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Cruise Line Guide

Hurtigruten Coastal Express: Your guide to historic Norwegian cruise line

Hurtigruten Coastal Express sails the length of the spectacular Norwegian coastline offering Northern Lights cruises, Midnight Sun sailings and more.

Hurtigruten Coastal Express is a historic way to explore the coast of Norway and has plenty to offer travelers wishing to visit the country in depth.

Here’s everything you need to know about the cruise line and its exciting cruises.

What is Hurtigruten Coastal Express?

Hurtigruten was founded back in 1893 by Captain Richard With. His ship, the DS Vesteraalen, followed a route along the coast of Norway, providing a fast connection between Trondheim and Tromsø or Hammerfest (depending on the season). Fun fact, the words “hurtig ruten” means “the fast route”!

This maritime link linked remote Norwegian communities, enabling the transportation of mail, goods and passengers. The route, known as the Coastal Express, marked the beginning of Hurtigruten’s legacy, and it is still in use today.

What is the Norwegian Coastal Express route?

The Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express journey along the coast now commences in the southern city of Bergen, extends beyond the Arctic Circle, reaches Kirkenes, and then returns. It takes 12 days in total and covers approximately 2,500 nautical miles.

Expect to take in Norway’s renowned fjords, complete with picturesque farms and quaint fishing villages; the mountains and legends of the Helgeland Coast; and the enchanting Lofoten and Vesterålen islands.

The Coastal Express offers three different vacation experiences: The Original Coastal Express, The North Cape Express and The Svalbard Express.

The Original Coastal Express: Ideal for those who want to travel on the historic route, available year-round, allowing you to sail with locals who use the ship for their port-to-port journeys.

The North Cape Express: This route takes you to experience the Northern Lights and includes visits to some of Norway’s northernmost and southernmost ports. It offers delicious food and various activities, sailing to and from Oslo.

The Svalbard Express: Venturing into the Arctic Circle, this option is based on Hurtigruten’s original journey to Svalbard. It’s designed for those who wish to immerse themselves in Norwegian culture and witness the ‘Land of the Midnight Sun.’

Hurtigruten Norway Coastal Express FAQs


Can you hop on and off Hurtigruten?

During the journey, your Hurtigruten ship stops at 34 coastal communities, ranging from large to small, both day and night. You’ll anchor in villages and towns for durations of 10 to 45 minutes, while the vessel will call at cities for several hours.

However, there’s plenty of flexibility with Hurtigruten and one of the standout features of the line is its “hop-on, hop-off” approach. Whether you’re new to cruising or have limited time to spare, you can embark on only a portion of the coastal voyage.

Passengers can opt for a seven-day northbound journey from Bergen to Kirkenes or a six-day southbound voyage on another. Additionally, Hurtigruten provides shorter two to five-day expeditions and the option for specific port-to-port bookings, too.

Furthermore, with ships sailing throughout the year, you can travel whenever suits you, in any of Norway’s four picturesque seasons.

What are Hurtigruten cabins like?

As with standard cruise lines, Hurtigruten has a range of cabins for travelers to choose from depending on group size and budget.

Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express cabins

Polar Inside:
Hurtigruten Polar Inside cabins can be found on all decks. They all include bathrooms with showers and toilets. Some have single beds, which can also serve as sofas, while others offer double beds or bunk beds. None of these cabins have windows.

Polar Outside:
Hurtigruten Polar Outside cabins are located on the lower decks and come with private bathrooms. These cabins also have single beds, some of which convert into sofas, or bunk beds.

Arctic Superior:
Hurtigruten Arctic Superior cabins on the upper and middle decks offer relaxation and comfort. These cabins feature bathrooms with showers and toilets, as well as tea and coffee-making facilities. All cabins come with double beds.

Expedition Suite:
The brand’s most luxurious cabins on the upper deck are the Hurtigruten Expedition Suites. These cabins include double beds, seating areas with TVs, and bathrooms with showers and toilets. Some suites offer additional amenities. Suite guests will also receive a welcome gift in their cabin.

