Roald Amundsen is one of Hurtigruten's two new 530-passenger newbuilds, and will feature modern interiors and green engines
This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2017 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
Having plotted the Norwegian coastline for more than a century, few firms can stake as much of a claim on the Arctic Circle as Hurtigruten. The company – which not only operates as an expedition cruise line, but also provides a postal service for remote Norwegian communities and even acts as a school bus for young children – has long been part of the lives of locals. It’s as synonymous with Norway as the fjords, fishing and Disney film Frozen. However, it is two historic Norwegian legends who will help create the next part of the company’s story.
“Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen [named after the renowned Norwegian explorers] will open a new chapter in Hurtigruten’s history, and are the first ships in a new generation that will change expedition travel forever,” explains Rune Thomas Ege, vice president of global communications who works closely with the company’s newbuild team.
The new vessels, which are being courted as some of the most environmentally friendly ships to have ever been built, will be specially designed to explore the most remote and pristine waters on earth, in a sustainable way. This, Ege says, will help the company take its guests closer to nature, with a minimal carbon footprint.
“Whenever our guests step onboard one of our ships, whether it is on the Norwegian coast, the Amazon river or Antarctica, they are looking for the authentic Hurtigruten experience,” he comments. “None of our guests expect butler service, and they will not get it. The only penguins you will see on a Hurtigruten expedition, are the real ones. What our guests are expecting – and what they will get – are close encounters with nature and wildlife, on a ship that’s custom built for the areas they explore from a company with 125 years of experience.”
Ege adds: “The newbuilds will be premium expedition ships, packed with technology, custom-built expedition equipment and comfortable Scandinavian design that creates a perfect basecamp at sea. But they will also reflect our Norwegian explorer heritage, and we aim to exceed their expectations with the onboard experience, locally sourced food and staff and an atmosphere that will create ambassadors for the areas where we sail on every voyage.”
Designed by Norwegian yacht designer Espen Øino, the ships themselves were created to make a statement. Boasting a raked bow and two-level wraparound explorer deck, each vessel will feature enough grown-up toys for even the most adventurous among Hurtigruten’s intrepid passengers. There will also be an infinity pool for those who want the option to indulge themselves.
Another factor that runs right through the entire premise of Hurtigurten’s newbuilds is their green credentials.
“The fact is that we chose to go green all the way through the operation,” explains Ege. “We are excited about the fact that these ships are moving the industry forward even before the construction started. This is just the beginning.”