Thursday, 14 July 2016

Hurtigruten new ship MS Spitsbergen Christened

#expeditioncruising


The much-anticipated christening of Hurtigruten’s new explorer vessel MS Spitsbergen saw a crowd of thousands gather in the town square of Svolvaer, a fishing village in Lofoten.

The destination is one of the most spectacular in the world for adventure travel, and truly one of the highlights of the Hurtigruten Norwegian coastal voyages.

The setting was picture-perfect, with the natural phenomenon of the Midnight Sun casting a magical light on the event as the ship’s Godmother, Norwegian explorer Cecilie Skog, smashed a champagne bottle into its side. As one of the most merited contemporary explorers, with numerous achievements including expeditions to the North Pole and South Pole, Mount Everest, Antarctica, and Greenland under her wing, Skog is a great match for the new vessel. She’s also climbed the ‘Seven Summits’ to stand on top of the highest mountain on each of the earth’s seven continents, living and breathing everything adventure travel and Hurtigruten’s ethos represent.

The ship is named after Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard Archipelago, located on the very northernmost part of Norway, next to the North Pole. The island is also where Hurtigruten’s founder, Richard With, first started explorer tourism in the Arctic in 1896, so it holds particular significance. She joins Hurtigruten’s fleet of explorer ships on Norway’s coastline, and will set sail on her first voyage from Bergen on 24 July 2016.

After spending her first season in Norway, MS Spitsbergen will alternate between the Norwegian coast and polar expeditions. From 2017, guests can sail with her to Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe and Shetland Islands, as well as to Arctic Canada. Here, passengers will discover L'Anse aux Meadows, a UNESCO World Heritage site where the first Vikings settlements were discovered in 1960.