After a successful return to sailing last month, Hurtigruten has released its plans to further ramp-up operations with 14 of 16 ships returning in August and September. In addition, Hurtigruten launches a series of new itineraries in the British Isles over the coming months.
Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said: “With the safety and well-being of our guests and crew as our number one priority, the response to our successful return to sailing last month has been extremely positive from both the local communities, our guests and crew. As travel restrictions are lifted, we are now entering the next phase of our step by step return to full operation.”
Hurtigruten marked the return of cruising as MS Finnmarken became the first ocean cruise ship in the world to return to sailing with her June 16 departure. With limiting capacity and strict hygiene measures, Hurtigruten currently operates five ships on international and domestic Norwegian itineraries.
Now the world’s largest expedition cruise company has stepped up its rebound strategy, with plans to bring 14 of their 16 ships back in operation by the end of September:
- Hurtigruten marks the return of Arctic expedition cruising, as battery-hybrid powered MS Roald Amundsen and MS Spitsbergen starting Mid-July will offer 6 to 15 day voyages on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.
- Step by step seven additional ships will be introduced on the legendary Bergen to Kirkenes voyage along the Norwegian coast in August and September. As of this week, Hurtigruten already operates 4 ships in what’s known as “the most beautiful voyage in the world”.
- Hurtigruten launches a series of exclusive British Isles itineraries on the world’s first battery hybrid powered cruise ship the MS Roald Amundsen. Departing from Portsmouth (Sep 2), Liverpool (Sep 7 and 17) and Glasgow (Sep 12), the short expedition cruises will take guests to off-the-beaten-track destinations such as Isles of Scilly, Fowey, Rathlin Island, Fortwilliam, Oban, Fishguard and Waterford.
Skjeldam continued: “We are thrilled to announce our new British Isles itineraries, and put a lot of pride into handpicking the destinations. We wanted to make sure guests can enjoy the British Isles like never before, visiting remote isles, seeing rugged nature and amazing wildlife, and enjoying charming coastal cities, towns and villages while avoiding the mass tourism crowds.”
In June, Hurtigruten also announced their 2021 plans for year-round expedition cruise departures from Dover and Hamburg to Norway, Southern Scandinavia and the British Isles.
“Our British Isles departures have proven extremely popular. With the addition of 2020 expedition cruises, we will offer guests a unique opportunity to explore unique destinations already this fall,” Skjeldam added.
The newest addition to Hurtigruten’s fleet of custom built expedition cruise ships, battery-hybrid powered MS Fridtjof Nansen, marked the return of international cruises as she departed Hamburg, Germany on June 26 for the first in a series of summer 2020 expedition cruises to the Norwegian coast.
The 14 night itineraries will continue into September, exploring world heritage fjords, glaciers, bird cliffs, narrow inlets and other sites under the midnight sun – all the way to the iconic North Cape.
Skjeldam said: “As travel restrictions are lifted, we offer German and international guests two distinct and unique ways of exploring Norway. Expedition cruises departing from Hamburg, and the original voyages along the Norwegian coast. This summer, we will have the fjords all by ourselves. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the rugged beauty of the Norwegian coast.”
Hurtigruten is the world’s largest expedition cruise line and has operated in polar waters continuously since 1893. As the most experienced operator on the spectacular Norwegian coastline, Hurtigruten is the only cruise line to offer year-round sailings on the Norwegian coast.
“We are seeing a strong demand across all markets and all destinations, including the Norwegian coast, the Arctic and Antarctica. The demand reflects our predictions that small-ship cruising, with all our advantages such as more flexibility and fewer guests, will prove even more popular post-COVID-19,” Skjeldam said.
There have not been any confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 on any of Hurtigruten ships. Hurtigruten have implemented strict procedures to ensure the health and safety of guests and crew.
These include reduced guest capacity to allow even more social distancing, strict hygiene protocols, health checks and -screenings, frequent temperature readings upon boarding and entry to restaurants, and numerous other measures.