Hurtigruten Triples Capacity on 2016-17 Antarctica Sailings
PHOTO: The Midnatsol will move to Antarctica, joining the Fram, in the 2016-17 season. (Courtesy of Hurtigruten)
Hurtigruten is tripling its guest capacity in Antarctica for the 2016-17 season to meet growing demand.
The sustainable adventure travel specialist will move the Midnatsol to Antarctica, where it will join the Fram. The move will increase the number of berths from 2,268 in the 2015-16 season to 6,800 berths in 2016-17.
While in Antarctica, the two ships will carry fewer passengers than they can at maximum capacity — Fram will accommodate 200, while Midnatsol will carry up to 500.
Antarctic itineraries include the Falkland Islands, Chilean fjords, Patagonia, the Magellan Strait and Cape Horn. Sailings will depart from October 2016 to March 2017 with prices ranging from $5,999 to $6,666 per person, double occupancy.
“This is an important strategic choice for Hurtigruten as we strengthen our position in the growing exploration market,” CEO Daniel Skjeldam said. “As a leading, responsible player in sustainable travel, we’re happy to offer the modern and flexible Midnatsol to meet the growing global demand for active nature-based experiences.”
In its first season in the southern hemisphere, the Midnatsol will operate ten 15- to 18-day voyages from Punta Arenas to Antarctica, Patagonia and the Chilean fjords.
The Fram will use Ushuaia, Argentina, as its home base.
On its website, Hurtigruten said the two ships will operate with different philosophies. Journeys on the Midnatsol will be not as physical as on Fram, but will focus even more on “edutainment.” A science program, “basically a beginner’s laboratory,” which lets passengers conduct small experiments and analyze samples with microscopes. There also will be talks on history, philosophy, and literature, as well as children’s activity programs, landings, walks, and kayaking.
“We are working to offer our guests a range of choices, whether it is the more traditional Antarctic experience with all the highlights one would expect when they sail aboard the Midnatsol, or a more challenging, activity-based Antarctica product with Fram, sailing to places we haven’t been before,” Skjeldam said. “No matter the ship, the guests will be awed by Antarctica’s spectacular nature with its massive icebergs, towering glaciers and abundant wildlife.”
The Midnatsol is suitable for Antarctica operations as it was built for the Arctic region. Some minor adjustments will be made, but the ship already has an ice class 1C rating, a helipad, and a redundant propulsion system. It will be equipped with a state-of-the-art customized oil retention system and already boasts some of the lowest fuel consumption per passenger of any ship in the industry.
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