Norway's fjords are some of the most stunning natural destinations in the world. And they're even more incredible when you get to have them all to yourself. That's what you'll get when you book a cruise on the HMS Gåssten. The former Swedish Navy minesweeper has been transformed into an intimate cruise that gets special access to fjords where others are banned.
The HMS Gåssten was in service from 1973 until December 1999 and featured a hull constructed entirely of oak, making it the only one of her class left afloat. It then transformed in 2018 to become a live-aboard vessel to explore the enchanting Norwegian fjords. The result is a cozy ship complete with five cabins where the officers' quarters used to be and a smart new saloon from which to enjoy the incredible scenery of the Sunnmøre Alps.
That scenery is thanks to HMS Gåssten's special permission. Not only does this mean that guests have some of the most outrageously beautiful scenery all to themselves, but it also means that each community that she calls into is geared around traditional ways of life (fishing and farming mostly). They are not trying to sell you tourist tat or flog you a coach tour.
"Captain Sven knows all the right people in the local villages that border the fjords so that his guests can enjoy fabulous hospitality," Edward Granville, Chief Operating Officer of Red Savannah, who runs the trips, told Departures. "For instance, there is a gentleman in the small settlement of Sæbø who owns a floating sauna and who is willing to open it up for guests of HMS Gåssten to enjoy. And the mayor of the tiny hamlet of Øye is delighted to open up the turf-roofed quayside bothy for use as a fantastic venue for a raucous BBQ evening under the northern night sky."
Life on board is about simple pleasures—catching one's own cod for supper from the fish-rich waters, or laying out lobster pots overnight and pulling up huge brown crabs for lunch in the morning. Red Savannah also organizes enough kayaks and e-bikes to be available for each full day of your charter. So, expeditions off the boat into the wild mountains and fjords are a daily feature and expertly led by the accompanying local guide.
"The ship is unpretentious and unglossy," said Granville. "But remarkably friendly and well-run."
Rates start at $ 52,787 for a six-night charter complete with meals and activities.