Hurtigruten's new ship MS Spitsbergen will set sail in May this year.
               Hurtigruten’s new ship MS Spitsbergen sets sail in May this year.

The indented coastline of Norway with its steep fjords, soaring mountains and colourful fishing towns is now a hot destination for Australian travellers who want to experience a landscape and climate so different from their own.

Travellers often opt for a more authentic way to see Norway than on an international cruise ship, by booking their passage on the home-grown Hurtigruten line’s fleet of ferries and small cruise ships that visit many ports along the Norwegian coastline.

As Hurtigruten’s Gordon Dirker told “It’s a whole different type of travel, usually by passengers who have already travelled extensively and want to immerse themselves in Norwegian culture and traditions.”

Hurtigruten, translated the name means ‘the hurried route’, was first established in 1893, and Dirker says the company’s fleet still deliver mail and other goods daily to communities, often isolated, year round.

The most popular option for travellers wanting to see Norway is to take one of the company’s small cruise ships, though it is also possible to book point-to-point fares on the ferries which carry up to 30 cars.

“Norway, like the rest of Scandinavia, has a high cost of living so the country is never going to be a cheap destination for travellers. But,” Dirker says, “there are options on board the cruise ships from beautiful suites to more basic cabins.”

He adds that 34 Norwegian ports can be visited and that many passengers get off the cruise ships for excursions into fjords, or to go hiking, and may rejoin at the next port. There are also zodiacs and carbon fibre boats on board that are easily deployed at sea level for exploration.

Hurtigruten cruises appeal to all ages, with the ‘boomers’ market more evident through summer and younger more adventurous travellers in the winter months.

And while Norwegian is the language on board, every member of the crew also speaks English, with German an extra tongue in the high season.

In May, Hurtigruten with 13 ships in its fleet, will launch its newest cruise ship, MS Spitsbergen, which has been earmarked as an expedition ship carrying around 200 passengers, which will sail even closer to nature by exploring the best of Norway’s fjords,




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