Review of Hurtigruten
Hurtigruten (hurtigruten.com) is a Norwegian passenger shipping company specializing in cruise and ferry services. The "Norwegian Coastal Express Route" (Bergen-Kirkenes) is a cargo-passenger ferry service along Norway's western and northern coast. Hurtigruten's cruiseferries sail nearly the entire length of Norway and complete this roundtrip itinerary in 11 days. The route also includes Lofoten Islands and Vesteralen Islands.
Hurtigruten's competitor on the Norwegian cruiseferry market is Havila Voyages.
The Hurtigruten company was established by government contract in 1893, in order to improve communications along Norway's jagged and long coastline. On July 2, 1893, the steamship Vesteralen departed on the company's maiden voyage/first roundtrip itinerary from Trondheim, arriving in Svolvaer on July 3rd (35,5 hours crossing) and at Hammerfest on July 5th (after 67 hours). The steamer was mastered by Captain Richard With (Hurtigruten's founder).
Hurtigruten's first expedition voyage was in 1896.
Only Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskab was willing to navigate the then poorly charted waters. Such a voyage was especially hard during the dark and long winters. Hurtigruten was a breakthrough for communities. Mail to Hammerfest from central Norway (which had taken 3 weeks in summer and 5 months in winter) could already be delivered in just 7 days.
Encouraged by Vesteraalens' early success, several other companies obtained concessions to operate the coastal route, extended to run from Bergen (southwest) to Kirkenes (far northeast). 11 ships visit each of the 34 ports daily, northbound and southbound. The 12-day roundtrip itinerary Bergen-Kirkenes includes 65 port stops, with ports' stays ranging from 15 min to 4+ hours.
Currently, Hurtigruten provides 24/7 cargo and passenger ferry service Bergen-Kirkenes. To operate this service, the company receives a Norwegian subsidy. However, in 2017 the subsidy arrangement was changed as preventing ferry competition. Some Norwegian interests also argued that Hurtigruten's Norwegian Coastal Service monopoly is not beneficial to the country and that local passengers will only benefit from more competitive offers.
In the 1980s, Hurtigruten's role changed. Operating subsidies were phased out and the operators put emphasis on tourism. New, larger and more luxurious vessels were introduced, with more attention to restaurants, bars, hot tubs, and other comforts. Hurtigruten still serves important cargo and passenger needs and operates year-round. The last two shipping companies, Troms Fylkes Dampskibsselskap (TFDS) and Ofotens og Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskab (OVDS), merged on March 1, 2006, as the Hurtigruten Group AS, and a year later became Hurtigruten ASA. In addition to the ferries, high-speed regional express ships, and coastal route, the company operates cruises around South America, Antarctica, and Greenland.
At the end of 2014, the British private equity "TDR Capital" (specializing in control buyout investments in Europe) acquired Hurtigruten. In July 2014, TDR announced 3 potential buyers for the company and receiving offers from them. Since 2014, TDR Capital has provided the money needed for the purchasing and the refurbishment of MS Spitsbergen, as well as the capital for the drydock refurbishments of 4x ships in the Hurtigruten fleet and for two new shipbuilding orders (with optional two more vessels) in an attempt to revive the company.
When TDR bought Hurtigruten, the bid was for USD 884 million. TDR Capital got 90% and both Hurtigruten's shareholders retained 5% of the company each. Future plans are the brand (specializing in explorer cruising / expedition-type vacations) to be popularized on the markets in Asia and the USA. New itineraries will be added, including in exotic destinations, such as Amazon River (South America in general), Caribbean and other not polar regions, in addition to the line's traditional Arctic and Antarctica cruises.
In 2017, Hurtigruten signed a strategic partnership with Alibaba Group's Fliggy (a subsidiary company specializing in tourism). Via Figgy, Hurtigruten scheduled in January and February 2018 and 2019 Antarctica cruises (on the ship Midnatsol (now Maud)) exclusively for Chinese travelers. These itineraries are roundtrips from Ushuaia Argentina and transit through the Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula.
Since July 2, 2018, fleetwide was implemented a policy for not using any single-use plastic products (bags, straws, cups, cutlery, toothpicks, aprons, stir pins, drink mixers, coffee lids). The decision made the shipping company world's first "plastic-free". It is estimated that 15 tons of plastic enters into oceans every minute of the day, ranking plastic pollution world's single biggest threat to the oceans. Hurtigruten's ban of single-use plastics was also imposed on all hotels, restaurants and other establishments contracted by the subsidiary company subsidiary Hurtigruten Svalbard for the land-based operations on Svalbard islands.
Hurtigruten Group's CEO is Daniel Skjeldam, Steven Taylor is the CCO. Hurtigruten Norway's CEO is Hedda Felin. Hurtigruten Americas' President is Jeffrey Oar.
In January 2021, Hurtigruten Group's cruise shipping operations were reorganized into two separate entities - "Hurtigruten Expeditions" (rebranded "HX" in December 2023) and "Hurtigruten Norway". Both entities have different management teams (including CEOs).
