Hurtigruten Book

20th June 2008, 13:16
A query perhaps for our Scandinavian members: are there any good recommended publications available in Norway (in English preferably ! ) about the Hurtigruten; formation, history, routes, ships, companies etc etc.

It would be good to find one produced to the same sort of standard as the Ships in Focus publications, with lots of pics.

I am going later this summer, and would like to have something better than a publicity brochure ....

Thanks in advance ....



Bill Davies
20th June 2008, 14:45
I undertook this voyage a few years ago on my retirement in 2005 and enjoyed it immensely however, I would suggest the following:
1. Just do one leg : Bergen Kirkenes or vice versa
2. Alternatively Bodo to Bodo (the best part)


20th June 2008, 15:08
Don't know this book, but it's available: (Amazon was out of stock.) Another who promises it faster: Regards, Stein.

20th June 2008, 15:17
As a matter of fact, I have written what is the basic reference work on the Coastal Express Line: Hurtigruten - Sjøveien mot nord.

It was first published in 1997, reprinted in 1999 with a new edition in 2003 comprising the three new ships.
224 pages, hardbound, partly in colour, giving the background, history and decelopment of the service, as well as separate chapters on all the ships.
Alas, only in Norwegian.
And, alas, out of print.

I saw some copies at Nautisk Forlag in Oslo a few weeks ago. Try them if you feel brave enough to decipher Norwegian, although photos and drawings need no language.

Contact:, tel +47 2200 8500

Dag (Dag Bakka Jr)

20th June 2008, 16:35
Dag, Stein ....

Many thanks for the replies and references.

Dag, given the amount of promotion this trip is getting around the world in recent years, I'm kind of surprised they haven't paid you to update and translate into English !

It's a shame I didn't think about this earlier, my father came back from Oslo yesterday, he could have found it for me !



20th June 2008, 16:38
I undertook this voyage a few years ago on my retirement in 2005 and enjoyed it immensely however, I would suggest the following:
1. Just do one leg : Bergen Kirkenes or vice versa
2. Alternatively Bodo to Bodo (the best part)


Hi Bill ...

Thanks for this, I'm already booked for the round trip on NORDLYS. I have seen most of it before, but that was in the mid 1970's on a bulk carrier to Narvik and Kirkenes, and in the winter - hopefully the weather will be better and a bit more visible than I saw it in the semi-darkness !

20th June 2008, 17:40
My wife and I returned on Tuesday having done the Classic Norwegian Explorer which is Bergen-Kirkenes-Trondheim then by rail to Oslo. The ship was 'Midnatsol'.

It was wonderful. We were helped by good weather all the way. If you decide to only do one way make it the Northbound voyage. The Geraingerfjord is the most scenic and Southbound the ships don't enter the fjord. We would also recommend the excursion Gerainger-Molde (2B in the Hurtigruten brochure).

For seamanship and the manouevrability of their ships the Trollfjord is the most impressive and that is on both directions.

The efficiency of berthing/unberthing and loading cars and cargo was amazing to an old 1960's sailor. A few smaller places were only scheduled a 15minute stop and I thought who's kidding who, but the timekeeping was like Swiss Railways and in their 15 mins 3 cars drove ashore, 2 new one boarded, a dozen foot passengers left and fork-lift trucks shifted numerous pallets on or off, all without any shouting or noise.

We were very happy with the size of our cabin and with the amount and quality of food. We knew (and were grateful) that there was no entertainment apart from the scenery. We thought that at least some choice of food at dinner would have been reasonable, we'll eat anything - just about- but not everyone eats ham. (It doesn't sound better as swine cutlets!).

Obviously prices in Norway are generally twice the UK level and Hurtigruten are not a charity so are 50% higher still. Summer 'cruises' subsidise winter ferry runs. We did an optional 2 nights in Bergen before boarding which was enjoyable and useful as we bought some items from the supermarkets rather than on board (and you pass thru Duty Free in Bergen airport). I baulked at the cheeky £7 to visit the bridge! In my days with P&O bridge visits were good public relations, even if all the brass needed cleaning again after the sticky-fingered children's visit.

It is a brilliant cruise for people who hate cruising in a floating Butlins camp. Incidently QE2 was in Bergen on our departure and Oriana in Oslo at the end.

Book and enjoy!


24th August 2008, 18:09
We sailed on the Nordlys in February- round trip although the gales stopped us reaching Kirkenes. We got as far as Honningsvag and then had to turn back to Hammerfest where we gained an extra day before the ship picked up its normal timetable again. Captain said the ship could have continued to Kirkenes but he wasn't sure about the passengers ! We were the third vessel to turn back in 3 days which is very unusual for the line.

You receive a 'Hurtigruten' book when you board that has information on the line and the area/ports visited day by day.

Buy a water or wine package (depending on your preference) at your first dinner because it is cheaper than buying daily.

Buy a coffee mug each ASAP providing they are still doing this offer. It appears expensive but you can then fill it up as often as you wish free of charge- getting your money back within 2-3 days.

