When it comes to adventure travel, few experiences rival the captivating allure of an Alaskan cruise. Alaska’s untouched landscapes, diverse wildlife, and awe-inspiring glaciers all make for a unique experience not to be missed. In a region that prides itself on its pristine natural environment, Hurtigruten stands out as a pioneer in sustainable expedition cruising in Alaska.
Founded 130 years ago in 1893, the Norwegian company initially operated a fleet of ships, known as the ‘Hurtigruten’ or ‘express route’, to connect remote coastal communities in Norway.
Today, Hurtigruten continues to cruise the Norwegian coastline while its sister brand, Hurtigruten Expeditions offers adventurous travellers the chance to explore some of the world’s most remarkable, remote destinations including Alaska, Africa, Antarctica, Central America and the Galápagos.
Alaska, the largest state in the US, is a land characterised by dramatic and diverse natural beauty. The state’s vast wilderness encompasses rugged mountains, rainforests, icy fjords, and a vast coastline. Travellers are drawn to Alaska for many reasons, including its vast number of glaciers, array of wildlife, its culturally rich indigenous cultures and breathtaking landscapes – from the tundra of the Arctic Circle to the temperate rainforests of the Inside Passage.
The Hurtigruten Difference
Hurtigruten Expeditions is committed to environmental conservation, supporting 41 environmental, cultural and social projects in 11 different countries. Their ships are equipped with state-of-the-art green technology, such as hybrid propulsion systems and selective catalytic reduction systems, reducing their impact on fragile ecosystems. They were also the first expedition company to ban non-essential, single-use plastic throughout their entire operation, as well as introducing the world’s first battery-powered expedition cruise ship in 2019, and two more since then.
As well as focusing on sustainability, Hurtigruten Expeditions’ expertise is legendary and their teams include experienced naturalists, scientists, and adventurers who share their deep knowledge of Alaska’s wildlife, geology, and culture with passengers. Highlights with the expedition teams are many and varied – from a tour of Misty Fjords in kayaks to exploration of the Chilkat Range mountains.
Unlike large cruise liners, Hurtigruten Expeditions’ vessels are designed to navigate narrow fjords and visit remote ports, providing an intimate and immersive journey. Their small expedition boats can transport visitors as close as possible to the glaciers, offering the chance to catch sight of humpback whales, bald eagles, otters and sea lions, all of which inhabit this icy wilderness. While the ships may be smaller, they still have all the facilities onboard you will need for your Alaskan adventure including infinity pool, spa, hot tub, sauna, science centre, gym, lounge, bar and restaurants.
The unpredictable nature of Alaska’s weather and wildlife requires flexibility, and Hurtigruten Expeditions’ itineraries are designed to maximise opportunities for wildlife encounters and exploration. They can respond to changing conditions with equipment like kayaks and expeditions boats allowing guests to grab opportunities to get up close and personal with this remarkable icy landscape. For wildlife enthusiasts, Hurtigruten Expeditions’ commitment to responsible tourism also ensures that passengers have the best opportunities to observe and appreciate Alaska’s animals in their natural habitats including brown bears at Katmai National Park & Preserve, humpback whales in the Inside Passage, and bald eagles soaring overhead.
Alaska’s indigenous cultures have a deep connection to the land, sea, and wildlife, and Hurtigruten Expeditions’ commitment to responsible tourism extends to its efforts to engage with and support local communities. Onboard there are lectures, presentations, and cultural performances to introduce passengers to the traditions and art of Alaska’s native peoples. Visits to Alaska Native Heritage Center and Sitka, home to three cultures including the Tlingit people, provide opportunities for deeper cultural understanding.
Hurtigruten offers expedition cruises to Alaska lasting between 14 and 19 days, from May to September.