"Hurtigruten Expeditions" operates a fleet of 8 small-sized (expedition-type) vessels deployed in regions like South America and Antarctica, Alaska, Iceland and Greenland, Arctic Norway (Spitsbergen, Svalbard), North and Central America.
"Hurtigruten Norway" operates Norwegian coastal voyages (Bergen-Kirkenes/ 34-port route) providing cruise and ferry services.
In 2023 Hurtigruten hired Alex McNeil (Quark Expeditions' Director of Expedition Experience & Innovation) as SVP of Expeditions Product & Guest Experience, as well as Alastair Newton (Alavan Business Advisory Ltd's Director and Co-founder) as Director of Expedition Operations.
Company changes 2023
In 2023, Hurtigruten Norway celebrated its 130th Anniversary, since its first Norwegian Coastal Express voyage in 1893. In September, the sister-company Hurtigruten Expeditions (operating a 6-ship fleet) was rebranded to "HX".
In March 2023, Hurtigruten launched the "Sea Zero" ship project in partnership with SINTEF (1950-founded, Trondheim-based independent research organization) plus a consortium of 12 maritime companies. The project (budgeted EUR 13 million/USD 14M/GBP 11,5M) received EUR 7M (~USD 7,5M/~GBP 6,2M) in public funding. The 2-year research and development phase (2023-2025) is for developing a battery-based powerplant, a hybrid propulsion system and optimized hull design and onboard energy consumption (electricity used for the hotel operations). Hurtigruten's Sea Zero project will result in the construction of the world's most energy-efficient cruise vessel.
In December 2022, Hurtigruten purchased from the family-owned Rathfinny Wine Estate (Vineyard in Polegate, East Sussex, England UK) a total of 1700 wax-sealed bottles of sparkling wine and placed them at a secret location off Arctic Norway's coast to age. In May 2023, after six months of aging on the seabed (at depth 34 m/112 ft), the bottles (branded Havets Bobler) were retrieved and introduced fleetwide to celebrate the company's 130th Anniversary. The first "Arctic-aged" champagne was tasted on May 12th (by celebrity sommelier Nikolai Haram Svorte) in Sandnessjoen. The special wine-tasting event was attended by Tina Gurra (Hurtigruten's Director of Beverages) and Mark Driver (Rathfinny Estate's co-owner).
Company changes 2022
In March 2022, Hurtigruten Group AS acquired a 24,9% stake (1/4th) in Metropolitan Touring (Quito Ecuador-headquartered travel company and luxury brand) specializing in South America and Galapagos voyages.
In October 2022 Hurtigruten Expeditions signed a deal with Speedcast (Australian satellite technology provider) and implemented fleetwide SpaceX ' Starlink (satellite internet) connectivity. The fast Internet is unlimited and offered complimentary to both passengers and the crew.
Company changes 2021 (Hurtigruten Galapagos cruise charter)
In June 2021, Hurtigruten Expeditions signed a boat charter deal with Metropolitan Touring (shipowner/company specializing in Galapagos and South America voyages) for the luxury yacht Santa Cruz 2 (max capacity 90 passengers). The boat was extensively drydock-renovated in 2021 (all staterooms and public areas).
The first Hurtigruten Galapagos cruise was scheduled to depart on January 7, 2022.
Hurtigruten's 8-night/9-day Galapagos Islands itinerary includes hotel stays in Quito Ecuador (two nights/pre- and post-voyage), 6-nights of cruising (roundtrips from Baltra Island), and two domestic flights (between Quito and Baltra).
The maiden season (2022) included a total of 32x expedition packages combining the voyages with land tours in the Galapagos, Cusco-Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca (Andes Mountain/Bolivia and Peru), Manuel Antonio National Park (off Costa Rica's coast).
In December 2021 were opened bookings for Galapagos 2023-2024 seasons and announced new itineraries. To the 6-night "Eastern Galapagos" was added a 4-night "Northern Galapagos", a 4-night "Western Galapagos" and an 8-night B2B/back-to-back (Northern and Western Galapagos). Hurtigruten also expanded its land program by adding the luxury hotel Mashpi Lodge (capacity 47 beds, northwest of Quito), as a 3-night pre-/post-tour accommodation option for any Galapagos voyage.
Company changes 2020
In late-November 2020, Hurtigruten sold MS Lofoten to Sorlandet Maritime Videregaende Skole (Maritime High School). Since August 2021, the 1964-built vessel is used as a training ship (including hotel ship) for the students. The deal included the option Hurtigruten to occasionally charter the vessel during non-school periods.
For 2020, Hurtigruten reported a loss of EUR 160,6 million (~USD 194M) - in comparison to EUR 17M (~USD 20,5M) loss in 2019. As of Dec 31, 2020, the company had EUR 72M (~USD 87M) liquidity (cash and cash equivalents) and average monthly cash burn EUR 13M (~USD 16M). Hurtigruten's current fleet consists of 16 boats, including 11x expedition ships (5x for Arctic-Antarctic voyages) and 7x ferries (under a 10-year contract with Norway's Ministry of Transportation).
