Tuesday, 15 February 2011

118 years on – Hurtigruten keeps postal traditions alive

Did you know that on board Hurtigruten it is possible to send a postcard or letter home with a unique Hurtigruten stamp? Having started life 118 year ago as a service carrying mail, freight and locals to remote areas along the coast, the traditions are still alive today with passengers able to buy Hurtigruten stamps onboard and the whole postal process on board is manual and, as such, these stamps have become a collector's item.

The stamps come in five designs detailing iconic places along the coast including: Geirangerfjord; the Arctic Circle; Trolljord; North Cape; plus one is dedicated to the ship on which they are bought. For added authenticity, the stamps also give an extra special touch on board – they show the date on which the passenger passed the location depicted on the stamp.

As the stamps have no value specified on them, the mail is passed on to the Norwegian postal service in a special envelope. It is at this point that the post receives its postmark and is distributed. The Hurtigruten stamp collection is available for mail within Norway and Europe and costs 25NOK for a postcard or letter to Europe.

Petter Overa, hotel manager on Hurtigruten’s ship Trollfjord comments: “No machines are used on board, we do everything manually, giving the process a personal and authentic touch. When we sail into Geirangerfjord or cross the Arctic Circle, many passengers rush to buy their stamps date-marked with the day they were there. It’s a great tradtition to think Hurtigruten started life delivering mail and here, 118 years on, we are still carrying out this role in our own way.”

A six-day Voyage South from Kirkenes in the far north to Bergen in the south costs from £1043pp on a full board basis from April 15-May 31.

To book, visit http://www.hurtigruten.co.uk/ or contact the UK's adventure cruise specialist of The Cruise Line Ltd.