If there’s a ship that can be simultaneously stately and unpretentious, it’s Hurtigruten's 822-passenger MS Trollfjord. The public spaces don’t shout out for attention (in fact, there’s no over-the-top anything), but the service is solid and staterooms a comfortable base for the main attraction: the scenery. When passengers aren’t off exploring in port — on a dogsledding run in Kirkenes, for example — then they’re gazing out the window in the lounges or taking a dip in the hot tub.
What We Love
Observation Lounge: This double-height space with panoramic windows and ample seating is the spot of choice to catch the views.
Locally Sourced Cuisine: Hurtigruten has sourced homegrown ingredients before it became trendy. Try crabs caught from the waters near Hitra, roast reindeer from Finnmark, and beer-braised beef with victory onions from Lofoten. Hurtigruten even has its own label of wine made from grapes from a Portuguese vineyard.
Best Known For
Spectacular Scenery: Lush and green in the summer, snow-capped and dramatic in the winter — the variety of landscapes changes with the seasons.
Coastal Itineraries: Hurtigruten started in 1893 as a ferry servicing Norway’s coastal communities; today it still serves that function in addition to catering to leisure travelers. Cargo unloading is a sight to watch, and you’ll also see locals hanging out at the café.
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Who It's Best For
Nature Lovers: There’s nothing more majestic and awe-inspiring than a journey through the fjords — especially if you get a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
Low-Key Travelers: Though ports stops can be frequent, the pace on board rolls out in slo-mo.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Not a Lot of Activities on Board: There’s an occasional class — knot-tying, fish filleting — and a musician performing at night, but expect a lot of downtime.
Standard Cabins Are Tight: Starting categories are short on space even by cruise ship standards, though they do come with some unexpected comforts, such as heated bathroom floors and incredible down duvets.
Lisa Cheng is a New York-based writer for ShermansCruise who also writes for Travel + Leisure.