#Newcomer - Hurtigruten's newest ship will be named ‘MS Spitsbergen’ after the largest island in the Svalbard Archipelago.
She joins the Norwegian explorer cruise company on the very northernmost part of the Nordic country where, in 1896, Hurtigruten’s founder Richard With first started explorer tourism in the Arctic.
The name was chosen following a competition in which more than 15,000 suggestions were submitted from all over the world. Erlend Baldersheim (33) from the village of Baldersheim, close to Bergen won the competition and will be the captain’s guest on a special sailing of MS Spitsbergen
Explorer tourism is a fast growing industry. MS Spitsbergen will join Hurtigruten’s global operations as the company now operates two ships offering guests unique nature and culture experiences around the poles as well as 11 ships along the Norwegian coast. In the high North, Hurtigruten now offer voyages around Greenland and Iceland, as well as around Spitsbergen. In the extreme South, Hurtigruten sail guests from South America to the waters around Antarctica.
MS Spitsbergen will initially replace MS Midnatsol on Hurtigruten’s traditional coastal route when she sails down to Antarctica in Autumn 2016. In future it is expected that the new addition will alternate between the coastal route and polar expeditions.
The newest addition to the fleet will have a capacity of 320 guests and 180 berths. The ship has modern common areas, making it possible to experience the spectacular polar scenery in comfortable surroundings.
Some statistics on MS Spitsbergen
· Built in 2009 by the Portuguese shipyard Estaleiro Navais de Viana do Castelo (ENVC).
· Number of guests: 320
· Total bunk capacity: 200
· Gross Tonnage: 7025
· Length: 97.53 m
· Width: 18 m
· Machine: Diesel Electric
· Speed: 17.4 knots
Afloat adds that the new Hurtigruten vessel was originally built to serve in the Azores, however this never materialised due to operators not accepting the vessel due to speed issues.
The Spitsbergen will be modified with works to include ice-strengthening of the hull and adaptions to her engines to assist in reducing fuel consumption and emissions.