So you want to book yourself a Hurtigruten Coastal Cruise? Well hopefully my quick guide will be able to give you some insight into how the coastal cruises work!
This guide is aimed at those who wish to travel from port to port, rather than planning a round trip.
First tip – use the Norwegian Hurtigruten website to book your cruise! I know it will show all prices in Norwegian Krone and the pages are in Norwegian, but it should give you the option to translate to whatever language you need.
Which ship to choose?
There are eight different coast cruise ships and most, if not all, have been recently renovated between 2016 – 2019.
Hurtigruten lists all their coastal cruise ships on their website, so head on over and have a look at each one appeals most to you. From what I can tell, they are all relatively similar and have restaurants, cafes, lecture rooms, saunas, jacuzzi’s and gyms onboard.
We chose to go with the Nordlys as it is one of more recently renovated ships (2019), but mostly because Nordlys means Northern Lights! We also thought the cabins were a bit nicer which appealed to us.
But if you’re not fussed on which ship you want to travel on, then when it comes time to decide – just click on the one travelling closest to the date you want to travel!
Which cabin should I choose?
There are a few different options to choose from:
1. Polar Inside
These cabins don’t have windows and are located across all decks. They have a private bathroom and shower (as all cabins do) and two separate beds.
2. Polar Exterior
You’ll find these mostly on the middle and lower decks and they have windows but they usually specify these windows may have “obscured” views. They will either have single beds like the interior cabins or double beds.
3. Arctic Superior
These are found on the upper decks (this is the cabin that we chose) and the rooms are slightly bigger than the ones I’ve listed previously.
They also have tea/coffee facilities in the room – I’m not sure if the Polar rooms include this as well, but if they don’t you can get free tea/coffee in the restaurants and bars onboard.
4. Expedition Suites
Now, not all boats have the expedition suites (or they are called something different) and from what I can gather, you can’t book them through the Coastal Cruise section but you can contact Hurtigruten directly to upgrade to one if you want to. Though I don’t know how much this will cost!
They are really nice rooms though, the ones on our boat were mostly empty so we were able to look in the windows from the deck.
The suites have separate seating areas with a TV and all have double beds though some suites have more facilities than others. The website also says all suite guests will be presented with an exciting welcome gift in their cabin.
How to book a Coastal Cruise
Now that you’ve had a quick look at the different ships and cabins available – head to the website I’ve listed above! If you scroll down, you should see this:
Click on the “Go to Hurtigruten” button to be taken to another page where you will find the Port to port option – click on “Customize your trip”
This page will give you the option to choose which port you want to travel from and which port you want to travel to. We went from Bergen to Tromsø which is 4 night trip, leaving Bergen at 20:30 and arriving in Tromsø at 14:15.
Once you’ve chosen your start and end ports, it will open up to the rest of the page. This is where you can select if you want a one way trip or a round trip.
Next, choose your departure date.
Second tip – If you’ve translated to English, “A road” means one way 😉
So I don’t know what Lugar means and neither does Google Translate – but this is where you choose how many/what type of ticket you want to purchase.
The reason I recommend you use the Norwegian site is because most of these options aren’t available on the English site.
My husband is a student so we chose one adult and one student ticket – this lowered the price quite a bit for us.
If you happen to have a vehicle then you need to select the right option from the dropdown box but I think is more related to locals who will be using the boat as a ferry rather than a cruise.
Find tickets and prices
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the next step of the booking process!
Now you’ll see all the different departure dates on the different boats – so if you’ve already found the boat you want to travel on (as I suggested earlier), find it and click on “Select this departure”.
Alternatively, if you’re not worried about which boat, just click on the date you want to depart!
Now you need to choose which cabin you want! As you can see, they vary in price and the cabins will differ between ships.
Once you chose your cabin, you should see the screen I’ve posted below (I’ve just selected random dates to give you an idea of what you’ll be looking at!)
As you can see, you’re paying for the cabin + tickets per person. If you’re happy, click on “Confirm and proceed to meal selection.”
You HAVE to choose a meal option. You cannot book a cabin onboard without having a meal option and these are not cheap!
As I mentioned earlier, tea and coffee is free on board in the restaurants and the bar. But you’ll have to pay for anything else or bring it on board yourself.
We opted for Breakfast only as the other options were quite expensive. There are daily stops in different ports that allow people to get off so you’re able to grab some food and bring it back onboard.
There is also a restaurant onboard where you can order dinner on a pay as you go kind of thing. We found a QR Code on the menu so we were able to order from the table – this could just be because of Covid though.
Your booking is pretty much complete now! All you have to do from here is fill out the passenger details, review your order and make the payment.
Third Tip – If you fill out all the details and go through to the payment screen and then close the window without putting any card details in, you’ll receive an email later asking you to make a 20% deposit. If you can’t afford the full payment right now – use this option!
And there you have it! You’re all done and you now have a cool cruise in Norway to look forward to!
Practical info about life onboard
This was the first cruise we have ever done and while we had a great time onboard and we really enjoyed the cruise, there were a few things we noticed that we hadn’t really realised before the cruise.
- If you go in the winter (as we did), it gets dark early! Like 2pm so you can’t see anything from the deck. I know this seems super obvious and it is! But for whatever reason it just didn’t cross our minds!
- You won’t see any wildlife! We thought we would see sea eagles, seals and maybe even a whale or orca but we saw NOTHING!
- The last stretch of the trip on the last night is through open waters so if you get sea sick be careful! I was very sick that night and I’d had seasickness tablets and I was wearing those travel sickness band things and I was still incredibly ill.
- Hurtigruten offers lots of onshore excursions at the longer stops but there is a charge for these.
- Breakfast and lunch are buffet meals but dinner is a set menu and they’re all served between set times. These can change though if they interfere with when an excursion leaves.
- Every room has a phone in it and you’ll get alerts from the crew about when the ship is docking, how long you’ll have on shore and if they spot anything like wildlife or the Northern Lights then you’ll hear the announcement over the phone.
- The crew offers tastings sometimes on deck as well as a champagne send off when you leave Bergen, but these also cost!
- When you board in Bergen, you’ll be asked if you want to put a credit card on file so if you’re happy to charge things to your room then use this option!
I think I’ve covered everything you need to know! If you have any questions then please feel free to drop a comment and I’ll do my best to help you out!
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