*While the midnight sun lasts until August 22ndin the High Arctic, expedition cruises after that time enjoy a tremendous amount of daylight well into the autumn.
The Historic ‘Sportsman’s Route’
In 1896, Hurtigruten's founder Captain Richard With opened a hotel on Svalbard and established the Sportsman’s Route to bring visitors to the high north. His ship, DS Lofoten, sailed the Barents Sea between Hammerfest and Svalbard, captained by veteran polar explorer Otto Sverdrup. The 1896 Sportsman’s Route marked the start of Hurtigruten’s Explorer cruises. Today, we are proud to draw on more than 120 years of experience sailing in the most extreme conditions on Earth.
Buzzing City Life to Begin the Journey
Enjoy the culture and energy of beautiful Amsterdam, home of Rembrandt and van Gogh. Stroll the Canal District and visit the cafés and museums that place this city among the most popular destinations in the world.
The Rugged Coast of Norway
Norway has an incredibly long coastline, stretching from 58° to 71°N. This rugged shoreline features a hugely diverse landscape, from lush fjords to steep mountains, islands, skerries, and Arctic wilderness. Starting in historic Rosendal, we sail on to the deep and long fjord of Geiranger to enjoy incredible scenery, lush hills, high mountains, powerful waterfalls, and charming little villages.
Lofoten and the North Cape
The beauty of the Lofoten islands is simply staggering, characterized by jagged mountains peaks, deep fjords, sheltered inlets, white beaches, and idyllic fishing settlements. A bit further north you can experience pristine beauty at the Arctic paradise islands of Sommarøy. The North Cape, at the very northern tip of Europe, has been a great adventure destination for travelers for centuries. Take in the view and stand atop the steep cliff over 1,000 feet above the Arctic Ocean that marks the end of the continent.
Realm of the Polar Bear
We cross the Arctic Ocean to Bjørnøya, situated about halfway between Svalbard and the Norwegian mainland. If conditions allow, we will go ashore to scout for wildlife.
As we arrive in Spitsbergen, the midnight sun will be taking full effect, with bright nights creating great opportunities for sighting wildlife. We will explore some of the most scenic fjords along the west coast of Spitsbergen. Hornsund is a favorite area, with sharp granite peaks such as the Hornsundtind rising to more than 4,500 feet over broad ice glaciers.
Don't forget to scan the coastlines and ice floes to spot a polar bear family. In the water, watch out for a whale blow catching the sunlight. We take our ice-class ship ever further north, probing into the Leifdefjord to enjoy views of the Monaco Glacier, or step ashore on the green tundra of the Krossfjord, dotted with the pinks campion flowers and yellow buttercups.
We may sail into pretty Magdalenefjord. On the north shore, little auks bustle back and forth, their laugh-like calls echo off the rocks that hold their nests. On the south side, we can land close to a graveyard for whalers from the 17th century. Our last stop is the fascinating town of Longyearbyen, where you can enjoy splendid museums, restaurants, and galleries.