MS Polarlys takes its name from the Norwegian for 'polar light' and joined the Hurtigruten fleet in 2016 after a complete refurbishment. Step aboard and be welcomed by the friendly crew and take in the modern, Arctic-inspired decor. Setting sail with a maximum of 616 passengers on board, you’ll soon get to know your fellow travellers and find your way around the ship. MS Polarlys is akin to a university at sea as the on-board Expedition Team have two main focuses: to enhance your voyage by interpreting the wildlife, nature, phenomena, and culture you encounter and engaging you in exciting and informative experiences and activities both on and off the ship. You'll find three restaurants, a bar, bakery and ice cream bar, fitness room, sauna, outdoor explorer deck, two on-deck Jacuzzis, and comfortable suites and cabins spread across the six passenger decks. The locally-inspired and delicious cuisine is complemented by a laid-back and sociable on-board lifestyle and a casual dress code.
MS Polarlys' on board cuisine combines traditional Scandinavian flavours and locally-sourced ingredients. Take your seat in the Torget Main Dining restaurant at breakfast, lunch, and dinner to enjoy attentive service and a tasty menu of starters, main courses, and desserts. Brygga Bistro is the place to choose for informal light bites or you can indulge in gourmet dishes at Kysten Arctic Fine Dining eatery. Freshly-baked treats and ice creams are also available at Multe Bakery & Ice Cream Bar.
Explorer Lounge & Panorama Bar is located on Deck Seven and is the social hub of the ship. From your morning cappuccino through to pre-dinner cocktails and late evening gin and tonics; this is the place to socialise with your fellow-travellers and take in the ever-changing views through the windows.
Spend your days afloat relaxing on the open-air explorer deck and in the two outdoor Jacuzzis or enjoying the panoramic vistas from the Explorer Lounge. Work up a sweat in the fitness room before winding down in the sauna. The Expedition Team host a programme of informative lectures and evening get-togethers; while out on deck and ashore they guide you through live points of interest, local wildlife, natural phenomena, and other fascinating sights. Enjoy light background music in the evening as you chat with your fellow in the Explorer Lounge & Panorama Bar.
Day 1: Fly from the UK to Bergen
Fly from your chosen UK airport to Bergen. Our expedition starts in Bergen, a city surrounded by its famed seven mountains. Before departure you may wish to explore this cultural gateway to the fjords. After embarkation we invite you to enjoy our tasty dinner buffet, based on the best ingredients from the coast. We sail north from Bergen along the Hjeltefjord, the same route the Vikings once sailed to the Shetland Islands and beyond – we are heading to the high north. Spend the rest of the evening relaxing as you take in the spectacular landscapes, either from deck or in our panorama lounges.
Day 2: Floro – Molde
If you wake up early the next day you have the chance to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Nordfjord, followed by a delicious breakfast. As we sail past the West Cape, we experience a rare venture into open sea. Then the ship navigates through skerries and islands before reaching Ålesund. In the summer months we set course for the spectacular UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord passing sheer, 800 metre cliffs and impressive waterfalls en route. In autumn we explore Hjørundfjord, situated amidst the majestic Sunnmøre Alps. In addition to the excursion “A taste of Norway”, we offer two new mountain hikes here. Its seclusion and unspoiled natural landscape give this fjord its special character. In winter you can enjoy a colourful and enlightening presentation about the Aurora Borealis on board.
Day 3: Kristiansund - Rørvik
Today you wake up in beautiful Trondheim. The architecture and surroundings in Trondheim create a beautiful and almost mythical setting for any outing, whether you prefer a guided tour of the Nidaros Cathedral, kayaking on the river Nid and into the city’s smaller channels, or a casual walk or by bicycle through the Bakkland district. In autumn you can join the trip out to Munkholmen. Originally this was an ancient place of execution, before becoming a Benedictine monastery around the year 1000. In 1658 it was made into a fortress and prison, and later a customs station. In the afternoon the ship sets a northwest course, passing the beautiful Kjeungskjær lighthouse and numerous charming islets and rocky outcrops. In autumn you can learn more about navigation and lighthouses along the Norwegian coast during the Captain’s talk. After passing through the narrow Stoksund, the ship arrives at charming Rørvik.
