The christening of Hurtigruten’s new explorer vessel, MS Spitsbergen, has seen a crowd of thousands gather in the town square of Svolvaer, a fishing village in Lofoten.
The destination is one of the most spectacular in the world for adventure travel, and truly one of the highlights of the Hurtigruten Norwegian coastal voyages.
The setting was picture-perfect, with the natural phenomenon of the Midnight Sun casting a magical light on the event as the ship’s godmother, Norwegian explorer Cecilie Skog, smashed a champagne bottle into its side.
As one of the most merited contemporary explorers, with numerous achievements including expeditions to the North Pole and South Pole, Mount Everest, Antarctica, and Greenland under her wing, Skog is a great match for the new vessel.
The ship is named after Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard Archipelago, located on the very northernmost part of Norway, next to the North Pole.
The island is also where Hurtigruten’s founder, Richard With, first started explorer tourism in the Arctic in 1896, so it holds particular significance.
The ship joins Hurtigruten’s fleet of explorer ships on Norway’s coastline, and will set sail on her first voyage from Bergen on July 24th, 2016.
“Adventure travel is one the fastest growing global tourism mega trends and Lofoten offers everything the new adventure traveller 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 chief executive, Daniel Skjeldam.
After spending her first season in Norway, MS Spitsbergen will alternate between the Norwegian coast and polar expeditions.