Hurtigruten Expeditions‘ third battery-hybrid powered ship, the upgraded MS Otto Sverdup, has departed on its maiden voyage this week from Hamburg, Germany. The vessel is named in honour of the Norwegian sailor and Arctic explorer.
MS Otto Sverdup‘s launch this week represents not only the first year-round expedition cruises from Germany to the Norwegian coastline, but also a return of expedition cruises for Hurtigruten Expeditions after more than a year due to the pandemic pause.
“We are thrilled to finally be back exploring with our guests. This is a day we have all been really looking forward to after a very challenging year for the entire travel industry,” said Asta Lassesen, CEO Hurtigruten Expeditions.
MS Otto Sverdup, previously branded as MS Finnmarken, was overhauled and redesigned in 2020 for sustainable expeditions. The ship now boasts advanced technology, an interactive Science Centre, and several outdoor observation decks.
“We saw the travel industry’s global pause as a golden opportunity to invest, upgrade and improve our ships and product. As we return to cruising, MS Otto Sverdrup will feature a combination of advanced green technology, including new battery packs, that will ensure an even more sustainable way of exploring the Norwegian coast,” said Lassesen.
MS Otto Sverdrup is now positioned alongside Hurtigruten Expeditions’ two new-build fleet of smaller, more sustainable expedition cruise ships, MS Roald Amundsen (launched in 2018) and MS Fridtjof Nansen (2020).
From late September, MS Maud will start the first year-round UK-based expedition cruises. In addition to the closer-to-home departures from Hamburg and Dover, Hurtigruten Expeditions 2022/2023 winter program also includes Antarctica, West Africa, Alaska, and from January 2022, the Galapagos Islands.
“Our guests have been extremely patient, and I know they are as excited as we are. As we return to operations, the safety of our guests, crew and the communities we explore is our number one priority,” said Lassesen.
“Our stringent health and safety protocols, including our vaccination policy for all guests and crew, will ensure that everyone feels safe, protected and comfortable onboard without limiting experience.”
“We see a huge pent-up demand for travel, with substantial and growing demand for authentic adventure travel. We expect to see this trend to strengthen, as we continue to expand our global offering with even more unique and more sustainable experiences,” concluded Lassesen.
Lead image: MS Otto Sverdrup | Credit: Agurtxane Concellon/Hurtigruten Expeditions