Day 4: Brønnøysund - Svolvær
The Arctic Circle marks the border to the Arctic region. In summer this means 24-hour daylight - often referred to as the ‘Midnight Sun’. During autumn and winter, being above this degree of latitude provides the best chances of experiencing the Northern Lights. We continue sailing along the beautiful coast of Helgeland up to Bodø. In spring there will be a presentation on board where your can learn more about the millions of migrating birds returning to the Arctic Coast during the nesting period. Later this afternoon the sight of the 1 000 metres high Lofoten Wall will appear on the horizon. The charms of the Lofoten Islands are revealed in all the small, picturesque fishing villages with their bohemian atmosphere. In winter, crossing the Arctic Circle is when the hunt for the Arctic light begins. We celebrate this with a presentation of ‘The Magic Light, Aurora Borealis’, where you can experience this phenomenon via pictures, words and music. After sailing through the narrow Raftsund, we stop at the entrance to the enthralling Trollfjord. Here we serve freshly made fish cakes out on deck. You will also hear the story of ‘The battle of Trollfjord’, which took place here in the winter of 1890.
Day 5: Stokmarknes - Skjervøy
In summer, early birds can go ashore in Risøyhamn for our whale-watching excursion. The ship continues to Tromsø for a prolonged stay. In winter and spring you can complete your stay in Tromsø with a thrilling husky dog sledge ride. If you want to experience the peace and tranquillity of the sea in summer, why not join us on a kayaking excursion, or participate on a mountain hike on one of the mountains close to the city. The air up here is fresh and clear, and we get a beautiful view of the city and the impressive mountain chains around it. After an exhilarating day in Tromsø, we continue our northbound journey. In winter the Captain invites guests to taste stockfish on deck. The ship is now sailing into the area along the coast where you have the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights between September and March, and we gather on deck to search for this breathtaking phenomenon.
Day 6: Øksfjord – Berlevåg
Enjoy the magnificent sub-Arctic landscape as we cross the 71st parallel on our journey towards the North Cape, the northernmost point on the continent. In summer, you might see herds of grazing reindeer and small camps belonging to the indigenous Sámi people. After brief early stops in Hammerfest and Havøysund we arrive in Honningsvåg, the gateway to the spectacular North Cape. Close to the North Cape you find one of the world’s most exciting nature reserves, Gjesværstappan. Join the bird-watching safari during spring and summer to experience Finnmark’s largest flock of puffins, together with large numbers of kittiwakes. The Hurtigruten ship continues north, sailing in the heartland of the indigenous Sámi people. We pass their ancient sacred site, the rock formation Finnkirka, and as we approach our next stop, the fishing village Kjøllefjord. Ever so often local fishermen visit us during winter and spring to share their catch of the day (King Crab and Cod) with us out on deck. Here you have the opportunity to learn more about the Sámi people, as well as exploring the wonderful scenery all year round on our different excursions. In winter you can join us on an unforgettable snowmobile trip to one of Europe’s most extreme and exciting natural areas.
Day: 7 Båtsfjord – Kirkenes - Berlevåg
Early birds can see Vadsø and just after breakfast we arrive in Kirkenes, putting us at 30° East, further east than Istanbul and St. Petersburg. The Russian border is close by, and you may find it intriguing that the road signs are written in both Norwegian and Russian. Depending on the season, there are several ways to make a visit to the Russian border. During spring you may still be able to participate in our winter activities and excursions. You could explore the Arctic winter on a snowmobile, driving over a frozen fjord. On our dog sledge adventure the huskies eagerly transport you across the frozen landscape, taking you through the arctic wilderness. You can also visit the Snow Hotel and see the reindeer. Our Arctic bush craft excursion in autumn provides you with an insight into this season; how people have harvested, stored, hunted and fished for centuries. As the ship starts its voyage south, you can first enjoy a wonderful lunch followed by views of arctic wilderness from deck or the panorama lounge. There will be a presentation on Pomor trade history in the winter season.The ports previously visited by night on the northbound journey are now seen by day. In the afternoon the ship docks in Vardø again, Norway’s easternmost port. Weather permitting, we may invite you to experience ice bathing in the Arctic Ocean during winter season. On board there will also be a presentation of "Life in the sea" in spring, and in winter local Arctic divers will bring displays and give a lecture out on deck about life in the ocean. We continue along the Varanger peninsula to Båtsfjord before reaching Berlevåg in the evening.
