Hurtigruten has a 120 year history of transporting cargo and passengers on the coast of Norway. In the past 4 or 5 years they have become a bigger player in the passenger market. They now have 11 ships 10 of which are engaged in the traditional Norwegian coastal voyages. The 11th, the MS Fram, is an expedition ship that travels to Antarctica, Greenland, Iceland and parts of Northern Europe.
The MS Fram is comparatively new to Hurtigruten (launched in 2007) and has a capacity of 256 guests. MS Fram is designed for sailing in polar waters, holds the highest safety standards and is the perfect size for optimum nautical manoeuvrability and guests’ comfort.
The rest of the Hurtigruten fleet is engaged in voyages up and down the Norwegian coast. The ships carry from 150 to 1000 guests.
Voyage Experience - Hurtugruten offers two distinct experiences - the expedition voyages on the MS Fram focus on wildlife, history, and culture in the Northern climates. The rest of the fleet is engaged in the traditional voyages along the coast of Norway. In a 7 day voyage you may visit up to 34 ports as the working part of the ship drops off and picks up cargo. There are plenty of opportunities for short excursions while the ship is in port or longer excursions where you travel by bus to some attraction and then bus to the next port to meet the ship.
Life on Board - on the MS Fram, the experience is much like other expedition ships - time on board is taken up with lectures rather than Las Vegas shows or casinos. The coastal voyages are with working ships with not a lot of time for shore excursions. The real attraction is the scenery as you make your way in and out of the beautiful fjords.
Accommodations - compared to your average large cruise ship, cabins on Hurtigruten ships would be considered small. The exceptions would be the suites which are quite large.
Prices - for the Norway coastal cruises prices for a mid level cabin will range from $400 to $500 per person per night in the summer. Winter prices will be closer to $200 pp pn and spring and fall somewhere in between. Expedition voyages will be higher - many include some air from Copenhagen to ship locations.
Recommendations - the Norwegian coastal voyage is certainly a different experience. The company has developed a number of interesting shore excursions that mesh with the short stays in ports (either 2 hour excursions or longer ones that have you meeting the ship at the next port). You do get to see a lot of beautiful shoreline scenery. The expedition cruises are similar to others that cruise the Antartica. The emphasis on Greenland and Spitzbergen in the north is a departure from the more common itineraries.
Sample Itneraries - just click the link to review