You’ve booked your dream Hurtigruten cruise up the coast of Norway. Time to get ready for the onboard experience. Of course, a key part of this experience is food and drink on the Hurtigruten cruises in Norway. We learned by doing, and we hope you can also learn from our personal experiences. 

HITT Tip: To learn more about Hurtigruten cruises and ensure your trip and planning goes as smoothly and enjoyably as possible, be sure to read our entire Hurtigruten series.  Hurtigruten Cruises: Travel Booking Tips; Hurtigruten Cabins: Differences, Details; Planning Your Hurtigruten Cruise Excursions;and Hurtigruten Video Tour – Planning Your Next Trip. Remember that many things change from year to year.

Onboard: Hurtigruten food, meals and beverages

The food on Hurtigruten cruises in Norway is nothing short of amazing. Thus, you will eat. And eat. And eat. Likely more than usual. Breakfasts and lunches are buffet style during pre-scheduled windows of several hours. Sometimes hours shift slightly to accommodate the comings and goings of excursion groups. For breakfasts and lunches, you choose whatever seat you want. Dinners are sit-down meals with assigned tables. Prior to departure you are assigned tablemates for the entire trip. Which can be good or bad. We like the idea of being able to move about a bit to meet other people. If you want to move or combine with another group, just ask and you’ll be accommodated. People get on and off during the voyage, too, so you can always regroup a bit as the mix changes.

Reindeer for dinner on a Hurtigruten cruise in Norway

Farm fresh means reindeer meat too, cooked to order. Delicious! (photo by Therese Iknoian)

Some wonderful sweet dessert on a Hurtigruten cruise in Norway

Dinners on your Hurtigruten cruise in Norway

Dinners on your Hurtigruten cruise in Norway are pre-set – no choice. We didn’t find that a bad thing, but if you are really picky or have some food allergies, then just ask for an alternative, even on the spot. They not only supply one, no questions asked, but the alternative is not some second-rate item. For example, I can’t digest milk products very well so when a soup was cream based, I would ask for an alternative, which was always delicious. The meals usually emphasize some Norwegian specialty too, often from the area you are visiting – they call it “Norway’s Coastal Kitchen,” and the chefs do an excellent job. Sometimes you even get to watch the local suppliers bring that evening’s meal to the ship! This is “farm-to-fork” dining at its best – or, should I say, ocean-to-fork.

Hurtigruten cruises in Norway feature delicious fresh salmon

Freshly caught salmon, being turned into delicious sushi for an appetizer as guests look on hungrily. (photo by Therese Iknoian)

Hurtigruten cruises in Norway turning fresh fish into sushi

Beverages on board during your Hurtigruten cruise

Ah, now this is an entirely different topic than food Nothing of course is cheap. Your ARE in Norway after all and you ARE captive on a ship after all. Thankfully, a few things have changed as of 2016, not the least being the strength of the U.S. dollar.

On your Hurtigruten cruises, you can now have complimentary coffee, tea and filtered tap water at breakfast and lunch, and water at dinner, with coffee and tea available in the bar afterwards – a superior change from the prior arrangement of only getting water or coffee/tea at breakfast at no charge. What are the specifics?

Hurtigruten Coffee Bonus Card

There had been a so-called “Coffee Deal” that in 2014 ran about 215 NOK (USD $26) for 12-day trips. The deal gave you an itsy-bitsy souvenir insulated mug with spill-proof lid that you could fill up as much as you wanted all day long at a coffee station, but not in the dining room.

As of January 2016, that “deal” is no more. Instead there is a “coffee bonus card,” so you can purchase coffee for 27 NOK per cup (USD $3.25), get a punch, and the 6th cup is free, meaning you really pay only 22.50 NOK for each cup ($2.75) when you buy six. What you think of the value of the deal will depend on how much you need your coffee all day.

Note the Hurtigruten red mugs for coffee, tea or some other other beverage of choice.

Watching the sunset in one of the lounges, reading, catching up on conversation and drinking a cup of tea or coffee (or some contraband adult beverage disguised as coffee or tea — not that anyone EVERY did that) in one of the old red souvenir Hurtigruten mugs.

HITT Tip: If you buy beverages on board, make sure they are charging you in Norwegian Krone since the U.S. dollar rate we saw on a list was significantly higher than the currency exchange rate was, at least in 2016.

