Hurtigruten marks 125 years of exploration with sustainability vow

Hurtigruten's 14 ships and all its offices hosted a plastic-free birthday party July 2. Polarlys is pictured here Hurtigruten's 14 ships and all its offices hosted a plastic-free birthday party July 2. Polarlys is pictured here (Photo: Hurtigruten)

Hurtigruten today marked 125 years since founder Richard With brought the steamer Vesteraalen into service along the coast of Norway, establishing a regular sea link for locals and tourists.

Plastic-free birthday party

The company celebrated by hosting a plastic-free birthday party across all ports, destinations, offices and ships.

'We continue to build on our 125 years of experience and heritage, and we continue to push the boundaries by introducing the world’s first hybrid electric-powered cruise ships,' Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said. Roald Amundsen is scheduled to enter service in 2019, followed by Fridtjof Nansen in 2020.

'We strongly believe Hurtigruten is the perfect fit for the modern-day explorer, and we are experiencing substantial growth across markets,' Skjeldam continued. 'The expansion we’ve seen so far is just the beginning,' he added.

From pole to pole

Throughout its history Hurtigruten has carried travelers to more than 200 destinations in 30 countries from pole to pole—in the waters of Antarctica, South America, the Northwest Passage, Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard and, where it all began: the Norwegian coast.

To mark the anniversary, the birthday party extended over 11,000 nautical miles, from Seattle in the west and Hong Kong in the east to Svalbard in the high north and along the Norwegian coast.

Hurtigruten has become the first cruise operator to ban all unnecessary single-use plastics across its global fleet of expedition ships. From straws to drinking cups and plastic bags, everything is being replaced by paper, biodegradable materials and other sustainable alternatives.

'Plastic pollution is the single biggest threat to our oceans. What better way to tie together our past and future than celebrating our anniversary by removing all unnecessary single-use plastics,' Skjeldam said.

Hurtigruten’s 14 expedition ships offer modern-day adventurers experiences in some of the world’s most spectacular destinations. With the introduction of its hybrid electric-powered cruise ships, along with the conversion of up to nine existing ships to hybrid LNG-battery power, Hurtigruten aims to set a new standard for the future of adventure travel.

Aim to lead green adventure travel

'We are committed to being the global leader in green adventure travel. Whether we are developing the Hurtigruten product, designing new ships or discussing new itineraries and destinations, sustainability is the core of every detail of the Hurtigruten operation,' Skjeldam said.

Hurtigruten is also advocating a ban on heavy fuel oil and stricter regulations in pristine destinations, taking part in several research projects and funding local and global projects through the Hurtigruten Foundation.

Posted 02 July 2018

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Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review