Murmansk eyed as new Hurtigruten port

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As Norway builds a new fence along its border to Russia, Russian officials in nearby Murmansk are hoping to attract new tourists sailing on Norway’s Hurtigruten passenger and cargo shipping line.

The Barents Observer recently reported how Murmansk has become Russia’s visa-free port for passengers from Norway. The far northern Russian city has a new pier and a passenger terminal under construction.

Russian officials are hoping the popular Hurtigruten line that runs along Norway’s coast will extend its route that now ends in Kirkenes to Murmansk. The Russian city wants to expand its tourism industry, and Hurtigruten would be a natural player.

A Hurtigruten spokesman called Murmansk “a very interesting potential destination.” Read the full story in the Barents Observer. staff

  • richard albert

    This is one of those newsy little items that make worth its subscription price times many. For those of us for whom English is the Mother Tongue, and for those for whom it is a ‘lingua franca’ and don’t care to slog through the late pages of Aftenposten, it is brilliant. But I digress.

    The notion of a “visa free port for Norwegians” in Murmansk, or Arkhangelsk, or any other Russian POE is either clumsy propaganda, or a cruel joke. The Hurtigruten constituency includes very large numbers of German, French, British and North American tourists. While Norwegians may; just may, be able to breeze through, they will encounter many obstacles in getting off a boat with a multi-national group.

    Allow me to elucidate. We arrived in St. Petersburg one day out of phase on the Saga Ruby out of Dover. Saga are an over age-50 leisure provider which is part of the Saga insurance combine. We were twenty four hours off schedule because of a technical fault in the locks on the Kiel Canal, and so the shorex chits that were provided were one day off. Near chaos. Extended and polished fingernails drummed on keypads, false eyelashes blinked and batted, coifs quivered, exquisitely lipsticked and outlined mouths pursed and twitched. Heads poked out of kiosks shouting questions in Russian, only to be answered by other questions.

    Finally, one of the mushroom kepi types in attendance saw fit to put out his ciggie and engage. More questions, several chits compared, and possibly a look into a smartphone at the translation of “Not Refundable”. Another toadstool finally appeared from a sort of wardroom and issued a command of three or four words, whereupon all lines began to lurch mechanically through the stalls. Remember the over fifty part. We – the lame, the halt, the blind and deaf. And as we were starting to regard ourselves, the insane. Obvious border crashers and welfare parasites all.

    The payoff: We had been amply warned of the vagaries of the Russian entry process, and had obtained (at some cost and inconvenience) individual tourist visas. It did not make one grain of difference. We were more or less politely told that since we were obviously part of a ‘touristic group’, we could just take our place back at the rear of the queue. большое спасибо.

    Oh, I know. Just flash that Norsk Reisedokument. I doubt the provision of any sort of expedited process. Even so, if you are part of an organized shore tour, you just wait with everyone else for the last American Samoan to be admitted.

    Good luck.