Inaugurated in 1893, Hurtigruten is a daily passenger and freight shipping service along Norway’s western coastline between Bergen and Kirkenes, on the country’s northeastern border with Russia. Hurtigruten has recently gone upmarket with the addition of more-luxurious new ships. (There are 14 in total.)
I decided to travel overnight from Bergen to Alesund. Boarding at the ship terminal was efficient and cordial. Our ship, the 16,000-ton, 822-passenger MS Trollfjord, had Expedition Suites with picture windows, double beds and private balconies. During the high-summer months, however, these are reserved for people on a longer cruise, the most popular of which is the 12-day Classic Roundtrip Voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes. (Standard Cabins offer a single large porthole, twin beds and a small bath with stall shower.)
Our fellow passengers were a mixture of people who’d signed up for a longer cruise, Norwegians using the ship as transit and short-haul travelers like ourselves. We dined in the luxury restaurant that night, and the food was surprisingly good; breakfast the next morning was excellent. Our brief passage was expensive, but the longer cruises offer much better value for the money. The experience was enjoyable, but Hurtigruten cannot be compared with traditional luxury cruises along the Norwegian coastline, such as those offered by companies like Silversea.