Many ships in the Hurtigruten fleet are named for places, stars, and weather patterns, but the MS Richard With deviates from this pattern—she is named for Captain Richard With, the original founder of the Norwegian Coastal Express, which was established in 1893. More than a century later, the Norwegian Coastal Express is now Hurtigruten, and its ships are still travelling Norway’s breathtaking coastline.
The MS Richard With was built in 1993, and comes in at 400 feet long. She carries up to 623 passengers, providing the cosy and intimate cruise experience that Hurtigruten is well known for. During the summer months, passengers experience something that’s unique to countries above the Arctic Circle—the long days of the midnight sun—and during the winter, one of the most exciting parts of the voyage is hoping to catch a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis, the mysterious and beautiful northern lights. Avid 'light-hunters' can even arrange for night-time wakeup calls if the northern lights should appear in the very early morning.
Like most Hurtigruten ships, the MS Richard With travels the length of the Norwegian coast, in all seasons. A round trip from Bergen in the south to Kirkenes in the far north, and back to Bergen again, takes a total of twelve days. Passengers can opt for a one way journey—from Bergen to Kirkenes, or vice versa—or travel on board the entire 12 days, as the ship’s ports of call are different depending on whether she’s travelling from south to north, or north to south.
Hurtigruten ships don’t provide extensive dining options, but they do provide delicious food—beautifully cooked, well-presented, and guaranteed to whet the appetite. The emphasis is on simple, well-cooked food that uses the freshest possible ingredients, and since the MS Richard With stops daily at several coastal towns and cities, the menu also includes plenty of local produce and fresh seafood.
Morning and midday meals are casual, and are provided buffet style at set times of the day, with lots of options. Both meals include cold and hot dishes, with fruit, cereals, cheeses, and egg dishes all breakfast mainstays, and salads, cold meat, and hot dishes, along with fruit and desserts, at lunch. The evening meal is a slightly more formal affair, with assigned seating, and a set three-course menu that varies with the seasons. Fresh fish is frequently on the menu, along with hearty soups, light salads, and fresh vegetables, often prepared in the style of traditional Norwegian cuisine.
On a Hurtigruten cruise, the star of the show isn’t the ship, it’s the incredible scenery— a never-ending feast for the eyes, of rugged cliffs, green mountains, bays and fjords, interspersed with coastal towns and cities, each with their own unique character. The Norwegian coastline is simply stunning, and it’s easy to spend entire days just watching it all as you cruise by.
The Richard With’s amenities include a gym and sauna, outdoor Jacuzzi, library, internet service, a 24-hour café, and a bar, where you’ll sometimes be treated to live music or performances in the evenings, along with your after-dinner drinks.
Your options for offshore excursions offer some exciting and memorable experiences, including whale-watching, dog-sledding, guided city tours, and sight-seeing, as well as a midnight trip to Tromso’s glorious Arctic cathedral. Available excursions often depend on the season, and whether you’re travelling from Bergen to Kirkenes, or vice versa.