Hurtigruten Svalbard (catamaran cruises)
In May 2019, Hurtigruten partnered with Brim Explorer (Norwegian company specializing in eco-friendly cruising) to introduce a battery-powered catamaran (double-hulled vessel / with 2 parallel hulls) which is custom-designed for scenic polar exploration. The new boat operates various daily-scheduled sea excursions from homeport Longyearbyen (on Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard Norway) under the new "Hurtigruten Svalbard" brand.
The 2020-launched hybrid catamaran has LOA length 24 m/79 ft, large battery packs and is one of the world's newest fully-electric powered ships. The vessel's batteries can be recharged shoreside and provide power for up to 10 hours at cruising speed 10 knots (18,5 kph / 11,5 mph). Max passenger capacity is 140. Shipbuilder is Maritime Partner AS (shipyard in Alesund Norway). Boat's exterior and design is by Hareide Design AS - the company that designed the ships of Norwegian Yacht Voyages. Catamaran's hull design is by Wave Propulsion AS (based in Bomlo Norway). Among catamaran's features are hydrophones and underwater drones. The Blueye Robotics-produced drones were also introduced to other Hurtigruten ships.
The construction of MS Brim Explorer (sistership) started in September 2018 (the order was placed in April) and it was launched in June 2019. Starting in August, itineraries are along Norway's coast and north of the Arctic Circle, including Lofoten (during summer) and short breaks from Tromso (during winter). The sistership (currently under construction) for Hurtigruten Svalbard was inaugurated in August 2019. Futuristically designed, both tour boats feature 2 decks with floor-ceiling and wall-to-wall windows and offer premium food prepared with locally sourced ingredients.
Since 2019, the company's subsidiary Hurtigruten Svalbard (via partnership with the Finnish company Aurora Powertrains) offers eSled (electric snowmobiles) on shore excursions (wilderness tours) on Svalbard Islands (Norway's Arctic). The new snowmobiles are powered by electricity supplied by alternative sources (solar panels and windmills).
In mid-October 2020, Hurtigruten Group initiated a process to sale Hurtigruten Svalbard's real-estate portfolio (3 hotels, retail shops, apartments). As financial advisor was contracted Carnegie Investment Counsel (Registered Investment Advisor firm).
Hurtigruten's ferry service "Norwegian Coastal Express"
"Norwegian Coastal Express" is a Norwegian passenger shipping (cruise ferry) service on the routes Bergen-Kirkenes (northbound) and Kirkenes-Bergen (southbound) along the western and northern coasts of Norway. Currently, Trondheim-Svolvaer ferry route takes 33 hours, while Trondheim-Hammerfest ferry time is 41 hours 15 min.
On the Bergen-Kirkenes ferry route are transported passengers, as well as provisions, mail and various cargo to Norwegian communities without any road or air access.
For the period 2012-2019, Hurtigruten was given an annual USD 600 million subsidies for public transportation (regular ferry) services not otherwise provided. The company's current contract expires on December 31, 2019, with an optional 1-year extension. At the end of September 2017, Norway's Ministry of Transportation and Communication invited ferry companies to compete for the Norwegian Coastal Service's subsidy, with a deadline for the bids January 3, 2018. The new ferry contract was signed for the period January 1, 2021, through December 31, 2031. Hurtigruten had to modernize 7x vessels (deployed on this route) in order to comply with the contract's requirements.
New ships (Polar-class expedition vessels)
In early-June 2016, Hurtigruten signed a letter of intent for building 4 new expedition ships with ice-strengthened hulls, allowing cruising to Antarctic and Arctic destinations. This was company's largest investment in its 123-year history. It followed the announcement (April 2016) that Hurtigruten will add 2 new Polar-class expedition vessels to its fleet.
The shipbuilder is Kleven Marine shipyard (Ulsteinvik Norway). Ship design and propulsion were developed by Rolls-Royce, with the assistance of the designer Espen Oino. The construction order included two additional options. The new ships were named MS Fridtjof Nansen and MS Roald Amundsen. These are the world's first expedition ships with hybrid propulsion. The new-class vessels feature latest environmentally friendly marine technologies. The new hybrid technology allows cruising with fully electric propulsion for up to 30 min. The main gain is the total reduction in fuel consumption and CO2-emissions. The new hybrid technology, along with the effective use of electricity onboard and optimized hull design, reduces emissions by nearly 20%.
The newbuilds have underwater drones (ROV / remotely operated underwater vehicle) developed by Blueye Robotics (Norway). Each drone weighs 7 kg and has 4 thrusters for propulsion. The ROV also features a wide-angle video camera designed to work in limited-light conditions. It streams true-color live images to the ship's TV screens, to all cabin TVs and also to the digital diving masks of the passengers cruising on the ship's Zodiac boats.
