The Hurtigruten History

The Hurtigruten History goes more than 100 years back, and through these years it has built its reputation as solid and reliable.

As a brand it has no equals in Norway, and many Norwegians along the coast think of it as our National Pride.

Thanks to officers and crew that always put their passengers first, the Hurtigruten became very popular among the people in the many small, coastal communitys.

But it has not been without loss. The Hurtigruten History shows that many of the ships has been through disasters, and WW II took many lives also on the Hurtigruten ships.

Let us take a look at some of the old ships. These are ships with soul and spirit, and quite unlike the modern, floating hotels of today.

The following images shows old paintings, and the originals are to be found in the old coastal community of Indre Kvarøy, which up to 1958 was a port of call for the Hurtigruten on it's Classic Norwegian Cruise.


In May 1907, the beautiful yacht "Alexandra" was launched from the ship yard in Glasgow, Scotland.  It was completed in 1908, and was put into service as a Royal yacht, to be used by the British King Edward VII on his holidays.

In May 1925 the ship was sold to the Norwegian steamship company Nordenfjeldske Dampskibsselskab (NFDS) in Trondheim for £ 25.000.

The ship was renamed, and got the name D/S "Prins Olav", named after Queen Alexandra's grandson, prince Olav of Norway.

The ship was modified several times, and was completely rebuild in 1936/1937 in Trondheim. The passenger capacity was increased from 100 to 450, and was now concidered as the Flag Ship of the Hurtigruten fleet.

Only 4 months after it was rebuild, it ran aground just off Brønnøysund in Nordland county.

In March 1938 the Norwegian King Haakon and the Prince Olav were passengers on the ship.

In the first days after the German invation of Norway in april 1940, D/S Prince Olav was transporting Norwegian military troops in Finnmark.  It was the hidden in a fjord, and painted grey. 

It was then ordered to go to England, but on it's way, on June 9th 1940 it was sunk by German bombers . Hit by two bombs it took fire and sunk, at some distance west of the Norwegian island Røst in Nordland.  One man was killed during the attack, while the rest of the crew and passengers were saved by a British destroyer.


The S/S Irma was build at Sir Raylton Dixon & Co in Middlesborough, England, and delivered to the owner, the Norwegian company Det Bergenske Dampskibsselskap (BDS) in 1905.
The ship was divided into 3. classes, and First Class had 92 beds, 2. Class had 10 beds and 3.Class had 45 beds.

It was equipped with steam engines and the speed was appr. 13,5 knots.

In 1905 it was in the BDS companys route to England, and from 1921 it was used as cruise ship to North Cape and Spitzbergen.

From 1927 it was in the Hamburg route, and from July 9. 1931 it started its new life as Hurtigrute in the Norwegian Coastal Voyage, and became part of the Hurtigruten History.

On the 13. of February 1944, on its way from Bergen to Tromsø, at Hestskjær on Hustadvika, it was hit by torpedos from two Norwegian MTB's and sunk. 25 Norwegian passengers, a crew of 36 people and an unknown number of German soldiers died.

Source: by Per Rydheim


D/S Polarlys was delivered to its owner, Det Bergenske Dampskibsselskap (BDS) in 1912. It was build in Denmark, at Burmeister & Wains Maskin- og Skibsbyggeri in Copenhagen.

The length of the ship was 208,5 feet. On First Class it had 65 beds, 32 beds on 2. Class and 44 beds on 3. Class.

From the start it was used as Hurtigrute on the Coastal Voyage. In February 1930 it had a dramatic incidence during a heavy winter storm.

In the darknes of the winter night, in a furious storm without any sight at all, the captain chose to take the ship away from the dangerous coast and out to open sea.

As there was no possible communication between ship and shore at that time, people was quite anxious when D/S Polarlys did not arrive Trondheim on schedule at 06.00 the next morning.

After some hours, the ship was reported missing, and the newspapers made a worst case scenario ready for printing.Then, after 19 hours, the D/S Polarlys finally reached the harbour of Trondheim after a very dramatic day and night, both for people on board and ashore.

In 1940 the ship was taken by the Germans (WWII) who painted the name "Satan" on the ship. After some months it was delivered back to the owners, again with its original name D/S Polarlys.

In April 1952 it ended its time in the Hurtigruten History, when it was sold to the Norwegian Royal Navy, and in 1963 it met its final ending.

Source: by Per Rydheim


D/S Haakon VII was build in 1907 at Trondheims Mek. Verksted in Trondheim, Norway for the owner Det Nordenfjeldske Dampskibsselskap in Trondheim (NFDS). It costed at the time NOK 750.000.

The length of the ship was 261,6 feet, and reached the speed of 14,5 knots.

On the of May 1907 it was on its first trip from Trondheim to Oslo., and later the same month to Newcastle, England.

In November 1915 and in April 1916 (!) it collided out side Tyne.From 1916 to 1918 (WW I) it was mostly not in use, but in November 1918 it started its route to Newcastle again.

After another Hurtigrute, the D/S Haakon Jarl had sunk, the D/S Haakon VII came into route on the Coastal Voyage.

In October 1929 D/S Haakon VII sunk at Stavenes on its way from Bergen to Kirkenes. 9 passengers and 9 members of the crew was drowned.

The ship was now destroyed and ended its "life" in Stavanger for beeing cut up.

Source: by Per Rydheim


The information part is not yet ready, but so far you will know that the ship D/S Dronning Maud (in English it would be S/S Queen Maud) was a ship in the coastal voyage from 1925 to 1940.

In 1940 the ship was bombed by the Germans outside Foldvik, resulting in a heavy fire and the ship was sunk.

18 persons was killed and 31 injured.


The D/S Nordstjernen (the S/S North Star in English)was on duty as Hurtigrute from 1937-1954.

It came through the war without damage, but in 1948 it struck ground at Brønnøysund.

It was repaired and was again in the Coastal Voyage route until 1954, when it was badly damaged when it again run aground.

This time in Raftsundet, and this time it sunk. 5 passengers drowned during this accident.


The D/S Finnmarken was Hurtigrute in the Coastal Voyage from 1912-1956.

It has a special place in the Hurtigruten History as the ship that opened the Risøyrenna in 1923. It came through the WW II without damage.

In 1956 it collided with a freighter, but no big damage.


We will also present some of the past generation of ships, like the M/S Lofoten, still in use, and very popular among many tourists. In fact, many people ask for the old ships when they order their tickets.

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