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Hurtigruten (Norwegian Coastal Steamer) is a ship route along the Norwegian coast from Bergen to Kirkenes.
Hurtigruten (literally meaning The fast route) is a ferry line along Norway's jagged coastline. Marketed as the "world's most beautiful sea voyage", Hurtigruten ships traverse the western side of the Norwegian coast, largely sheltered by islands and skerries. The Hurtigruten coastal ships do not cruise the famous fjords of West Norway. This is a trip to see the coast along a scheduled route, not the fjords, with some transport of vehicles and goods to communities. During the summer season the Hurtigruten makes a detour to Geiranger fjord. In addition, the ship regularly calls at Molde and Trondheim, both cities located on the shores of major fjords.
Hurtigruten began as transportation company for passengers, goods and mail along the coast of Norway in 1893, providing a crucial link for many communities. At the time the system started, it drastically cut down the time for goods or mail to arrive between regions in Central and Northern Norway, and Oslo. The ships still carry some cargo, but today the ships more closely resemble cruise ships than the original coastal steamers.
The voyage is a simple way of combining lodging, eating, and transport. Unlike many other cruise ferries, Hurtigruten is not a place for drinking and partying. A one way trip takes 6-7 days, while the round-trip takes 12. This contrasts with Norway-in-a-Nutshell tours which are 1-3 days. It's also possible to purchase hop-on, hop-off tickets. Port stops vary in length. They can be as short as 5 minutes and up to 5-6 hours.
A museum, including parts and one whole, prior versions of the ship Finnmarken, sits in one port, Stokmarknes, which explains the history of the line.
The livelihood of some of these coastal community ports revolves around the daily arrival and departure of these ships, at all hours of day and night.