Each newbuild has 3 restaurants with current itinerary-based menus. The pool deck has bars, infinity pool, Jacuzzis. Building materials used during construction were predominantly Norwegian, with extensive use of granite, oak, and wool, among others. WIth max passenger capacity 530 each, the new ships were scheduled for launch in July 2018 and July 2019.
In August 2017, Hurtigruten made an investment of NOK 300 million (USD 39 M) in Kleven Group for a 40% interest. In September 2017, Hurtigruten acquired 40% stocks in Kleven Verft after the shipyard experienced a financial crisis.
Along with Hurtigruten, Kleven Group (parent company for the shipyards Kleven and Myklebust) includes Age Remoy, the Kleven-owned companies John Kleven and H-Invest, the yacht-building company Lurssen (Germany) and the private investor Per Lillebo. Without the newly infused capital, Kleven Shipyard was facing bankruptcy. In June 2018, Hurtigruten became full owner of the shipyard after buying the remaining 60% shares. Under the 2018 deal, Hurtigruten also fully owns the subsidiaries Kleven Maritime Contracting and Kleven Maritime Technology. Following the acquisition, Hurtigruten provided NOK 600 million (USD 75 M) financing in order to facilitate Kleven Verft's shipbuilding capabilities.
The last time when the company had a newbuild was in 2007 (MS Fram).
In early-February 2019, Hurtigruten announced that in 2021 will add 4 old ships to the company's expedition fleet - Spitsbergen (2009), Midnatsol (2003), Trollfjord (2002), Finnmarken (2002). This fleet also includes Fram (2007) and the newbuilds/sisterships Roald Amundsen (2019) and Fridtjof Nansen (2020).
On October 25, 2018, Hurtigruten signed an MoU (memorandum of understanding) with Kleven Verft AS for the construction of a third newbuild (530-passenger expedition vessel) sistership to the hybrid-powered Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen. The MoU was signed by Daniel Skjeldam (Hurtigruten Group's CEO) and Olav Nakken (Kleven Verft's CEO).
In March 2023 the company signed a partnership with SINTEF (Stiftelsen for industriell og teknisk forskning/1950-founded, Trondheim-headquartered independent organization specializing in contract projects/analysis, research, and development) for the design of a new class "zero-emission" ferries for Hurtigruten's Norwegian Coastal Express service. The first ship is planned for inauguration in 2030.
Hurtigruten fleet's LNG and Battery Power upgrades
In April 2018, the company announced a USD 150 million fleet renovation project - Hurtigruten's ever largest. Almost all vessels will be upgraded with new hybrid powerplants that combine LNG-engines (liquefied natural gas) and batteries. For the project was contracted Rolls-Royce Marine, initially for 6 vessels and optional another 3. The program's completion was scheduled before the new coastal service contract (January 1, 2021). The project also includes all boats to be upgraded with shore power capabilities.
In November 2018, Hurtigruten announced its fleet will be powered with LBG (liquified biogas) produced mainly from dead fish using organic-waste recycling methods. LBG is sourced from Norway and other Northern European countries with large fisheries and forestry industries producing big volumes of organic waste. In May 2019, Hurtigruten signed an 8-year deal with Biokraft AS to supply LBG fleetwide.
By 2021, Hurtigruten has six old vessels upgraded with FGSS (fuel gas supply system) and biogas-battery-powered (LBG, LNG, batteries).
- For this USD 850 million (EUR 770 M) drydock conversion project, in March 2019 was contracted Hoglund Gas Solutions (HGS) - Hamburg-based subsidiary of the Norwegian company Hoglund Marine Automation). Hoglund developed, delivered and installed the FGSS equipment package, while HB Hunte Engineering GmbH designed and engineered the vessels' fuel tanks.
- Hurtigruten also allocated three boats - Midnatsol (Maud), Trollfjord (Eirik Raude), Finnmarken (Otto Sverdrup) - exclusively for cruise shipping operations between homeports Bergen and Kirkenes. These new Norwegian coastal cruises are available for booking by international passengers and not serving Norwegian ferry passengers.
- Following the project's completion in 2021, the three vessels (Trollfjord, Finnmarken, Midnatsol) were renamed to, respectively, MS Eirik Raude, MS Otto Sverdrup, MS Maud. These ships were also upgraded with hybrid powerplants and equipped with large-capacity battery packs. Starting in 2021, the 3 ships are deployed year-round for Norwegian Coastal cruises.
- MS Otto Sverdrup (Finnmarken) was drydocked in 2020, while MS Eirik Raude (Trollfjord) and MS Maud (Midnatsol) were drydocked in 2021. The three boats were also significantly refurbished (all interior public spaces and all staterooms) and new suites were added. Their max passenger capacity was reduced to 530.
By 2023, 3x "Norwegian Coastal Express" boats (Kong Harald, Nordlys, Richard With) will undergo drydocks for powerplant conversions (from diesel to battery-hybrid), during which new low-emission diesel engines and large battery packs will be installed.
