Hurtigruten Norway will celebrate its 130-year anniversary in 2023 with two brand new extensions to its traditional Coastal Express itinerary along the Norwegian coastline.
The new Svalbard Express will launch on 3 June 2023, just one month ahead of the company’s anniversary. The inaugural North Cape Express will depart on 26 September 2023.
The two new itineraries will offer a significantly different experience: half-or full-day port visits; cooking classes; wine, beer, champagne, and whisky tastings; a food centre; a cocktail bar; and onboard entertainment.
Dining options will include an à la carte restaurant with tasting menus, all-day dining, afternoon tea, and takeaway service. The food centre will feature both cooking demonstrations and classes, and picnic and culinary excursions will be available – another first for the company. Like the Coastal Express has done since 1893, the two new itineraries will also bring cargo between ports and freight to the northernmost community on Earth in the case of the Svalbard Express.
“For almost 130 years, we have been carrying travellers on what is often referred to as ‘the most beautiful voyage in the world’, and no one does the Norwegian coast better than Hurtigruten Norway,” said Hedda Felin, CEO of Hurtigruten Norway.
“With the Svalbard Express and North Cape Express, we will offer an experience similar to the likes of the Orient Express, combining a premium onboard experience with beautiful scenery, exceptional excursions, and some of the best food on any sea.”
The Svalbard Express
The Svalbard Express will mark the return of one of Norway’s most iconic sailing routes, which operated between 1968 and 1982.
The new itinerary will include some of the Norwegian coast’s most popular destinations – such as the Lofoten Islands, Vesterålen, and the North Cape – before heading north to Longyearbyen in Svalbard, the world’s northernmost populated city. The full roundtrip journey takes 14 days.
In addition, a seven-day one-way cruise, either starting or ending in Svalbard, is also available and will allow guests to pair their journey with Hurtigruten Svalbard’s wide range of sustainable activities. The one-way journey package includes two nights at a hotel in Longyearbyen and two excursions: a wilderness evening at Camp Barentz and the hybrid-electric catamaran MS Bard.
Rates for the Svalbard Express start at;
North Cape Express
The 13-day North Cape Express takes guests to Oslo, the capital of Norway, and both the country’s southernmost and northernmost points. It will mark Hurtigruten Norway’s first-ever time with regular sailings in Oslo. This itinerary will also include new ports in southern Norway, scenic cruising through Hardangerfjord, and the most beautiful cities and picturesque towns along the coast.
Rates for the 16-day North Cape Express start from AU$4,054 per person (low season).
Daniel Skjeldam, CEO of Hurtigruten Group said: “This expansion of our global operation signals exactly what we in Hurtigruten Group believe in for the future of the travel industry, such as strong ties with local communities and less impact on nature both on land and in the ocean.
“Hurtigruten Group will be at the forefront of this development. These new routes in Norway and up to the world’s northernmost populated city, Longyearbyen, are a small but significant step in the right direction,” Skjeldam remarked.
Both the Svalbard Express and the North Cape Express will be onboard MS Trollfjord, which will undergo a comprehensive refurbishment during the first half of 2023. Cabins will be upgraded and feature modern Scandinavian design. In addition, the restaurants will be refurbished and improved, including the à la carte restaurant, which will be more than doubled in size.
“The new concept from Hurtigruten Norway will offer the absolute best of Norway, in terms of activities, nature, and food. We know travellers are looking for authentic and local experiences, which is exactly what they will get with these two itineraries. Both the Svalbard and North Cape Express have the potential to end up high on many travellers’ bucket lists,” said Håkon Haugli, CEO of Visit Norway.
Damian Perry, Hurtigruten Asia Pacific Managing Director is confident the new itineraries will appeal strongly to Australians and New Zealander travellers seeking authentic and local experiences.
“From Norway’s stunning fjords and its spectacular coastline to sensational Scandi cuisine, these new itineraries have been specifically designed to immerse guests in a unique journey and deliver them with unforgettable memories.”
“Whether it’s a chance to witness the Northern Lights firsthand, or to visit Svalbard, the Realm of the Polar Bear, we anticipate the new Svalbard Express and North Cape Express itineraries will become absolute bucket list journeys for discerning travellers,” Perry added.
The extended port visits allow the Coastal Experience Team to create a wide range of excursions depending on route and season. They are also responsible for the lecture program, which focuses on Norwegian history, culture, food, nature, and wildlife, as well as photography and handicraft and arts classes.
Standard fares are full board including drinks with meals, afternoon tea, and more.
Suite fares start at AU$12,812 per person for the Svalbard Express and AU$21,070 per person for the North Cape Express in a mini-suite, and also include à la carte dining, an exclusive drink package, turn-down service, and access to the Suite lounge.