If a Norwegian coastline or Arctic cruise is on your travel bucket list, 2016 maybe the year to book it. Norway-based exploration and adventure cruise line Hurtigruten will fully renovate four of its ships with a “modern Scandinavian design” next year.
All four of the company’s mid-1990s-built ships are being upgraded with new interiors and furnishings reflecting the scenery of “the world’s most beautiful voyage,” so named by several leading publications when describing Norway’s fjord-indented west coast. The work will be done at the Norwegian shipyard Fosen Yards.
The ships will be rotated through the shipyard with work expected to take a little over three weeks for each of the vessels: the MS Polarlys (completed by Feb. 2); MS Kong Harald (Feb. 7); MS Nordkapp (April 19); and MS Nordnorge (Nov. 18). The new MS Spitsbergen, undergoing a more major upgrade to fit in with the current fleet, will launch in the spring.
Hurtigruten sails to the most remote of destinations – Antarctica, Spitsbergen, Greenland and Iceland – as well as year-round along Norway’s coast. The company’s fleet of intimate ships, each of which carry 100 to 646 guests, allows travelers to enjoy the scenery and culture of the destination in a relaxed atmosphere.
Established more than 120 years ago to serve as a lifeline for the cities, towns and villages along the Norway coast, the pioneer explorer company has been a leader in the fast growing global adventure cruise tourism market. “As we continue to reinvent the Hurtigruten experience by combining tradition, innovation and sustainability, our ship upgrades aim to ensure our position as an innovator and leading force in nature-based explorer travels in polar waters,” says Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.
The updated look for these ships has been named New Arctic Interior and will reflect the coastal landscapes in “a stylish and yet unpretentious manner.” All of the ship’s common areas, reception foyers, cafes and bistro areas and the aft deck will be renovated. The colors will be earthy and derived from the coast and the sea, while making use of many natural materials, such as wood, slate and leather. Designs and shapes are expected to bear a resemblance to those found in nature – such as the flow of the waves or the strength of the majestic fjords.
In addition, the ongoing transformation of the restaurants and the food served will continue. With more than 100,000 foreign guests sailing annually, Hurtigruten has partnered with dozens of local food suppliers to develop the Coastal Kitchen concept. With seasonal ingredients, often harvested the same day, guests are able to enjoy the freshest and best Norwegian food available.