- For this project, on May 11, 2021, Hurtigruten signed a contract with Kongsberg Maritime to deliver the hybrid equipment packages.
- Each ship will be fitted with 2x SAVe Energy storage systems (1,120kWh lithium-ion batteries) controlled via SAVe CUBE (drive switchboards that control the thrusters) and 2x Bergen B33:45V diesel engines (diesel generator sets with SCR-Selective Catalytic Reduction to optimize CO emissions control). The Kongsberg's equipment also includes re-blading of the propellers, installing new thruster motors, AC (current switches), new safety and radio systems.
- The drydocks will be conducted by Myklebust Verft AS (shipyard in Gursken, Norway).
All Hurtigruten ships now have shoreside-power capabilities (plugs for electricity supply at port berths).
Among the deckplan changes following the drydock refurbishments are:
- new venues - Expedition Launch (tender boat platform serving passenger embarkation for shore excursions, complete with expedition equipment and boats), Science Center (fitted with high-tech gadgets and top-notch media technologies and served by ship's Expedition Team), new/redesigned wellness complex (relaxation lounge, gym, treatment rooms for massages).
- Ships' sundeck areas (with outdoor swimming pool/whirlpool) were also upgraded.
- Three new restaurants were introduced - Restaurant Aune (Main Dining Room serving breakfast, lunch, dinner), Restaurant Lindstrom (new speciality dining venue for contemporary cuisine) and Fredheim (casual eatery). On top deck was added an outdoor grill bar.
- The onboard art collections were preserved.
Hurtigruten cruise experience
Hurtigruten ships provide comfortable home-like travel experiences while touring the charming cities, islands and mountain scenery of Norway. The atmosphere onboard is casual because these vessels are on a mission to transport traveling locals and freight in addition to the international mix of cruise passengers making a voyage out of it. Most of the Norwegian crew speak English. Tipping is optional, though many guests will remember the ship's dining staff. On the expedition ms Fram, Hurtigruten recommends 50 kroner per day.
Dining, with all meals included for one-way and roundtrip travelers, takes place in a single onboard restaurant. Breakfast and lunch are buffet-style, open-seating, with a good selection of international and Norwegian selections. Dinners are reserved-seat, set-time, 3-course meals. Special dietary requests have to be made in advance. The 24-hour cafe is most often used by travelers making short trips. Liquor is highly taxed. Passengers may bring their own alcohol supply onboard for consumption in cabins.
Apart from an occasional musical group aboard during summertime departures, there is no entertainment scheduled by Hurtigruten. The Arctic Circle crossing ceremony is a rousing show for those guests chosen by King Neptune as victims (ice-cold water initiation) and others spectating. Everyone watches the constantly changing scenery from decks or in the cozy observation lounges and midship bars, while some also play games and read. Norwegian sculpture and paintings decorate the entire fleet.
An extensive tours program is geared to the seasons and includes city walking tours, church and museum visits, dog sledding, birding, kayaking, Lapland cultural tours, and trips to the North Cape. Hurtigruten tours may be pre-booked online. One of the unique features of these voyages is that passengers rotate often, with point-to-point ferry travelers embarking and disembarking along the route.
Itinerary of Hurtigruten
Currently, the company Hurtigruten operates 2 types of services - ferry (cargo and passenger shipping along Norway's coast) and cruises (global expeditions and Norwegian cruiseferry).
Galapagos cruises 2022-2023-2024
Starting in January 2022, Hurtigruten Expeditions offer an 8-night/9-day Galapagos Islands itinerary that includes hotel stays in Quito Ecuador (two nights/pre- and post-voyage), 6-nights of cruising (roundtrips from Baltra Island) and two domestic flights (between Quito and Baltra).
Hurtigruten's Galapagos voyages are operated by the chartered from Metropolitan Touring luxury yacht Santa Cruz 2 (2002-built, last refurbished in 2021). The first Hurtigruten Galapagos cruise was scheduled to depart on January 5, 2022.
Hurtigruten's Galapagos 2023-2024 seasons feature new itineraries and land-stay options.
- 6-night "Eastern Galapagos"
- 4-night "Northern Galapagos"
- 4-night "Western Galapagos"
- 8-night "Northern and Western Galapagos" (B2B/back-to-back).
As a 3-night pre-/post-tour accommodation option for any Galapagos voyage Hurtigruten offers Mashpi Lodge (rainforest luxury hotel, capacity 47 beds) located northwest of Quito.
Africa cruises 2022-2023-2024
In August 2021, Hurtigruten Expeditions announced the brand's inaugural Africa 2022-2023 season (in December was extended thru 2024). The unique program is based on MS Spitsbergen and features itineraries along Africa's Atlantic Coast as well as the continent's archipelagos Cape Verde and Bissagos.
Hurtigruten's 13-day African itinerary ("West African Archipelago Expedition: Cape Verde and Bissagos Island Cruise" roundtrip from Dakar Senegal) visits ports in 4 countries - Cape Verde (Santiago Island, Fogo Island, Santo Antao Island, Boa Vista Island), Guinea-Bissau (Bissagos), Gambia (Banjul), Senegal (Dakar).
