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Hurtigruten: Coastal Express vs Expeditions

12 October 2023

MS Kong Harald

Updated: 23/10/2023

Hurtigruten’s rich history began in 1893, when its founder, Captain Richard With, brought his steamer ship, the DS Vesteraalen into service. A route that took the ship along the coast of Norway, it created an express route between Trondheim and Tromsø or Hammerfest (depending on the season). This sea link connected the rural, isolated communities in Norway and allowed for the transport for not only mail, but other goods and passengers. 

Known as the Coastal Express, it was the start of a legacy for Hurtigruten and this iconic route is still travelled today. Now divided into Hurtigruten Expeditions and The Coastal Express, Hurtigruten offers extraordinary voyages to some of the world’s most unique destinations with these two exciting options. 

But what is the difference between Hurtigruten’s Coastal Express and Hurtigruten Expeditions? In our guide, we’ll take you through how these differ, the destinations that they both visit and which ships sit within each fleet. 

Hurtigruten Coastal Express

The sailings that are offered on the Coastal Express ships differ to that of traditional voyages. Sailing from Bergen to Kirkenes on round trips, the scenic route along the Norwegian coast is said to be one of the most picturesque in the world. 

Throughout the sailings, the ships will stop at various ports, throughout the day and night. A way of seeing Norway's breathtaking scenery in a relaxed way, you’ll leave your Coastal Express sailing with unique experiences; from developing a deep knowledge of the country from the Expedition Team, to trying local cuisine and stopping off at ports that aren’t often frequented by cruise ships. The Coastal Express calls at 34 different ports, including the likes of Alesund, Batsfjord, Finnsnes and Kristiansund, providing a crucial transportation link. 

There are three different experiences on offer on the Coastal Express: The Original Coastal Express route, The North Cape Express and The Svalbard Express, each offering their own itineraries:

A shore excursion in Norway
A shore excursion in Norway

With the Coastal Express ships departing from Bergen most days, this unique experience will create everlasting memories as you sail through the coastal towns, interact with the local people and discover the variety of UNESCO World Heritage Sites located throughout the Norwegian coastline. 

What is Included on The Coastal Express Sailings?

There’s so much on offer on a Coastal Express sailing. Some of the the top highlights include:

Hurtigruten Norway - The Coastal Express Ships

Connecting local communities, delivering mail and freight and showing passengers the authentic and picturesque beauty of Norway, Hurtigruten’s Coastal Express has several ships within its fleet. Small to mid-sized ships, each offer fantastic amenities that will ensure that your Hurtigruten getaway is extraordinary from the day you embark to your disembarkation day.

Kong Harald in Norway
Kong Harald in Norway

The following Hurtigruten ships sit within the Coastal Express fleet:

Hurtigruten Expeditions

Hurtigruten Expeditions (HX) are perfect for those seeking adventure. Providing a nature-based cruising experience, you’ll be able to visit some of the world’s most remote and extraordinary destinations, including the likes of Antarctica, Greenland, North America, the Northwest Passage and more. 

A Hurtigruten Expedition excursion
Hurtigruten Expedition Excursion

With an importance placed on exploration, you’ll be travelling along like-minded passengers who want to discover more about the world around them. From state-of-the-art science centres, to daily lectures about the local culture, food and other topics, sailing aboard a Hurtigruten Expedition ship will be unlike any cruise you’ve experienced before. 

Due to the expedition sailings being based on adventure and with exploration at their heart, the itineraries are flexible, giving you the chance to experience new opportunities as they arise. And because you’ll be visiting more remote areas, there’ll be a higher chance of encountering wildlife that you usually wouldn’t see, along with destinations that are rarely seen by others all whilst being led by an Expedition Team made up of experts in their field. 

What is Included with Hurtigruten Expeditions?

Alongside captivating and immersive destination-focused activities and lectures, and the guidance you’ll receive from the Expedition Team, you can expect the following on a Hurtigruten Expedition voyage:

Which Hurtigruten ships are Expedition Ships?

The ships within the expedition fleet vary from smaller ships to medium-sized vessels. Boasting comfortable accommodation, relaxing lounges, and delicious restaurants, the modern ships are the ultimate way to sail to some of the most fascinating corners of the world. 

MS Fram in Antarctica
MS Fram in Antarctica

Book Your Hurtigruten Getaway with Iglu Cruise Today 

Whether you opt for a Hurtigruten Expedition sailing or a voyage on the Coastal Express, you’re guaranteed a magical and unforgettable experience. Discover our range of cruises with Hurtigruten and book your Hurtigruten getaway today and enjoy a voyage filled with adventure and exploration that’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.

You can also check out our recent blog - Why You Should Book a Hurtigruten Expeditions’ Northern Lights Cruise for more information along with some useful  travel inspiration!

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