Hurtigruten tips strong ANZ demand for ‘Sportsman’s route’

Svalbard Express designed to lure long-haul markets to Norway

The relaunch in 2023 of Hurtigruten‘s fabled “Sportman’s Route” along the Norwegian Coastline and onto Svalbard is expected to be hugely popular with Australia and New Zealand markets, the expedition cruise line’s local head has foreshadowed.

Damian Perry, Hurtigruten’s Managing Director for APAC, told LATTE the reincarnation of the iconic Svalbard Express and new North Cape Express are journeys targeting long-haul overseas markets, primarily from Australia and North America.

“Our market is going to be one of the biggest and most important markets for the Svalbard Express, which is really exciting,” Perry said.

MS Trollfjord | Credit: Hurtigruten Norway

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He said Hurtigruten was intent on expanding its market share from Australia and US, building in extra hotels, excursions and package elements, such as the ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ concept, into these new trips.

Perry said the Svalbard Express, which originally operated in the 1960s and 1970s before winding down in the early 80s, would offer a unique new experience for past Hurtigruten guests keen to experience Norway again.

“We’ll have a huge focus on this market, bringing this journey to our audience because it ticks off a number of boxes in one go,” he said.

Those highlights include the spectacular coast of Norway, Svalbard, Longyearbyen and the Lofoten Islands. The Svalbard Express also has fewer scheduled port calls than the traditional ‘Mail Route’ (which visits 34 ports between Bergen to Kirkenes and back).

Perry said that while the Svalbard Express has less port calls, there will be more time allocated (up to 7 hours) in some destinations, meaning more opportunities to explore further afield and access different fjords not offered on the Coastal Route.

Damian Perry, Managing Director, APAC, Hurtigruten

Starting in June 2023, the Svalbard Express will offer eight departures across summer aboard the soon-to-be upgraded Trolljord. Perry says the enhancement of the ship, flagged previously by LATTE here, will see Hurtigruten revive the “golden era of travel”, with the design leveraging characteristics of the 50s, 60s and 70s.

“The design is very Scandic/modern while repurposing the beautiful history and romance of travel. There will be a speakeasy bar onboard, the lounge is designed differently, the cabins are rejuvenated and stylish.”

New Suite render aboard MS Trollfjord, Hurtigruten Norway

MS Trollfjord will feature three restaurants dishing up menus inspired by the 1960s but modernised to suit today’s traveller, such as dried and salted cod and dried meats which is how food was prepared in the past.

“We’re taking all the old and making it new again,” he said.

Complementing the new Svalbard Express will be the North Cape Express itinerary, operating over the cooler months from Oslo. Launching in September 2023, this journey sails around the southwest tip of Norway to Bergen, and all the way north to Honningsvåg. Clients can also incorporate the ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ overland program from Oslo to Bergen, either at the start or end of the trip.

à la carte restaurant, MS Trollfjord render, Hurtigruten Norway

The North Cape Express will cross the Arctic Circle twice and departures will carry Hurtigruten’s ‘Northern Lights Promise’ which no other operator in the market offers, Perry said. There are 12 departures scheduled for the journey in 2023.

To celebrate next year’s 130th anniversary, Hurtigruten Group hosted events for the trade across Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane (pictured below). Up to 75 select agents in each city attended the exclusive night of presentations, food, drinks and giveaways. Perry, along with APAC Marketing Director, Joel Victoria, welcomed attendees, accompanied by Hurtigruten’s Regional Sales Managers Andrew Eddy and Jerry Pilgrim who shared their wealth of product knowledge and entertained at their respective events.

To coincide with the launch of the two new routes, Hurtigruten is running a sales incentive where agents have the opportunity to win one of five cabins across these new voyages. To learn more about the new iconic products or the incentive, go to 

Lead image: Hurtigruten’s Damian Perry and Joel Victoria, in Sydney ahead of their recent trade event at the Sydney Opera House.

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