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Icy Arctic Circle on Hurtigruten tour
Premier

Hurtigruten

3.5 | Average
  • 83% Recommend
Service Level
  • Standard
Type
  • Regional Expert
Established
  • 1893
Headquarters
  • Tromsø, Norway
Trips
  • 15

6
Hurtigruten Reviews & Ratings 83% Recommend

3.5 out of 5
Excellent 2 Great 2 Average 0 Disappointing 1 Terrible 1
Value:
3.5 Guide:
3.2 Activities:
3.5 Lodging:
3.2 Transportation:
3.5 Meals:
3.5

Tour Reviews

C

Recommends

One of the world's most beautiful voyages January 2015

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 3.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 3.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
The Hurtigruten, which travels the coast of Norway north from Bergen beyond the Arctic Circle almost to Russia, is nothing short of gorgeous. You get to stop in big cities/towns like Tromso and Trondheim, but also in little villages,including one known as the farthest north in Europe. You also get to cruise down some beautiful fjords. One of the best features is that the ships double as cargo carriers along with passengers, so at every stop you can watch the crew load and unload the supplies that keep these far-north villages going all year round. (The summer trips are almost all 24-hour daylight, while the winter trips are mostly in darkness.) There's nothing fancy about these ships, and the food isn't as memorable as on some other ships, but the experience is hard to top. Hurtigruten has expanded beyond Norway, too, but I haven't taken any of their other trips.
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Tour Hurtigruten Company Reviews

h

Recommends

To the High Arctic on the MV Fram June 2016

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Before we began the cruise, we spent three days in an apartment in Reykjavik. I would recommend a stay in Iceland to anyone cruising in that part of the world. Iceland is beautiful in a wild and unique way.

MV Fram, built by Hurtigruten in 2007 especially for cruising the polar regions, is a wonderful ship. According to Hurtigruten, it carries 318 passengers, but we were told the ship was full on this voyage with 227. The average age of passengers was typical for an expedition-type cruise, i.e., younger than on large ships. There were two or three people with physical handicaps (one in a wheelchair) and a number of children. Eighty to ninety percent of the passengers were Scandinavians (93 Norwegians) and Germans. There were only four Americans aboard, along with a handful of people from other English-speaking countries. The official language of the voyage was English.

Check-in on the ship in Reykjavik was chaotic. Help with luggage was available upon request; otherwise everyone managed their own bags. As on more traditional cruises, a cruise card was used for all purchases aboard. There was a small gift shop with clothing appropriate for the voyage, along with some souvenir items and toiletries. Alcohol, soft drinks, and premium coffees could be purchased. Shore excursions were included in the cruise price, and all passengers were given windbreakers as a memento of the voyage.

There were two dinner seatings with assigned tables, but due to the nature of the trip, all but two nights were buffets with open seating. The food was Scandinavian, meaning good fresh fish (such as salmon) at dinner, and smoked or marinated fish as a choice at every buffet. Besides the fish and excellent desserts, the food was uninspired, to say the least. Vegetarians, diabetics, and people with gluten intolerance were provided for. A snack bar with complimentary coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cookies, and small sandwiches was open 24/7. There was no room service.

The cruise itself was an unforgettable experience. After one sea day we reached Jan Mayen Island, a tiny Norwegian outpost 370 miles NE of Iceland. It is inhabited only by fourteen hardy souls who run the weather station there. There is no harbor, no regular air service, and no tourist facilities. The only visitors are the occasional yachts that anchor there. The Fram was the first cruise ship to call there. Our landing was made on a rocky beach from "Polarcirkel" boats (similar to Zodiacs), and required waterproof boots. Jan Mayen is a wild, desolate place with essentially no vegetation. The perfectly shaped volcano last erupted in the 1970's, and the whole island consists of lava rock. The weather was relatively mild, with calm seas and temperatures in the forties. While we were ashore the volcano was obscured by clouds, but later that night the midnight sun appeared and illuminated the snow-covered peak with its glaciers. As if on cue, three Minke whales also appeared.

