When you think of cruises, huge cruise ships basking in the glow of the Caribbean sun often come to mind. But if you fancy something a little different, then a cruise along the Norwegian coast is a perfect idea. It may be a bit cooler, but it’s not just a barren land of snow it is a stunning coastline with mile upon mile of spectacular scenery benefiting from the glow of the midnight sun in summer and the elusive Northern Lights in winter.
The History of Hurtigruten
The seas could be perilous, the maps unreliable and the transport infrequent, but the Norwegian Government decided to create a safe, reliable and fast way to connect Norway’s northern and southern regions. In 1893, a ship DS Vesteraalen and its’ Captain Richard With took on the challenge, and Hurtigruten was born.
120 years later, the Norwegian cruise ship company is still going strong. They offer a whole range of different types of cruises, but by far the most popular and exciting is the voyage in search of the Northern Lights.
Cross Off The Bucket List
Seeing the Northern Lights is on the bucket list of most people with an interest in space, nature or those who just want to see something magical and amazing. Hurtigruten offer a cruise that stays within the Arctic Circle, giving you the best chance of seeing the lights. But it’s not all about floating around staring at the sky, hoping for the lights to appear.
There’s a wide range of different excursions and calls at ports along the coast to get a real insight into Norwegian life, so even if you don’t see the lights, you’ll have a once in a lifetime experience regardless.
The itinerary is jam packed with a whole range of activities that can cater to a range of different interests. The North Cape excursion is one of the most popular and is one that shouldn’t be missed. Travel to the most northern point on the European continent, and take in the plateau itself and the icy Arctic Ocean.
You will also see a 180 panoramic film about Finnmark and the North Cape, and you can buy souvenirs, send postcards and get something warming to eat and drink.
Another excursion you could take is to the Kirkenes Snow Hotel. The hotel is set near the Gabba Reindeer Park and contains Norway’s largest ice bar. You’ll get a guided tour around the hotel itself and you’ll get a chance to take a look at the snow and ice art that has made it famous.
Like most cruise ships, the cabins vary in size. At the high end, suites offer plenty of extra space, with a seating area, a TV and most have a double bed too. For a lower cost, a cabin includes separate beds with a wash basin but still offer a cosy place to retire to at night.
The Hurtigruten dining experience is really quite informal with no dressing up for dinner. The food is sourced locally as far as is possible and dictated by the part of the country that you’re in. Lunch is buffet style offering a wide range of hot and cold dishes including, fish, meats, pasta and salad, plus mouth watering desserts.
Dinner gives you the chance to catch up with other guests over a three course menu created skilfully in the kitchen using fresh local food. Full board and half board options are available on a choice of longer classic and short break voyages.
From time to time Hurtigruten have offers on. So if you’re thinking that a Norwegian cruise might be a bit on the pricey side, then you’ll be able to take a look and see if there’s anything that might save you some money.
A Norwegian cruise ship isn’t about cheesey cruise entertainment; it’s a way to get closer to and explore the majesty that the nature and the culture of Norway has to offer.
For more information please visit www.hurtigruten.co.uk