The Svalbard Express - Full Voyage
The Svalbard Express - Full Voyage
The Svalbard Express - Full Voyage
The Svalbard Express - Full Voyage
- Embark on a sumptuous, nostalgic voyage along the Norwegian coast up to the edge of the world to the Svalbard archipelago in the High Arctic and back
- Enjoy life aboard exceptionally designed MS Trollfjord, freshly refurbished in 2023 with the finest materials and ship craftsmanship
- Visit a variety of charming coastal communities on mainland Norway and on Svalbard and take your pick from authentic, locally run optional excursions
- Experience variations of summer the length of Norway, basking in 24 hours of daylight from the glorious Midnight Sun at the height of the season
This is our historic voyage from 1968, sailing to the edge of the world, revived for the modern traveller. You’ll journey in comfort aboard beautiful MS Trollfjord, sailing along the scenic Norwegian coast north to Spitsbergen, the largest of Svalbard’s islands.
DAY 1 : Bergen
Your voyage begins
If you’ve time before boarding the ship, take the opportunity to explore the city of Bergen. The historic core of the city is home to the UNESCO-listed Bryggen quarter. There, you can wander down charming cobblestone streets and peruse local boutique shops. Across from Bryggen, you’ll find the fish market, which cooks up fresh and delicious seafood dishes to feast on.
With Bergen being the start point for many Norwegian Coastal Express voyages for generations, the stylish guest lounge at the pier is exclusive for our guests. You can sample finger-food from our Norway’s Coastal Kitchen or talk to staff about securing a spot on any optional excursions still available.
Once we’ve welcomed you aboard, you’ll meet your ship’s Coastal Experience team, who will be your hosts and guides to the Norwegian coastline and Svalbard. Get acquainted with your shipmates, and take some time to get comfortable in your new home-away-from-home.
Enjoy your first meal aboard the ship, and watch the row of colourful buildings on the seafront get smaller behind you as you sail into the Norwegian Sea.
DAY 2 : Åndalsnes
Alpine village by the fjord
Located along Isfjord at the end of Romsdalsfjord, Åndalsnes is our first port of call. After docking in the morning in the town centre, you’ll get the chance to explore this picturesque coastal town, home to about 2,000 people.
From 1838 until 1964, the village of Åndalsnes served as the administrative centre of the old municipality of Grytten, during which time it had to be completely rebuilt after an attack during World War II. Now, Åndalsnes is a modern town with its own local newspaper, in one of Norway’s most stunning natural locations.
The literal highlights of Åndalsnes are the mountains that tower over the town. Experience the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv – a love of the outdoors – through a variety of activities, such as hiking to Rampestreken viewpoint.
For a more sedate way to take in the sights, sit back for a relaxing ride on the Romsdal Gondola or travel the winding Trollstigen Pass by bus. Whichever activities you choose, this day will bring you the best views of Isfjord and Romsdalsfjord, and the surrounding peaks.
DAY 3 : Træna
Norway’s oldest fishing community
We’ll sail along the coast of the Helgeland region in the morning. When you see islands rising out of the water in the distance, you’ll know we’re almost at our next destination.
Træna is an archipelago that sits at the edge of the Arctic Circle, 33 nautical miles northwest of the mainland. Made up of around 500 islands, islets and skerries, with only four inhabited year-round, Træna is a quiet municipality, with birdlife thriving on the mostly uninhabited isles.
Though small, this archipelago has a long history, with archaeological finds indicating that the islands have been inhabited since the Stone Age. Some of these ancient relics have been found in a cave on the island of Sanna, which is now used as a venue for an annual music festival.
Spend the afternoon in one of Norway’s oldest fishing communities. If weather permits, you might be able to enjoy such activities as hiking and biking, or even island hopping.
With a large population of Sea Eagles, birdwatching is another activity you won’t want to miss. For a truly authentic experience, step into the age-old shoes of a Norwegian fisherman, and cast a line under the summer sun.
