Artic Exploration Anyone? Hurtigruten Launches MS Spitsbergen Expedition Ship

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High above the Arctic Circle, a small Norwegian fishing village in the remote Lofoten Islands was the picturesque backdrop for the MS Spitsbergen christening ceremony.

MS Spitsbergen Geiranger Fjord
MS Spitsbergen makes its way through Norway’s Geiranger Fjord.

The 335-passenger MS Spitsbergen is the 14th ship in Hurtigruten’s fleet of coastal vessels.  Many of Hurtigruten’s vessels are equipped to provide the only year-round transportation throughout the archipelago and coastal Norway.

MS Spitsbergen Inaugural Ceremony

With thousands of well-wishers on hand for the event, the ship’s godmother Cecilie Skog, hurled the champagne bottle against the ship’s shiny black hull to officially christen the MS Spitsbergen. Skog, a young Norwegian explorer, has already climbed to the top of the famous “Seven Summits” on each of the seven continents.

Captain Engvik and MS Spitsbergen's Godmother Cecilie Skog.
Captain Engvik and MS Spitsbergen’s Godmother Cecilie Skog.

After the ceremony, entertainment was provided by a Norwegian band, Violet Road, that interestingly enough, sang almost all of their songs in English. For a glimpse at how Norwegians celebrate the launch of a new ship, here’s the video.  Cecilie Skog swings the champagne bottle and it breaks again the hull at about 58:00 in the video.  Violet Road follows with their performance.

“Adventure travel is one the fastest growing global tourism mega trends. The MS Spitsbergen destinations offers everything the new adventure traveler seeks: Spectacular scenery, authenticity, a unique history and atmosphere, and access to active nature-based experiences. Svolvaer in many respects mirrors the modern Hurtigruten: a world leading provider of explorer cruises with activity, learning and sustainability at its core”, says Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

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Tour the MS Spitsbergen

Boarding MS Spitsbergen expedition-stlye.
Boarding MS Spitsbergen, expedition-style.
MS Spitsbergen Amundsen Expedition Suite.
Amundsen Expedition Suite.
MS Spitsbergen Artic Superior Outside
Artic Superior Outside
MS Spitsbergen Polar Outside Superior
Polar Outside Superior
MS Spitsbergen Torget dining room
Torget dining room
MS Spitsbergen Explorer Bar
Explorer Bar
Fitness Room
Fitness Room
Outside sitting area.
Outside sitting area at the aft.
MS Spitsbergen Outside Expedition Suite
Outside of the Amundsen Expedition suites.

Polar Cruising Begins

After its first season in Norway, MS Spitsbergen will alternate between the Norwegian coast and polar expeditions. Starting in 2017, guests can sail to Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe and Shetland Islands, as well as to Arctic Canada. Among the many exceptional landings in Canada is L’Anse aux Meadows, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where the first Viking settlements were discovered in 1960.

2017 / 2018 Itineraries

MS Spitsbergen 2017/18 voyages will include:

  • In the wake of the Vikings: Norway-Shetland-Faroe Islands-Iceland
    The Vikings crossed the North Sea and landed on the British Isles. Although they are often thought of as barbaric raiders, they were also accomplished explorers and settlers.
  • The Vinland saga adventure: Iceland-Greenland-Canada
    Between year 800 and 1000, the feared and fabled Vikings carried out a number of expeditions to explore the North Atlantic Ocean. This expedition follows a route described in the Vinland Saga.
  • Exploring the Arctic land of the caribou: Canada
    This expedition includes the chance to visit two national parks, several different settlements and intriguing cities. Along the way, guests will be able to view remarkable archaeological remains and get an insight into the interesting history of the Vikings.
  • Crossing Baffin Bay: Canada-Greenland
    An expedition that explores the unspoiled regions on both sides of Baffin Bay. From Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada; via the grand landscape of Baffin Island; to Greenland where guests can touch an iceberg with their bare hands and marvel at the power of nature in Ilulissat Icefjord.
  • Thule, north and beyond: The west coast of Greenland
    A unique Arctic expedition exploring the northwest coast of Greenland, along the edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet, which stretches 1,500 miles north, covering up to 80% of the island.
  • Island hopping in the north Atlantic: Greenland-Iceland-Faroe Islands-Shetland Islands-NorwayGuests can explore the spectacular and unspoiled scenery of Greenland. They can then visit Saga island, Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik, and the charming Faroe and Shetland Islands.
  • Elves, sagas and volcanoes of Island: Circumnavigation of the island of Iceland
    Mythical Iceland is the perfect destination for adventurers looking to explore wilderness, wildlife, history and settlements.

Hurtigruten sails to remote areas of the globe including Antarctica, Greenland and the Arctic’s Spitsbergen.  Year-round cruises along Norway’s coast and Europe in the spring and fall.  For more information, contact a travel agent and visit Hurtigruten for a complete look at all the itineraries and ships.

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