It was very interesting that several of our companions on this voyage were on their third (or eighth!) trip particularly choosing to sail on the Nordlys.

It is only a pity that it will soon be impossible to sail to Norway from NE England and Smyril only sails from Scrabster for a few weeks of the year otherwise I would have gone back this autumn and then sailed from Iceland back to Scotland on MS Fram

Tony Breach
25th August 2008, 11:42
My wife & I did the Ships Monthly round trip on FINNMARKEN last year. At £1270 each from LHR on half board basis & inclusive of one nights board at a Bergen hotel with breakfast it was damn good value. Important to get meals included as it is expensive to buy them on board. The round trip is the best value but the best part is that the ports where you stopped at night when northbound you see in the day southbound. There was also a jazz festival during part of the northbound leg & the North Norway military band for part of the southbound leg. Class entertainment if you wanted it - Dixieland & Grieg!

No choice of meal for dinner, except vegetarian, but the food is of such high quality it is not necessary. Breakfast & lunch are buffet style & also excellent.

The ship was spotlessly clean & all the staff that we met were friendly & helpful. We had bridge tour without charge & also the chief engineer gave 6 of us a tour of his domain but there were a couple of chiefs in our party which made it possible.

Capacity 1000 pax of which 638 in cabins. 2 restaurants, 2 snack bars, 3 bars. The ship is run by less than 100 crew in a most efficient & relaxed fashion & docks & undocks about 6 times a day. For pure efficiency combined excelence Hurtigruten must be way ahead of the big cruise outfits. A cruise line fit for a sailor. (I use the term cruise line as I think Hurtigruten is about the only one. With all cabins full of "cruisers" she can carry 362 day pax plus cargo & mails so truly a liner in that sense)

Enjoy the experience,

Bill Davies
25th August 2008, 12:09
Did the 'Polarlis' in 2004. Excellent.
Thinking of doing it again next year but next time Bodo to Bodo which I thought was the best part, in particularly the Lofotens. You can trim it down to what you want. There were a few ports where we just about made it about 100 mtrs when the 2/m was screaming for us to come back! I think 12 minutes was the shortest stay.

Tony Breach
25th August 2008, 17:34

We just loved it all & if we go again we would have to do the whole thing once more. Yes, port times were short & somewhere I had to leave half a cup of coffee behind - all part of the experience. Our trip was Sept/Oct & didn't do Geiranger but the short entry into Trollfjord was amazing. I spent the last third of my career working with Swedes, Norwegians & Danes so for me it was great to experience the beauty & culture of Norway. Nothing was too much trouble & if you told the purser's desk to call you at any time of the night if the aurora was performing they would make sure you got a pleasant wake-up call. The best trip to sea I ever did.


27th August 2008, 18:43
MS Nordlys:

arriving at the Hurtigruten terminal, Bergen, February 2008.
60° 23' 33.9'' N 5° 18' 37.6'' E

in Honningsvag. Note she is starboard side to the side of the pier- she could not risk going port alongside the end of the pier because of the fierce (katabatic?) winds. Returned to Hammerfest that evening.
70° 58' 45.2'' N 25° 58' 19.1'' E

lifeboat drill in Hammerfest- where she had returned to wait on her scheduled departure time having been unable to reach Kirkenes. It is calm in the bay but gales outside.
70° 39' 51.6'' N 23° 40' 45.8'' E

(coords where camera was sited)

12th September 2008, 18:15
I came back from a trip on NORDLYS at the end of August, it was a great trip, sunny for all bar a couple of days, I would echo one of Gaelsail's hints, definitely buy the coffee mug package, but forget the water and wine ones. Tap water is freely available during the meals, I suspect it is what is put into the ships bottles anyway ! We took a box of wine with us, for a glass in the cabin before dinner, that lasted most of the trip rather than paying £33 for a bottle of ordinary wine at the table. The food was good, the buffet breakfasts and lunches had a goodly variety, and the dinners were excellent.

Cabins are surprisingly spacious, for two at least - I wouldn't bother with a forward facing suite as there will always be someone standing there obstructing your view, which is just what you don't want in Geirangerfjord or especially Trollfjord.

Make sure to visit the Hurtigruten museum in Stokmarknes, the previous FINNMARKEN on a plinth outside, and some wonderful ship models and recreated shipboard scenes inside. The Radio Room one even had a soundtrack !

Bill Davies
12th September 2008, 20:39
I did a round trip on Polarlys in 2004. I used to walk into the saloon in the evening with two large glasses of Rioja ( Copenhagen Airport) and nobody said a word. The beer you can obtain cheaply (relatively) in the local 'Spar' shops

18th September 2008, 10:01
.... As a matter of fact, I have written what is the basic reference work on the Coastal Express Line: Hurtigruten - Sjøveien mot nord. ....

Dag, I spoke to my father last night, he is in Oslo at the moment, and found he had managed to pick up a copy of your book, and was mightily impressed by it.

There are only two problems, the first is I don't know when he will be returning to the UK, the second although I asked him to get it for me, I think it will be a long time coming to me !!