The first departure was scheduled for November 27, 2022.
For the 2022-2023 winter season, the company also planned Atlantic voyages visiting Spain's Canary Islands and Portugal's Madeira Island. Hurtigruten is currently the only cruise line offering West Africa-based voyages.
Expedition cruises to Russia's White Sea 2022-2023
In August 2021, Hurtigruten Expeditions announced it is adding another new region to its growing list of destinations: Russia, and particularly the White Sea in the country's far north. The itinerary follows the additions of expedition voyages to the Galapagos Islands Ecuador, Bissagos Islands Guinea-Bussau, and Cape Verde Western Africa, as well as the Canary Islands and Madeira Islands, which are all due to launch in 2022.
Hurtigruten's new 17-day Expedition Cruise to the White Sea - Norway and Russia Adventure itinerary is scheduled to depart Bergen Norway, on October 6, 2022, and sail north along Norway's coast and include a number of the country's highlights: Lofoten Islands, fjords, visiting settlements rich in Sami history and fishing traditions, and Nordkapp-North Cape, which is the northernmost point of the European mainland.
7 days in Russia are next in line, traveling to one of the country's least-visited parts. The itinerary combines modern-day cities and historic ports with expedition landings at rarely visited villages on the White Sea shores. The trip includes visiting the Solovetsky Islands (Solovki), one of the iconic sights in Northern Russia. Hurtigruten Expeditions' expert team gives passengers an insight into the history and culture of the sites they visit.
Among the highlights of the itinerary, guests can soak up Russian culture and history in a couple of its most northern cities. They can see Soviet-era monuments and learn about the maritime and wartime past in Murmansk before taking in the architecture of Arkhangelsk, the historical and cultural capital of Russia's north.
Passengers can explore Norway and Russia onboard the 180-guest MS Spitsbergen, providing a uniquely intimate setting. The ship also boasts a variety of expedition equipment and Hurtigruten's state-of-the-art Science Center.
Besides the new White Sea itinerary, MS Spitsbergen offers a 23-day Grand Expedition voyage from Tromso Norway to Lisbon Portugal. The cruise can be cut to a smaller sailing departing from Dover (England) UK, Hamburg Germany, or Amsterdam Netherlands, to Lisbon. The vessel then continues to sail Western Africa's waters between November 2022-March 2023.
MS Spitsbergen is due to operate to the Canary and Madeira Islands, as well as the Bissagos Islands and Cape Verde out of Dakar Senegal.
Northwest Passage Cruise 2023
The 26-day itinerary (themed "The Northwest Passage - In the Wake of the Great Explorers") starts from Alaska, passes through Bering Strait, Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea, Amundsen Gulf (NWT Canada) and ends in Halifax NS. Ports of call include Vancouver BC, Nome AK, Ilulissat Greenland, Sisimiut Greenland, Red Bay NL, Corner Brook NL, Halifax.
Arctic 2023 summer season
Hurtigruten Expeditions expanded its summer 2023 Arctic program with 7 new adventures taking passengers closer to the local people and communities visited, as well as deeper into the north's wilderness.
Spanning 11-19 days, the new itineraries (departures June through September 2023) are scheduled for the expedition ship MS Maud leaving either from Dover UK or Reykjavik Iceland and visiting the British Isles, the Faroes, Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard.
With the addition of MS Maud to its Arctic summer 2023 program, Hurtigruten offers more Arctic expedition-style voyages with 5 different ships.
MS Maud's 2023 program includes the following Arctic voyages.
Two 11-day Iceland Circumnavigation voyages (roundtrip from Reykjavik) take guests to some of the country's most incredible sights, and both cross the Arctic circle.
Two 12-day Island Hopping in the North Atlantic cruises explore Iceland, the British Isles and Faroes, the Shetland Islands, and the Orkney Islands. Being the first and last adventures of MS Maud's 2023 summer schedule, they either depart/conclude in Dover UK.
A 20-day "Greenland Summer Expedition" explorers the country's west coast including north of Disko Bay.
The expeditions can be extended with 2-4 days of land tours in Iceland.
Pole-to-Pole Cruises 2022-2023 (Arctic to Antarctica)
In early-June 2021 Hurtigruten Expeditions announced two (company's first) "pole-to-pole cruises" scheduled to combine into a single itinerary the regions Alaska (Aleutian Islands, St Matthew Island), Northwest Passage (Arctic Canada's Atlantic-Pacific sea route, Baffin Island), Greenland, Caribbean (Belize, Nicaragua), Panama Canal (full transit), South America (also Chilean Fjords), Antarctica.
- The 93-day itinerary (Vancouver BC Canada to Buenos Aires Argentina) was planned for MS Roald Amundsen, departing on August 8, 2022, and visiting 11 countries. Prices started from USD 64580 (EUR 53045) per person with double occupancy.