After another sea day we arrived at Spitsbergen, where our first stop was to be Longyearbyen, the largest settlement in the Svalbard archipelago. As luck would have it, an ice-field totally filled the Isfjorden. The Fram is designed to break through such ice floes, but progress was so slow that after two hours the captain made the decision to cancel that stop and head north. Standing on the bow (fully covered with wind-proof pants, jacket, hood, boots, and heavy long-johns) watching our laborious progress through the ice, I felt a long, long way from home. We saw many birds taking advantage of the shifting ice floes: puffins, guillemots, auks, fulmars, gulls, and arctic terns.

Our trip north along the west coast of Spitsbergen took us past an incredible landscape of mountains, glaciers and blue skies.

The next morning we stopped for a guided tour of Ny Alesund, a small settlement made up of scientists from different countries doing various polar research projects. Cruise ships and yachts do stop there, but there are no facilities except a small gift shop and a museum. Ny Alesund used to be a mining town, and most of the buildings are remodeled houses from that era.

Later that day we made a landing at the beach in beautiful Magdalena Fjord, where blubber ovens were still visible from the days when whaling ships used this natural harbor (ice-free year round due to the Gulf Stream) as headquarters for their activities in this part of the world. While leaving Magdalena Fjord we saw our only polar bears of the trip, unfortunately far in the distance. It was a mother and cub.

After midnight that night (still bright sunlight) we reached Moffin Island off the north coast of Spitsbergen. It's a walrus preserve, so we were not allowed to go ashore but could see the walrus colony quite clearly.

There were other wonderful experiences sailing through the many fjords and past the countless glaciers and bird nesting cliffs of Spitsbergen. Days and nights were spent watching the scenery and profiting from the excellent lectures and slide shows of the scientists aboard the ship. Among them were five Ph.D.s in such fields as Geology, Glaciology, and Ornithology. All were experts on the polar regions and also gave talks on the history of polar expeditions, animals of the Arctic, and the like.

There was no nightly entertainment per se, just a pianist in the lounge, and a couple of events such as a crew talent show. In addition, all passengers were taken on a tour of the Bridge.

The voyage ended on a dramatic note with another passage through the ice-field in the Isfjorden to get to our final destination, Longyearbyen. It took all of the last day, so the scheduled landing had to be cancelled. But the ship's breaking through the ice was such an exhilarating experience that it was worth it.

We had a few hours in Longyearbyen before our flight to Oslo (included in the cruise fare). The settlement has a history of coal mining and other attempts at making a profitable permanent town here, including many international disputes over sovereignty, especially between Norway and Russia.

The Fram is a beautiful small ship, nicely appointed with a large observation lounge, lecture rooms, attractive public areas, a fitness room, two on-deck hot

tubs, and interesting art work. Our cabin was tiny but acceptable. The service was impeccable and friendly, although with mostly open seating we didn't have much personal interaction with the dining room staff.

The Expedition Team was fantastic, comprised of exceedingly competent and knowledgeable men and women.

All in all, this was an incredible cruise for someone who wants to get way off the beaten path. A memorable experience all around.
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Tour Hurtigruten Company Reviews

F

Recommends

very cool Antarctic cruise June 2016

4.0
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 4.0
We had wanted to take an expedition style cruise to Antarctica for a while now. Having traveled previously on Hurtigruten along the Norwegian coast a number of years ago, when they started cruising to Antarctica last year at reasonable prices we were definitely interested. Antarctica promised to be a remote and unusual adventure with unique scenery and wildlife.

The Fram is a new ship (went into service in 2007) and is very comfortable with attractive Scandinavian modern style, and excellent public spaces, especially the observation deck on the 7th deck with comfortable chairs and floor to ceiling windows, and the 4th deck dining room, also with extensive windows and views.

