The MS Nordkapp was built in 1996 to operate the daily ferry, cargo and passenger service between Bergen and Kirkenes, known as the ‘Hurtigruten’ or ‘fast route’. It is named after a highlight of the voyage, the North Cape of Magerøya Island off the far northern coast of Norway. Although the ships operating this coastal route act as an essential communication between some of Norway’s most isolated settlements, since they began sailing in the 1890s, tourism has always been an important part of their service. These cruises offer an unrivalled experience of one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world.
The emphasis is on relaxed informality and comfort. The Panorama Lounge, restaurant and cocktail bar all offer generous expanses of windows that allow the passing landscape to be enjoyed wherever you decide to settle. You can experience the spectacular mountains and fjords from the comfort of these interior public spaces, or have an unobstructed view in the fresh air from the sun deck or while relaxing in the outdoor Jacuzzis.
All Hurtigruten ships are decorated with a wonderful collection of Norwegian art. On the Nordkapp, the renowned artist, Karl Erik Harr is featured. The public and private rooms are all fitted out in a tasteful contemporary style, designed for comfort and elegance. The cabins have recently been upgraded and include a range of Mini Suites that have large picture windows, a mini bar, sitting area, twin fold-up beds, showers and TV. All are equipped with a hair dryer, good cupboard space, radio and telephone. The majority are outside cabins.
The Nordkapp’s Nessekongen Restaurant seats 240 diners and is located at the stern of the ship with windows stretching around three sides, giving uninterrupted views.
Both breakfast and lunch are buffet meals with open seating. The breakfast menu includes the usual cereals and continental style options as well as some Norwegian specialities, including cheeses, cold meats and fish. The lavish lunch menu includes a range of hot dishes, meats, cheeses, salads, vegetables, cold fish and caviar.
There is fixed seating for dinner, which has a set three-course menu. This is chosen by the chef each day from a range of favourite international dishes or Norwegian specialities, featuring seasonal fresh vegetables and a good wine list, as well as a selection of beers and mineral waters. The kitchen can handle special requests such as vegetarian dishes if given advance notice.
The 24-hour café serves hot or cold light meals or snacks, including salads and sandwiches, tea and coffee.
Seen from the decks of the Nordkapp, nature is all around you and provides the real entertainment on a Norwegian coastal cruise. The ship’s panoramic lounge, cocktail bar, sun deck, and other public spaces all allow passengers to enjoy the scenery of this beautiful coastline throughout their journey. Above the Arctic Circle, the Midnight Sun can be seen from May until late July, and in winter the Northern Lights can be seen when weather conditions are perfect.
Other onboard facilities include a library and internet café, children’s play room, souvenir shop and video games arcade. There is also a well equipped fitness centre with weights, treadmills, rowing machines and exercise bikes. To wind down after a long day, which will probably have included a shore excursion at one of the ship’s many stop-off points, you can relax in one of the ship’s two saunas or in one of the outside Jacuzzis, while watching the world go by.