Hurtigruten Norway, which has been transporting local passengers, goods and tourists along the Norwegian coast with the Norwegian Coastal Express since 1893, will launch the two new special routes aboard the Svalbard Express and the North Cape Express next year. The Svalbard Express departs on June 3, 2023, just a month before the company’s 130th anniversary, while the first North Cape Express departs on September 26, 2023.
Special itineraries for 2023
An improved extension of the traditional Coastal Express, the two new itineraries offer a markedly different experience: half-day or full-day port visits; cooking lessons; wine, beer, champagne and whiskey tastings; a food center; a cocktail bar; and entertainment on board. Dining options include an a la carte restaurant with tasting menus, all day dining, afternoon tea and takeaway service. The food center will offer both cooking demonstrations and classes, and picnic and food tours will be offered, another first for the company. Like the Coastal Express since 1893, the two new routes will also bring cargo between ports and, in the case of the Svalbard Express, cargo to the world’s northernmost community.
“For almost 130 years we have been taking travelers on what is often referred to as the ‘most beautiful journey in the world’. With the Svalbard Express and North Cape Express we will offer an experience similar to the Orient Express, combining a premium onboard experience with beautiful scenery, exceptional excursions and some of the best food on any sea,” said Hedda Felin, CEO by Hurtigruten Norwegian Norway.
The Svalbard Express marks the return of one of Norway’s most famous sailing routes, which operated between 1968 and 1982. The new route will cover some of the Norwegian coast’s most popular destinations – such as Lofoten, Vesterålen and the North Cape – before heading north to Longyearbyen on Svalbard, the world’s northernmost populated city. The entire round trip takes 14 days. In addition, a seven-day one-way cruise departing or ending in Svalbard is also available, allowing guests to combine their voyage with Hurtigruten Svalbard’s wide range of sustainable activities. The one way travel package includes two nights accommodation in a hotel in Longyearbyen and two excursions: a wilderness evening at Camp Barentz and the hybrid electric catamaran MS Bard.
Meanwhile, the 13-day North Cape Express takes guests to Oslo, the capital of Norway, and the southernmost and northernmost points of the country. It will be Hurtigruten Norway’s first regular departure from Oslo. This itinerary also includes new ports in southern Norway, scenic drives through the Hardangerfjord and the most beautiful cities and picturesque towns along the coast.
“This expansion of our global operations signals exactly what we at Hurtigruten Group believe in for the future of the travel industry, such as: B. Strong relationships with local communities and reduced impact on nature both on land and at sea. The Hurtigruten Group will be at the forefront of this development. These new routes in Norway and up to the world’s northernmost populous city, Longyearbyen, are a small but significant step in the right direction,” said Daniel Skjeldam, CEO of Hurtigruten Group.
Both the Svalbard Express and North Cape Express will be onboard MS Trollfjord, which will undergo a major refurbishment in the first half of 2023. The cabins will be modernized and feature a modern Scandinavian design. In addition, the restaurants will be remodeled and improved, including the à la carte restaurant, which will be more than doubled.
“Hurtigruten Norway’s new concept offers the very best of Norway in terms of activities, nature and food. We know travelers are looking for authentic and local experiences, and that’s exactly what they get with these two itineraries. Both the Svalbard and North Cape Express have the potential to be high on many travellers’ wish lists,” said Håkon Haugli, CEO of Visit Norway.
Due to the extensive port visits, the Coastal Experience team can put together a wide range of excursions depending on the route and the season. They are also responsible for the lecture programme, which focuses on Norwegian history, culture, food, nature and wildlife, as well as photography, craft and art courses.
Both itineraries can be purchased now on Hurtigruten.com or through your preferred travel advisor. Prices for the North Cape Express and Svalbard Express start at £2415 and £3641 per person respectively. Standard fares are full board including drinks with meals, afternoon tea and more, while suite fares from £7,236 or £11,942 per person also include à la carte dining, an exclusive drinks package, turndown service and access to the suite lounge.