Cabins:

We signed up for QJ mini suite with limited view. (Cabins below suite category are very SMALL--be aware of this before you book one). Initially we got less than we had expected or paid for: suite 503 instead of being a limited view suite was a NO view suite, with superstructure almost completely blocking the window and any views except at an extreme angle. After complaining to the Hotel Director, who confirmed that this should have been booked only as a no-view suite (as should the comparable one on the port side of the ship) and then, vehemently, to the Chief Purser, we were switched to suite 516, which was perfectly fine. Moderately roomy, with a comfortable queen bed, adequate floor space, good bathroom with shower, this suite had a decent outside view with only minor obstruction. Note: all the deck 5 QJ cabins have an accessible deck directly outside, so there is limited privacy unless the drapes are drawn.

Perks of having a suite on this cruise: 2 free shore excursions (Tierra del Fuego National Park and a tango show in Buenos Aires for us); a bottle of French Champagne in the suite, and free beverages with lunch and dinner (soft drinks, beer, mediocre wine).

Service: The dining room and cabin crew seemed to be almost exclusively Filipino. The staff were uniformly pleasant, courteous, and helpful, a real plus. We thought overall service levels were equivalent to the highly rated and expensive cruise lines like Regent and Silversea.

Shore excursions: Two a day while in Antarctica, and we didn't miss any because of bad weather which sometimes happening. These were the highlight of the cruise. Only 100 passengers are allowed ashore at one time, due to Antarctic regulations. So excursions were limited to 1 hour shore time. The Polar Cerkel boats which took us ashore are nicer than Zodiacs, with better protection from wind and spray. During the excursions, we could walk around on the snow and ice, climb small hills, walk past penguin rookeries (Gentoo, Adellie and Chinstrap Penguins) and past elephant seals and Antarctic birds. Vistas were spectacular, vast fields of white snow, white and blue snow and ice, icebergs, distant and mostly hidden mountains. It was foggy the entire trip, so we could never see the mountain peaks, which remained partially hidden and mysterious.

Food: This was usually good, never great. Most meals were buffet style, and we always were able to find something palatable. My vegetarian brother-in-law did fine. Best were the salads, fresh fruits, meat dishes. Not as much herring as I would have expected in a Norwegian line. (On the Norwegian coastal cruise there was abundant delicious herring preparations, salmon...) On the few set meals there was an alternate main dish offered (which had to be requested in advance, though).

Lectures: disappointing. We stopped going after the first few, as the lecturers weren't that interesting, mostly around Antarctic history. Not nearly enough about wildlife, our primary interest. Too anecdotal.

Entertainment: none that we went to, so I can't comment. Not much expected by us or offered.

Fitness: There is an adequately equipped fitness room which my wife used regularly. On decks 7 and 8 there are limited walking areas with excellent views. Two outdoor jacuzzis which we never had the opportunity to use.

Passengers: younger than we had expected,many people in their 40's and 50's and a few even younger. At least half seemed to be from the US, then about a third or more German, with some Asian, French and UK passengers as well. Announcements and lectures were offered in English and German.

Overall, we were all very pleased. The ship offered an extremely comfortable way to see this remote part of the world. Views from the ship were often spectacular, especially going (twice, once each way) through the Lemaire Channel. The shore excursions met all our expectations.
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s

Recommends

An Excellent Adventure on the MV Fram and Crew June 2016

4.0
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 4.0
My travel buddy and I flew to Spitsbergen from Oslo. Before our cruise we stayed overyight at the Radisson Blu Hotel. Nothing fancy, just a place to wait for the ship. The staff was helpful and friendly. I'll start with my only real complaint about my Fram experience: the check in procedure. We all seemed to arrive by bus from our hotels at roughly the same time...then we proceeded to our assigned deck, where I stood in line for one hour to be checked in - really, to provide them with my credit card information. The check-in process needs to be streamlined and improved. Other than that, the crew, the ship, almost everything and everyone met or exceeded my expectations.