When it’s time to leave in the evening, take some time to rest onboard and unwind. We’ll cross the Arctic Circle as we continue heading north, commemorating the moment with a little Norwegian ceremony.
DAY 4 : Stokmarknes
Birthplace of The Norwegian Coastal Express
Spend a full day in Vesterålen, an archipelago just northeast of Lofoten. This island chain is the namesake of our very first Coastal Express ship to sail Norway’s rugged coastline in 1893.
We’ll dock in the historic town of Stokmarknes. This town holds a special place in our hearts, being the birthplace of Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express. Today, we go right back to where it all began.
In 1893, in this very town, shipping pioneer Richard With founded the Original Coastal Express, revolutionising coastal passenger travel, as well as Norwegian shipping. Before long, Hurtigruten had become a lifeline for Svalbard and Norway’s other remote communities, boosting their economy by carrying exports to and from the ports.
Stokmarknes is therefore a fitting location for a museum that immortalises our inspiring legacy. Hurtigrutemuseet can be found along the waterfront, where our retired 1956 ship, MS Finnmarken, proudly stands encased in a glass building. Here, you’ll find archives, photographs, and artefacts displayed throughout a range of interactive exhibitions. On a guided tour, you’ll be immersed in the atmosphere of a different era as you explore the retired vessel.
Besides visiting the museum, you may be able to enjoy hiking and other activities on the islands. Go on a RIB tour to Raftsundet, or a Sea Eagle safari in the fjord that gave your ship MS Trollfjord its name.
DAY 5 : Tromsø
Gateway to the Arctic
Tromsø is Northern Norway’s urban Arctic hotspot, boasting impressive architecture, hip restaurants, and the world’s northernmost university. Rich in polar history, it makes for a natural stopping point before we go further north and into the High Arctic.
This modern city has a long legacy, with artefacts being found nearby that date back to the Ice Age. The city grew in importance after being declared a kjøpstad, or “market town” in 1794, despite only being home to 80 people. It became a centre of Arctic hunting in the mid-1800s, and by the end of the 19th century, Tromsø was an established Arctic trade centre.
We aim to dock here in the morning, giving you a whole day to explore this historic Arctic city and its surroundings. Take your pick from a number of optional excursions. Learn more about the culture and polar history of Tromsø on a city walk. Or go watch graceful seals at the Polaria centre, one of the world’s northernmost aquariums where you can see various species of Arctic marine life up close.
There may also be an option to visit the striking Arctic Cathedral which has an impressively large multi-coloured stained-glass window. Or towering over Tromsø is Storsteinen Mountain, accessible via Fjellheisen Cable Car for exceptionally beautiful views of the city, mountains, and fjords.
DAY 6 : Honningsvåg
At the top of Europe
Around mid-morning, we arrive at Honningsvåg, the northernmost city in mainland Norway. Honningsvåg is a fairly young city, having only been declared as such in 1996, and it remains one of Norway’s smallest cities today.
You have several optional excursions to pick from here. These could include king crab fishing, meeting an indigenous Sámi family, birdwatching, or a guided tour of what life is like at 71°N.
Honningsvåg is also the gateway to the North Cape, the famed “northernmost point of Europe”. The plateau stands 307 metres above the sea, and is just over 1,000 miles south of the geographical North Pole. Take a moment to gaze out across the sea from a top the soaring cliffs, watching the waves crash against the rocks below.
Standing proudly on top of one of the cliffs is an iconic globe monument which invites all visitors to take a quick selfie. Selfie sorted, you’ll also want to visit North Cape Hall, which has a variety of exhibits and a short film that tells of the cape’s history.
Sailing away from Honningsvåg, we’ll enjoy dramatic views of the plateau from the sea. The ship will head further into the Barents Sea, leaving mainland Norway’s coast far behind us.
DAY 7 : At sea around Bjørnøya
Between Norway and Svalbard
The southernmost island of the Svalbard archipelago, Bjørnøya sits just past the halfway point between mainland Norway and Spitsbergen. We’ll be viewing this inaccessible land from the ship in the afternoon, so think of this as the prologue to your Svalbard adventure.
