Cruising the Coast of Norway 

on a Hurtigruten Ship

By Dana Proctor

Hurtigruten in Geiranger

Cruises don't always need the Caribbean or Mediterranean as their destination. While palm trees and sun-drenched beaches have their allure, so do fjords and puffins. That doesn't mean roughing it in parkas and earmuffs, however – coastal liners from Hurtigruten are modern ships that offer a sophisticated, hotel-like experience. They are designed to please the passenger who desires exciting indoor and outdoor activities.

According to the cruise line, the liners are geared to sail in polar waters to bring guests close to nature and wildlife. The vessels have many lounges to relax in, while travelers wishing to stay active can do so in well-equipped gyms or by taking brisk walks on deck. Enjoy on-deck Jacuzzis as the ship passes by Arctic settings under the Midnight Sun; you can expect to see Norway in comfort and style, with every accommodation.

There is one notable exception: Internet cafes are available to passengers, but due to how far north these cruise liners travel, Wi-Fi may not always be available. Although there will be plenty of sights to enjoy, consider downloading games online to your smartphone or tablet, just in case you want some down time.

Here are a few highlights of
three popular Hurtigruten ships:

The M/S Polarlys

Hurtigruten Polarlys by Geir Løvbugt

The MS Polarlys is named after the Norwegian word for “polar light.” The moniker reflects the Arctic phenomenon being sought in the cruide line's winter program, "Hunting the Light."

For those wanting to travel in style, the MS Polarlys is furnished with polished brass and mahogany paneling. There also is a wonderful selection of Norwegian contemporary art for an added touch of northern European culture.

The M/S Finnmarken

Hurtigruten Finnmarken by Geir Løvbugt

The MS Finnmarken is the only ship with both Jacuzzis and a swimming pool on deck.

The bow is also accessible for another unique aspect of the ship – on Deck 5 of the MS Finnmarken, guests can travel the entire way to the front of the vessel.

The ship is decorated in art nouveau style.

The M/S Kong Harald

Hurtigruten Kong Harald by Geir Løvbugt

The MS Kong Harald is named after the King of Norway, but it honors other famous Norwegians, as well. The bar is named after the Norwegian polar pioneer and Nobel Peace laureate, Fridtjof Nansen, and the cafe is named after polar explorer Roald Amundsen.

Inside the MS Kong Harald, travelers can view decorative details of the King's Crown emblem.

Travelers taking a Norwegian Hurtigruten cruise will experience many of the beautiful sights that are unique to this part of the world.

Perhaps the most famous of these is the Northern Lights, or the aurora borealis. The Northern Lights are caused by electrically charged, high-energy particles entering the earth's atmosphere, resulting in yellow-green or reddish-violet lights.

Around the Arctic Circle, the aurora borealis can be seen almost nightly from late November to March, provided there are no clouds.

Travelers can take an excursion that includes a stop at Norway's original capital city, Trondheim, which boasts monastery ruins and colorful wharves. Your visit should include a stop to the Nidaros Cathedral, which was built over the burial place of the patron saint of Norway, St. Olav.

And what would a cruise to Norway be without seeing the fjords, those great valleys carved through mountains where glaciers retreated? Visit Geirangerfjord, which Hurtigruten calls the "pearl of the West Country fjords."

About the author:

Dana Proctor has frequented houseboats, hot air balloons, planes, trains and skateboards to relay the fun things readers can do on vacation.

Go from the article to read more about the Hurtigruten Classic Cruise.

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