Cruises don't get more practical than those aboard the Hurtigruten fleet. Like her sister ships, Nordlys delivers cargo and passengers to tiny towns above the Arctic Circle while simultaneously catering to tourists who come to see the majestic fjords. With down-to-earth trips for a luxury price, the company attracts a clientele that craves authentic Norwegian simplicity.
What We Love
Fish at Every Meal: The single dining room offers Nordic standards like cold-water fish for breakfast — lots of it — as well as for lunch and dinner. But the room is so intimate that servers will learn your name.
Northern Lights: The long, dark nights of Arctic autumn and spring make for spectacular views of the green, red, and yellow magnetic light show known as aurora borealis, the dawn of the North.
Best Known For
Fjordland: The Arctic circuit is all function and efficiency until you reach Geirangerfjord. The daylong detour into the heart of these imposing cliffs allows passengers to appreciate how little else there is to do aboard but sit and watch the wonders of the North Sea.
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Who It's Best For
Grown-Ups: This is your grandfather’s cruise. There are no midnight buffets or onboard entertainment, and no one dresses for dinner. Bring a book.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Mimimalism Runs Amok: Scandinavian simplicity can be spare, but Nordlys’ staterooms are understated even by Nordic standards. Cabins are small and dormlike. They're practical, not plush.
This Ship Is Dated: There was a fire on board in 2011, but Hurtigruten didn’t take that as an opportunity to do a major interior overhaul. Welcome to Norway, 1994.
Sarah Rose is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for The Wall Street Journal.