Hurtigruten (formerly Hurtigruten Norway) is relaunching two land and sea tours that combine the city lights of the Nordic capitals with the sparkling Aurora Borealis and bright midnight sun.
Both itineraries, which were popular with cruisers pre-pandemic, combine time on land with a Coastal Express voyage, and are filled with unique excursions created specifically for these journeys.
With the popularity of both Scandinavia and Northern Lights travel on an upward trend, it was the perfect time to bring these itineraries back, Hurtigruten CEO Hedda Felin told TMR.
"This entire region is super popular…The combination of seeing more of Scandinavia and more tours is very attractive," she said.
The 15-day "Follow the Northern Lights" cruise/tour includes an overland trek of Finland north from Helsinki and then a Coastal Express voyage down the Norwegian coastline from Kirkenes to Bergen, with a land tour from Bergen to Oslo, or vice versa. The cruise/tour will be offered multiple times between November and March.
Alternatively, clients can try the "Midnight Sun," cruise/tour, which takes a similar route, only it does so in June and July when the sun barely sets. The journey begins with a ferry ride from Stockholm to Helsinki, then heads overland to Finland's northern regions before seeing sail on the Coastal Express voyage down the Norwegian cost to Bergen. Prior to boarding their ship, guests will spend a night at the Snowhotel.
Expansion into Greenland?
While Hurtigruten continues to stake its claim in Norway, where the line has been plying the coastal waters for 130 years, the company has also partnered with Arctic Umiaq Line (AUL), which has been doing the same thing along the Greenlandic west coast for more than 200 years.
As part of the partnership, Hurtigruten is advising AUL on how to be more attractive to North American travelers, including offering a handful of refurbished cabins onboard its single ship and offering unique excursions in select ports.
The timing is perfect, Felin said, because by 2025, there will be three new airports in Greenland, including two capable of handling international flights, making it much easier for North Americans to travel to Greenland.
Specifically, Hurtigruten has partnered with UAL on three distinct itineraries: a 15-day journey that accesses both southern and northern Greenland; a nine-day north Greenland expedition that sails roundtrip from the capital city of Nuuk to the Disko Bay region; and a seven-day south Greenland journey that also sails roundtrip from Nuuk but goes to the Tasermiuk fjord.
"They look very much like Hurtigruten back in the old days, connecting communities and they just started selling to tourists in July and they sold out in one day," Felin said.
For the time being, Hurtigruten is only advising UAL, but Felin told TMR there could be plans for the line to get more involved (possibly sending a Hurtigruten ship) in the future.
"That might be so in the future… next steps for us would be to do exactly the same that we do [in Norway] but in another Arctic country."