Whilst the 19th century and the Industrial Revolution had brought comforts and innovative advances to the citizens of Oslo and the southern ports, the region beyond Bergen was still seen as a remote wilderness, hemmed in by dramatic landscapes and unforgiving seas.
So when a seasoned Norwegian sea captain called Richard With proposed a regular steam ship service to link northern and southern Norway, many saw it as an unrealistic folly. Originally intended as a weekly daylight service from Trondheim to Hammerfest, delivering mail, cargo and passengers, this audacious mariner then proposed to extend the service to travel both day and night, winter and summer.
Hurtigruten - translating as ‘fast route’ (and formerly known as Norwegian Coastal Voyages), was the quickest and most reliable passage into the remote lands of northern Norway, regardless of weather conditions. Indeed it was not until 1983 that the mail delivery was finally entrusted to road and air routes. It is this heritage and experience that marks out Hurtigruten as one of the most professional and proficient expedition voyage operations on the planet.
The latter years of the 20th century saw Hurtigruten’s role change, as cars became more popular and the ship''s original remit changed. New ships were built with passenger comfort in mind, with more cabins and panoramic lounges being included to accommodate a new kind of traveller. A new generation of ships was built between 1993 and 2007, ensuring that today Hurtigruten have a fleet of custom designed vessels capable of safely negotiating not only the rugged coastal waters of Norway and the Arctic, but also the remote lands of Spitsbergen and Greenland and the southern oceans off Antarctica.
These days, with over 120 years of maritime experience and a fleet of fourteen comfortable ships, Hurtigruten offer voyages that go beyond the realms of conventional cruises, providing the best in specialist knowledge and expertise on journeys that exceed expectations and provide an opportunity to encounter environments, wildlife and people at the very ends of the Earth.