Rendering courtesy of Hurtigruten
There’s a big future on the horizon for Hurtigruten, as it prepares its upcoming pair of hybrid-powered expedition ships, future itineraries and new U.S. headquarters.
The previously announced ships, scheduled to come online in 2018 and 2019, now have names: “Roald Amundsen” and “Fridtjof Nansen.” The names represent Norwegian polar explorers.
“On December 14th, it will be exactly 105 years since Roald Amundsen became the first person in the world to plant his flag on the South Pole,” noted Daniel Skjeldam, CEO, Hurtigruten. “It has been 128 years since Fridtjof Nansen skied across Greenland and it is 120 years since Richard With, Hurtigruten’s founder, first started exploration tourism in the Arctic. So what could be more natural and appropriate than to name our new ships after these inspiring trailblazers.”
Exterior renderings exhibit bold new designs from Rolls-Royce and Norwegian yacht designer Espen Oino, and their Scandinavian interiors will be equally appealing with natural finishes and materials inspired by the sea and shore like granite, oak, birch, wool and more.
The 530-guest vessels will also feature three restaurants and a pool deck with infinity varieties, whirlpools and bars. And particularly conducive to adventure travel, there will be large observation platforms, and 60 percent of the cabins will sport a balcony.
The hybrid technology itself will provide the “Roald Amundsen” and “Fridtjof Nansen” the ability to run completely electrically and soundless for 15-30 minutes at a time and even longer for vessels in the future. More importantly, they will showcase a 20 percent overall reduction in CO2-emissions.
“These ground-breaking expedition ships will revolutionize adventure travel at sea,” added Skeldjam. “We are combining Hurtigruten’s 120-years of know-how with cutting-edge technology and design, and a strong commitment to sustainability, to offer the modern-day adventure traveler unprecedented experiences.”
Antarctic itineraries for 2018 will be led by the new “Roald Amundsen” going to a combination of Chile, the Falkland Islands and Antarctica. Skjeldam said, “Imagine the awe-inspiring feeling of sailing soundless and emission free between icebergs, wildlife and historical sites. Epic.”
Joining the new “Roald Amundsen” will be the existing “Midnatsol” and “Fram.” All voyages leaving from South America will feature, included or optional, 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).
Meanwhile, additional destinations will include new ones with “Fram” in the Caribbean Sea and up the Atlantic coastline of the U.S., visiting off-the-beaten-path ports such as San Blas Islands, Fort San Lorenzo, Bocas del Toro, Corn Islands, Isla de Providencia, Cayos Cochinos and Lighthouse Reef.
“We will do the Caribbean Sea the Hurtigruten way; explorer style. The moderate size, extreme maneuverability 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 snorkeling, before lighting a bonfire on the beach to prepare a bbq dinner,” explained Skjeldam.
Plus, the “Fram” will also head to Arctic Canada for the northern summer season, and the “Spitsbergen” will provide guests with circumnavigations in Svalbard. For even more diversity, Hurtigruten also sails to Greenland and Iceland, as well as the Amazon.
Helping to domestically facilitate the new ships and voyages is the expedition line’s new U.S. headquarters in Seattle, Washington, which just opened on September 29, 2016. Besides administrative offices, the location encompasses a consumer travel center for the public to discover and book Hurtigruten.
“This is a tremendous milestone for the company as we continue to expand our U.S. operations,” said Skjeldam. “The demand is growing within the expedition travel segment and the building of a world-class office and consumer-centric facility comes at a perfect time for our continued growth in the U.S.”