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The Hurtigruten Story

In the late 19th century, the 780-mile coastline from Bergen to Kirkenes was a busy route for transportation of goods and people, operated by all types of vessels from steamers to the single-sailed 'jakts'. Read more...

Services on that route were unreliable, infrequent and ships rarely sailed at night, making a journey between north and south a long and arduous one.

The authorities wanted to improve  the situation and invited shipping companies to submit tenders for  operating  an express route between Trondheim and Tromsø, or Hammerfest, depending on the season. At that time there were only 28 lighthouses north of Trondheim, making nighttime sailing very risky. But the owner of a newly formed company showed an interest in the route despite the hazards.

This man was Richard With, from Stokmarknes, in northern Norway. In 1893, Captain Richard With’s steamer, DS Vesteralen,  was brought into service along the coast of Norway, and a regular sea link was established. The service offered weekly  departures, at first from Trondheim to Hammerfest and later from Bergen to Kirkenes, the latter in only seven days. With named this important connection “hurtigruten,” - "the fast route".

Richard With's eagerness to explore did not stop at  the Norwegian coast. His ambitions were significantly higher. As early as 1896, he transported a prefabricated hotel from the mainland to Svalbard. He placed it outside Longyearbyen on what is still called “Hotellneset” ("Hotel Point"). The same year, Richard With established the "Sportsman's route" from Hammerfest on mainland Norway to Svalbard, serviced by the steamer DS Lofoten. Its captain was Otto Sverdrup, who later became Fridtjof Nansen's legendary commander of the polar vessel Fram.

This marks the beginning of Hurtigruten's adventurous and unique explorer operations. Our destinations are no longer limited to Spitsbergen, but include Iceland, Greenland and Antarctica. Hurtigruten’s eleven coastal ships still carry freight and guests along the coast of Norway to 34 daily ports of call. Our captains have extensive maritime expertise and experience and bring guests and goods safely from port to port. Every day one of our ships departs Bergen heading north to Kirkenes. The full round trip lasts 12 days and is of many called “the world’s most beautiful voyage”. Today, as they have been more than 120 years, our ships are the best way to explore the Norwegian coast, its nature and culture.

 

Meet  the Fleet

Hurtigruten's Newest Explorer Vessels

Read more on the Bentours blog

MS Finnmarken

On board MS Finnmarken you find the relaxed atmosphere combined with a splash of luxury. The ship is beautifully appointed and decorated in an Art Deco style with rich colours, bold geometric shapes, and lavish ornamentation. She is the only ship with both a swimming pool and hot tub on deck.

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MS Fram

MS Fram brings on the heritage of the original Fram, using the most advanced technology to make her exceptionally well suited for expedition voyages in Polar Regions. Enjoy the sauna or jacuzzi and watch icebergs float silently by.

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MS Kong Harald

Although named after King Harald of Norway, this newly refurbished ship offers a modern and stylish interior with a very relaxed atmosphere. Many of the materials that are used on board are natural, and t colour palette reflects the diverse coastal landscape we pass by on our journey.

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MS Lofoten

Launched in Oslo in 1964, MS Lofoten provides you with a voyage of real nostalgia in an intimate, informal atmosphere. The ship is named after the Lofoten Islands. On journeys with MS Lofoten, the heritage of Hurtigruten is the focus. With unique lounges and panoramic decks to enjoy, this ‘old lady’ is simply one of a kind.

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MS Midnatsol

MS Midnatsol (Midnight Sun) is dedicated to the Norwegian summer. The interior’s bright, colourful décor is inspired by the warm sunny climate, a motif also reflected in the many pieces of modern Norwegian art on display. MS Midnatsol’s two-storey panorama lounge allows natural light to flood in while providing extraordinary views.

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MS Nordkapp

Named after one of the highlights of the Hurtigruten voyage, the North Cape, which at 71ºN is the northernmost point of mainland Europe. As one of our expedition ships, she comes fully equipped with her own expedition team. The Scandinavian interior is stylish yet unpretentious, providing the perfect setting for an active exploration of the Norwegian coast.

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MS Nordlys

Expedition ship MS Nordlys is named after the spectacular natural phenomenon of the Northern Lights. The ship’s art, décor and colours are all inspired by the magical light show. As one of our expeditions ships, she takes our guests on more active voyages along the coast.

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MS Nordnorge

"Nord-Norge" means the northern region of Norway, situated north of the Arctic Circle. The new, stylish décor with a modern Nordic feel reflects the breathtaking raw landscape of Arctic Norway. Enjoy evenings relaxing in the ship’s elegant maritime atmosphere after a day of experiencing a wide selection of active excursions and activities.

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MS Nordstjernen

This ship was built for the Coastal Voyage fleet in 1956 and extensively modernised in 2000 for exclusive Arctic sailing. Today she takes explorers on adventures in the waters around Spitsbergen. Despite modernisation, she still retains the aura of an old Atlantic ship, restored to her former splendour with new brass, classic wooden interiors and all her original art. Enjoy the large dining room and bar, a café, a panorama lounge and a library.

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MS Polarlys

Polarlys is the Norwegian word for polar light, a name given to the special Arctic light phenomenon during winter. The new interior décor reflects the stunning coastal landscape of Norway, with the colour palette ranging from earthy browns and oranges to the blue-green shades of the ocean and fjords.

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MS Richard With

Expedition ship MS Richard With is named after the founder of Hurtigruten. On board the ship, you can appreciate the beautiful artwork by the famous Harr family. The panorama lounges treat you to unforgettable views of the surrounding scenery, and the onboard expedition team will make your journey even more memorable.

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MS Spitsbergen

Our newest ship, MS Spitsbergen, is named after Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago, the Arctic crown of Norway. The interior on this modern and environmentally-friendly ship is from Tillberg of Sweden, the world's leading marine architecture and interior design firm.

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MS Trollfjord

This ship is named after the famous Trollfjord in northern Norway. It has a comfortable interior, with an extensive use of Norwegian wood and stone. The large, two-storey panorama lounge above the bow and the large glass expanses allow natural light to fill the ship while providing extraordinary views for our guests.

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MS Vesterålen

MS Vesterålen is named after the first Hurtigruten ship that sailed along the Norwegian coastline back in 1893. The ship is characterised by her bright, cheerful public areas and lounges. With the limited capacity and the possibility to take part in Hurtigruten history and everyday life on board, a voyage on MS Vesterålen is truly a unique experience.

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