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What’s The Difference Between Hurtigruten’s Coastal Express and HX?

16 Oct 2023 | by Anna Gibbs

Updated: May 2024

The DS Vesteraalen, a steamer ship owned by Captain Richard With, entered service in 1893, marking the start of Hurtigruten's illustrious history. It established an expedited route, taking the ship down the coast of Norway. This maritime route united Norway's remote, rural areas and made it possible to not only transport passengers throughout the towns and cities, but mail and other freight.

It was the beginning of a legacy for Hurtigruten and the Coastal Express still takes the legendary route today. Hurtigruten now provides amazing journeys to some of the most extraordinary locations in the globe with two thrilling voyage options; HX (formerly Hurtigruten Expeditions) and The Coastal Express.

But what distinguishes HX from Hurtigruten's Coastal Express? We'll explain how they vary, the places they both travel to, and which ships are a part of each fleet!

HX Cruises

HX offers sailings that are adventure and nature based, with itineraries that visit destinations throughout the world, to the likes of North America, Antarctica and beyond.

Throughout the ships, you’ll find features such as a science centre, a library, comfortable lounges and bars and cosy accommodation. There’s also an importance placed on cuisine, with each of the HX’ ships boasting restaurants that serve an array of delicious local and international cuisine.

Top Highlights of a HX Cruise

When booking a HX getaway you’ll access a wealth of perks, including snacks, coffee and tea throughout your voyage, the use of walking poles and boots on excursions, included tips and an Expedition Jacket and reusable water bottle on select getaways.

MS Fram Shore Excursion

Alongside these benefits, top highlights of a HX’ cruise include:

  • Destination-focused lectures and talks
  • An Expedition Team who will inform you about the different destinations and provide information on the shore excursions
  • A variety of shore excursions throughout the voyage

From October 2024, the following is also included on HX voyages, making your cruise an all inclusive experience:

  • Expert-led daily expeditions
  • Science-led activities (onshore and offshore)
  • A variety of drinks, from soft drinks to wine, beer and spirits throughout the day (from 1pm)
  • Professional photos (taken by the onboard photographer)
  • Starlink WiFi

However, the following are not included:

  • A range of specialist excursions
  • Experiences with limited capacity
  • Fine dining in Lindstrøm restaurant (included for Suites)
  • Treatments in the onboard spa
  • A selection of remium drinks (such as vintage wines and Champagne)

*Terms and condiitions apply.

Hurtigruten HX Ships

Although there aren't as many HX ships as there are in the Coastal Express fleet, the ships that are within the fleet offer fantastic amenities, space and amenities perfect for travelling to some of the world's most fascinating destinations.


The ships within the Hurtigruten Expedition fleet include:

Please note, from November 2024, MS Maud will be changing its name to MS Midnatsol. It will also sail the Coastal Express route, leaving the expedition side of the cruise line.

Hurtigruten Norway (Coastal Express) Sailings

Hurtigruten’s Coastal Express sailings however, solely sail along the Norwegian coast, and visits 34 different ports, including the likes of Kristiansund, Alesund and Finnsnes. Offered by Hurtigruten Norway, Coastal Express ships stop at different ports throughout the day and night, and are working ships transporting passengers, freight and mail. A transportation link that connects locals with other ports throughout Norway, a voyage on a Coastal Express ship is a relaxed way of seeing the sights.

MS Polaylys

However, despite primarily being working ships, the extraordinary itineraries on offer by the Coastal Express offers guests the chance to experience destinations throughout Norway that aren’t often visited by large cruise ships, and are more rural; making for a more unique cruising experience. And because many of the crew are from Norway, you’ll receive an in-depth knowledge by the end of your getaway about the local culture, food and more! With an expert Expedition Team on hand throughout, you’ll leave your Coastal Express sailing with experiences that you’ll remember forever.

Hurtigruten’s Coastal Express offers three different options, each with their own itineraries:

The Original Coastal Express The North Cape Express The Svalbard Express
Offered year-round, this option sails the original route on offer by Hurtigruten. You get the chance to cruise next to locals who use the ship to get from one port to the next on this itinerary. On the North Cape, you’ll visit the north of Norway, to destinations that are known for seeing the Northern Lights; sailing to and from the city of Oslo. Based on the first voyage that Hurtigruten took to the archipelago of Svalbard, the ship takes you above the Arctic Circle.

Top Highlights of a Coastal Express Voyage

On a Coastal Express voyage, you can access a wealth of benefits and amenities, that ensure you have a fantastic getaway. Not only will you be able to see some of Norway's most awe-inspiring vistas, but onboard you'll be spoilt for choice with what Hurtigruten have in store for you.

Onboard the Coastal Express

Top highlights you can take advantage of include:

  • Insights throughout your cruise from the knowledgeable Coastal Experience Team
  • Captivating lectures around a range of Norwegian-related topics
  • Shore excursion presentations
  • A farewell party (on select sailings)
  • A captains dinner
  • A selection of adventure-based and scenic shore excursions

Hurtigruten Norway - The Coastal Express Ships

Hurtigruten's large selection of ships within its Coastal Express fleet are bound to impress. Offering ships that have features onboard to suit all tastes, you're guaranteed a magical journey throughout Norway aboard one of the Coastal Express ships.


The Coastal Express fleet includes:

Book a Hurtigruten Getaway with Planet Cruise

If you’re looking for a holiday that’s unique, a Hurtigruten voyage is perfect. Whether you opt for a HX cruise or a sailing aboard a Coastal Express ship, you’ll create everlasting memories and discover destinations that are simply extraordinary. Book your Hurtigruten getaway with Planet Cruise today!

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