Following up on a successful return to cruising in June, Norwegian expedition cruise line Hurtigruten has announced plans to ramp-up operation through August and September to bring 14 of their 16 ships back into operation.
Hurtigruten made headline news on June 16, 2020 when they became the first ocean cruise line to set sail since the industry-wide pause began in mid-March. The cruise line enforced strict hygiene protocols on board MS Finnmarken including enhanced cleaning procedures, social distancing and reduced shore excursion capacity.
“With the safety and well-being of our guests and crew as our number one priority, the response to our successful return to sailing last month has been extremely positive from both the local communities, our guests and crew. As travel restrictions are lifted, we are now entering the next phase of our step by step return to full operation,” Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said.
The next ships to return to operation for Hurtigruten will be the battery-hybrid powered MS Roald Amundsen and MS Spitsbergen in mid-July. They will be the first ships in the industry to return to the arctic when they set sail on six to 15 day cruises to the archipelago of Svalbard.
Seven additional ships will be introduced on the popular Bergen to Kirkenes itinerary along the Norwegian coast in August and September. The cruise line currently has four ships cruising this itinerary.
New British Isles Itinerary
The world’s first battery-hybrid cruise ship, MS Roald Amundsen, will sail a new British Isles itinerary starting in September 2020. The short expedition cruises will take guests to off-the-beaten-track destinations such as Isles of Scilly, Fowey, Rathlin Island, Fortwilliam, Oban, Fishguard and Waterford.
“We are thrilled to announce our new British Isles itineraries, and put a lot of pride into handpicking the destinations. We wanted to make sure guests can enjoy the British Isles like never before, visiting remote isles, seeing rugged nature and amazing wildlife, and enjoying charming coastal cities, towns and villages while avoiding the mass tourism crowds,” Skjeldam said.
A Demand for Small Ship Cruising
The popularity of small-ship cruising is only growing and Hurtigruten is well positioned to continue their reign as one of the top small-ship adventure cruise lines.
“We are seeing a strong demand across all markets and all destinations, including the Norwegian coast, the Arctic and Antarctica. The demand reflects our predictions that small-ship cruising, with all our advantages such as more flexibility and fewer guests, will prove even more popular post-COVID-19,” Skjeldam said.
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