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The history of Hurtigruten cruise line

History of Hurtigruten by Hurtigruten Museum, Hurtigruten

The history of Hurtigruten cruise line – With the Hurtigruten ships, exotic and unique destinations such as the Lofoten Islands, the Trollfjord, Skjervoy Island, Hammerfest and the North Cape became accessible to international travellers who wanted to visit the Land of the Midnight Sun.

Tourists came in their thousands, making Hurtigruten one of Europe´s greatest attractions. Today, this cruise is internationally known as “The world´s most beautiful voyage”.

Click here for travel tips and cruises on the amazing Hurtigruten ships


Richard With by Hurtgruten

Captain Richard With

The Norwegian Hurtigruten cruise line has a long and amazing history:

In 1891, August Kriegsman Gran, the national steamship advisor, came up with the idea of providing an express boat service between Trondheim and Hammerfest. Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskab, a relatively young steamship company based in Stokmarknes, took up the challenge. For some time, Captain Richard With and his pilots had been keeping accurate notes on courses, speeds and times taken to sail the route and felt that the service would be viable. A compass and a clock were the only navigational aids necessary in the Polar Night. In 1893, the government entered into a 4-year contract with Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskab, providing the company with the backing for a weekly sailing between Trondheim and Hammerfest during the summer and, Trondheim and Tromso during the winter. There were nine ports of call on the route.

Hammerfest in winter by Gillian McDonald, Hurtigruten

Hammerfest

On the morning of 2 July 1893, the steamship ‘Vesteraalen’ left Trondheim for Hammerfest.

This started a communications revolution, giving industry and coastal inhabitants better access to the outside world. Letters from Trondheim, which had previously taken up to three weeks to reach Hammerfest during the summer, and five months during the winter, could now be delivered in just a few days.

Historical Hurtgruten Ship by Hurtigruten Museum

HIstorical Hurtigruten Ship

Once Richard With and Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskab had shown the way,

several shipping companies followed. In 1894, Det Bergenske Dampskibsselskab and Det Nordenfjeldske Dampskibsselskab were granted permission to operate ships on the route. The number of ships serving the route constantly increased. In 1898, Bergen became the southernmost port on the Coastal Express’ route. Vadso was included on the route in 1907 and Kirkenes in 1914.

Bergen Brygge by Sonia Arrepia, Visit Bergen

Colourful Bergen

For a short period, there were weekly sailings from Stavanger,

but from 1936 to the present day a ship has left Bergen daily heading north. This service was only interrupted by the war.

From its conception, it was believed that tourism would form the basis of Hurtigruten’s operations. Early on, brochures were printed in several languages promoting the Hurtigruten journey and the wild and beautiful Norwegian coastline. These were distributed to travel agents and individual customers abroad.  And they were right!



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What our customers say:

  • I wanted to thank everybody. We had a wonderful trip. Everything went well and fortunately we had the chance to see the lights while on the cruise. All my friends in Turkey would like to go on a similar trip. So I will be in touch with you. Thanks again and best wishes to all of you.

    Candan, Turkey

  • On behalf of the group I would like to thank you and your colleagues for organizing our wonderful tour of Norway. Everything went very well including the weather, which was spectacular. We enjoyed all the hotels, the central locations you chose and the amenities, especially the lavish breakfasts. Three extra days in Oslo allowed us to tour the city at our leisure and to enjoy more of the important sights including the newly opened National Museum. The Norway in a Nutshell tour was amazing and made much easier by using your recommended porterage service between hotels in Oslo and Bergen. Both the train journeys and the boat trip were spectacular, and combined with a night in the beautiful Kviknes Hotel made for an unforgettable two days. We were very impressed by the Hurtigruten cruise, particularly the way they combined a working ship with a cruise ship, the comfortable accommodations, the food and service. It was fascinating to visit all the various ports, islands and fjords and the two included tours were excellent and informative. In the end we were glad to have the extra night in Kirkenes, to visit their lovely museum and take a trip to the Russian border. It was a good way to end the tour. Again, thank for staying with us through 2 years of pandemic postponements and changes. We certainly will recommend Fjord Travel in the future.

    Marilyn, United States

  • We just recently completed the Tromso, Northern Lights & Arctic Coast tour. I am writing to say what an amazing tour we had. Everything ran smoothly without an issue, the accommodation was fantastic and the tours were brilliant. We cannot fault the package at all. I would also like to thank Franziska and Lene, they both were fantastic in answering all my questions promptly, whilst booking the tour. Thank you for a wonderful and memorable holiday!

    Robert, Australia