Nordlys translates to 'the northern light', meaning of course the spectacular lights in the nights sky over Norway. Aboard Nordlys, during her 13-day voyage along the Norwegian coast, it can be possible to see this natural phenomenon so a fitting name for the ship indeed.
The ship is part of the Nye Skipene class of the Hurtig Ruten combine. The class consists out of six ships, evenly spread over the two companies that formed the Hurtig Ruten before the complete merger in 2006 under the Hurtig Ruten name. The first ship to enter service was the Kong Harald in 1993, followed by the Richard With in the same year, the Nordlys in 1994, Polarlys in 1995, Nordkapp in 1996 and Nordnorge in 1997.
Below, Nordlys is seen docked at the Hurtig Ruten terminal at Bergen, Norway.
Nordlys was built at the Volkswerft at Stralsund, Norway under yardnumber 102. She measures 11.204 tons, has a lenght of 121,66 meters and is 19,20 meters wide. Her draft reaches 4,70 meters. Aboard, there is space for 482 passengers in 226 cabins next to 209 deckpassengers. Also, the ship has a cardeck for 50 private cars and there are also 59 crewmembers aboard. In these numbers and also in the cardeck, you can see that the ships of Hurtig Ruten are no normal cruiseliners but they are a combination of ferry, freightliner and cruiseship. The ship can normally sail at a speed of 18 knots, but mostly this is lower because sailing through the fjords can be a challenge with all corners and so forth. The speed is used when the ship sails at open sea, so the journey of 13 days can be sailed on scedule and all 34 (!) ports can be reached on time within those days. The ships registry is of course Norway and her homeport is Tromso.
Nordlys was launched traditionally at the 13th of august of 1993 and she was delivered to her owners, this time the Troms Fylkes D/S, at the 16th of march in 1994. At the 22nd of march the ship was named and her first voyage started at the 4th of april 1994 from Bergen to Kirkenes and back. To Kirkenes, the ship sails seven days. Her interiours are based on the Northern Light, as her name already suggests, and so the decor is very airy and light in her lounges, bars and restaurant. As she is not a cruiseship, she doesn't have the wide range of activities and public spaces we know from the large, modern cruiseliners. But she isn't built for that, although she takes a lot of cruisepassengers aboard who are willing to see the Norwegian fjords and spectacular landscape in the quietness of the surroundings, instead of the megaships that also visit the country on regular basis. On the Hurtig Ruten ships, you'll be in between Norwegian locals who use the ship as a ferry, as the line was started up for in the late 1890's. That given, you can easily book the ships as a cruise, but keep in mind that portstays can be as short as twenty minutes and it will not be possible to get off everywhere because of that. At several days, the ship visits eight ports at the same day. But when you want to see the natural beauty, sailing through the Fjords is exciting enough Of course, because sailings are regular, you can also hop on and hop off the ships of the Hurtig Ruten so you can explore Norway to the full without paying the highest prices. It is always said that the best way to see Norway is through Hurtig Ruten, the Highway 1 of the country.
Nordlys is a great ship to sail, because of her light interiours and quiet style. She is a steady member of the Hurtig Ruten fleet for over twenty years already and suffered not many problems. At the 15th of september in 2011, though, the ship had one major incident close to the port of Alesund. After an explosion in her engineroom, the ship suffered a fire where-in sadly two crewmembers lost their lives. Nine more were injured but none of the passengers suffered any injuries because of the incident. The ship was brought over to the port of Alesund, but during docking, the stabilisorfins were still out and punctured the hull of the ship. Due to a 15" by 3" hole, the ship took on water and listed for 21 degrees. All cruises had to be cancelled untill mid october during her repairs.