Upon seeing the island, you might notice the lack of trees, and even bushes. Very little grows here, with the land partly being covered only by a layer of moss and lichen. Whatever does grow here is fertilised by the abundant birdlife that nests on the sea cliffs. Get your camera ready to capture Little Auks, Puffins, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and Northern Fulmars flying over dramatic cliff tops and steep slopes, alongside many other seabird species.
Contrary to its name, which means “Bear Island”, the only native mammals are Arctic foxes. The island was named after a polar bear was spotted swimming in the waters nearby, but this is an unlikely sight this far south.
Aboard the ship, you can learn about Bjørnøya’s history through polar history lectures. You might find out about the historic expeditions that led to its discovery, and the subsequent claims that various countries have made to the island. Discover the strategic importance of this unreachable sanctuary, and the role Bjørnøya played in World War II.
Sailing on from Bjørnøya, continue to make use of MS Trollfjord’s various onboard facilities to relax, such as the sauna, fitness room, or outside hot tubs. There will also be a photography workshop today to get your camera eye and lens in focus to best capture the wildlife and wilderness awaiting us in Svalbard.
DAY 8 : Longyearbyen
At the edge of the world
Today, we arrive at the Svalbard archipelago and make our way up to Spitsbergen, the largest of the three main islands. Magnificent brown and green mountains rise and ripple up from the High Arctic tundra while rivers of snow-melt trickle through the valley plains, glistening under the summer sun.
Take a moment to just be here, now, in Svalbard. You’re at a latitude more than 78°N and under 820 miles / 1,500 kilometres from the North Pole itself. The air of this Arctic desert is fresh and pure, and temperatures in summer average between zero and eight degrees Celsius thanks to a warm northern branch of the Gulf Stream.
We find Longyearbyen nestled on the banks of a sweeping, large fjord. It is the biggest settlement in Svalbard and pegged as the world’s northernmost settlement with a population greater than 1,000.
Home to some 2,000 inhabitants from across the world, it originally sprang up as a coal mining colony in 1906. Today, it is a hub for adventure travellers, as well as scientists and engineers attached to local research projects, like the famous Global Seed Vault.
Spend some time strolling around the town, admiring its collection of galleries, pubs, restaurants, brewery, and the notable North Pole Expedition Museum. You’ll also have a number of optional excursions to pick from that bring you into the awe-inspiring landscapes surrounding Longyearbyen. Ever tried dog sledding without snow? This is your chance.
DAY 9 : Ny-Ålesund
Science on the Arctic frontier
As we sail from Longyearbyen, you’ll want to be up early to enjoy impressive views of Kongsfjord, one of the largest fjords in the area. Its entrance is guarded by two colossal creaking glaciers that regularly deposit ice into the fjord.
This stretch is also a good place to look out for walrus basking on the shores and for many different species of migrating birds, including puffins, king eiders, pink-footed geese, and guillemots.
Arctic fox and Svalbard reindeer can sometimes be spotted on land while the white beluga whale has been known to surface in the waters here too. If we’re very lucky, we might even see a polar bear prowling the coast for bearded and ringed seals.
At the tip of Brøgger peninsula, on one of Kongsfjord’s shores, is Ny-Ålesund. Like Longyearbyen, it began as a coal mine but became host to scientific stations from the mid 20th century. During the summer, there are over a hundred researchers based in the town, representing 20 glaciology and climate institutes from more than 10 countries.
Wander around what is one of the northernmost settlements in the world, drop in at the local bar and souvenir shop, or send a far-flung postcard back to friends and family from the small post office.
You can also take a guided tour of the Amundsen monument, erected here in honour of the great Norwegian explorer’s record-breaking flight to reach the North Pole in 1926. Amundsen flew the airship Norge from Ny-Ålesund and landed in Alaska three days later, successfully doing so via the North Pole.
