Hurtigruten has announced that the world’s first hybrid expedition cruise ship, MS Roald Amundsen, will embark on a series of short break expedition cruises in UK waters in September 2020. Hurtigruten will be the first expedition cruise ship to depart from a UK port, since the country entered Coronavirus lockdown in March.

The groundbreaking expedition cruise ship will offer a limited number of guests the chance to visit remote parts of the striking British coastline, taking in nature and cultural experiences, together with making full use of their expedition landing boats.

The series will consist of four sailings departing from Portsmouth (2nd September), Liverpool (7th September), Glasgow (12th September) and Liverpool (17th September). The hybrid-powered expedition cruise ship will visit hand-picked destinations such as the Isles of Scilly, Fowey, Rathlin Island, Fort William, Oban, Fishguard and Waterford.

Anthony Daniels, UK General Manager for Hurtigruten said: “We are delighted to offer guests the short break expedition cruises to experience the British coastline onboard our pioneering hybrid ship, MS Roald Amundsen. We will take guests to lesser-visited parts of the British Isles, and take them up close to nature, and conservation projects. This is a great opportunity for those looking to try expedition cruising for the first time, but from closer to home. Having operated in Norway throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, and having recently restarting regular operations in Norway, our robust health and safety procedures on and off board mean guests can relax and enjoy their UK short break.”

Unique itineraries

This special series of short breaks will allow for guests to explore UK shores and areas of natural beauty – so many to highlight. St Kilda, the UK’s only dual UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a protected haven for wildlife. Home to almost one million seabirds, including the UK’s highest concentration of Atlantic puffins, a wren unique to St Kilda can also be seen here. Or Rathlin Island boasting large seabird colonies and Northern Ireland’s only pair of breeding choughs.

In contrast, the archipelago of the Isles of Scilly allows guests to unwind, enjoy the stunning nature and soak in an easy pace of life. With five habitable islands all full of their own interpretation of adventure, and during our visit we will engage in beach clean-ups.

Onboard experience

Adventure can also be found onboard in the impressive Science Centre, the heartbeat of the ships, where guests can gain a deeper understanding of the areas explored with lectures and workshops by Hurtigruten’s handpicked Expedition Team. Packed with state-of-the-art technology and high-tech gadgets, there is no better place to learn more about the remote locations and areas of natural beauty on the itinerary. For those wanting to put this education to use, there is a two-level indoor/outdoor Observation Deck for guests to watch wildlife – it is also the perfect spot to admire the scenic landscape.

Inspired by our Norwegian polar heritage, three restaurants are located on the ship. Aune is the ship’s main restaurant, whilst Fredheim offers informal street food accompanied by amazing milkshakes, and Lindstrøm, a specialty ‘a la carte’ restaurant named after the polar chef chosen by Roald Amundsen himself on his many polar expeditions.

To relax after a day of exploring, guests can unwind and rejuvenate in the inviting Explorer Lounge, exercise in the large gym, enjoy a treatment at the wellness centre, or take a dip in the infinity pool or hot tubs whilst enjoying the scenery and catching the stunning sunsets in style.

The stunning scenery is reflected in the rich and comfortable interior design of the cabins. Scandinavian materials from nature, such as granite, oak, birch and wool have been used to create relaxed and stylish cabins and public areas. All cabins are outside, 50% have private balconies, and some of the suites feature a private outdoor hot tub with spectacular views.

Safety first – protective measures

The health and safety of guests and staff has always been the number one priority for Hurtigruten. Following guidelines recommended by the Norwegian Government and the local Governments of the destinations visited during the UK sailings, the company has built on existing protocols to introduce additional practices to ensure safe, sustainable, and enjoyable expedition cruising. This series will operate at a reduced maximum capacity of 350 guests (approximately 65% of total berths).

Hurtigruten will always comply with current Covid regulations in the waters, coasts, and ports we visit, and itineraries and excursions may be subject to change based on local Government advice.

World’s first hybrid ship and sustainability champions

Specially designed for exploring some of the most spectacular polar waters of the planet, MS Roald Amundsen features groundbreaking green technology. The hybrid-powered expedition cruise ship uses battery packs to support her low-emission engines and will reduce CO2 emissions with more than 20% compared to other cruise ships of the same size.

The introduction of the world’s first hybrid powered cruise ships is the latest in several Hurtigruten green initiatives. Hurtigruten celebrated its 125th anniversary by banning all single-use-plastics. In another industry first, Hurtigruten is completely rebuilding existing ships to run on a combination of large battery packs, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and biogas (LBG) – produced from organic waste such as dead fish