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Monday, July 18, 2016
Hurtigruten Christens New Explorer Ship MS Spitsbergen North of the Arctic Circle
Hurtigruten's MS Spitsbergen was Christened in Svolvaer.
On 7/7/2016, Hurtigruten christened their latest ship - the MS Spitsbergen. The christening event featured thousands of people in the town square at Svolvaer,
a former fishing village and today one of the most spectacular
adventure travel destinations in the world and truly one of the
highlights of the Hurtigruten Norwegian coastal voyages.
“Adventure travel is one the fastest growing global tourism mega
trends and Lofoten offers everything the new adventure traveller seeks:
Spectacular scenery, authenticity, a unique history and atmosphere, and
access to active nature-based experiences. Svolvaer in many respects
mirrors the modern Hurtigruten, being a world leading provider of
explorer cruises with activity, learning and sustainability in the
core”, said Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.
The new explorer ship is named MS Spitsbergen,
after the largest island in the Svalbard Archipelago. This very
northernmost part of Norway, next to the North Pole, is also where
Hurtigruten founder Richard With first started explorer tourism in the
Arctic in 1896.
Hurtigruten's MS Spitsbergen Torget Dining Room
The MS Spitsbergen was originally built in 2009 but was purchased by Hurtigruten just last year. Hurtigruten has performed an extensive upgrade to the vessel, modernizing her for her new role. The ship's decor is crisp and definitely Scandinavian in look and feel. The MS Spitsbergen is small compare to the mega ships today, but her size allows for her to reach the most remote and picturesque ports around the globe. Here are some quick stats:
Estaleiro Navais de Viana do Castelo (POR)
100.54 m/ 362.7 feet
18 m / 59 Feet
Polar pioneer, mountaineer godmother
Cecilie Skog was the godmother to smash the champagne bottle in the
ship’s side and officially christen MS Spitsbergen. Skog is one of the
most merited contemporary Norwegian explorers, with numerous impressive
achievements including expeditions to the North Pole; the South Pole;
Mount Everest; Antarctica; and Greenland. She has also climbed the
‘Seven Summits’ to stand on top of the highest mountain on each of the
earth’s seven continents.
Arctic adventure awaits
After a first season in Norway, MS Spitsbergen will alternate between
the Norwegian coast and polar expeditions. Already from 2017, guests
can sail with her to Greenland; to Iceland; to the Faroe and Shetland
Islands, as well as to Arctic Canada. Amongst the many exceptional
landings in Canada is L'Anse aux Meadows, a UNESCO World Heritage site
where the first Vikings settlements were discovered in 1960.
“Archeological findings suggest this is the place where pioneer
explorer Leiv Eriksson went ashore and named it Vinland. Coming here and
to the other historic sites with MS Spitsbergen, more than a 1000 years
later, resonates with our Viking spirit and Hurtigruten’s pioneering
ambitions”, says Skjeldam.