DAY 10 : At sea
Unfortunately, it’s time for us to say farewell to Svalbard and to Spitsbergen. If time allows, as we sail south back to mainland Norway, we might be able to detour to Recherchefjord, a small fjord to the south of Bellsund.
On board the ship, use the day to relax. If skies are clear, enjoy some summer sun out on deck and keep on the lookout for whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Or if it’s not too warm out, head to the sauna for a soothing steam.
For some fascinating insights into local history and wildlife, catch a lecture delivered by the Coastal Experience Team. They may also offer a photography workshop to help sharpen your eye to capture stunning shots in the days to come.
Enjoy the sumptuous food and drinks on board, courtesy of our Norway’s Coastal Kitchen concept that features the finest, most flavoursome, local Norwegian produce. As a treat, there might be tastings of regional specialities or demonstrations by our skilled onboard chefs in the show kitchen.
You can also curl up with a good book in the lounge or chat with new-found friends in the bar while reminiscing together about your favourite experiences of the voyage so far.
DAY 11 : Tromsø and Senja
Exploring ‘Little Norway’
We’ve arrived back to mainland Norway and our first stop of the day is Tromsø. The ship will drop off any cargo from Svalbard and pick up cargo bound for ports to the south.
Calling back into Tromsø after being up at Svalbard follows in the footsteps of history. Most explorers and sailors returning from their Arctic expeditions would descend on the city. The fashion and food they found there seemed so stylish and refined compared to the stark frontier towns that they nicknamed Tromsø ‘the Paris of the North’. Maybe you’ll have a similar impression?
From Tromsø, the ship will continue south to the fairytale island of Senja, one of Norway’s largest islands. You’ll be able to embark on optional excursions in Tromsø that will then meet up with the ship in Senja. One we recommend is a scenic tour that traverses the island of Kvaløya leading to a ferry ride to Senja, before rendezvousing with the ship on the island’s west side.
Senja is Northern Norway’s fast-rising star destination, as you’d expect for a place ranked among CNN’s top ten most beautiful islands in the world. Often proudly described by locals as a ‘mini Norway’, the island seems to have a concentration of landscapes inspired by different parts of the Norwegian coast.
You’ll have a range of optional excursions on offer in Senja, showing you the best the island has to offer. These could be hikes to distinctive peaks for enviable views, fishing trips, or kayaking on the waters of a tranquil fjord.
DAY 12 : Svolvær
Fall in love with Lofoten
Today is all about exploring the Lofoten archipelago. Hailed as one of the most spectacular areas in all of Norway, you’ll understand why as you see its jagged green cliffs rise dramatically out of the ocean, climbing high into the sky like giant teeth.
Pretty fishing villages appear as strings of red-roofed houses on stilts that cling picturesequely to the edges of mountainous islands. Here and there, single fishermen huts known locally as rorbuer dot the islands, specks of red amidst a ceylon blue sea and the lush mountainside greens.
You’ll find that life in Lofoten is supremely calm and peaceful. Time seems to stand still here, as if stopped in its tracks by the islands’ sheer beauty.
The beating heart of the archipelago is the town of Svolvær where the ship will be based for most of the day. There are shops and restaurants to enjoy, and hours can be spent exploring and getting to know the town yourself.
To experience the mountains, islands, and villages that can be discovered around Svolvær, you’ll have a variety of handpicked top Lofoten excursions that will help you do just that.
Engage in an optional hike to one of the local white-sand beaches where you can help us in a beach clean-up before going for a swim. Don’t worry about having to choose between a mountain hike and kayaking either. With the long summer days, you might be able to do both, giving you the best of sea and summit.
DAY 13 : Brønnøysund
Highlights of the Helgeland Coast
The ship continues south and reaches the midpoint of the Norwegian coast. This is the Helgeland Coast, a well-known stretch full of distinctive mountains that have inspired many a charming myth and local folklore.
