What to pack on a Hurtigruten Classic Coastal Cruise

Norway is known for its extremes and weather is no exception. Particularly in spring, a Classic Coastal Voyage can take guests from balmy weather in Bergen, to wind with rain showers in Stockmarknes, to the only just receding depths of winter up north in Kirkenes. And all in the space of 12 days!

This of course makes packing a little bit of a headache, so we have come up with some tips for the gear we trust the most to serve you, no matter the season! Most importantly, remember that a Hurtigruten voyage is about seeing the incredible Norwegian coastline in relaxed comfort, so bring comfortable clothes that allow you to participate in various activities. There is no requirement to change for dinner onboard and the dress code is casual.

Basics – all year round

This list presumes you already have your basic holiday essentials and builds on that. First of all, don’t forget your camera! You’ll certainly be creating some unforgettable memories and it will be nice to be able to share them with your friends when you return home through photos. And bring along an extra memory card too: even if you don’t use it, it’s better to have space than to run out.

From the panorama decks onboard, there are some great opportunities to spot wildlife so a set of binoculars can really come in hand. There are many day and shore excursions on offer on the Hurtigruten Coastal Voyages so it is a good idea to bring a small backpack, just big enough for your camera, jacket, a water bottle and maybe some souvenirs you pick up along the way.

For clothing and accessories, we suggest:

  • Comfortable everyday shoes – for wearing around deck and exploring port towns.
  • Wool or fleece jumper – this should be a jumper you can wear as either a layer or an outer layer in balmier weather.
  • Sun screen – sun reflecting off the snow is especially notorious.
  • Sunglasses – polarised, the Midnight Sun can be very bright!
  • Bathers – many of our 12 ships that sail the coastal route have Jacuzzis and swimming pools onboard, where you can relax and watch the world drift past.
  • Wind and waterproof jacket and trousers – a high performing jacket is really worth the investment. Waterproof overpants work well – once you are back inside, you can hang them out to dry without having to get changed.
  • Mid layer jacket – great for the southern section of the voyage, this sort of jacket should be warm but most importantly wind-resistant as it is often the ocean breeze that will make you cold.
  • Woollen underwear – long johns and a thin long sleeve top in a merino wool will be warm, lightweight and the natural fibres in the merino stops them from getting too smelly. If wool irritates you, there are plenty of high performing synthetic polypropylene fabrics that will be equally as good.

Winter, Spring and Autumn

Clothing and accessories:

  • Winter boots with good grip – try to buy these at least six weeks before your trip and wear them in, even if that just means wearing them around the house. This means that you’ll avoid any nasty blisters when you wear them on treks ashore.
  • Spikes- if you can’t get these, never fear, they are also for sale onboard.
  • Thick winter jacket – a down or synthetic equivalent
  • Beanie, gloves, scarf
  • Woollen socks – if you find that woollen socks irritate you, consider buying some bamboo liner socks to wear underneath your warmer woollen ones. Liner socks can also help to prevent blisters when you are walking long distances.
  • Woollen or fleece jumper

Summer

Clothing and accessories:

  • Lightweight fleece jumper
  • Sandals – consider buying sandals with strong arch support so that you can wear them while exploring port towns and maybe even for some light hikes.
  • Light water-resistant jacket – something that folds up nice and small is ideal, making it easy to slip into a backpack and ready at a moments notice
  • Light woollen socks – again, if wool irritates you, try bamboo socks instead.
  • Hiking shoes or boots – same as the winter boots, try to buy these well in advance and wear them in.
  • Lightweight scarf, summer hat and thin gloves
  • T-shirts – quick drying fabrics are easy and breathable. If you’d like to participate in some of the more active excursions, consider buying some t shirts with moisture-wicking technology.
  • Shorts

If you forget anything in your excitement about your impending adventure, the Hurtigruten onboard shops carry a selected range of high quality knitwear, clothing, souvenirs and gift items. In addition, there is also a small selection of toiletries available for purchase.

Wild Scandinavia: Puffin facts

 

Did you know that this cute Atlantic bird is also known as a ‘clown of the sea’ or a ‘sea parrot’? With their almost comically large beak and head, striped in a distinctive red and orange fashion, seeing a puffin in the wild is a quintessential Arctic and sub-Arctic experience.

On a Hurtigruten voyage to Norway, Iceland or Greenland you’ll have the opportunity to spot these beautiful birds and even join one of our bird watching safaris. Some 60% of puffins nest on Iceland, so on a visit to Reykjavik, make sure you check out the not to distant nesting grounds. Before you head off on your Arctic adventure, here are a few interesting facts about these cute little critters:

12 Puffin Facts:

1. Puffins get their name from their puffed-up appearance. Puffins are only about 25cm tall and have thick down to withstand the freezing waters. Their thick black and white feathers give them the appearance of roundness, like they have a little belly. When puffins fight they raise their feathers in an attempt to look more intimidating to the other puffin. To the human eye though, in combat these birds look perhaps even cuter.

2. Puffins are extremely effective flyers and by flapping their wings at about 350–400 beats per minute, they can reach speeds of up to 88 km/h!

3. Puffins don’t always mate for life exclusively, but they do rarely change mates, prompting many people to describe them as monogamous. When a puffin is 3 to 5 years old, they will choose a life mate. Every year, they return to the same nesting grounds with their mate and perform a mating dance, where they rub their beaks together. This is known as billing and will often draw an excited crowd of puffins to watch. They then make a nest in a burrow and lay just one egg, for which they share responsibility, including when the chick hatches out of the egg.

4. The puffin’s Latin name, Fratercula means ‘little brother’. The name refers to the sea bird’s black and white plumage, because it was said to resemble the robes that friars (or brothers) once wore.

puffins_fish_600x4505. A puffins main diet is fish and sometimes crustaceans. Similar to penguins, they are incredibly skilled divers and hunt for prey by diving. They can stay underwater for up to a minute at up to 60m of depth searching for fish, but usually only spend 20–30 seconds in the water at a time. Puffins are able to carry an impressive number of fish in their beaks at once – they usually catch around 10 or so per hunt, but have been known to carry more. According to Project Puffin, the record for fish held at once was 62.

6. Puffins spend most of their lives at sea, resting on the waves when they are not swimming. They will drink seawater to maintain energy between hunting prey.

7. A puffin’s beak changes colour during the year. In winter, the beak has a dull grey colour, but in the springtime, in time for mating season, it becomes bright red or orange. The vibrancy of the colour is thought to indicate the puffin’s health and therefore attractiveness as a mate.

puffins_chick1_600x4508. Puffins have waterproof feathers specifically effective for open sea. It is extremely important that they keep their feathers clean to maintain the waterproofing so learning how to do this is essential for young chicks, or pufflings. Although a puffling will not leave the burrow until they are able to fly, at the mouth of the burrow will be a toilet area, away from the nest to maintain cleanliness.

9. In the wild, puffins live up to 20 years and their main predator is the great black-backed gull, which will catch the puffins while they are in flight or swoop in on them when they are on the ground.

10. There are a few collective nouns for puffins, but our favourite has got to be a Circus of Puffins (because they’re also known as “clowns of the sea”)

11. Ever wondered what sound a puffin makes? When they’re flying they make a high screeching noise, and when they’re in their burrows they make a muted sound a bit like a cat purring.

12. Puffins are not classified as endangered but they are threatened by over-fishing in some areas, as this is their main food source. Climate change also poses a threat to puffins as they are ideally built for 0–20°C  waters and cool water fish.

 

See these incredible sea parrots for yourself with us on one of our expedition cruises or excursions!