FAQ | MS Nordlys sails Hjørundfjord instead of Geirangerfjord

Affected sailings departing June 8, 19, 30 July 11, 22, August 2, 13, 24 in 2024

Questions and answers

MS Nordlys is due to become a hybrid ship later in the season, but not in time to meet the recently introduced new emission standard required for ships to sail Geirangerfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Yes, optional excursions are available to visit Geirangerfjord from Ålesund.

Both are part of the same Storfjord system and are regarded as two of the most stunning fjords in Western Norway, boasting breathtaking views of the Sunnmøre Alps that rise majestically from the sea.  

Geirangerfjord is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in part to preserve unique mountain farmsteads nestled in some of the most inaccessible places overlooking the fjord.  Geirangerfjord has become a popular destination for large cruise ships in the summer months. 

Hjørundfjord is just as picturesque as Geirangerfjord but less visited. It is also more easily accessible from the nearby port of Ålesund, allowing more time ashore to explore. This makes Hjørundfjord a true highlight for those who wish to explore an authentic fjord community off the beaten track.

In Hjørundfjord, you can travel past steep rock walls, green meadows, and isolated mountain farms, all offering a window to the past. You get an up-close view of small communities that have rebuilt themselves over and over again, after avalanches and landslides. But most importantly, you will meet the locals, who will proudly show you their home. All of this at your own pace, far from the rush of mass tourism.  

The village of Urke in Hjørundfjord is the perfect starting point to explore on foot – offering walks for all levels, from flat village roads showcasing the residents’ everyday life and livelihood, across gravel paths deeper into Urke Valley, up to summer shielings, and challenging mountain trails to lookouts offering breathtaking views from above.

This change will only affect our northbound stop in Ålesund, where we’ll have an additional two hours in the evening, from 18:00 to 20:00.

You should have about three hours ashore in Hjørundfjord. The ship will be anchored outside Urke from approximately 12:15 to 15:45. Access to Urke will be by tender boat from the ship to the shore, which normally takes just a few minutes, depending on the number of people.  

As Hjørundfjord is closer to the Art-Nouveau town of Ålesund , guests can enjoy a two-hour stop there in the evening, from 18:00 to 20:00. Ålesund is a small, charming town where all the main sights are only a few minutes’ walk from where the ship docks.