Including the MV Lofoten, Hurtigruten operates thirteen ships on year-round daily passenger and cargo service along the Norwegian coast between Bergen and KIrkenes. The Lofoten is the third vessel named for the Norwegian archipelago just north of the Arctic Circle. The classic Lofoten is unlike any of its modern fleet mates and enjoys protected status by the Norwegian Director General of Historic Monuments. Built in 1964 and measuring 2,621 gross tons, it is the oldest and smallest ship in the Hurtigruten fleet and has berths for 340 passengers. Shown here in its original livery, the Lofoten was commissioned for the Hurtigruten express route by the Vesteraalens Steamship Company (VDS) and later sailed for Ofotens and Vesteraalens (ODS) before those companies were merged into the current Hurtigruten in 2006. Hull number 547, the 286.8 by-43 foot Lofoten was built at a cost of $17 million by Akers Shipyard of Oslo, Norway and launched on September 7, 1963. The sturdy, handsome ship is a traditional liner, built to sail in all types of sea conditions. Lofoten is powered by MAN diesels that produce 3,325 break horsepower to drive a single screw at a regular speed of 15 knots (maximum 17.5 knots). Lofoten and its Hurtigruten fleet mates stop at several ports each day, with calls lasting from a speedy 15 minutes to a maximum of three hours. Excursions to sites like the North Cape often begin in one port and rejoin the ship in another. The ship has a long foredeck with a crane that is used to load large cargo and automobiles into the ship’s hold. Lofoten has six passenger decks. Bridge Deck is at the top of the ship and has open wings where guests are often allowed access for views of the oncoming scenery. Once or twice a day, Hurtigruten ships pass each other. This is the northbound, 1983 built Vesteralen as seen from the wing of the southbound Lofoten. Having just celebrated its 50th birthday, the Lofoten is impeccably maintained and has been upgraded several times over the years, most recently in 2004. Boat Deck features promenades under a canopy of lifeboats on either side. The aft portion of Boat Deck has a sheltered seating area overlooking the stern. There is more seating on the open fantail on Saloon Deck, a favorite spot for the Arctic Circle crossing ceremony where first timers may be inducted with a spoonful of fish oil or a drenching in ice water. While Lofoten maintains a rather rigid schedule, there is still time for some scenic cruising in places like spectacular Trollfjord, where every deck offers a great vantage. During the summer, Hurtigruten guests can even experience the midnight sun out on the open decks. On Promenade Deck, adjacent to the reception area, there is storage space for the luggage of deck passengers who book short segments of the voyage. Narrow sheltered walkways span either side of Promenade Deck for up-close views of the sea. The beautiful, 25-seat Panorama Lounge is located at the forward end of Boat Deck, offering dynamic views over the Lofoten’s bow. The Panorama Lounge has exquisite paneling and hand crafted woodwork that was typical of ships built fifty years ago. Just aft of the Panorama Lounge, there is a wood paneled vestibule at the top of the forward stairtower leading out to the open deck on either side and two suites directly aft. Lofoten’s staircase is trimmed in warm wood paneling and brass fittings. The Polar Bear Lounge is located at the forward end of Saloon Deck. Like the Panorama Lounge, it features forward-facing windows and boasts beautiful vintage furnishing and paneling. In between the Polar Bear Lounge and the Dining Room, there is a wide vestibule with seating for four. The wood-paneled Dining Room is largely as built and features picture windows on either sides. Full board guests enjoy an open seating buffet style breakfast between 7:30 and 10:00 AM with a selection of cold meats, cheeses, eggs, cereals and fruit. Open seating Norwegian style buffet lunch is served between 12:00 and 1:00 PM and features fish, cold meats, salads, a selection of hot dishes, desserts and fruit. Dinner is assigned seating, commencing at either 6:30 or 7:00 PM. A three course meal from a set menu with a starter, main course and dessert is served. The fish selections, such as this fresh cod entrée, are particularly fresh and tasty. While Hurtigruten ships have a fixed dinner menu, vegetarian options can be prepared with advance notice. This is a delicious feta and leek tart with roasted potatoes in a balsamic reduction. For the occasional rough seas, dining chairs are tethered to the deck. This is a forward-facing view of the Dining Room. Directly aft of the Dining Room on the port side of Saloon Deck, there is the Cafe, where deck passengers can purchase snacks and beverages. Pastries, salads, soft drinks, sandwiches, coffee, tea and candy are available at the Cafe on a 24-hour basis. Across from the Cafe’s food counter, there is a small boutique with sundries and souvenirs for sale. Postcards and additional souvenirs are available at a bar directly aft of the food counter. Formerly the Tourist Class Dining Room, the seating area of the Cafe is a long gallery with more glowing wood paneling and paintings of past Hurtigruten ships. It can accommodate up to 45 guests. Although the Lofoten has been modernized several times, many of its vintage Scandinavian features, including MidCentury lighting and artwork, have been lovingly preserved. Formerly the Tourist Class Lounge, the Lofoten’s 50-seat Bar is located at the aft end of Saloon Deck. The entry hall and reception are on midships Promenade Deck. Daily programs, maps and pamphlets about places visited on the Hurtigruten route are available in the reception area. A small self-service laundry at the aft end of B Deck is accessible to guests for a nominal charge. At the top of the accommodation tier, Cabin 500 is located on Boat Deck and has two lower berths and a flatscreen television. This is another view of Cabin 500, with a picture window that opens onto Boat Deck. Cabin 500 has a compact but well-designed WC that features a shower, toilet and sink. Cabin 404 is a handsome vintage triple berth stateroom with two picture windows on starboard Saloon Deck. 304 is an especially large and well-appointed two berth stateroom located near the reception area on A Deck. 305 is a single stateroom that shares a shower and WC with four other staterooms on A Deck. WCs for staterooms without private facilities are mere steps away. Public showers are next to the public WCs. 237 is a an upper/lower stateroom on aft Promenade Deck. 207 is an L-shaped upper/lower with private facilities and a writing nook on forward Promenade Deck. 215 is another variation of the L-shaped upper/lower staterooms on Promenade Deck. This is the WC for stateroom 215. 221 is an inside upper/lower cabin on Promenade Deck. 107 is a spacious twin inside without private facilities on C Deck. 112 is an economical quadruple berth inside on C Deck.