Hurtigruten: Cruise under the Northern Lights

Before it was named the Hurtigruten, the Norway-based cruise ferry compamy was known as Norwegian Coastal Voyage. That was back when it was more known as a carrier shipping company.  With its new set of voyages and ships today, though, the Hurtigruten (meaning speedy voyage in English) deserves the name.

Its cruises are considered the most panoramic in the world. While the company hasn’t completely abandoned the cargo-shipping line, and its cruises aren’t designed mainly for luxury, their passengers are still spellbound by their Norwegian destinations. 

Excellent Meals and Entertaining Activities

Since they never put themselves in the same category as luxury cruises, no one can really fault Hurtigruten for not having onboard fitness facilities, a sauna or a salon. What they do offer are excellent meals, an entertaining selection of onboard activities, exciting excursions onshore, space for your car if you plan to bring it along, and accommodating crew members.

Because it’s not exactly a luxury cruise line despite the five-star treatment you’ll be getting from the staff, you might also have delays during port stops. This will depend on how many vehicles are being loaded onto the ferry boat. The entertainment line-up while you’re on the ship can also be improved, but as they’ve stressed time and again, they’re not just a cruise company. Some factors will have to be sacrificed.

Startlingly Beautiful Sights

All-year-round, though, passengers pine for space with every one of the 11 ships operated by the Hurtigruten. This is because they do offer the most accessible and comfortable means of traveling from the USA to Norway and back again. Their longest cruises run for up to 66-nights. This is the Antartica Voyage where you’ll be taken through the fascinating world of the South Pole. This particular cruise is perfect for wildlife lovers (and those who have the time to actually go on a 66-night cruise).

Norway-USA roundtrip cruises are shorter, though. They usually run for 11 glorious nights. In the morning, you can expect excellently cooked salmon for breakfast while admiring the northern lights. Travelers should also sign up for the Glacier Cruise. It’s one of the most exciting cruises in the Hurtigruten’s itinerary. Gasp in bewilderment as the cruise ships come very close to the glaciers. The captains of the ships are experts in dodging these giant ice mountains.

Of course, you probably won’t even think about the ship hitting the glaciers as you’ll be too busy admiring the structure of this natural wonder. The cabins of the ships are comfortable but not as luxurious as most mega cruise ships. Since these cruises do go to extremely cold locations, it’s good to know that the floors of the bathroom are heated. The beddings are also warm enough.

A word of caution, though, the prices of alcoholic drinks are steep. Passengers are allowed to bring their own bottles onboard, but they’re not allowed to drink it in public. If you’re traveling with friends, you’ll probably drink in your cabins.

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  3. Paul Gauguin Cruises: Highly Rated in the South Pacific
  4. AIDA Cruises: German-based Cruise Line
  5. SeaDream Yacht Club: Intimate Yachting

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