If we didn't want to purchase a drink package we were able to have water with each meal, and the food was VERY good. Our cabin was small but acceptable for the week we were on board. One of our excursions - a hike - was really more of a forced march. The terrain was so rough I couldn't enjoy the scenery because of the necessity to look where every step was taking me. The pace was far too fast for the conditions. Before we began our cruise I hoped for just one decent polar bear sighting. Of course, with wildlife there are never any guarantees.From the ship we saw a total of seven polar bear! I was thrilled to come home with five VERY nice photos of them.

We also spent an hour on land watching a large group of walrus. Gliding through the heavy ice was a thrilling experience. Because of ice conditions our route was changed and a couple of landings were not possible but we knew we were at the mercy of the weather and ice. In the end, because of the ice, we didn't just circle Spitsbergen - we went around Svalbard! Of course everyone should investigate any company and specific ship and itinerary before purchasing a cruise, but I will heartily recommend Hurtigruten and the Fram to experience Spitsbergen.
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j

Recommends

The scenery is the entertainment. June 2016

4.0
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 4.0
My family including our 17 year old son sailed from Kirkenes to Bergen in August. The ship was the size we expected - a smaller passenger ship, billed a "coastal steamer". Our son had his own cabin which gave all of us plenty of room - and him space to do his own thing.

Highlights that passengers will enjoy is meeting other passengers, mostly European, who welcome conversation particularly with young people like our son. The food was invaribly healthy, plentiful and delicious - quite a distinction from a Caribbean cruise we took on a floating city. Hurtigruten is definitely and thankfully not that!

We also enjoyed the frequent stops at various towns and small ports along the way. At Hammerfest we took a 2-3 mile hike up over the hill overlooking the town. At another town, we were surprised to see vintage American cars of the 1950's and 60's tooling around town. If there was time I would go for a run as soon as we tied up enjoying discoveries as I ran through Trondheim and other lovely communities.

The Richard With needs some updating but nevertheless is comfortable. For those who want entertainment, this and we presume other Hurtigruten ships have little, their belief being that the scenery and the other passengers are entertainment enough. Fair enough but a movie once or twice would have been a fair diversion we might have enjoyed with other shipmates.
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Stride Review

Once known as "Norwegian Coastal Voyage" in the U.S., Hurtigruten adopted its traditional Norwegian name a few years ago, and remains, in many minds, "The World's Most Beautiful Voyage."

What Makes Them Stand Out?

They operate cruises to lesser known locations and focus on providing unique nature experiences and excursions. They’ve been a leader in constantly improving how they treat the landscape and try to maintain as little harmful impact as possible.

Who Travels With Them?

Hurtigruten’s cruises are perfect for adventurous travelers looking to “connect with your inner explorer.” Excursions tend to be very active, and do take place in harsher environments - it will most likely be cold! And while you certainly won’t be roughing it, the Hurtigruten ships aren't the newest vessels on the seas, nor are they equipped with large numbers of amenities. But the scenery and experiences are hard to beat.

Where Do They Operate?

The 11 Hurtigruten ships ply the Norwegian coast from Bergen to Kirkenes, near the Russian border, making the round trip in just under two weeks (but many passengers choose to go just one way). They also run voyages to Spitsbergen (a far northern Norwegian island also known as Svalbard) and other Arctic locations, as well as Antarctica.

Why Travel With Them?

For spectacular views, and incredibly unique experiences ashore. You'll stop in some fascinating cities and fishing villages; sail down gorgeous fjords and view snow-capped mountains; cross the Arctic Circle; pay a visit to the Top of Europe (the northernmost point on the Continent); and watch as the ships unload supplies for the locals at each stop -- the Hurtigruten is both cruise passenger and cargo ship.

Visit Hurtigruten site >

From Hurtigruten

The coastline between Bergen and Kirkenes is over 1,490 miles long, and in the 19th Century almost all of it was home to rich fishing grounds. The maritime maps were unreliable and there were only a few lighthouses, especially in the north. This important seaway was lined with perilous reefs, small islands and narrow inlets, and it was essential that a safe trade route be established to link the southern and northern regions of Norway.

