MS Lofoten - Photo Tour

Next up in our series of photo tours of the ships in the Hurtigruten fleet is MS Lofoten. She is one of 11 ships that together offer daily departures from Bergen on the express route (hurtigruten) along the coast of Norway. These ships serve a dual role as both cruise ships and cargo ships, and play a vital part in connecting many smaller communities in the more isolated northern part of the country.

MS Lofoten is a unique and charming ship. With much of the current fleet having been built in the 1990's and onwards, she retains her place as a more traditional vessel. Scroll down to take a look round her interiors and public decks.

EXTERIOR

Hurtigruten MS Lofoten in Bergen, Norway
MS Lofoten alongside at Hurtigruteterminalen, Bergen
Built in Norway in 1964, she can carry up to 340 passengers, with berths for 153. A refit in 2004 ensured her traditional features are preserved and celebrated, and she has a distinctly nostalgic feel throughout (though not in a tacky, nautical themed way - this ship is the real deal).

Hurtigruten MS Lofoten in Bergen, Norway
MS Lofoten
Lofoten has an attractive, traditional profile, and she looked handsome and well-maintained whilst alongside at Hurtigruteterminalen in Bergen. She is the only ship in the current Hurtigruten fleet not to feature a thick red strip on her hull, and instead retains her original plain black and white paint scheme.

Hurtigruten MS Lofoten in Bergen, Norway
Lofoten's curved forward superstructure shows her classical design 
Lofoten's design was based on that of Hurtigruten's Harald Jarl from 1960. Harald Jarl left Hurtigruten in 2001, and is currently operating as Serenissima for an independent cruise line.

Hurtigruten MS Lofoten in Bergen, Norway
Lofoten alongside in Bergen, with the island of Askøy visible in the distance
Whilst all other Hurtigruten ships in Bergen are boarded via a large glass gangway, Lofoten is different - passengers are directed from the safety briefing area in the terminal to a small stairwell, which emerges through a very discreet doorway to the quayside. This puts you at the heart of the action, with trucks loading the ship with cargo and stores for the upcoming voyage.

Hurtigruten MS Lofoten in Bergen, Norway
On the quayside, ready to board Lofoten
Hurtigruten MS Lofoten in Bergen, Norway - Gangway
A narrow gangway leads to the ship
INTERIORS

From the quayside a narrow gangway provides access to the ship. Passengers enter a small partially-enclosed deck area, where a doorway leads into the reception area. The low ceilings and practical decor are an immediate reminder that Lofoten serves (as she has for many years) as an active cargo ship, as well as offering transport for passengers.

Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Reception Area
The reception area on Lofoten
Heading up one deck from the Reception hall brings you to the Saloon Deck, where the majority of Lofoten's public spaces are located. Here the narrow stairway opens out, and an attractive seating area (complete with a hanging polar bear for company) acts as a lobby, leading to the main bar forwards, or aft through the restaurant.

Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Lobby Seating Area and Polar Bear Fur
A seating area in the Saloon Deck lobby
The main restaurant is a very pleasant room, where passengers can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner. Original wooden panelling lines all four walls, with good quality furnishings keeping the space looking smart.

Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Main Dining Room/Restaurant
Lofoten's main restaurant
Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Main Dining Room/Restaurant
Tables are set ready for dinner
Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Ship Model
This attractive model of Lofoten is displayed on board
Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Main Dining Room/Restaurant
Another view of the main restaurant
Continuing aft through the restaurant brings you to the cafe/shop. This multi-purpose space is open throughout the day for hot and cold drinks and snacks, as well as offering travel essentials, clothing and souvenirs.

Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Cafe and Shop
The service counter in Lofoten's Cafe and Shop
Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Cafe and Shop
Clothing rails stand opposite the service counter
The seating area adjacent to the cafe is perhaps not the most inspiring space, but still retains the cosy and relaxing atmosphere that prevails on board.

Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Cafe seating area
The seating area in Lofoten's cafe
All the way aft on the Saloon deck is Lofoten's main bar. Seating here is arranged into several large circular areas, encouraging conversation between guests. The wooden panelling continues throughout, and windows along three sides offer spectacular views along the way.

Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Bar
Sociable seating in the Bar on Saloon Deck
Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Bar
Windows look out from the bar to Lofoten's aft decks
At the forward end of the Saloon deck is the main lounge, with comfortable seating arranged around games tables, and windows looking out along both sides, as well as forward over the ship' bow.

Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Lounge
The Lounge at the forward end of Saloon Deck
Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Lounge
Warm lighting complements the rich wood panelling
The only other public space on board is the smaller Panorama lounge, located forward on the Boat Deck (immediately above the lounge on Saloon Deck, and below the navigation bridge). Unfortunately this area was closed for cleaning during my visit.

ACCOMMODATION

As you might expect from a traditional ship such as Lofoten, the accommodation on board is a little on the small side, when compared with most modern ships (including the rest of the Hurtigruten fleet). Lofoten's standard cabins come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Though many are dimensionally challenged, good use is made of the space available, and all the rooms I was shown were clean, pleasant and well maintained. 

Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Standard Cabin with Porthole and En Suite Bathroom
An example of a standard cabin on Lofoten
It is worth noting that not all cabins have en suite bathrooms, so it's worth double-checking your cabin grade at the time of booking if this is one of your priorities.

OPEN DECKS

The charm of Lofoten continues onto her beautiful open decks, with plenty of quiet areas to tuck yourself away and take in the views.

Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Open Decks
The Sun Deck
Immediately aft of the bar on Saloon Deck is Lofoten's Sun Deck. This area has been left uncovered, with deck chairs provided, and wonderful views over the ship's stern. A sheltered area one deck up makes sure passengers can enjoy the fresh air whatever the weather.

Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Open Decks
The view forwards over Lofoten's aft decks
Lofoten's small size means that her navigational equipment and squat funnel are almost within reach during a stroll around the Boat Deck.

Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Open Decks
Up on the boat deck, with views out over the ship's sides
Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Radar Mast
Navigation and Communications equipment sits atop the bridge
Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Lifeboat
One of Lofoten's traditional lifeboats
Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Boat Deck
The Boat Deck
At the forward end of the Boat Deck is the Panorama Lounge, which offers an inviting retreat from the cold winter air.

Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Panorama Lounge
A glimpse into the Panorama Lounge
Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Funnel
Close enough to touch; Lofoten's funnel
Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Funnel
The Hurtigruten logo on the funnel is the only red in Lofoten's paint scheme
Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Gangway
Not quite tall enough; Even the top decks don't reach the modern gangway in the terminal
Back down on Deck C, two open decks run along either side. Being down so close to the waterline gives these decks a real feeling of connection with the sea.

Hurtigruten MS Lofoten - Open Decks
Looking aft along the side of Deck C
After disembarking Lofoten I couldn't resist taking a few more photos of her exteriors as the sun set and her lights were switched on.

Hurtigruten MS Lofoten in Bergen, Norway
The terminal building on the quayside
Hurtigruten MS Lofoten in Bergen, Norway
Lofoten alongside in Bergen
Hurtigruten MS Lofoten in Bergen, Norway
Lofoten lights up against the darkening skies
Hurtigruten MS Lofoten in Bergen, Norway
The elegant mast adds to Lofoten's classical looks
Hurtigruten MS Lofoten in Bergen, Norway
Lofoten ready for departure from Hurtigruteterminalen, Bergen
FINAL IMPRESSIONS

There is no doubting that Lofoten is a truly special ship. It is fantastic to see that Hurtigruten have retained a classic vessel on the express route. Her public spaces are maintained to a high standard, giving hope that she will sail with the line for many years to come.

Lofoten's inviting interiors put you in a relaxed mood the second you step on board. Anyone wanting a modern cruise ship experience should look elsewhere in the fleet, but this is a ship whose warmth and charm certainly outweighs any lack of facilities. Lofoten is one-of-a-kind, and a voyage on this beautiful, understated vessel is something I would recommend to any shipping enthusiast.

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