After a successful return to sailing in June, Hurtigruten has released its plans to further ramp-up operations with 14 of 16 ships returning in August and September. Additionally, a series of new itineraries in the British Isles are also planned over the coming months.
“With the safety and wellbeing 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,” said Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.
Hurtigruten marked the return of cruising as MS Finnmarken became the first ocean cruise ship in the world to return to sailing with her 16 June departure. With limiting capacity and strict hygiene measures, Hurtigruten currently operates five ships on international and domestic Norwegian itineraries.
The new program sees Hurtigruten return to Arctic expedition sailings aboard MS Roald Amundsen and MS Spitsbergen which will offer six- to 15-day voyages on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard starting mid-July.
Seven additional ships will be gradually introduced on the Bergen to Kirkenes voyage along the Norwegian coast in August and September.
Hurtigruten will also launch a series of British Isles itineraries on MS Roald Amundsen. Departing from Portsmouth (2 September), Liverpool (7 and 17 September) and Glasgow (12 September), 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 said the destinations featured in the British Isles itineraries were handpicked.
“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,” he said.
In June, Hurtigruten announced its 2021 plans for year-round expedition cruise departures from Dover and Hamburg to Norway, Southern Scandinavia and the British Isles.
The newest addition to Hurtigruten’s fleet of expedition cruise ships, the battery-hybrid powered MS Fridtjof Nansen, marked the return of international cruises as she departed Hamburg, Germany on 26 June for the first in a series of expedition cruises to the Norwegian coast. The 14-night itineraries will continue into September, exploring World Heritage-listed fjords, glaciers, bird cliffs, narrow inlets and other sites under the Midnight Sun – all the way to the iconic North Cape.
“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 to ourselves. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the rugged beauty of the Norwegian coast,” Skjeldam concluded.
Lead image: Battery hybrid-powered MS Fridtjof Nansen in Norway’s Geirangerfjord on the first international cruise departure since the outbreak of the coronavirus | Credit: Harry Nicolaisen/Hurtigruten