“In my imagination I created an electric ship that could break through all kinds of ice, that nice and elegantly, fearful and irresistible, could sail through the Arctic oceans, straight to the Pole.”
These are the words written by Roald Amundsen in his diary at the age of 10. The young Norwegian would grow up to become an intrepid explorer, traversing the Northwest Passage in 1906, reaching the geographic South Pole in 1911, and the North Pole in 1926.
One-hundred-and-thirty-seven years after that fateful diary entry, Amundsen’s prophecy became reality, as Norwegian expedition cruise line Hurtigruten launched the world’s first hybrid electric-powered ship — and in homage of the expedition leader it was named MS Roald Amundsen.
A Ship Designed with Warmth and Light
The ship’s interior exudes warmth with light-coloured wood, cozy felts, soft wools, and faux fireplaces. Floor-to-ceiling windows enveloping restaurants, observation areas, and even the sauna ensure guests are always within view of the passing scenery. Spanning seven decks in the ship’s atrium is a 57-foot LED screen that projects 4K ultra-high-definition images of the surrounding landscapes. In the ship’s Science Center, large LED screens also broadcast a live feed from hi-resolution outdoor cameras to accompany the cruise’s lecture and discovery program.
Along with a sleek Scandinavian design of public areas and staterooms are elegant dining venues that serve a variety of continental and international cuisine, comfort food, as well as Norwegian specialties. An infinity pool, hot tubs, fitness centre, sauna, and spa treatments provide relaxation after a day of activity.
Responsible Exploration of the Poles
Sustainability is the hottest buzz word in the travel world, and Hurtigruten is at the forefront of environmental conservation and protection. Hurtigruten knows operating in pristine environments such as the polar regions comes with responsibility, and the company has made serious monetary commitments and long-term efforts in reducing its footprint.
Onboard, guests are provided with refillable bottles, and water-filling stations are found throughout the ship, as are recycling bins. Stateroom bath amenities are in pump containers, and you won’t find any plastic single-use items as the company eliminated them in July 2018 — the first cruise line in the world to do so.
The comprehensive expedition program includes in-depth lectures about environment conservation to educate and inspire guests to make a difference not only onboard, but after they return home. On shore landings, guests have the option to participate in beach clean-up programs. Each year, Hurtigruten’s crew and guests remove tons of plastic refuse from the water and shores of the places they visit.
But perhaps the biggest advancement in the cruise line’s conservation efforts is the implementation of hybrid technology onboard its ships such as the MS Roald Amundsen and its sister ship, MS Fridtjof Nansen, scheduled to launch in 2020. Both ships carry battery packs that can run for up to 30 minutes at a time, supplementing the ship’s engine and reducing carbon-dioxide emissions by 20 per cent. Hurtigruten will be implementing the battery packs onboard several ships of the current fleet as they go into drydock retrofits.
Coming this year will be battery-powered catamarans and snowmobiles for expedition excursions in Svalbard, another step in reducing the vessels’ carbon footprint. Hurtigruten has also vowed against using helicopters and underwater submersibles as part of their expeditions, which produce noise pollution and disturb wildlife in their natural habitat.
In addition, the cruise line is moving away from heavy fuel oil to power its ships, switching instead to Liquefied Natural Gas and Liquefied Biogas, the latter of which is produced from organic wastes from fisheries. Hurtigruten aims to power at least six ships by these renewable resources by 2021 and aims to be emissions-free in the future.
Hurtigruten offers expeditions to Alaska, the Arctic, Antarctica, Iceland, Greenland, Svalbard, the Caribbean, and North and South America. In 2021, Hurtigruten will introduce expeditions along the Norwegian Coast during summer and winter, as well as an expedition to Antarctica to view the total solar eclipse in December 2021. For further information, contact your travel advisor.
Hurtigruten by Numbers
3: Years it took Roald Amundsen to traverse the Northwest Passage by ship in 1903.
24: Days it took MS Roald Amundsen to complete the same feat in 2019.
127: Years in which Hurtigruten has been in operations.
6: Hurtigruten ships that will be operating with hybrid technology by 2021.
$850 Million: Amount in US dollars that Hurtigruten has invested in becoming the greenest cruise line in the world.