Hurtigruten Expeditions’ Fridtjof Nansen has made history with the northernmost naming ceremony for a passenger ship in Svalbard, the location where expedition cruising began in 1896.
“We are thrilled to celebrate more than 125 years of exploration and adventure travel where it all began. We couldn’t be prouder acknowledging this important milestone by naming this engineering marvel at the spot where our founder Richard With pioneered modern-day expedition cruising,” said Hurtigruten Group CEO Daniel Skjeldam.
Replacing the traditional bottle of champagne with a chunk of ice, godmothers and environmental advocates Hilde Fålun Strøm and Sunniva Sørby, named the Fridtjof Nansen by continuing a Hurtigruten Expeditions ritual invented by polar hero Roald Amundsen himself.
As Sørby and Strøm crushed the ice against the hybrid powered ship’s raked bow, the explorers quoted Amundsen’s words from when he named polar ship Maud in 1917.
“It is not my intention to dishonor the glorious grape, but already now you shall get the taste of your real environment. For the ice you have been built, in the ice you shall stay most of your life, and in the ice, you shall solve your tasks.”
The traditional godmother gift was also replaced by a joint donation to local projects by Sørby and Strøm’s Hearts in the Ice project and Hurtigruten Foundation.
To honor the century-long Svalbard heritage, MS Fridtjof Nansen is also the first cruise ship ever to be registered in Longyearbyen.
“By naming this unprecedented ship after Fridtjof Nansen, on Svalbard, we pay tribute to him as an explorer and a scientist and to the rich arctic legacy of Hurtigruten Expeditions. We also salute our long-lasting relationship with the Svalbard community. This small-sized, battery-hybrid powered expedition ship will explore all waters – and she will do so proudly calling Svalbard home,” said Hurtigruten Expeditions CEO Asta Lassesen.