Note, if you’re on a Select or Platinum fare, you can pick your cabin grade and number at no extra cost, depending on availability. However, for guests traveling between Bergen and Kirkenes or Kirkenes and Bergen on a Select fare, there’s a fee for selecting a specific cabin number. For guests on a Basic fare, your cabin grade and number will be assigned to you at the onboard check-in.

Is food included on Hurtigruten Coastal Express?

Yes, full-board set-menu dining is available to all passengers sailing on Classic Voyages. The Basic fare upwards includes all three daily meals in the main restaurant, with pre-allocated meal times. More flexibility is offered with higher fares.

What is dining like on Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express?

Each Hurtigruten ship has three dining options: a main restaurant, a bistro-style eatery, and a fine-dining à la carte restaurant. These venues all focus on serving authentic local cuisine and boast large windows from which you can admire the view!

Hurtigruten Coastal Express restaurants

Main restaurant, Torget, offers a diverse menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, curated by head chef Øistein Nilsen. Meals here are included in your cruise fare.

Kysten is a stylish à la carte restaurant with a modern, elegant ambiance, serving dishes crafted from the finest coastal ingredients such as seaweed and kelp, extra tender reindeer and juicy scallops with local butter and wild herb. Dining at Kysten is included for suite guests but extra for non-suite travelers.

Named after ‘wharf’ in Norwegian, Brygga offers quick and tasty meals like salads, sandwiches, wraps, pizzas and gourmet burgers, including its renowned shrimp sandwich. An extra charge applies to dining here.

Multe, the onboard bakery, serves open sandwiches, fresh smoothies, coffee, and Lofoten ice cream with classic and Norwegian-inspired flavours, like brown cheese (brunost). An extra charge applies to eating here.

Are drinks included on Hurtigruten?

This depends on your fare. The Select fare includes complimentary tea and coffee while Platinum includes a full drinks package with your full-board dining, as well as all dinners à la carte at Kysten, the onboard fine-dining restaurant. Basic does not comprise beverages.

What bars are on Hurtigruten Norway Coastal Express?

The Explorer Bar serves premium coffee, organic teas, hot chocolate, fruit juices, various Norwegian beers, red, white, and rosé wine and a collection of Norwegian aquavit.

Are Hurtigruten excursions worth it?

Hurtigruten Coastal Express provides a wide range of optional excursions, from hikes, kayaking and cycling tours to cathedral visits, art walks and brewery visits.

Hurtigruten suggests booking your excursions ahead of time to secure your spot. You can reserve them up to four weeks before your departure.

If any excursion spots are still available, you can purchase them onboard using Norwegian Kroner at the ship’s exchange rate.

Please be aware that all excursions are subject to change due to weather and sea conditions, which may affect their feasibility. Additionally, some excursions may have minimum or maximum participant requirements.

Are gratuities included on Hurtigruten cruises?

Tipping is not included and is not a usual practice on Hurtigruten ships. The line states that if you wish to acknowledge outstanding service by crew members, you’ll find tip boxes with envelopes in the restaurant.

Is Wi-Fi included on Hurtigruten Coastal Express?

Yes, Hurtigruten provides free Wi-Fi. Guests with a Basic fare will need to register on the free 1893 Ambassador loyalty program for access, which comes with discounts and benefits. Note the Wi-Fi signal varies across the ship, and in remote Norwegian regions it may have slower speeds unsuitable for streaming.

What shops are on Hurtigruten ships?

Onboard all Hurtigruten ships there is a shop with a wide range of clothes (including high-quality knitwear), souvenirs and gift items, as well as a small selection of toiletries.

Are toiletries provided on Hurtigruten cruises?

You’ll find towels and shower gel/liquid soap in all cabins. Most ships also provide hair dryers in every cabin. If not, you can request one from the reception.

Published 10.18.23