L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, Western
L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, Western Photo: © Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Hurtigruten heads for Canada

From start of 2017, adventurous guests can sail with Hurtigruten’s new expedition ship in the Wake of the Vikings to the first European settlements in North America and to some of the most magnificent national parks of the continent.

Amongst the many exceptional landings guests get to visit with MS Spitsbergen is L'Anse aux Meadows. The small fishing village on the UNESCO World Heritage List is the place where Norwegian Anne Stine and Helge Ingstad and their daughter Benedicte, in 1960 made discovery of a Viking settlement.

- Archeological findings suggest this is the place where pioneer explorer Leif Erikson went ashore and later named Vinland. Coming here more than 1000 years later has a certain Viking saga ring to it, says Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

Today, Benedicte Ingstad (72) is a researcher and professor of medical anthropology. She will participate in selected Hurtigruten voyages to tell about the discovery family did.

The demand for adventure tourism is rapidly growing globally. Hurtigruten is an important driver and world leader in offering sustainable nature-based travel experiences at sea.

- By placing Canada on the Hurtigruten explorer voyages program, we offer our guests an opportunity to explore in the footsteps of the very first Norwegian discoverers, says Skjeldam.

The Hurtigruten explorer cruises to Canada combine active adventures with learning. Onboard and ashore popular science lectures on topics relevant to the destinations will be given from experts in areas such as history, zoology, botany, and environmental science. Experienced expedition teams will accompany guests on excursions to isolated places only accessible by ships or zodiac boats.

- We offer travel with meaning from floating classrooms that takes our guests close up to the history, nature and culture in question, says Skjeldam.

Adventurous Canada

Arctic Canada offers an extensive range of unique experiences.

- Few if any country in the world can point to the same spectacular combination of pristine wilderness and exciting history as Canada can, says Skjeldam.

In the 9700 square kilometer national park Torngat Mountains Intuits, live, hunt, fish and harvest. Here, the Hurtigruten expedition guests can see glaciers and they may encounter polar bears and the North American caribou.

The fishing village Red Bay is Canada's newest entry on the UNESCO World Heritage list. This is a good starting point for getting better acquainted with the history of the Basque whaling operation that took place from the nearby Saddle Island.

Saint-Perre and Miquelon is a small overseas collectivity of France in northern Canada. In this quaint town, stylish cafes, modern fashion clothing, fine wines and full flavored cheeses set the atmosphere.

It has been said that Gros Morneis means as much for geology as the Galapagos Islands does for biology. This national park has mountains that are as grand as they are unusual. At The Tablelands, a 600 meter high plateau, you can go hiking on ancient stone forced up from the heart of the earth after a continental plate collision millions of years ago.

Viking adventures in the West

Also on the European side of the North Atlantic, Hurtigruten’s Viking raids follow the trail of the pioneer discoverers.

On the voyage from Bergen to Reykjavik in Iceland, guests can experience the early breeding season around bird cliffs. The new explorer vessel MS Spitsbergen will take adventurous guests westward to the Shetland Islands, the Orkney Islands and the Faroe Islands, and to ports such as Lerwick, Kirkwall and Thorshavn. Approaching the Icelandic capital, guests may experience the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago and the volcanic island of Surtsey.

After having circumnavigated the saga island, MS Spitsbergen sails across the North Atlantic. Her guests can disembark on the southern tip of Greenland to visit the farm of Eirik Raude, Brattalid, which was Greenland's biggest chieftain's seat in Norse times.

The return sailing to Norway offers a landing on Baffin Island. A large part of its surrounding area was explored around the time of the last century-shift on the second Fram expedition. It was charted by Otto Sverdrup after wintering at nearby Ellesmere Island. This explains the many Norwegian names of locations in the area such as Hoved Island ("Main Island").

FACTS ABOUT HURTIGRUTEN: TOTAL TURNAROUND

Hurtigruten is the legendary original Norwegian coastal route dating back to 1893. From 2016, four vessels offer explorer sailings in Arctic areas around Spitsbergen, Iceland and Greenland, and in Antarctic waters. Norwegian coastal voyages are offered from eleven ships.

After years of deficit, Hurtigruten reported a (normalized) profit last year. Third quarter 2015 is the strongest quarterly results the company has announced. The improvement of NOK 154 million in normalized EBITDA is mainly driven by increased volume and higher prices for Norwegian coast, explorer products and the land-based activities on Spitsbergen.

- Macroeconomic conditions such as a weakened Norwegian krone and lower oil prices are positive for Hurtigruten, but it is a significant improvement in underlying operations that drives the strong performance. This makes Hurtigruten well positioned for further growth, says CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

The explorer cruise line has recently made numerous steps to strengthen its position as world leader in offering sustainable tourism expeditions at sea:

  • Hurtigruten has tripled its activity around Antarctica and will operate two ships in the waters surrounding the Antarctic Peninsula.

  • The newly established sustainability foundation Hurtigruten Foundation will contribute greatly to preserving the fragile environment and the unique culture of the areas Hurtigruten ships sail to. The first ambassador of the foundation is pioneer swimmer and ocean advocate Lewis Pugh - appointed “Patron of the Oceans” by the UN.

  • Hurtigruten has invested a three-digit million amount in the refurbishment of four Norwegian coastal vessels. In addition, also the new ship MS Spitsbergen is to be totally renewed inside and furthermore undergo a major conversion for sailing under polar conditions.

  • Hurtigruten has thrown all junk food overboard and offers guests authentic Norwegian food in collaboration with more than 35 Norwegian local food producers.

  • The brand new Hurtigruten web site reflect the polar adventure spirit of the explorer cruise line and inspire people worldwide to connect with their inner explorer.

For further information contact:

Øystein Knoph, Global PR Manager
oystein.knoph@hurtigruten.com 
+47 977 39 224

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