As part of an ambitious fleet re-fitting programme, three Hurtigruten vessels will be transformed to hybrid-powered expedition cruise ships. Equipped with battery packs and other green technology, the three ships will operate year-round expedition cruises along the Norwegian coast from 2021 on yet to be disclosed itineraries.
This summer, Hurtigruten introduced the world’s first hybrid-powered cruise ship, the MS Roald Amundsen, named after the famed Norwegian explorer who led the first expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage in 1906 and the first expedition to the South Pole in 1911.
Hurtigruten will now re-equip and refurbish another three ships to hybrid power as part of the company’s environmental programme. The current MS Trollfjord, MS Finnmarken and MS Midnatsol will be renamed MS Maud, MS Otto Sverdrup and MS Eirik Raude following their transformation to premium expedition eco-friendly cruise ships.
“With these new expedition cruise vessels, you will be able to explore Norway like never before, with all the comforts, facilities and expertise you need for creating a perfect adventure,” said Daniel Skjeldam, CEO at Hurtigruten. “Combined with groundbreaking green technology, these ships will truly stand out.”
MS Otto Sverdrup will have battery packs installed during a 2020 yard stay, with a letter of intent for the same battery installation on MS Maud and MS Eirik Raude in 2021. The battery packs will support the ships engines and drastically cut emissions.
The three ships will also be equipped for shore power, to cut emissions to zero when docked in ports with shore power facilities.
In addition, the three ships will get substantially upgraded low-emission engines, complying with all known and upcoming regulations (Tier3).
“At Hurtigruten, the push for sustainable solutions and introduction of green technology is the core of everything we do,” said Skjeldam. “We operate in some of the most spectacular areas of the world. This comes with a responsibility.”
Through the three single largest upgrade projects in Hurtigruten’s more than 125 years of history, the ships will be transformed into premium expedition cruise ships, carrying a maximum of 530 guests. The keep-to-mast upgrades will introduce several new features and venues on the ships.
Using natural Scandinavian materials such as granite, oak, birch and wool, all public areas on MS Maud, MS Otto Sverdrup and MS Eirik Raude will be redesigned to create a relaxed and stylish look and feel, and add to the premium onboard experience.
A specially designed Expedition Launch – the tender pit area where guests embark on their excursions and off-ship adventures — will be added to all ships, complete with tender boats and other expedition equipment.
All cabins and suites will be completely refurbished, and new suites with prime views will be added to all three ships.
Hurtigruten’s signature Science Center will be added to the three ships. Packed with high-tech gadgets including touchscreens, science equipment and other interactive features, the edutainment area will also be the onboard headquarters for the ship’s expedition team.
A new wellness area – complete with gym, lounge and treatment rooms – will be built. The pool area on the MS Otto Sverdrup and outdoor hot tub areas on the MS Maud and MS Eirik Raude will be fully upgraded.
Three new restaurants will be added, matching Hurtigruten’s new restaurant concepts for the growing fleet of expedition cruise ships. The main restaurants will be transformed to Restaurant Aune, Hurtigruten’s new expedition cruise main restaurant concept. Aune will be social and informal with the use of natural elements in design and interiors, and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner influenced by Scandinavian cuisine.
Restaurant Lindstrøm, a specialty restaurant named after the favourite chef of the Norwegian polar heroes, will be added. Lindstrøm will be an upper premium fine dining restaurant with strong roots in traditional Norwegian cooking that are contrasted with modern cuisine.
The informal eatery Fredheim is named after a legendary 1920s hunting station in Svalbard that sheltered adventurers from around the world. In addition, a new outdoor grill venue will be added outdoor on the top decks.