When the Norwegian government decided to create a connection between the north and the south, Richard With and his friend Anders Holthe took on the challenge of thoroughly mapping the seas along the coastline. In 1893, Captain Richard With’s steamer, DS Vesteraalen, was brought into regular service along the coast of Norway, and Hurtigruten was established. The service offered several weekly departures, first from Trondheim to Hammerfest and later from Bergen to Kirkenes in only seven days. He called this important connection ‘Hurtigruten’ (the fast route).

120 years later, we still carry freight and passengers. Our captains use their extensive maritime expertise to ensure that guests and goods are safely carried from port to port. Today, as then, the Hurtigruten ships are a part of Norwegian coastal life. One of the fleet’s 11 ships departs Bergen daily, sailing to Kirkenes and back in 12 days at an average speed of 15 knots.

Hurtigruten's Ships

Hurtigruten ships have been a staple along the Norwegian coast since 1893. The current fleet consists of classic ships, ships built in the late nineties, and ships built after the millennium.

MS Fram:

Many boast of their “ultimate” expedition ships. But none, save the MS Fram, contains two critical features which deliver adventure in a more safe and comfortable way. MS Fram is a purpose-build expedition ship built especially for comfortable Explorer voyages, with emphasis on relaxation and discovery.

MS Fram was built in 2007 with one mission in mind - to bring her guests closer to nature, wildlife and unforgettable experiences. As well as offering numerous lounges in which to relax, our more active guests can use our well-equipped gym. Meanwhile, on deck, our Jacuzzis guarantee you surreal memories when passing the towering icebergs of Antarctica or Greenland.

Associations:

Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators, International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, Reisegarantifondet, International Air Transport Association

Awards:

Trips & Specials

Black Friday Offer: Save up to 50% on Last Minute Voyages to Antarctica. Book by December 4th!

Spitsbergen Price Guarantee: Book a 6 day Spitsbergen & Polar Bear Arctic Adventure on MS Nordstjernen with our Guarantee Price Offer (June to August 2015)

Greenland - Guarantee Price Offer: Book a Greenland voyage with our Guarantee Price Offer, choose an Inside Cabin, Outside Cabin or Suite at a fixed rate and receive the best available cabin on the day your voyage departs.

Excursions Package Offer: Throughout our voyages you have the opportunity to take part in the many excursions we offer, allowing you to get even closer to  theNorwegian culture, wildlife and landscape. We've put togehter four of our most popular excursions each season to buy as a package. If you book one of the packages, you'll receive on board credit to spend on your voyage.

The Vinland Saga Adventure tour
15 days
Small Ship Cruise
Premium - 4 star
Physical :
From: $ 8,207

Highlights

  • Explore several of the isles and islands in the North Atlantic Ocean
  • Sail in the wake of the Vikings
  • Learn more about Viking history and heritage
  • Exciting excursions, both with and without a Viking theme
More
Greenland to Svalbard expedition tour
13 days
Small Ship Cruise
Premium - 4 star
Physical :
From: $ 6,531

Highlights

  • See a number of large fjord systems in Greenland and on Spitsbergen
  • Visit Greenland, Jan Mayen, Iceland and Spitsbergen in the same journey
  • See the wildlife in the Arctic
  • Enjoy an expedition under the midnight sun
More
Discover the green coast of Brazil tour
15 days
Small Ship Cruise
Premium - 4 star
Physical :
From: $ 1,680

Highlights

  • On board lectures by our Expedition team on destinations and wildlife along the route
  • Excursions to cities, cultural and historical places, and the South American wilderness
  • Prolong you stay in Montevideo after disembarkation
More
Adventure from Cape Horn to the Penguins of Antarctica tour
15 days
Small Ship Cruise
Premium - 4 star
Physical :
From: $ 5,890

Highlights

  • Lectures on popular science topics
  • On board science centre
  • Activities in our fully equipped explorer room
  • Landings in Antarctica
More
 

See All Hurtigruten Trips >

 

Tours & Operators on Stride Awarded and Featured by:

  • National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure
  • Outside, The New York Times