* While the midnight sun lasts until the August 22nd in the High Arctic, 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.
Realm of the Polar Bear
We explore some of the most scenic fjords along the west coast of Svalbard, all the way up to the northwest corner of Spitsbergen.
Our Captain will take advantage of the rapidly changing ice and weather conditions to create the best route. The bright Arctic nights are ideal for taking in the landscape and wildlife.
Be sure to scan the coastlines and any ice floes. If we are exceptionally lucky we might spot a polar bear family. In the water, watch out for a whale blow catching the sunlight. As well as marine wildlife, seabirds populate the bird cliffs that are abandoned during winter.
Over three days, we take ourship ever farther north, probing into the Leifdefjord to enjoy views of the Monaco Glacier, or to step ashore on the green tundra of the Krossfjord, dotted with the pink flowers of campion and yellow flowers of buttercups.
We may sail into pretty Magdalenefjord, where, on the north shore, little auks bustle back and forth, their laugh-like calls echoing off the rocks that hold their nests. On the south side, we can land close to a graveyard used by whalers in the 17th century.
Hornsund is likely to be on our list, with sharp granite peaks such as the Hornsundtind rising to more than 4,593 feet over broad ice glaciers. Then we cross the Arctic Ocean to Bjørnøya, situated about halfway between Svalbard and the Norwegian mainland. Our goal is to go ashore here, where an astronomical number of breeding birds spend their summer.
The Rugged Coast of Norway
Norway has an incredibly long coastline, stretching from 71° N to 58° N. This rugged shoreline features a hugely diverse landscape, from lush fjords to steep mountains, islands, skerries, and Arctic wilderness.
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 1,000 feet above the Arctic Ocean that marks the end of the continent.
A bit farther south you can experience the pristine beauty at the Arctic paradise islands of Sommarøy.
Next on our journey south is the staggering beauty of Lofoten, which is characterized by jagged mountains and peaks, deep fjords, sheltered inlets, white-sand beaches, and idyllic fishing villages.
Later we sail into the Geirangerfjord in the heart of Western Norway and blessed with an excess of dramatic fjord scenery. In this area, you will experience lush hills, high mountains, powerful waterfalls, and charming little villages.
We make a final coastal stop at historic Rosendal before crossing the North Sea toward mainland Europe.
A Cosmopolitan End to Our Adventure
Enjoy disembarking in Amsterdam, one of Europe's most culturally rich cities. Once the home of Rembrandt and van Gogh, it has a wealth of museums and art galleries. Take some time to experience this city of canals, cafés, and culture before heading home.