Three years in the making, Hurtigruten is making a resounding comeback.
The Norwegian cruise line known for its coastal cruises has returned to profitability and signed a letter of agreement to order up to four new explorer ships to meet pent-up demand for adventure travel. This expansion marks the largest in the company’s more than 120-year history of exploring Arctic waters.Daniel Skjeldam, Hurtigruten’s CEO said in a statement, “This is a milestone for us and an expression of our confidence in the growth of the global market for adventure tourism. We are to build the most formidable expedition ships the world has seen.”
The new build covers the construction of two state-of-the-art 600-passenger vessels expressly designed to ply the Arctic and Antarctic waters and that will provide passengers with adventure-rich itineraries and activities, from climbing and kayaking to rib-tours, whale and sea eagle safaris. Adventure travel is one of the fastest growing travel segments with a two-year growth of just over 195 percent. These ships will also offer lectures on relevant topics and educational excursions to places accessible only by small ships or zodiac boats. Ships will be equipped with latest in environmentally friendly technology to reduce emissions and keep in line with the company’s commitment to green shipping. These ships will be designed by Rolls-Royce and built by Kleven.
The order marks the largest order in Kleven’s history and includes the option for two additional ships. The agreement cements Norway’s strong international position as a shipbuilding nation and Hurtigruten’s position as a global leader in the Polar cruise sector. “People no longer want to spend their holiday time being passive spectators.
The new adventure traveler is looking for authentic experiences, which is why sedentary, standardized travel packages are becoming less popular and active adventure travel is booming,” Skjeldam said. “Our experience is that explorers travelling with Hurtigruten crave adventurous activities and mindfulness in combination, therefore Hurtigruten offers active voyages. We offer real experiences in local environments, just steps away from the wildlife.” UK Managing Director Magnus Zetterberg added: “We offer our guests a truly unique experience on-board all of our ships. Every season we’ve seen an increase in demand from guests to travel with Hurtigruten for the unrivalled range of adventure activities we offer. It has been more than ten years since Hurtigruten last placed an order for the construction of a new ship so the prospect of being able to expand this with the arrival of new vessels is very exciting.”
The cruise line will also be adding Amazon River cruises and sailings along Canada’s Newfoundland/Labrador coasts in 2017, before the two new ships join the fleet.