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8 Things You Need to Know about Havila (Norwegian Coastal Cruising)

#1 Havila Have Four New, Purpose Built Ships

Havila has four ships – Havila Capella, Castor, Pollux and Polaris.

All the Havila ships have been built between 2021 and 2023. They sail along the Norwegian coast from Bergen to Kirkenes and back.

Rival companies ships doing the same routes may be decades older…

Havila Polaris ship with Emma Cruises

#2 “Eco-Friendly” Voyages

The ships are LNG and battery-powered, unlike the majority of conventional cruise ships.

LNG and Battery Power
Havila Voyages’ four coastal cruise ships are loaded with the largest battery packs ever installed on a passenger ship, meaning that we can sail for four hours straight with zero emissions. That way you can visit vulnerable fjords, such as the world heritage Geirangerfjord, without worrying about environmental issues, and you can do so in utter silence


Havila are rightly proud of its Environmental credentials. Their ships:

  • Use heat recovery from the sea and engines
  • Their LNG & efficient operation cuts CO2 with 35%
  • NOx emissions reduced by 90%
  • Feature Energy efficient hulls
  • Locally sourced ingredients are served onboard all of their ships.

Onboard, the crew described the ship as being like a “Nissan Leaf” Electric Car!

#3 Have Up To 34 Port Stops!

On the journey north and south they visit the same stops, so if you do the same route you will visit most twice.

Some port stops are only fifteen minutes long, other times they are docked for a few hours.

havila map

This suited me perfectly. It was cold when I sailed in February, and a couple of hours was more than enough to be outside.

The views from the ship as they sailed in and out of these small coastal communities were stunning.

#4 Food Not Automatically Included

Because this is a coastal ferry, not a conventional cruise, ship food isn’t included in all fares.

I sailed for four days and chose to have my food included in my overall fare. I had breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

There was a dining room and a cafe where you could eat, and the dining was fixed.

Unfortunately for me, because I prefer to eat early, I chose early dinner and lunch – but that also gave me early breakfast at 7.30 am – which I never made it to!

Havila Polaris food
Food onboard Havila Polaris

There is also a speciality dining restaurant at an extra cost. This serves a five-course “Signature Menu” with “The best ingredients Norway has to offer…”

I didn’t try this myself as understandably, there was a lot of Fish on the menu, which I am not fond of.

#5 You Can Choose The Length Of Your Voyage

You have complete flexibility to get on and get off where you like.

The whole voyage takes twelve days – I chose to stay on board for four days.

Some people get on overnight, or just for a few hours. It really is a ferry that serves the local coastal communities.

#6 Very Little Entertainment

You won’t find entertainment like you would on a cruise ship.

There were:

  • Some food demonstrations
  • A daily meeting where they talked about the local ports
  • local music played
  • One night, one of the crew members sang.

For me, the trip was about the stunning scenery visible from every window and deck.


Havila offers a range of interesting excursions.

From walking tours, hiking, bicycle tours, cultural and historical tours, and kayaking – there are plenty of options available to suit everyone.

Different tours are offered at different times of the year, and are weather dependant.

Those on excursions would meet up again with the ship further along the coast.

Norwegian Flags, Havila Polaris
Waving off those going on excursions with Norwegian Flags!

#7 They Offer A Variety Of Comfortable Cabins

Havila’s ships are purpose-built, unlike their rival Hurtigruten.

My ocean-view cabin was very similar to ocean view cabins found on a cruise ship.

They have a variety of different rooms to book, ranging from suites to inside cabins.

Havila Polaris Ocean view cabin

Find out about other cabin types available onboard here:

Havila Cabin Guide – Inside, Seaview, Panoramic View, Suites and Accessible Cabins

#8 Language Spoken Onboard

All Norwegians seem to speak perfect English, so I never had any problems with the language barrier whilst onboard.

Menus on board were written in Norwegian, English and German.

Learning English is Mandatory in Norwegian schools. Other languages are also taught – which probably explains why they put me to shame when it comes to speaking different languages!

Watch my video about my amazing trip along the Norwegian coast with Havila here:

Before You Go

Find out about the traditional cruise I took to Norway “In Search of the Northern Lights”. Although we visited some of the same ports, it was a totally different cruising experience. Find out about that here:

I Cruised Through ROUGH SEAS to Find The Northern Lights

Find out the differences between a ferry and a traditional cruise ship here:

5 HUGE Differences Between a Ferry and a Cruise Ship (Real Examples)

Free Insiders Cruise Line Guide

Ever wondered how the mainstream cruise lines compare? Cruise lines won’t tell you this, but I will.

This FREE guide shows you everything you need to know to find your perfect cruise line.