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)

HITT Tip:Find out more about the celebrity chef who worked with Hurtigruten to create the menus by clicking here.

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.
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.