- The 66-day itinerary (Edmonton, Alberta Canada, to Valparaiso-Santiago Chile) was planned for MS Fram, departing on September 22, 2022, and visiting 7 countries. Prices started from USD 50140 (EUR 41175) per person with double occupancy.
The 93-day itinerary schedule included the following segments:
- DAYS 2-17 (Vancouver to Nome AK) - Misty Fjords, Wrangell AK, Sitka AK, Icy Bay (glaciers Guyot, Yahtse, Tyndall, Guyot), Kodiak AK, Katmai National Park, Chignik AK, Unga Village, Dutch Harbor, St Paul and St. Matthew Islands, Nome AK
- DAYS 18-21 (at sea) Bering Strait, Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea
- DAYS 22-32 (Canada and Greenland) Amundsen Gulf, Cape Bathurst, Ulukhaktok, Cambridge Bay (Victoria Island), Gjoa Haven, Somerset Island (Fort Ross on Hudson's Bay), Beechey Island, Devon Island, Baffin Island (Mittimatalik)
- DAYS 33-40 (Greenland and Atlantic Canada) Baffin Bay, Davis Strait, Ilulissat, Sisimiut, Red Bay (Belle Isle Strait), Corner Brook
- DAYS 41-48 (Halifax NS to Boston MA) Halifax, Sable Island, Lunenburg NS, Eastport ME, Bar Harbor ME, Provincetown MA, Boston
- DAYS 49-52 (at sea)
- DAYS 53-62 (Miami FL to Colon Panama) Miami, Belize City, Lighthouse Reef Belize, Isla de Providencia Colombia, Corn Islands Nicaragua, Bocas del Toro Panama, Colon
- DAYS 63-76 (Panama Canal to Valparaiso-Santiago Chile) Manta Ecuador, Machala-Puerto Bolivar Ecuador, Salaverry Peru, Lima Peru, Paracas Peru, Arica Chile, Iquique Chile, La Serena Chile, Valparaiso
- DAYS 77-86 (Chilean Patagonia) Castro, Puerto Eden, Puerto Natales, Chilean fjords, Magellan Strait, Cape Horn, Drake Passage
- DAYS 87-90 (Antarctica) Antarctic Peninsula (~20 landing sites), South Shetland Islands
- DAYS 91-93 (Ushuaia/debarkation) flight to Buenos Aires
In February 2022 were announced a series of new Grand Expedition Cruises (Pole-to-Pole) visiting 4 continents, 100+ landing sites, ~100 adventure-packed days, ever-changing waters and climate zones.
- 94-day (MS Roald Amundsen) Alaska-Northwest Passage-Antarctica. The 11-countries itinerary departs Vancouver Canada on August 3, 2023. Passengers disembark in Ushuaia (Argentina).
- 93-day (MS Fridtjof Nansen) Iceland-Northwest Passage-Alaska-Antarctica. The itinerary departs from Reykjavik (Iceland) to Ushuaia.
- 66-day (MS Fram) Canada-Northwest Passage-South America-Antarctica. The itinerary starts from Canada’s Northwest Passage and ends in Punta Arenas (Chile) in late August 2023.
In addition to the 3 Grands, Hurtigruten's new series of Grand Expedition Cruises provide a selection of month-long itineraries, combining a number of the brand’s most iconic itineraries. Passengers can expand their vacations further by adding Hurtigruten's pre-/post-offerings to the Grand Expedition Cruises, such as visits to unique destinations like Machu Picchu or Easter Island.
The Pole-to-Pole expeditions, like all Hurtigruten cruises, feature an onboard expedition team with experts specially handpicked for each itinerary.
"Svalbard Express" and "North Cape Express" voyages 2023
In 2023, Hurtigruten offers with MS Trollfjord two new for the company voyages themed as "Svalbard Express" and "North Cape Express". The new itineraries are an upgraded extension to the Norwegian Coastal Express, also featuring longer in-port stays (half-day or full-day), special onboard events and exclusive amenities (all-day dining, afternoon tea service, takeaway service, cooking classes, alcoholic beverages tastings, cocktail bar, live entertainment).
Svalbard Express (June 3 - Sept 9, 2023) is priced from USD 4960 pp. North Cape Express (departing on September 26, 2023) is priced from USD 2457 pp.
The 14-night/15-day "Svalbard Express" itinerary is a Bergen roundtrip that follows the original coastal routes operated by Hurtigruten in the period 1968-1982, visiting the archipelagos Lofoten and Vesteralen, as well as Nordkapp and Spitsbergen Island (Svalbard Archipelago). Svalbard Express' call ports include Andalsnes, Traena, Stokmarknes, Tromso, Honningsvag, Bjornoya/Bear Island (coastal cruising), Spitsbergen (Longyearbyen, Ny-Alesund), Tromso, Senja Island, Svolvaer, Bronnoysund, Alesund, Urke/Hjorundfjord, Bergen.
