Hurtigruten will add more ships to year-round expedition service in 2021 as the Trollfjord and Finnmarken will be positioned in the market, along with the Spitsbergen and Midnatsol, which will be moved to year-round expedition cruising.
“We’ve had an ambition to grow the number of ships in the expedition market since I joined the company, and we are driving that strategy,” Daniel Skjeldam, CEO, told Cruise Industry News. “We’re taking ships out of the coastal route and adding them to the expedition setting on the coast.”
Between now and 2021, Skjeldam will also oversee the launch of three new hybrid expedition vessels for the line.
The Roald Amundsen joins the fleet this spring, followed by Fridtjof Nansen in 2020 and an unnamed newbuild in 2021.
The Fram will stay in the expedition world too, and given that the Lofoten continues her Hurtigruten career Hurtigruten should have upwards of 3,670 dedicated expedition berths and 10 vessels by 2021.
That will make Hurtigruten the largest expedition operator, and the most sustainable, according to Skjeldam, as a massive $850 million refit plan includes LNG, battery packs and biogas.
Of note, Hurtigruten’s newbuilds are large, at 530 berths, and the existing ships being moved to pure expedition operation will have an estimated 500 berths each.
“You cannot drive the market with 100-bed ships,” said Skjeldam. “We are allocating our largest ships to expeditions. The Midnatsol, Finnmarken and Trollfjord are extremely well suited.”
Early plans call for year-round deployment for that trio on the Norwegian coast, but with a completely different itinerary, no night-time calls, and longer port stays, plus more shore excursions.
Expect the homeports to change too, with Hurtigruten eyeing major airlift in cities like Hamburg.