New itineraries for Hurtigruten’s North Cape Express and Svalbard Express were announced in advance of their 2023 debuts.
The two new routes are an enhanced version of the classic coastal express that links 34 coastal communities in Norway, and feature port stays of either half a day or a full day. The 63 offered add-on excursions provide something very different for visitors interested in delving deeply into their destinations.
According to Hedda Felin, CEO of Hurtigruten Norway, “extended port visits will allow travellers to spend more time exploring both land and sea.”
“While the newly remodelled MS Trollfjord will serve as a comfortable home base for visitors with plenty to offer while onboard, these authentic, local excursions will allow guests to customise their experience and develop an intimate connection to the place.
After hearing Felin’s praise for the new variety of excursions, Damian Perry, managing director of Hurtigruten Asia Pacific, joined in to say that the new line-up is sure to be a hit with visitors from Australia and New Zealand.
“Our visitors are naturally inquisitive and adventurous; now they can take advantage of even more chances to learn something new and have a remarkable experience at each location, from the refreshing Arctic Dip Sauna and Swim to the jaw-dropping Whale Watching in Arctic Silence,” Perry said.
The Svalbard Express Itinerary (Summer)
The Svalbard Express will debut on June 3, 2023, barely one month before Hurtigruten Norway’s 130th anniversary. It is a rebirth of the Coastal Express’ summer trip to Svalbard, which ended more than 50 years ago.
Guests will get an average of six hours to tour 14 handpicked sites around Norway’s coast and Svalbard, the world’s northernmost town, all while basking in the Midnight Sun. The one-way trip (with both northbound and southbound options) includes two nights in Longyearbyen and two excursions: a wilderness evening at Camp Barentz and an adventure onboard the hybrid-electric catamaran MS Bard. The new Svalbard Express excursions include the following highlights:
- Lofoten fishing – Guests can fish from a traditional 39-foot fishing cutter before cooking and eating their fresh catch on board.
- Hiking and Birdwatching in Gjesvaerstappan Nature Reserve – Visitors will hike through the picturesque Gjesvaerstappan Nature Reserve for more than five hours, looking for razorbills, puffins, skuas, gannets, and eagles.
- Legends of Torghatten and Brnnysund – Torghatten, one of Norway’s most iconic locations, is recognised for its spectacular hole and the captivating myths surrounding it. While eating lefse, a traditional flatbread, over a fire pit, visitors will hear captivating mythology and Viking stories.
- Kayaking in Lofoten – Guests can explore Henningsvr in a two-person kayak and hear about the area’s rich history and culture from a local guide for a close-up experience of Norway’s fishing settlements.
- Træna Culture Walk – Poetry, Art, and Heritage – Visitors will see the artwork, hear music, and taste local foods as they explore Husya’s chapels, cafés, and museums, as well as enjoy spectacular views across Træna islands. • Arctic Dip – Sauna & Swim – Guests can enjoy a sauna in Træna’s oldest building, a boathouse on the shore, before plunging into the Norwegian Sea.
Express North Cape Itinerary (Winter)
Hurtigruten will sail from Oslo with the North Cape Express for the first time. During the Northern Lights season, sailings will cover the whole length of Norway’s coast. The company offers its distinctive Northern Lights guarantee on Hurtigruten Norway’s Coastal Express cruises from the end of September to the end of March.
The first North Cape Express will depart on September 26, 2023, with guests spending an average of six hours in each of the 16 selected ports, fjords, and islands. The new North Cape Express tours contain the following highlights:
- North Cape and King Crab Experience – During this six-hour journey, guests eat traditional Barents Sea King Crab served with soft bread, mayonnaise, and a piece of lemon in the little settlement of Sarnes.
- Dog Sledding in Alta – This excursion takes guests on a ride through a winter wonderland to Alta, home to Europe’s longest dog sled race, for a day of dogsledding, followed by hot drinks over a crackling wood fire in a laavo, a Sami herdsman’s tent.
- Arctic Silence Whale Viewing – Guests sail silently aboard a specially developed, hybrid-electric boat, guaranteeing minimal disruption while watching for orca and humpback whales in their native habitat.
- Arctic Ice Fishing – After snowshoeing to a remote spot, adventurers will cut their own hole in the ice and fish before enjoying their newly caught bounty at the restaurant.
- Snowmobiling to the North Cape – On this four-and-a-half-hour snowmobile trip to the European mainland’s northernmost point, visitors may discover the Arctic’s snow-covered scenery.
The Hurtigruten website lists all of the excursions available on the North Cape Express itinerary.
The two new itineraries will supplement the excursions programme by providing onboard lectures about Norwegian history, culture, food, nature, and wildlife, as well as photography, cooking, handicraft, and art classes.