The four types of ship in service
Traditional, Mid-generation, New and Millennium style ships are in service. Choosing the type which suits your expectations best is absolutely essential to your enjoyment of the trip.
Once the mainstay of the route only two, MS Nordstjernen and MS Lofoten (shown here), remain in traffic and that only in winter and perhaps not for much longer. Even after 40 years' hard service on the coastal voyage several of these strongly built ships are still in passenger service elsewhere in the world.
Built around 1960 with tonnages of about 2,500 they had berths for 200 or less passengers so are very intimate. Traditional ships give a real taste of Hurtigruten with goods loading and unloading by crane (until recently including cars) and a rickety gangway for passengers.
Dating from the early 1980s only three of these were built at a tonnage of 4,000-6,000, with berths for just over 300 people and room for 50 cars. Goods are handled by forklift. Only MS Lyngen and MS Vesterålen are now in service, which are like MS Narvik (shown here) which is now a training ship.
Some people who preferred traditional ships felt the mid-generation vessels were more like ferries than Hurtigruten steamers.
These six vessels were built in the mid 1990s with tonnages of around 11,300 and berths for nearly 500 passengers. This is MS Nordkapp. The face of the modern Hurtigruten they are, we think unfortunately, more like cruise liners. Beautifully fitted inside with elegant staircases and stylish lounges they are hotels with propellors rather than coastal steamers.
Every winter new ships go south to cruise the Chilean fjords and the tip of Antarctica. That gives traditional vessel fans the chance to sample a real Hurtigruten trip on board MSs Nordstjernen and Lofoten!
Three of these are now in service. This is MS Finnmarken. Newly built they have tonnages around 15,000 and about 660 berths. Like the new ships, but bigger plus sauna or swimming pool - if that's what you like!
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Updated 07 May 07