Hurtigruten: A World of Adventure

An expedition cruise is the perfect way to explore remote and amazing places many have only dreamed about.

Hurtigruten ship surrounded by water and snow in Antarctica

Whether you’re new to cruising or an experienced traveler, Hurtigruten will challenge your expectations of what a waterborne adventure can be. Maybe you long to see firsthand some of the world’s most remote and pristine places; perhaps you dream of sighting rare and fascinating wildlife in their natural habitats. These are the kinds of unforgettable experiences you’ll get on an expedition cruise with Hurtigruten.

From humble beginnings to a new standard in cruise excellence

Hurtigruten traces it lineage to the late 19th century when, in 1893, Norwegian Captain Richard With took the steamer DS Vesteraalen and created a weekly route along the coast of Norway. The connection was named “hurtigruten,” meaning “the fast route.” Soon after establishing this regular sea link, With opened a hotel on the Svalbard archipelago, located halfway between Norway and the North Pole, and the Hurtigruten Sportsman’s Route was put into operation, served by the steamer DS Lofoten.

More than 125 years later, Hurtigruten is still transporting travelers and has three distinct cruising options to choose from.

  • Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express connects 34 communities along the scenic Norwegian coast. The signature voyage travels from Norway’s southern city of Bergen across the Artic Circle to Kirkenes and back for a 12-day journey of 2,500 nautical miles, with stops in coastal communities and stunning views of mountains, islands and Norway’s world-famous fjords.
  • Hurtigruten Svalbard explores the Svalbard archipelago and offers land-based adventures, accommodations and dining in and around Longyearbyen, the largest settlement in the islands.
  • Hurtigruten Expeditions, the world’s leading expedition cruise line, focuses on exploration, adventure and science. Options include more than 150 itineraries across over 250 destinations aboard seven custom-built small expedition cruise ships.
Group of people on expedition in Galapagos

The lure of an expedition cruise

Don’t confuse Hurtigruten with other cruise lines. When you travel with Hurtigruten Expeditions, you won’t spend your time watching Broadway-style shows or trying your luck in an onboard casino. Instead, you can expect such authentic, unforgettable experiences as viewing the northern lights, paddling a kayak among icebergs and walruses, and going on a dogsled expedition. You’ll visit destinations many have only dreamed about—cold-water places like Antarctica, Norway and the Northwest Passage, as well as warmer weather destinations like South America, the Canary Islands, and the Galápagos Islands.

Depending on the specific cruise, you’ll have plenty of exciting options to choose from. Perhaps you’d like to paddleboard in an enchanting location, or maybe you’d like to visit Svalbard to see polar bears in the wild. Want to spend a night on the seventh continent? You can do just that on your expedition cruise to Antarctica. 

Three adults doing research in science center lab

Everything you need to enjoy yourself

Each ship in the fleet is perfectly suited to letting travelers experience the destination in an authentic, up-close way. Whether your cruise is on one of Hurtigruten’s small, agile ships or one of its medium-sized, hybrid electric-powered crafts, you’ll experience an informal, welcoming atmosphere. All Hurtigruten vessels are modern ice class ships suitable for polar sailing. A Science Center lies at the core of Hurtigruten ships and features high-tech equipment, a library and interactive computer screens. And if you’d like to contribute to important global research, the Citizen Science Projects are for you.

Hurtigruten expedition team of adults standing in surf

When you’re ready to explore coastal areas and participate in a shore landing, a guided nature walk or other activities, any special equipment needed—tents, waterproof boots, walking sticks—will be provided. All you need to bring is comfortable clothes and a spirit of adventure. Going ashore somewhere the ship can’t dock? A Zodiac boat will get you there. You’ll be led by an Expedition Team made up of top experts with unrivalled local knowledge. You might hear from a biologist, an ornithologist, a glaciologist or any of a handful of other “-ologists” as they deliver fascinating talks and enhance your sense of wonder.

Hurtigruten ship in the background with lone penguin in foreground

A focus on sustainable travel

Hurtigruten prides itself on being a responsible travel partner. Two new hybrid electric-powered expedition ships—MS Roald Amundsen (pictured above) and MS Fridtjof Nansen—are packed with groundbreaking innovations that reduce carbon emissions compared to other cruise ships of the same size. In 2018 Hurtigruten became the first expedition company to ban nonessential single-use plastics throughout its operations.

“We have been a first mover on sustainability for decades,” says Daniel Skjeldam, CEO of Hurtigruten Group, “and we will continue to be a catalyst for change toward a greener travel industry to protect what we love today, tomorrow and into the future.”

Expect the unexpected

Itineraries on an expedition cruise with Hurtigruten are not set in stone. Come with an open mind and a sense of adventure—there can be frequent, spontaneous elements that allow new opportunities for exploration as they arise. After all, you’ll be experiencing nature on nature’s terms, so don’t be surprised when the captain changes course to get a better view of a pod of whales or to navigate moving ice or a weather event. What better way to explore the world?

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