The MS Polarlys is one of the Hurtigruten’s mid-90s series of ships, constructed in 1996, and she’s the third of the line’s ships to bear the Polarlys name. The ship has a passenger capacity of 737, with several differing berthing options, including interior cabins, and exterior cabins with windows, as well as two different suite sizes, and several cabins that are equipped for people with disabilities. At 404 feet, the ship is small enough to retain the cosy feel that, together with the spectacular Norwegian coastline, makes a Hurtigruten cruise feel like such an amazing maritime adventure. The ships interior décor is stunning, with gleaming polished brass and gorgeous mahogany panelling, plush furnishing and panoramic windows, combining to create a stylish and comfortable elegance.
As one of the Hurtigruten’s working passenger and cargo ships, the Polarlys travels from the city of Bergen, in the southern reaches of Norway’s coast, to Kirkenes in the north. The journey is made over the course of six days, with daily stops at several different ports, followed by a return journey of similar duration. Cruising passengers can opt for stays of 5 to 11 nights, with the full 12-day cruise a voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes, and back again.
The MS Polarlys is named for the aurora Polaris, or polar lights, that are a major feature of the polar night skies. In the north, the lights are called the aurora borealis, or northern lights, and if you’re travelling during the winter months, you may be lucky enough to see them during your voyage.
Your dining options on board the MS Polarlys are not highly varied, but you’ll find that the food is fresh and delicious, and a wonderful accompaniment to your cruise experience. Each day, passengers enjoy tasty buffet-style breakfast and lunch menus, with a range of cold and cooked dishes, including cereals, cold meat, and egg dishes at breakfast, and fish dishes, salads, and desserts at lunch.
The evening meal is a set menu, but can provide for special dietary requirements upon request. Each night of your cruise, you’ll dine on fresh local foods; since the ship makes frequent port stops each day there’s ample opportunity for chefs to pick up only the freshest fruits, vegetables, seafood, and local delicacies. Depending on the season you might end up dining on wild game, king crab, baked trout, ox steak, and even reindeer meat, along with dessert favourites like chocolate fondant and berry cheesecake—or a traditional Norwegian dessert such as strawberry and rhubarb soup, served with light and flaky puff pastry and rich sour cream.
Life on board the MS Polarlys is back to basics—it’s all about relaxing and getting away from commercial forms of entertainment, and instead just sitting back and enjoying the cruise experience, and the spectacular scenery of the Norwegian coastline. There are amazing views in all directions both in and outside, with the observation lounge and panorama lounge indoors, and the outdoor sun deck providing the crisp, clean air to complement the splendour of nature. There’s still plenty to entertain you if you feel the urge, however, with an internet café, a games arcade, a bar, and a small gym and sauna.
With so many port stops each day there’s ample opportunity for exploring back on dry land, and for taking part in organized excursions, such as city tours and sight-seeing, dog-sledding, snow safaris, and whale-watching.