The Norway coastal line "Hurtigrute" is very useful for car round trips and as a transport option from port to port. But Hurtigruten ships are very different to car ferries. Of course many coastal vessels can also transport cars as well as freight and passengers. However, not only the lower loading capacity is a major difference. For travelers it is important to understand how the Hurtigrute is working and what that means for traveling Norway.
The Hurtigruten coastal vessels work like a bus line, on which several ferries are used according to a fixed timetable between start and end stations in two directions.
Future: From 2021 to 2030 a second provider will serve the public transport coastal route (called "Hurtigrute"). From this point of time the company "Hurtigruten" will face competition on this route.
Please note: In addition to the regular coastal service, company Hurtigruten also offers cruising trips to polar regions.
A partial journey with Hurtigruten contribute some advantages to a car round trip. I can tell from my own experience that I found it very pleasant, after thousands of self-driven kilometers to be driven from Kirkenes back to Trondheim.
Like other ways of public transport you can also book only from one port to another, so that in the simplest case you can travel without a cabin. This way you can spend a day on a Hurtigruten ship, getting around through scenic landscapes and enjoy the amenities of a mini cruise.
A map of all ports and real-time positions of coastal line vessels from Hurtigruten can be found here.
Coastal vessels and car ferries - both can transport cars but it is a big difference in usage and experience from a traveler perspective, especially with car:
If you know the differences, it is also very well possible to prepare yourself and to facilitate yourself a pleasant journey.
(c) Author: Mark König; with special thanks to Julia Weihe for editing and translation support
If you would like to share your experiences of coastal vessel voyages with a car, you are highly welcome to leave a comment.