Two companies — Havila and its older competitor Hurtigruten — today run ferry services that shuttle people, tourists, mail, and freight along this extensive coastline. The fist steam ferries began running between Trondheim and Tromsø in 1838. By 1908 service covered the whole route from Bergen to Kirkenes.
Today, these companies feel like a cross between a ferry service and a cruise line. Some passengers travel short distances, while others spend a week or two going up the coast, down the coast, or even round trip. The boats offer comfortable accommodations, tasty Norwegian cuisine, shore excursions, and plenty of clean Scandinavian design.
Early in our journey we sailed deep into Geraingerfjord, the mother of Norway’s spectacular fjords. The next day we spent a few hours on shore in the elegant university town of Trondheim (which we will return to after the boat trip). And this morning, halfway into our trip, we crossed the Arctic Circle. And with three more days to go!
So far this has been a great way to see Norway. We spend a lot of the days and evenings sitting on our own balcony just watching the landscape glide by. The scenery includes mountains, islands, pretty harbors, little towns, and no end of isolated houses that you can’t even imagine how people get to.
It all sits under moody skies, patches of fog, occasional wind and rain, and sudden bursts of sunshine. And the long summer days seem to get noticeably longer with each northbound day. We love watching the landscape slowly darken between 10 and 11 pm. But not for long: Sunrise tomorrow is scheduled for 3:12 am.