Aksel at Torghatten in Helgelandskysten

Aksel’s Adventure: a family trip on the Norwegian Coast

Aksel Leitor-Sainz, 5 years and 11 months, took part in our Young Explorer’s programme on a family voyage in summer. Here’s his fun-filled experience, as told by his mum Ruth.

A six-day southbound voyage

Ruth from Spain and her husband embarked on a six-day southbound voyage with us from Kirkenes down to Bergen. With them, they had their son Axel, just shy of six years old at the time, and his sister Aurora, half his age.  

“I read that our ship offered a free Young Explorer’s programme, designed especially for children with trained organisers. I thought it might be good for Aksel and it was a bonus that even the little one could join too if my husband or I were there.”

Aksel, his mom Ruth and his sister Aurora on board a Hurtigruten ship

“There were so many activities for the kids! It was hard to keep track of them all!”

Ruth says, surprised. “The programme became something they looked forward to on almost each day of the trip.”

‘New, fun things every day’ 

Aksel joined in a number activities on the ship and off, which he shyly describes in his own words as “new, fun things every day”. “He really enjoyed the art workshop, which used everyday items,” continues Ruth. “His masterpiece was crafting together a little moose out of cork and wooden sticks – he’s so proud of it,” she says, looking equally pleased.  

The children were also taken ‘behind the scenes’ down on the cargo deck, and shown how the ship carefully sorts metals, plastic, and paper for recycling. Ruth comments, “I thought it was good that the kids also learned about the environment, why it’s important for each of us to do our small bit to help protect it.” 

Off the ship, the whole family joined a short hike with the other children up to a viewpoint for a panorama over the town of Hammerfest. They visited a small museum near the dock as well. “This was a fun little outing. I also saw how a lot of the older kids bonded with one another, playing together even after the activities.” 

The host with the most 

Ruth has nothing but praise for Stefan, the main organiser of the Young Explorers programme on her ship. “He handled the kids so well,” she says full of admiration. “He explained everything in a clear and simple way – you could see that they learned so much.” 

Organisers like Stefan receive special training, with a lot of focus on fun. “But it didn’t become too serious either”, remarks Ruth. “Stefan taught them important things, but he was really funny too, and knew when to be silly, tell jokes, and make the kids laugh. He was amazing! I want him as my child minder,” Ruth laughs. 

Where the wild things are 

Part of the family’s daily routine on the ship was soaking in the jacuzzi out on deck. One day, when enjoying the bubbles, they heard other guests shouting and pointing to the side of the ship. “Aksel jumped out of the hot tub and ran to see what was going on,” Ruth remembers. 

“We saw whales swimming near the ship! It was absolutely fantastic!” she says excitedly. “Aksel loves whales, and his biggest dream was to see them in real life. He was so happy; his little face couldn’t stop smiling!”  

But there was more Norwegian wildlife to come. The whole family joined an optional sea eagle safari in Trollfjord. “To see these birds so close was really impressive,” relates Ruth. “We had no idea they were so big or so beautiful. As part of the excursion, Aksel also had an opportunity to feed seagulls by hand which he really, really enjoyed.”

The simple joys 

Between activities of the Young Explorers programme, walking around the ports, and optional excursions, there’s plenty to keep children engaged. Even with all the excitement, Ruth says that her children enjoyed the simple things about the voyage too.  

“They loved just standing on deck, being at sea, watching the scenery, seeing how the ship maneuvered to dock into port. Often, locals on shore waved to us and we waved back. I think that friendliness made the experience extra special for our family.”

Aksel on board the ship. He gasps as he looks at the view