Our feature on northern Norway highlights that it was once possible to travel all the way to Svalbard (Spitsbergen) by regular scheduled shipping services. Run as an offshoot of the regular Hurtigruten services, selected summer season sailings headed north from Honningsvåg to the Svalbard capital at Longyearbyen. The services also served five other Svalbard ports. When the MS Lofoten made her debut on these Svalbardruta services in 1968, there was no easy air access to the Svalbard archipelago. With the opening of the airport at Longyearbyen in 1975, passenger numbers on the shipping services slumped. The ships to Svalbard survived another few seasons, but by then there were regular air services into Longyearbyen from both Russia and Norway.
Until now, Svalbard has been a pricey destination to reach by air, but that changes next summer.