Day 8: Mehamn - Tromsø
In the middle of the night we dock at Mehamn, where it is possible to join an unforgettable snowmobile trip through one of Europe’s most extreme and exciting natural areas in winter. In Honningsvåg you can enjoy an excursion and breakfast at the North Cape while discovering hidden parts of Finnmark. Before stopping in Hammerfest, you can enjoy an ‘Energy coffee’ and a short introduction to ‘Melkøya - The northernmost natural gas terminal’ on board. In autumn we invite you to taste dried reindeer meat on deck. In Hammerfest you can participate on a mountain hike or join a city guiding and see the UNESCO-listed Meridian Column, erected in 1854 to commemorate the first precise measurement of the globe. We continue south to Øksfjord. In winter our crew will teach you how to tie maritime knots on deck. After crossing open water, we will make a brief stop at the old trading post of Skjervøy before sailing through the beautiful Lyngenfjord in spring. Surrounded by the snowy peaks of the Lyngen Alps, we may be visited by a local fisherman and enjoy a taste of local freshly caught prawns. We dock in Tromsø known as “the gateway to the Arctic” just in time to enjoy a Midnight Concert at the Arctic Cathedral. Alternatively a walk around town will give you the chance to enjoy a local brew in one of the many friendly pubs.
Day 9: Tromsø - Stamsund
We arrive at Harstad this morning, where you have the opportunity to participate in one of the classics in Hurtigruten’s excursion programme: A taste of Vesterålen. The Risøyrenna channel is just 7 metres deep, and was made especially for Hurtigruten in the 1920's, providing an "inside route" between Harstad and Sortland. The sand banks are visible through the clear, green water. Risøyhamn is a small village with only 200 residents, and we make a short stop here to deliver passengers, groceries and mail. From this port you can also join in on a spectacular whale watching experience during wintertime. Then we continue via Sortland to Stokmarknes, where Hurtigruten was founded more than 120 years ago. Continuing south it looks like we are sailing straight into the mountain wall, but the captain finds an opening and sails through the narrow Raftsund. As a tribute to the fishing history in this region, our chef shows how to fillet the catch of the day on deck in winter. Now we reach the spectacular Trollfjord, only 2 kilometres long and 100 metres wide, with majestic mountains surrounding it. If the weather and time permits it – the captain will take a detour in here. Join a sea eagle excursion to see the king of birds up close. Reaching Svolvær, you can choose from several excursion options in summer, spring and winter. From Svolvær we continue on to Stamsund, where the majestic peaks of the huge Lofoten wall can be viewed. We leave the islands during the evening and set course for the mainland.
Day 10: Bodø - Rørvik
Crossing the Arctic Circle at 66°33’N is an important ‘rite of passage’ today. We celebrate this with a taste of our Arctic traditions out on deck. Another highlight is sailing past the Seven Sisters mountain range. All seven mountains are between 900 and 1 100 metres high, and it is easy to understand how these ‘ladies’ have inspired ancient myths. We take a short stop at Nesna, an idyllic old trading post before moving on to Sandnessjøen. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Vega Islands is close to our call in Sandnessjøen and can be visited on an optional excursion during summer. In Brønnøysund we offer an excursion to the Norwegian Aquaculture Centre.
Day 11: Trondheim - Ålesund
Today gives you another opportunity to explore the city of Trondheim. The city walk through Trondheim is a journey through its 1000-year history. Back on board, the ship heads out of the majestic Trondheimsfjord, which is 170 kilometres long and up to 25 kilometres wide. Like all other Norwegian fjords it is deep, 577 metres at most. As we sail along the coast you’ll realise the importance of fish to Norwegian coastal communities. Kristiansund’s location has provided the town with a wealth of opportunities in the fishing, shipbuilding and oil industries. This town is now regarded as Norway’s ‘cured cod capital’ because of its long time export of salted dry fish. Here you can join a trip to the Atlantic Road, one of Norway’s most visited tourist destinations. As we cross the open sea to Molde, known as the ‘city of roses’, you will notice the steep, grey, pointed peaks of the Romsdal Alps.
Day 12: Ålesund – Bergen
During the night, the ship will call at Ålesund, Torvik, Måløy as the world’s most beautiful voyage is drawing to a close. But before we dock in Bergen there are still a few nautical miles of fascinating scenery ahead of us, such as the picturesque Nordfjord below the enormous Jostedals glacier. We will make a call at Florø, a modern town which is the oldest in Sogn og Fjordane county and the westernmost in Norway. A few nautical miles south of Florø we navigate the estuary of the mighty Sognefjord. You also get the best views of the archipelago en route. Finally you disembark in Bergen and fly back to the UK.