As a response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Hurtigruten – the world’s largest expedition cruise line – will extend the temporary suspension of worldwide sailings to Mid-June.
The company aims to gradually restart operations from June 16.
Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam explained: “We are two months into what is a truly extraordinary situation. In one way or another, the consequences of the pandemic impact us all.”
Skjeldam said that as the company extends suspension of pole-to-pole operations of their fleet of small, custom built ships until June 15, and hopes to gradually restart their cruises from Mid-June.”
“There is still a lot of uncertainty in what the next weeks and months will bring. However, we do see international restrictions gradually being lifted. Step by step, the pandemic is being brought under control. Businesses are re-opening and everyday life is slowly getting back to a degree of normality,” Skjeldam said.
Step By Step
In Norway – where Hurtigruten is headquartered and which is one of the most popular destination for Arctic cruises — schools, kindergartens, restaurants, cinemas and hairdressers are already open and travel restrictions are gradually lifted.
“Gradually restarting operations within Norwegian waters are natural first steps towards a normalization for us. The size and scale of our step-by-step restart is dependent on national and international travel restrictions, government support and other external factors outside of our control. But we are eager to welcome guests on board our ships again,” Hurtigruten’s boss said.
As well, Hurtigruten plans to gradually restart Arctic expedition cruises this summer, according to Skjeldam “in areas where restrictions are lifted – where and when we believe it is safe.”
“Nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of our crew and guests. We are working closely with all relevant authorities, experts and agencies to ensure a safe and sensible restart of our expedition cruises,” Skjeldam stated.
Even before the global outbreak, Hurtigruten imposed strict measures and protocols to combat the spread of the virus. Hurtigruten have not had any confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 on any ships. The lessons learned is the basis of our new, strict procedures that will be imposed before the restart of our operations.
Skjeldam pointed out that: “In total, we will implement hundreds of small and larger measures to keep our guests and crew safe and healthy. Some of them are transitory, some will be permanent. But from even stricter hygiene protocols to reduced guest capacity to allow social distancing, this will give you a safer voyage without impacting the experience.”
Hurtigruten has also introduced a flexible rebooking policy.
- To give explorers the confidence needed for their travel plans during these extraordinary times, Hurtigruten offers free rebooking for all guests on?all voyages departing before?30 September.?
- The guests are offered rebooking and a future discount of 10%, to any future Hurtigruten cruise — Expedition or Norwegian Coastal – in 2020 or 2021.
For full policy and rebooking options, go to https://global.hurtigruten.com/practical-information/coronavirus-update/ .