Fitness & Recreation

All ships except MS Lofoten,Nordstjernen, and Vesterålen have a small fitness center on board.

Among the newer ships, Finnmarken has a swimming pool; Midnatsol, Trollfjord, and Fram have hot tubs. There is an Internet café on board all ships except MS Vesterålen, Lofoten,Nordstjernen, and Polar Star. Internet packages can be purchased from reception.

Key cruising tips

All the ships in the Hurtigruten fleet have elevators and cabins specially equipped for passengers with disabilities.
Although there are no medical facilities or doctors on board, the vessels are regularly in sight of land.
Smoking is not permitted inside all the ships, only outside in designated areas of open decks.
Only alcoholic drinks purchased in the ship’s restaurant or bar may be consumed on board; any bottled liquor purchased on land must be stored until your return. (The drinking age on the ships is 18.)
All cabins have a private bathroom with 220-volt outlet. In suites, there is also a 110-volt outlet for shavers. The sockets require two-pin European plug adaptors for dual-voltage U.S. appliances.

Your Shipmates

Europeans make up the larger number of passengers, but often there’s a minority of Americans. Travelers who find this kind of cruising attractive tend to be independent—comfortable controlling their vacation experience and perfectly content enjoying spectacular scenery and visiting picturesque communities mostly on their own. Families with small kids are few and far between.

Dress Code

Hurtigruten ships are truly casual, with no dress-up nights. Pack clothing suitable for the area and season in which you are traveling. During the day and throughout the voyage, weather fluctuations can occur rather quickly. It is recommended you dress in layers to accommodate the changes in temperature. Should you choose to pack light, all ships reviewed here are equipped with self-service laundry facilities, including irons and ironing boards. Detergent is included in the price.

Junior Cruisers

All contemporary ships and Finnmarken have an unstaffed children’s playroom but no organized activities for kids.


Service can be splendid but also subtle, without many flourishes.


Tipping is neither required nor expected, though it is allowed if you feel you have received particularly good personal service from a crew member.

Past Passengers

If you have traveled with Hurtigruten within the last three years and will travel within the next three years, you may receive a 10% discount on your next Norwegian Coastal Voyage or 5% off your next Explorer cruise (Antarctica, Greenland, Spitsbergen, or Europe). This offer is combinable with other discounts, such as those offered for early booking and groups, but you must travel within three years in order to receive the discounted fare.


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