Satiating your thirst on Hurtigruten cruises in Norway

Another great change is the availability now of filtered tap water water at meals. Thank you!!! Shelling out 25 NOK (about USD $3), for a one small plastic bottle seemed insulting for three reasons: the price, all that plastic getting tossed, and the fact that the ship’s tap water is just fine to drink. Yes, you can still buy bottled water if you want, both in packages and by the bottle, but why? (Of note: A water package as of 2016 costs approximately USD $91 for a 12-day Bergen-Kirkenes-Bergen voyage and gets you 22 bottles of 0.5 liters each, i.e. a bottle each at lunch and dinner.)

Hurtigruten cruise wine and beer packages

Don’t you worry, there is also a wine package on your Hurtigruten cruise, as well as sales by the glass or bottle. And if you really enjoy that beverage with your meal – and want one at every dinner — the package is the way to go. As of 2016, wine package prices for the 12-day cruise are NOK 4216 (about USD $510), which gets you one bottle and two small bottles of water at dinner, saving you about 10 percent. In 2015, individual glasses went for approximately 75-110 NOK each (in today’s dollars, USD $9-13.50).

Another note, however, is that you do not get to pick the wine; the sommelier does. So if want a different wine that costs more, you pay the difference; but if you want a different wine that costs less, you get no refund.

Beer is also available by a package that includes 2 glasses of 0.4 liters each per day, both served at dinner. If you don’t want both at dinner, we were told you’ll have to talk to the powers-that-be once on the ship to see if they are willing to change, which can happen. This goes for 1207 NOK for the 12-day trip (about USD $146)

HITT Tip: Unless you really must have wine (or beer) with your dinner, however, do what the Norwegians do (since wine with meals in restaurants is always an expensive treat): Go to the state-run liquor store called Vinmonopolet. These stores are in almost every town up and down the coast, other than the tiniest villages, and they are often very near the dock – convenient, eh? There you can buy a bottle of whatever suits your fancy. The website is only in Norwegian but the store locator on this page isn’t that hard to sort out. A simple, inexpensive bottle of wine may cost only about 90-120 NOK (USD $11-15), so you can enjoy a glass without breaking the bank – but only in your room.

One other point when it comes to alcoholic beverages on Hurtigruten cruises in Norway: Taking your own wine outside of your room is verboten. And you are supposed to check in any alcohol you bring on board…. And of COURSE we encourage you to abide by the rules…. Now, whether you choose to ignore our advice, is entirely up to you. Just don’t say we didn’t tell you the rules.

HITT Tip: Consider bringing a re-usable water bottle you can refill in your room for during the day, taking on excursions or into ports for walkabouts.

Oslo Main Train Station

Think of Norway train lines somewhat like an x-y axis – one major line goes north-south, and another goes east-west, both with a few offshoots or onward connections to, say, Sweden. Click here to download a PDF map.  Once you know this, it’s easier to get around. The Oslo main station, Central Station (more commonly known as Oslo S), has several departures/arrivals daily on the east-west Oslo–Bergen route, considered one of the most beautiful in the world. We took it from Oslo to Bergen on an early winter day and can confirm that the route is certainly gorgeous, not to mention convenient and affordable. Of course, there are frequent departures to all points in Norway from Oslo’s Central Station. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.

Bergen Main Train Station - Bergen

Myrdal Train Station

Flam Train Station

Gudvangen Ferry Terminal

Roros Visitors Center

National Museum of Decorative Arts - Trondheim

https://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Ringve Music Museum - Trondheim

https://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Trondheim Museum of Art

https://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Old Town Bakklandet - Trondheim

https://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Nidaros Cathedral - Trondheim

https://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Archbishop's Palace and Museum - Trondheim

https://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Old Town Bridge - Trondheim

https://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Kristiansten Fort - Trondheim

https://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Sverresborg - Trondelag Folk Museum - Trondheim

https://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Stiffsgarden Royal Residence - Trondheim

https://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Medieval Church Ruins in the Library - Trondheim

https://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Alesund and Sunnmore Tourist Office

https://hitraveltales.com/beautiful-alesund-inspires-artists-photographers/

Centre of Art Nouveau - Alesund

https://hitraveltales.com/beautiful-alesund-inspires-artists-photographers/

Fjellstua Viewpoint - Alesund

https://hitraveltales.com/beautiful-alesund-inspires-artists-photographers/

Theta Museum - Bergen

Theta Museum — It was a secret room then and, for many, it still remains a secret museum and hidden room today. It is the itty-bitty Theta Museum, a minute 170-square-foot (16 square meters) low-ceiling room hidden away on an upper floor of the Bryggen wharf area in Bergen. The museum was the headquarters of the Theta Group, an important part of the Norwegian Resistance during WWII. Its hours are quite limited to plan around them to not miss this gem! Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