We will base the ship in the town of Brønnøysund which features a lovely marina and a Neo-Gothic stone church from 1870. Spend your time exploring the town or joining optional excursions such as kayaking, cycling, or a cruise by RIB.
One highlight of the area is a visit to the Vega archipelago, a cluster of some 6,500 islands, skerries, and islets. There’s a UNESCO world heritage centre on the island of Gardsøy which showcases how highly prized eider down is harvested from the local eider ducks by providing little huts for them to build their nests in.
Further along from Brønnøysund is the unique Torghatten Mountain. The first thing you’ll notice about Torghatten is the hole that pierces right through its centre. Legend states that the hole is the work of an arrow fired by a spurned troll at his would-be lover and that Torghatten Mountain itself is the fossilised hat of a Troll King who attempted to block the arrow.
At an easy pace, it takes about an hour to reach the hole in Torghatten on an optional excursion. The panoramic view of the trees and islands stretching out before you is well worth it.
DAY 14 : Ålesund and Urke
Secret of the Sunnmøre Alps
The ship will make a brief stop in the town of Ålesund, known for its Art Nouveau architecture and picturesque position on a peninsula below Mount Aksla. We’ll offload any cargo here as well guests who are joining excursions.
Near to Ålesund, cutting through the peaks of the Sunnmøre Alps, some 1,700 metres high, is magnificent Hjørundfjord. Its picture-perfect position embedded in the Sunnmøre Alps means it is the area’s hidden gem and a secret from most other ships.
Those who do discover Hjørundfjord rank it as a serious contender for their favourite fjord in Norway. Its deep blue waters and verdant mountainsides seem perfectly proportionate and aligned, as if sculpted deliberately by nature’s artistry.
On the banks of one of Hjørundfjord’s branches is the idyllic village of Urke, made up of less than 40 residents. This is where the ship will pick up guests who had previously left the ship at Ålesund to go on an excursion.
We are fast approaching the last day of our voyage. While bittersweet, what better way to celebrate our Svalbard Express experience than a merry farewell dinner on our last night. It’ll also be an opportunity to look back fondly at the many highlights of this journey we’ve all shared together.
DAY 15 : Bergen
Back where we began
We arrive back in Bergen in the morning. It’s time to disembark the sip and take a transfer to the airport, but not before saying fond farewells to your fellow passengers and to the crew of MS Trollfjord who made your Svalbard Express journey such a comfortable one.
You’ve travelled as part of this historic, iconic voyage to pieces of paradise along the Norwegian coast you won’t soon forget. If you’ve engaged in optional excursions, will you have photos to share of you kayaking, hiking, fishing, cycling in some of the most beautiful scenery ever seen?
We know you’ll take fond memories of the North Cape, Helgeland, Lofoten, Senja, Hjørundfjord, crossing the Arctic Circle, Tromsø, Bjørnøya, Longyearbyen, and Ny-Ålesund home with you to make your friends and family green with envy.
This has been The Svalbard Express. We hope to see you back here on the Norwegian coast with us soon.
Included in your voyage
Our two iconic voyages, The Svalbard Express and The North Cape Express, can be experienced on one of two fare-types: Select or Suite, read more about the two fare types here.
Regardless of the fare you choose, you will be able to enjoy the following benefits:
Cabin on ship
- Choice of cabin number on MS Trollfjord
- Norway’s Coastal Kitchen welcome basket
Food and drink on board
- Full board with all-day dining
- Drinks package (wine, beer, soft drinks) 1
- Complimentary water, tea, and coffee
- Afternoon tea and cakes
Life on board
- Complimentary Wi-Fi 2
- English-speaking Coastal Experience Team
- Visit to the bridge 3
- Five excursions package per person 4
- Only valid in the onboard restaurants during mealtimes
- Guests on the Select fare will need to register on our free 1893 Ambassador loyalty programme to access the Wi-Fi
- At the discretion of the Captain and subject to safety restrictions
- Choose five excursions from the full range of excursions, subject to excursion availability
Please see our fares page and read more about the Select and Suite fare options for this voyage.