Hurtigruten pledge environmentally friendly cruising
Renowned for offering itineraries to some of the most impressive ice-filled destinations in the world, Hurtigruten provides one of the best ways to experience regions such as Norway and Antarctica. With a maritime history extending over 120 years, Hurtigruten’s 16 vessels enable intrepid passengers to visit stunning destinations across Norway, the Arctic Circle, Antarctica, and South America.
With visiting some of the most ecologically fragile locations on earth, many passengers believe there should also be an underlying duty of care with regards to protecting and maintaining the environment. Whatever your thoughts on may be on global warming, the Polar Regions are undoubtedly enduring the highest level of impact. An increasing number of passengers are determined to ensure the environment is sustainably protected and this is something reflected in Hurtigruten’s core values.
Speaking to Travel Weekly, Hurtigruten CEO, Daniel Skjeldam, stated that the line has an obligation to invest in new technology and protect the environment. “We want to be at the forefront of developing an environmentally friendly way to travel. Our guests are very conscious of the environment, and as our ships are sailing to areas of the world where climate change is happening – because global warming has the most impact on the Polar Regions, we can see this is affecting animal life in the areas where we work – we feel an obligation to do something.
“It won’t be many years down the road before Hurtigruten will have battery packs on board the vessels. Just by introducing shore power, which we are already doing, we are reducing emissions while we are in port. Just in Bergen, that is 1,600 tonnes of nitrogen oxide per year, and the CO2 reduction is even greater.”
A total of $100 million has been invested in the Hurtigruten fleet, with their new ship, Spitsbergen, set to sail in May 2016, whilst four of the line’s ships that were built during the 90’s have received extensive refurbishments. In many ways, however, Hurtigruten will change the product it offers to customers, with future plans for new 300-600 berth vessels which may attract customers who wouldn’t normally consider a cruise.
“We will see quite a significant growth in small ships. I think small ships are able to attract both customers from larger ships and also customers who are new to the cruise industry.
"In five years, I think we will have Hurtigruten vessels all over the globe, not in the packed waters of the Mediterranean, but in areas where we have a competitive advantage."
"We still have a lot of room for growth in the Norwegian coast, but Explorer cruises are our niche and that’s the segment that we will drive significantly over the years to come."
Future plans for the line include new itineraries to the Amazon and eastern Canada starting from 2017. Alaska and many other warm-water destinations are also being considered for upcoming itineraries, and it is possible that selected itineraries could sail to the UK, which will open the market up to British passengers.
Whilst the cruise industry continues to thrive around the world, the environmental impact is something which also has to be seriously considered. A cruise can provide once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to visit far-flung islands and exotic small ports that would otherwise be difficult to access. It is, therefore, paramount that the local environment is protected for future generations to enjoy.
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