When we asked cruisers to share their favorite vacation memories and stories while we wait to cruise again, we thought we’d get a few responses.
We were thrilled when cruiser after cruiser emailed us, left comments on our Facebook posts, tweeted at us and commented on our Instagram posts sharing their favorite cruise moments. It wasn’t just cruisers, either. We received stories from some prominent members of the cruise industry, and today, we wanted to share two stories we received from members of the Hurtigruten team.
Hurtigruten is one of the world’s foremost expedition cruise lines with a fleet of ships sailing to the most incredible and remote destinations on the planet. Their cruises are meant to stimulate the mind and body with immersive shore excursions and a team of lecturers onboard providing insights along the way.
Kristin Erz, a Hurtigruten Sales Director in Canada, shared her memory of an expedition to Antarctica on board one of the line’s newest ships. Her submission is below:
If there’s one thing I learned after returning from my expedition to Antarctica, it’s that there are no words to perfectly describe such an experience – but I’ll give it my best shot! I sailed onboard the state-of-the-art MS Roald Amundsen, the world’s first hybrid electric-powered ship from Hurtigruten.
We had Fleet Captain Torry at the helm, along with a passionate, knowledgeable Expedition Team who shared lectures onboard from polar history to climate change, and stood in waist deep polar water near shore purely to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for our guests. Antarctica is the low hanging fruit after crossing the infamous Drake Passage, or “Drake Shake” as we encountered.
I spent the first couple days behind my camera, trying to capture all of the firsts – our first iceberg, zodiac ride, landing, penguin encounter, whale sighting, Antarctic sunset…before I realized that it was SO much better just living in the moment, without the camera (btw, Hurtigruten has a professional photographer onboard who captures the entire trip for you!).
One thing you learn very quickly is that Mother Nature is completely in control, and you have to succumb to the power of the Great White Continent. Some days we had to move onto Plan B or even C to ensure that safe operation could be carried out, and yet I still caught myself saying “I can’t even believe this is Plan B – how could we possibly have topped this?” I finally ticked off my 7th continent, navigated through the Lemaire Channel, crossed the Antarctic Circle, added 6 penguin species to my penguin bucket list (yes, it’s my thing) and, ok, although it may not have been on any formal bucket list of mine, I braved the polar plunge!
When in Antarctica, you do as your fellow explorers do, and don’t worry, Hurtigruten provides you with the certificate to prove it! There were so many moments of peace and quiet (except when you’re with the penguins), where you catch yourself in a moment and truly connect with your inner explorer – this is the pure magic of Antarctica…a life changing journey I’ll never forget.
Carly Biggart is VP of Sales for Hurtigruten and her favorite cruise memory was visiting coastal Norwegian towns and the magical fjords. Read her story below:
The first time I went on a cruise ship was December 2019 for a short Norwegian coastal cruise with Hurtigruten. I was fortunate to meet members of my team and travel advisors beforehand and enjoyed a concert at the Arctic Cathedral in Tromso.
It was midnight and the folk inspired music was very moving in the moment. I then boarded our Hurtigruten Norwegian coastal ship, the MS Kong Harald where I first met the reception manager who greeted me by name before even checking-in. I could not have appreciated the surrounding scenery coming onto the ship so late and in the pitch dark. In the morning I was introduced to the magic of the Norwegian Fjords where we sailed for the next few days while traveling from port to port. I was able to test my sea-legs with some decent sized swells. At some moments I did well at other moments the waves got the best of me.
The small Norwegian fishing towns were quaint with each having a unique history and their own stories to tell. When I wasn’t soaking in the stunning surroundings I cozied up on the ship to eat delicious local sourced foods, tasty drinks or just relax playing rounds of cards with new friends.
We crossed the Arctic Circle and everybody on board celebrated outside on deck with a shot of cod liver oil. I’ll never forget coming into Bergen, where it rains most days of the year, and the skies literally opened up and the sun shone down on the colorful town as I completed my first cruising journey. Boxes checked: Norwegian Fjords, expedition cruising, arctic circle!
If those stories don’t get you jazzed up to explore, then nothing will! Expedition cruising is one of the fastest growing sectors of the cruise industry thanks to cruise lines building what are essentially luxury yachts with adaption for polar environments. These ships carry only a few hundred people, if that, and it makes for a unique cruise experience compared to megaships with thousands of passengers.