A group of people flying kites on a boat in the water

World’s First Explorer-Ship Christening Under the Midnight Sun

Exploration cruise line Hurtigruten’s newest vessel was christened in spectacular Lofoten, north of the Arctic Circle on the coast of northern Norway.

The christening event featured thousands of people in the town square at Svolvaer, a former fishing village and one of the most spectacular adventure travel destinations in the world today and one of the highlights of Hurtigruten’s Norwegian coastal voyages.

“Adventure travel is one the fastest growing global tourism mega trends and Lofoten offers everything the new adventure traveler seeks: Spectacular scenery, authenticity, a unique history and atmosphere, and access to active nature-based experiences. Svolvaer in many respects mirrors the modern Hurtigruten, being a world leading provider of explorer cruises with activity, learning, and sustainability in the core”, said Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

The new explorer ship is named MS Spitsbergen, after the largest island in the Svalbard Archipelago. This very northernmost part of Norway, next to the North Pole, is also where Hurtigruten founder Richard With first started exploration tourism in the Arctic in 1896.

Polar Pioneer and mountaineer christens the MS Spitsbergen

Cecilie Skog is one of the most acclaimed and accomplished contemporary Norwegian explorers, with numerous impressive achievements including expeditions to the North Pole, the South Pole, Mount Everest, Antarctica, and Greenland. She has also climbed the ‘Seven Summits’: She has stood at the top of the highest mountain on each of Earth’s seven continents. Polar pioneer Skog smashed the champagne bottle into the ship’s side to officially christen MS Spitsbergen.

Arctic Adventure Awaits

After a first season in Norway, MS Spitsbergen will alternate between the Norwegian coast and polar expeditions. Starting in 2017, guests can sail on MS Spitsbergen to Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe and Shetland Islands, as well as to Arctic Canada. One of many exceptional landings in Canada is L'Anse aux Meadows, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the first Viking settlements in North America were discovered in 1960.

“Archeological findings suggest this is the place where pioneer explorer Leif Eriksson  went ashore and named it ‘Vinland’. Coming here and to the other historic sites with MS Spitsbergen, more than a 1,000 years later, resonates with our Viking spirit and Hurtigruten’s pioneering ambitions”, says Skjeldam.

MS Spitsbergen 2017/18 Voyages:

In the Wake of the Vikings: Norway - Shetland Islands - Faroe Islands - Iceland

The Vikings crossed the North Sea and landed on the British Isles. Although they are often thought of as barbaric raiders, they were also accomplished explorers and settlers.

Adventure of the Vinland Sagas: Iceland - Greenland - Canada

Between the years of 800 and 1000, the feared and fabled Vikings carried out a number of expeditions to explore the North Atlantic Ocean. This expedition follows a route described in the Vinland Sagas. 

Land of the Caribou: Canada

This expedition includes the chance to visit two national parks, several different settlements, and intriguing cities. Along the way, guests will experience remarkable archaeological remains and gain insight into the interesting history of the Vikings.

Crossing Baffin Bay from Canada to Greenland: Canada - Greenland

This expedition explores the unspoiled regions on both sides of Baffin Bay. From Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada, via the grand landscapes of Baffin Island, to Greenland, where guests can touch an iceberg with their bare hands and marvel at the power of nature in the Ilulissat Icefjord.

Ultimate Greenland Expedition: The West Coast of Greenland

This unique Arctic expedition explores the northwest coast of Greenland, along the edge of the Greenland ice sheet, which stretches 1,500 miles north, covering up to 80% of the island.

Epic Crossing of the Arctic North: Greenland - Iceland - Faroe Islands - Shetland Islands - Norway

On this expedition, guests can explore the spectacular and unspoiled scenery of Greenland. Then they’ll visit Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik, and the charming Faroe and Shetland Islands. 

Fjords, Glaciers and Volcanoes: Circumnavigation of the Island of Iceland

Mythical Iceland, the saga island, is the perfect destination for adventurers looking to explore wilderness, wildlife, historical settlements. 


About Hurtigruten and the Hurtigruten Fleet

Hurtigruten has been operating ships on the original Norwegian coastal route since 1893. The company brings goods, local passengers, and tourists to 34 ports along the unique Norwegian coast between Bergen and Kirkenes every day of the year. Hurtigruten explorer ship MS Fram sails in Antarctica, around Spitsbergen, and around Greenland.

Exploration tourism is a fast-growing segment of the travel industry and MS Spitsbergen adds flexibility to Hurtigruten’s global operations, as the company now operates four ships offering guests unique natural and cultural experiences from pole to pole.

In the High Arctic, Hurtigruten now offers voyages to Greenland, Iceland, around Spitsbergen, and starting in 2017, to Arctic Canada. In the Southern Hemisphere, Hurtigruten takes guests to the waters around Antarctica, along both coasts of South America; and starting in 2017, to the mighty Amazon Rainforest.


  • Maximum Capacity: 335 guests
  • Cabins: 100
  • Length: 320 ft
  • Width: 59 ft
  • Propeller system: 360 deg. pod and tunnel thrusters
  • Speed: 17.4 knots




Daniel Andres Sacerio, Hill & Knowlton Strategies, 1-305-443-545, [email protected]