||This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2011)|
Hurtigruten (literally "the Express Route") is a Norwegian passenger and freight line with daily sailings along Norway's western and northern coast. Sometimes referred to in English as Norwegian Coastal Express, Hurtigruten ships sail almost the entire length of the country, completing the roundtrip journey in 11 days. The trip has been described as the "World's Most Beautiful Sea Voyage." Highlights include the Hanseatic League city of Bergen, the Geiranger fjord (summer only), and the Lofoten Islands, a niche that has earned the company a nearly 2% share of the worldwide cruise market.
 Company history
Hurtigruten traces its origins more than one hundred years back; it was established in 1893 by government contract to improve communications along Norway's long, jagged coastline. Vesteraalen commenced on the first round-trip journey from Trondheim on 2 July 1893 bound for Hammerfest, with calls at Rørvik, Brønnøy, Sandnessjøen, Bodø, Svolvær, Lødingen, Harstad, Tromsø and Skjervøy. The ship arrived Svolvær on Monday 3 July at 8pm (after 35½ hours) and reached its northbound destination of Hammerfest on Wednesday 5 July, completing the northbound leg between Trondheim and Hammerfest in a total of 67 hours. She was captained by Richard With, considered the founder of Hurtigruten. At present, 19 April 2013 the distance between Trondheim and Svolvær is covered in 33 hours and Trondheim - Hammerfest in 41 hours and 15 min.
Originally only one shipping company, Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskab, was willing to take on the job of sailing the then poorly charted waters; the voyage was especially difficult during the long, dark winters. Hurtigruten was a substantial breakthrough for communities along its path. Mail from central Norway to Hammerfest which had taken three weeks in the summer and up to five months in winter could now be delivered in a mere seven days.
Encouraged by Vesteraalen's early success, several other shipping companies obtained the concession to operate on the route and the Hurtigruten service expanded to the current round trip between Bergen in the southwest, and Kirkenes in the far northeast. A fleet of 11 ships ensures that each of the 34 ports is visited twice daily; once by northbound and once by southbound ships.
Beginning in the 1980s, the role of Hurtigruten changed; operating subsidies were gradually phased out and the operators put more emphasis on tourism. New, bigger and more luxurious ships were introduced, with attention given to hot tubs, bars, restaurants and other comforts. However, Hurtigruten still serves important passenger and cargo needs, and operates 365 days a year. The last two independent shipping companies, Ofotens og Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskab (OVDS) and Troms Fylkes Dampskibsselskap (TFDS), merged on 1 March 2006 as the Hurtigruten Group, a year later becoming Hurtigruten ASA. In addition to the coastal route, ferries, and high-speed regional express ships in Norway, the company operates cruises around Greenland, South America and Antarctica.
After Norway, the greatest number of passengers come from Germany, Britain, the Netherlands and other parts of Scandinavia.
 Current fleet
 Hurtigrute vessels
 Cruise ships
The classic coastal steamer Finnmarken built in 1956 and the superstructure of the first Finnmarken are now on dry land at Stokmarknes as a museum for tourists, used to show Hurtigruten over the years. A new Finnmarken has since been added to the fleet. Two vessels of the oldest generation are still in daily line use, MS Nordstjernen (built in 1956) and MS Lofoten (1964), although only in winter as replacements for vessels used for Antarctic cruises then. The other vessels currently in use were all built between 1982 and 2003, most of them in the late 1990s or early 2000s. An additional new ship, MS Fram, named after Fridtjof Nansen's famous expedition ship Fram, was delivered in 2007. She is used exclusively for cruises, around Greenland during the northern hemisphere summer season, and around Antarctica during the northern hemisphere winter season.
 Sailing list
In the sequence of the northerly passage.
 Live television broadcast
 Post-World War II accidents and incidents
- In september 1954 SS Nordstjernen ran aground in Raftsundet during nighttime. The ship started taking in water and eventually sank. Five persons died. There were 157 passengers and a crew of 46 persons on board.
- On October 21 1962 MS Sanct Svithun ran on a reef and shipwrecked in the maritime area Folda in Nord-Trøndelag. The accident was due to a major navigation error that happened some time after the ship left Trondheim. Of 89 persons on board (passengers, crew and two postal officers) 41 persons died.
- In 2011 MS Nordlys suffered an engine room fire, leading to two deaths among the crew.
- "2012 World Wide Market Share". Cruise Market Watch. 2011-11-20.
- Micke Asklander. "MS Fram (2007)". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008-02-07.
- NRK Beta
- D/S Nordstjernen Vol.no. Retrieved November 28, 2012
- Ulykker og forlis Hurtigrutemuseet.no. Retrieved November 28, 2012
- Historien Sanct Svithun Hurtigrutemuseet.no. Retrieved November 28, 2012
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Hurtigruten|
- Hurtigruten Norway's main site
- Hurtigruten UK site
- Hurtigruten US site
- yr.no: Weather forecast for Hurtigruten
- MV Fram official Polar Expedition blog
- Hurtigruten Info Website
- Detailed history of Hurtigruten and other associated coastal services in English.
- 7 travelogues and photo galleries in Norway (5), Greenland (1) and Patagonia/Antarctica (1) in french
- short video clips on Hurtigruten (MS Richard With)
- Site with many recent photos from Norwegian Coastal Voyage, and many of the ports en route.