Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express has recommenced sailings between the Norwegian mainland and Svalbard for the first time since 1982. MS Trollfjord set sail from Bergen on Saturday on its way to Longyearbyen on the Svalbard Express route. The voyage was fully booked with both tourists and cargo on board.
Hurtigruten is marking its 130th anniversary with the new Svalbard Express and North Cape Express routes, and is strengthening its investment in Norwegian tourism and Norwegian seafarers with 198 new jobs on board the newly renovated MS Trollfjord.
“We are looking forward to entering the summer season with almost 200 more sea employees,” said Hedda Felin, Managing Director of Hurtigruten Norway. “The new routes give our guests an authentic experience of the coast, where local food and drink are a central part of the experience, while MS Trollfjord transports goods between the mainland and to Longyearbyen and Ålesund.
The Svalbard Express is inspired by the original Svalbard Express, which the express shipping companies operated from 1968 to 1982. Over the northern winter, MS Trollfjord will run from Bergen and Oslo to Honningsvåg as the North Cape Express.
“With the Svalbard- and North Cape Express, we take with us the good experience we have from the traffic between Bergen and Kirkenes, such as the unique guest experience and freight transport, but do so with better time in the ports we sail to, among them some new places we do not traditionally sail to.
“This is not a competitor to ourselves, but a further development of a unique product we have offered for 130 years,” says Felin.
“We look forward to welcoming this summer’s guests and are incredibly proud to launch a new product with a sold-out first sailing. I know there are many employees out there who are looking forward to giving guests an unforgettable experience along the beautiful Norwegian coast and in Svalbard,” adds Felin.
The 14-night Svalbard Express between Bergen and Svalbard, will operate until September and visits Åndalsnes, Træna, Stokmarknes, Tromsø, Honningsvåg, Bjørnøya, Longyearbyen, Ny-Ålesund, Senja, Svolvær, Brønnøysund, Ålesund and Urke in the Hjørundfjord.
Originally constructed in 2002, MS Trollfjord has been refurbished and is now also prepared for connection to shore power.