Bergen Maritime Museum - Bergen

Bergen Maritime Museum — The Bergen Maritime Museum presents the history of shipping, its development and importance to Bergen and Norway. We loved the museum’s vast collection of ship models – including Viking ships. Getting There: The museum is situated 150 meters from Johanneskirken (the red church), in the middle of the University campus.. Admission is NOK 50 or free with a valid Bergen Card.  Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

University Museum of Bergen

University Museum of Bergen — Although the Natural History Museum is undergoing restoration and will not reopen until 2018, the History Museum is well worth a look, containing some of the largest cultural collections in Norway. Since it is adjacent to the Maritime Museum, time your visit to enjoy both on the same day. Admission is NOK 50, or free with a valid Bergen Card.   Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

Bryggen - Bergen

Bryggen — This is what you likely think of when you think of Bergen. In 1360 the Hansas – a German guild of merchants – set up one of their import/export offices on Bryggen and dominated world trade for the next 400 years.  Though destroyed many times by fire, each time it has been faithfully rebuilt, on top of foundations that were created in the 11th century. Now on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, Bryggen is made for wandering, slowly. Meander through narrow passageways and enjoy the myriad of tiny shops, offices and artist studios.  Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

Fløibanen Funicular - Bergen

Fløibanen Funicular — Do not miss the breathtaking view from atop Mt. Floyen, 320 meters (1,050) feet above sea level). Certainly one of Norway’s most-often mentioned attractions, the Funicular runs every 15 minutes from early morning until 11 p.m. The journey lasts approximately 8 minutes up or down. We watched for Northern Lights from the summit one evening during a recent visit, though swirling mist obscured a view of the sky, but not the twinkling lights below. Admission is NOK 85 round trip or NOK 43 one-way. Bergen Card is valid for a 50% discount May 1 through September 30 and gives you a free ride the rest of the year.  Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

Bergenhus Festning - Bergen

Bergenhus Festning – A bit further up the road from Bryggen Historic District, take the time to visit the historic fort, Bergenhus. Here you will see the Rosenkrantz Tower, considered one of the most important renaissance monuments in Norway and, when open, offering an impressive view of Bergen. Plus, there is Hakon’s Hall, built by King Håkon Håkonsson as a royal residence and banqueting hall in the 12th century – granted you won’t need a lot of time there. Bergenhus Festning, 5003 Bergen. Admission to each is NOK 70 or free with a valid Bergen Card. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

Hanseatic Museum - Bergen

Hanseatic Museum — One of the best-preserved buildings in Bergen, the Hanseatic Museum shows how the German merchants from The Hanseatic League lived and worked. From 1350 to 1750 these merchants traded stockfish (chewy, dried fish) and grains from their office in Bergen. It is the only house on Bryggen that has kept its original interior. In summer, there are daily guided tours in Norwegian, German, French and English. Admission NOK 90.  Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

Bergen Aquarium - Bergen

Bergen Aquarium – The Bergen Aquarium claims to house one of the largest collections of North Sea fish and invertebrates in Europe. The aquarium features indoor 60 tanks, a shark viewing tube, and two outdoor pools with seals and penguins. Cost – From March 1 to October 31, entrance runs NOK 200. A Bergen Card discounts that by 25%. The rest of the year, entrance is NOK 150 or free with a Bergen Card. Since the aquarium website is only offered in Norwegian, click here to find aquarium information on the official Tourist Information website, thankfully in English.  Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

Det Lille Kaffekompaniet - Bergen

Bergen is made to get lost in on foot because it’s so compact and so walkable, albeit hilly. Explore narrow side streets, particularly those around the base of the funicular’s lower terminal off Lille Øvergaten. Just follow your nose. Take the time to sit and enjoy a coffee and delectable in one of the many small cafes you will encounter … we loved Det Lille Kaffekompaniet in the Lille Overgaten. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

Skottegaten - Bergen

Bergen is made to get lost in on foot because it’s so compact and so walkable, albeit hilly. Explore narrow side streets, particularly those around the base of the funicular’s lower terminal off Lille Øvergaten. Just follow your nose. Also worth exploring is the hilly area all around Skottegaten just west of the main part of the old town and between there and the Hurtigruten terminal. Your nose and your feet will be your guides. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

