Named for the king of Norway, the recently refurbished 11,204 gross ton Kong Harald operates year-round on Hurtigruten’s Norwegian coastal cruise and liner service, calling at up to 35 ports on 12-night round-trip voyages between Bergen and Kirkenes. The Kong Harald was built in 1993 by the Volkswerft shipyard at Stralsund, Germany, as the first in a trio of identical vessels that also includes the Richard With (1993) and Nordlys (1994). In 2016, the Kong Harald was the first of four Hurtigruten ships to emerge from a multi-million dollar refit that saw the complete reconfiguration of its public areas and most of its staterooms. The ship now boasts earth-toned “Arctic Interiors” and new eateries that were conceived by the Swedish-based design firm Tillberg. Kong Harald carries 469 passengers in 230 cabins and accommodates an additional 153 deck passengers. The ship is powered by MaK diesels that drive twin propellers at a top speed of 20 knots. In addition to passengers, the Kong Harald carries cargo (palletized and refrigerated), mail and 12 cars, which are loaded via giant portals that open on the ship’s port side. The ship has six passenger decks, starting at the top with Deck 7, the exterior portion of which has sheltered seating areas on either side. At the aft end of Deck 7, there is an al fresco bar and a large open deck space. On aft Deck 7, in time-honored tradition, upon crossing the Arctic Circle in either direction, guests are “inducted” with a spoonful of cod liver oil. Another open terrace is located on aft Deck 6. In the summertime, it boasts two Jacuzzis, one on each side. Deck 5 begins with an open observation terrace. Wide promenades continue aft on either side of Deck 5. Another open terrace can be found on aft Deck 5. The interior portion of Deck 7 begins with the newly renovated Explorer Lounge and Panorama Bar observation lounge, which features picture windows on three sides. The Explorer Lounge has comfortable leather swivel chairs lining its perimeter. The aft/center portion of the Explorer Lounge features the stylish new Panorama Bar. Another completely renovated space, the Multe Bakery and Ice Cream cafe, occupies the port side of midships Deck 7. Fresh pastries, specialty coffees and a variety of Norwegian snacks can be purchased at the Multe. Local Norwegian ice creams and sorbets are also available for purchase at the Multe. One of its more popular but unusual flavors is stock fish (dried cod). This is a forward-facing view of the Multe, which features Norwegian folk art in its decor. On starboard Deck 7, there is a fitness center with cardio machines and free weights. Deck 4 is entirely devoted to public spaces that were completely reconfigured in early 2016, starting with a pair of conference halls on either side where videos are often screened. Adjoining the lecture halls and the Kompass reception and shore excursion booking area, there is a shop selling books, souvenirs and clothing. The new Kompass reception and post office on the port side of Deck 4 is open 24 hours. The forward vestibule on Deck 4 has additional shopping. Sharing space on midships Deck 4 are the new Brygga Bistro casual cafe and the Kysten Arctic Fine Dining Norwegian specialty restaurant. On the port side of Deck 4, the Kysten Arctic Fine Dining restaurant boasts stylish new fixtures and furnishings. Reservations are required to eat in the Kysten, which offers up Norwegian dishes such as reindeer and salmon that are priced on an a la carte basis. Adjoining the Kysten, the Brygga Bistro is a snack bar that is open round-the-clock for coffee, tea, sandwiches, salads and other deli-style fare. This is an aft-facing view of the Brygga. A gallery with additional seating links the Brygga Bistro with the Torget Restaurant. The gallery aft of the Brygga has video screens on its inboard walls and large picture windows. The completely restyled Torget is the ship’s main restaurant on aft Deck 4. Although it is a large room, the Torget Restaurant is divided into intimate seating areas. An open kitchen in the Torget Restaurant is used as a buffet counter for breakfast and lunch, while dinner is full-service. The breakfast buffet features cold cuts, juices, fruits, muesli, yogurts, scrambled and boiled eggs, herring, cereals and freshly baked breads and muffins. Hurtigruten’s breakfast also includes porridge, beans, potatoes and sausages. At lunch, there are different fish dishes, soups, cold cuts, cheeses and a nice variety of vegetables and salads. A popular dinner entrée is roasted duck with scalloped potatoes. There is additional seating aft of the dining room with windows that overlook the ship’s wake. Guests embark the ship via the entry lobby on Deck 3. There is a luggage room next to the entry lobby for deck passengers’ use. Most of the Kong Harald’s cabins have been completely refitted with new beds, wall panels and soft fittings. This is a standard outside with a picture window. Light wood-toned paneling, writing desks, new lighting and large black and white panels with images of Norway are part of the Kong Harald’s new “Arctic” look. This is a compact but comfortable triple berth exterior cabin. Cabin bathrooms are modular and feature a curtained-off shower area, toilet and sink. They also all have heated floors. There are still some outside cabins with their original, brightly colored soft fittings. This is an interior triple berth stateroom with the new look. This is an original interior double stateroom. Kong Harald also has several wheelchair-access staterooms with wider doors and extra floor space. Handicap stateroom bathrooms have roll-in showers and modified controls.