For the 2018 season, Hurtigruten has expanded its Antarctica operation to a total of three expedition ships, spearheaded by the new hybrid vessel “Roald Amundsen”.
As world leader in adventure travel in the waters surrounding the Antarctic continent, the Norwegian company continues to highlight the importance of balancing growth in adventure tourism with environmental concerns.
“All operators must commit to the highest environmental standards to put as little strain as possible on the nature and wildlife of these pristine areas,” notes Daniel Skjeldam, CEO of Hurtigruten. “Hurtigruten is leading by example by introducing the world’s first hybrid powered expedition ship”.
By adding even more environmentally sustainable Antarctica experiences, Hurtigruten consolidates its position as the world’s largest, most innovative and experienced provider of expedition sailing.
“It’s often said that if you are able to describe Antarctica using words, you probably haven’t been there. We want to open that opportunity for more Hurtigruten guests, still at a restricted level”, says Skjeldam.
Hurtigruten will offer tailored experiences that extend from exploratory sailings with “Midnatsol”, to nature-immersive expedition sailings with a restricted number of guests on the “Fram”.
Itineraries on the new hybrid ship, “Roald Amundsen”, combine the breath-taking fjords of Chile, the Falkland Islands and Antarctica.
“Imagine the awe-inspiring feeling of sailing soundless and emission free between icebergs, wildlife and historical sites. Epic”, adds Skjeldam.
All Hurtigruten’s Antarctica expeditions departing from South America include or offer optional on-land experiences such as the Manuel Antonio National Park (Costa Rica), Machu Picchu (Peru), biking excursion through Santiago de Chile, the Atacama Desert, Patagonia and the Iguazu Falls (Argentina).
Ground-breaking new destinations
The new Hurtigruten program also includes a large number of new off-the-beaten path itineraries and destinations – ranging from exotic jungles to frozen landscapes.
“We’re exploring, not cruising,” says Skjeldam. “A Hurtigruten voyage is all about rich and meaningful experiences. We sail guests on a comfortable basecamp to unique places that no mass tourism cruise lines can provide access to. Visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites will be included in almost all itineraries”.
Expedition vessel “Fram” will lead expedition sailings in the Caribbean Sea and along the Atlantic coast of the US. The expedition destinations are spread across eight countries along the coast of Central America and includes landings at ports: San Blas Islands, Fort San Lorenzo, Bocas del Toro, Corn Islands, Isla de Providencia, Cayos Cochinos and Lighthouse Reef. “Fram” will visit Caribbean destinations that are not frequented by the cruise industry’s larger “White Ships”.
“We will do the Caribbean Sea the Hurtigruten way; explorer style. The moderate size, extreme manoeuvrability and highly competent crew of “Fram” allows for a high degree of “freestyling”. We may sail into a bay or an estuary because there are birds or dolphins to see there. And we could drop our tender boats to go scuba diving or snorkelling, before lighting a bonfire on the beach to prepare a bbq dinner”, says Skjeldam.
Hurtigruten’s highly skilled and experienced expedition teams will accompany guests on all excursions.
For the eastern coast of the US, Hurtigruten’s itineraries will include landings in cities such as New York and Boston.
“This is a brand new concept that represents what you might call metropolitan exploration landings”, says Skjeldam.
Frozen North American adventures
Between 1898 and 1902 polar explorer and one of Hurtigruten’s first captains, Otto Neumann Knoph Sverdrup, covered more terrain with the original “Fram” in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago than any other scientific expedition.
For the northern summer season, “Fram” will once again embark on this sailing taking modern adventure travellers on an expedition to Arctic Canada.
“This itinerary is a manifestation of our approach to adventure travel. Imagine sailing in waters mapped by the original ship the one you sail on is named after”, says Skjeldam.
“Spitsbergen” on home ground
Hurtigruten’s newest expedition ship, “Spitsbergen” will offer explorer-style circumnavigations of the island she is named after in Svalbard.
“Spitsbergen is where Hurtigruten Founder Richard With first started adventure tourism in the Artic in the 19th century, so by offering circumnavigations of the exceptional Svalbard archipelago with a modern cutting-edge explorer ship, we have gone full circle”, says Skjeldam.
Cooperating with adventurous profiles
In addition to the new routes, Hurtigruten has partnered with several adventure influencers to plant a flag of their choice in one of the Hurtigruten destinations they are passionate about, to raise awareness of sustainability and environmental issues.
“It is important for Hurtigruten to inspire all adventure travellers to explore in a responsible manner. We want to make sure our guests of tomorrow can have the same meaningful travel experiences as the guests of today”, says Skjeldam.
The exploration and sustainability ambassadors include:
· David Lindo (UK): Broadcaster, writer and photographer. Planting his flag in the Amazon Rainforest.
· Tim Kemple and Pete McBride (US): Photographers and filmmakers. Planting their flag in Greenland.
· Johanna Davidsson (SE): Expeditioner. Planting her flag on the South Pole.
· Cecilie Skog and Aleksander Gamme (NO): Expeditioners and writers. Planting their flag in Arctic Canada.
Currently, Hurtigruten offers Arctic voyages to Greenland, Iceland, around Spitsbergen, in 2017 to Arctic Canada. In the southern hemisphere, Hurtigruten takes guests to the waters around Antarctica, along both coasts of South America and in 2017, to the mighty Amazon rainforest.
More details on the Hurtigruten 2018 expedition sailings program will be introduced over the weeks to come.