Svalbard Express is also offered as a 7-day one-way either Kirkenes-Longyearbyen or Longyearbyen-Kirkenes. Both one-way packages are inclusive of a 2-night hotel in Longyearbyen, 2x land excursions, an evening at Camp Barentz's cabin, as well as catamaran cruising (MS Bard/hybrid-electric passenger ship, 2020-built/IMO 9892248).
The 14-night/15-day "North Cape Express" departs from Oslo (overnight) and ends in Bergen (overnight) visiting Kristiansand, Farsund, Haugesund, Hardangerfjord (cruising), Alesund, Bronnoysund, Svolvaer, Stokmarknes, Tromso, Honningsvag, Alta, Lodingen, Rorvik, Molde, Kristiansund, Bergen.
Norwegian Coastal Express cruises (Hurtigruten and Havila Voyages)
Hurtigruten's new coastal Norway excursions program implements expedition teams. More than 35 of these voyages are new, along with the company's existing shore excursions and themed activities.
Next is the cruise ship itinerary map showing the Norwegian Coastal Express (ferry route) operated by Hurtigruten and Havila Voyages (since 2021).
The list of all ports along the northbound "Norwegian Coastal Express" itinerary includes Bergen (turnaround port), Alesund, Floro, Geiranger (Stranda), Maloy (Vagsoy), Molde, Torvik (Heroy, Leinoya Island), Kristiansund, Rorvik (Vikna), Trondheim, Bodo, Bronnoysund (Bronnoy), Nesna, Ornes (Meloy), Sandnessjoen (Alstahaug), Stamsund (Vestvagoy Island), Svolvaer (Vagan, Austvagoya Island), Trollfjorden (Hadsel), Finnsnes (Lenvik), Harstad (Hinnoya Island), Risoyhamn (Andoy Island), Skjervoy, Sortland (Langoya Island), Stokmarknes (Hadseloya Island), Tromso, Berlevag, Hammerfest, Honningsvag (Mageroya Island, Nordkapp / North Cape), Kjollefjord (Lebesby), Mehamn (Gamvik), Oksfjord (Loppa), Batsfjord, Vardo (Vardoya Island), Kirkenes (turnaround port).
Next table shows Hurtigruten's 11-night / 12-day "Classic Norwegian Coastal Voyage" itinerary roundtrip from Bergen. Prices in 2020 started at ~USD $1900 per person (double-occupancy cabin rates).
Adventure cruisers can expect the unexpected with Hurtigruten, offering:
- A record number of authentic Norwegian excursions (3-day and 4-day cruise extensions) are offered, ranging from gentle strolls to energetic hikes, and from nature-themed tours to urban exploration - onshore and by ship.
- Professional expedition teams interpret the wildlife, nature, and culture along the coast during onboard lectures and port talks.
- "Young Explorers" kids activity program is custom-tailored (on selected ships and cruises only).
- Kids-friendly tours/excursions specifically designed for children ages 7-13 yo
- New astronomy-themed cruises offer stargazing excursions (first introduced in 2018).
- A locally-sourced onboard food menu mirrors Norway's rugged coastline.
- The company offers convenient dates for year-round Norwegian cruise departures. Hurtigruten is one of the ever best options to book the unique "Northern Lights" cruises.
Hurtigruten's coastal expedition excursions accommodate all activity levels and ages. They range from the midnight concert (in Tromso's Arctic Cathedral) to exploring Kristiansund mountains by dogsledding with Alaskan huskies. Adventurers are even able to chase the Northern Lights during snowmobile safaris between the ports Kjollefjord and Mehamn.
Among the other excursions on the daily coastal voyages between Bergen to Kirkenes, are themed:
- Discover Norway's 2nd largest glacier
- Catch, prepare and eat king crabs
- Explore the most powerful tidal current in the world on a RIB-boat safari.
Expedition hosts of the coast are available on 9 out of 11 Hurtigruten ships. Onboard experts share their first-hand knowledge of natural phenomena, wildlife, landscapes, and history. They also enhance cruise tourists' experiences by a variety of activities and interpreting the natural and cultural treasures encountered along the ferry route.
Hurtigruten passengers can also enjoy touring mainland Norway by adding port stays (3 or 4 days) in one of 6 featured port cities (prior to or after the voyage). In Bronnoysund, Tromso, and Trondheim, passengers can take "naturban" mini-expeditions on explorer boats while the cruise ship is docked in port.
Hurtigruten announced it will offer roundtrip voyages from Port Dover UK in winter 2021-2022, which is a first in the company's 126-year history. Also revealed were 12-day "Norway Expedition" cruises (between October 2021-March 2022) departing out of Dover and visiting ports along Norway's coast. The itineraries are on MS Maud (currently MS Trollfjord). Passengers can participate in complimentary activities each day, allowing them to explore the history, culture, and wildlife of the destinations visited. Hurtigruten also increased the number of its expedition team members sailing onboard the cruise ship in order to provide lectures and additional information.
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