Many ships tend to have a vast history and a new member that has been added to the Hurtigruten Cruise Company’s fleet is no exception.
Constructed in 2009 at the Estaleiro Navais de Viana do Castelo in Portugal, the 7,025 gross ton vessel MS Spitsbergen is now being renovated for Hurtigruten after being purchased in June of this year. The vessel started its life as a ferry service under the name MS Atlantida and will begin service in May 2016.
At first, it was called the MS Norway Explorer by Hurtigruten, but recently it was announced that its name is being changed to MS Spitsbergen as a result of a facebook competition.
Both names conjure up thoughts of exploration and that is what it promises to do. The new name choice is derived from the largest island in the Svalbard Archipelago which is as close to the Arctic as you can get!
MS Spitsbergen will hold 320 passengers and promises to be environmentally friendly as well as having all the usual passenger comforts. The ship runs on diesel and has been specifically designed to handle polar waters, making an Arctic trip possible.
“We invest in our fleet to ensure that Hurtigruten remains a world leader in sustainable explorer travels along the Norwegian coast and in polar waters”, stated Daniel Skjeldam, the CEO of Hurtigruten.
There will be considerable upgrades in the cabins, suites and other public areas, decorated in an attractive nautical style with plenty of heavy blues to create a soothing atmosphere.
THE NORWEGIAN COASTAL VOYAGE ROUTE
The MS Spitsbergen plans on following the Norwegian Coastal Voyage route which will get right into the heart of the great north of Norway.
These 12-night voyages are nothing short of a really interesting and educational adventure.
From Bergen the ports of call and scenic sites through the Norwegian fjords whilst heading north will be Alesund, Geirangerfjord/Hjørundfjord and the Medieval Capital of Norway, Trondheim.
On day four, passengers will participate in the Arctic Circle ceremony on deck to celebrate the summer’s ‘Midnight Sun’ and winter’s ‘Northern Lights’. Tromsø is visited next before travelling further towards the North Cape Plateau at the 71st Parallel.
By day 7, at only a few miles from the Russian border, the ship makes it way to Kirkenes. There are several exciting excursions available. Even though passengers are physically on the European continent, the position of the ship is actually further east than Istanbul.
This is the point that the ship begins to descend south towards Bergen, stopping in Lyngenfjord and Tromsø and a full day in Lofoten. As the ship continues and reaches the Arctic Circle at the 66° Parallel, an on the deck festivity is held. If anything was missed seeing whilst in Trondheim for the first visit, passengers will have a chance to play catch up on day 11 before departing in Bergen the next day.
Besides enjoying this exclusive itinerary that offers the best of Norway and the Arctic, lectures onboard by a member of a professional expedition team will give you a true learning experience.
Subjects will mostly be on the history and geology of each region, although there will be other topics available. The team will also serve as guides on any expedition hikes to make it the most informative way to get the most out of this unique cruise experience.
Including the MS Spitsbergen, there are 13 ships in Hurtigruten’s fleet. Each ship offers the same quality that will be found on the Spitsbergen. Take advantage starting next May with the Norwegian Coastal Voyage. Once you do, you’ll want to look into the Antarctica or Greenland sailing aboard the Spitsbergen in 2017.
Images courtesy of Hurtigruten
Written by Veronica Shine