Hurtigruten Terminal - Bergen

Shipping and ferry services are Bergen’s connection to the outside world as well as much of Norway. You will arrive or depart from here by ferry for part of the Norway in a Nutshell tour, if you choose that version. And this is also where the well-known Hurtigruten (the Coastal Express) ferry tours depart daily for trips up to Kirkenes in the far north (stopping in numerous Norwegian coastal towns and villages along the way). Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

Hurtigruten Terminal - Kirkenes

Hurtigruten Terminal - Trondheim

Vigeland Park - Oslo

Don’t miss the Frogner neighborhood and the Vigeland Park with its spectacular lineup of Gustav Vigeland’s works. If the weather is nice – remember, this is Scandinavia – the park is a popular destination for jogging, walking and picnicking. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.

Royal Palace - Oslo

Take the time to wander down Karl Johans Gate, starting at the Central Station. Karl Johans Gate is the main street in central Oslo and features a tree-lined promenade bordered by restaurants, cafes and upscale stores. There is, naturally, great people watching and at the end of the walk you will find yourself at the Royal Palace, home of the Norwegian royal family. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.

Old Aker Church - Oslo

Old Aker Church – The church is and old medieval building and is listed as the oldest remaining building in Oslo dating back to the 11th century. Admission: Free. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.

Oslo Domkirke - Oslo

Oslo Domkirke (cathedral) — This is considered the most important church of Oslo where all the royal ceremonies have been held for centuries. It has a delightfully rich interior. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.

Edward Munch Museum - Oslo

Edward Munch Museum — Edvard Munch – probably best known for modern painting known as “The Scream” — has a unique position among Nordic painters and is considered a pioneer in expressionism. The Munch Museum’s collection, left to the city of Oslo by the artist, consists of paintings, graphical prints and drawings. By constantly changing the exhibitions, the museum presents the variety in his life. Be sure to visit the museum website prior to planning your trip as the museum does close for short spans due to exhibition changes. Admission: NOK 100. Free with valid Oslo Pass. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.

Norwegian Museum of Cultural History - Oslo

Norwegian Museum of Cultural History — Located on Bydgoy next to the Viking Ship Museum the Museum of Cultural History is a large open-air museum that is full of wonderful replicas of traditional Norwegian buildings throughout Norwegian history. The most famous building is the intricately carved stave church – which is truly stunning. Admission is NOK 80 or free with a valid Oslo Pass. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.

The Viking Ship Museum - Oslo

The Viking Ship Museum — The Viking Ship Museum presents historic Viking ship discoveries discovered during excavations at Gokstad, Oseberg and Tune as well as other finds from Viking tombs around the Oslo Fjord. Most significant are the displays of the world’s two best-preserved wooden Viking ships, built in the 9th century. Admission is NOK 80 or free with a valid Oslo Pass. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.

Akershus Fortress - Oslo

Akershus Fortress — Akershus Fortress, located in the city centre overlooking the Oslo fjord, is a great place to take in wonderful views of Oslo as well as the surrounding fjord. The building of Akershus Castle and the fortress began in 1299 under King Håkon V. The medieval castle, which was completed in the 1300s, was strategically located at the end of the headlands overlooking the fjord. King Christian IV (1588-1648) modernized the castle and had it converted to a royal residence. Admission is free. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.

Resistance Museum - Oslo

Norway’s Resistance Museum — The Resistance Museum is located in a 17th century building on the grounds of Akershus Fortress, right adjacent to the memorial for Norwegian patriots executed during the war. It is a fantastic museum – plan on a couple of hours (or more depending on your passion) to view the displays covering five years of occupation recreated with pictures, documents, posters, objects, models, original copies of newspapers and recordings. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.

Clarion Collection Hotel Bastion

Honningsvag

Honningsvag is a small fishing port far up the northern coast of Norway, nestled in a pocket among islands and fjords north of Tromso. From the Hurtigruten ship heading north, the town is uber-cute, hugging the base of a hill. Aside from fishing, it is the capital of the “North Cape” areaRead our Photographer's Diary story on Honningsvag here.

Heads up! This information on Hurtigruten food and drink choices was accurate when we published it on HI Travel Tales, but, as we know, traveling is all about changes (and inflation, sadly). Please be sure to confirm prices, transportation schedules, hours of operation, safety and health considerations, request for perfect weather during your entire visit, and any other important details before your adventure.