The sailings restart in July after 18 months of limited operations, and demand is high
Hurtigruten will resume its famous Norwegian coastal voyages this July after more than 18 months of limited operations.
Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express will operate all seven ships on the legendary sailings between Bergen and Kirkenes.
The company has reported that booking levels are 50 per cent higher than before the pandemic, with particularly strong demand for 2022 small-ship experiences.
Hurtigruten Group CEO Daniel Skjeldam said: “The global travel industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. With the safety and well-being of our guests and crew as our number one priority, we are now entering a new phase of our step-by-step return to operations.”
He added: “As vaccines are being rolled out and travel restrictions are lifted, we are seeing a huge pent-up demand and strong booking trends across all markets. When international travel resumes, we will be ready to welcome our guests on board again.”
In operation since 1893, the Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express has served as a lifeline for local communities for generations, including throughout the pandemic.
This summer, Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express will be the only company to offer voyages along the Norwegian coast, hosting local travellers, goods, mail and international tourists.
Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express CEO Hedda Felin is keen to welcome international travellers when restrictions lift.
“We were born and raised to connect the coastal communities and their people with the world,” she said.
“This summer, we will have the fjords almost to ourselves. And there is no better way to experience the Norwegian coast than with our small ships, close partners and our almost 130 years of local know-how.”
It was recently announced that the entire fleet of Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express ships are being given a large-scale green upgrade by 2023 to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 25 per cent and slash NOx emissions by 80 per cent.
“The world’s most beautiful voyage just got even better,” said Felin.
“We are laying the foundation for introducing new and even more efficient environmental solutions as they are developed.”
Variety Cruises has become to the first cruise line to sign the declaration. CEO Filippos Venetopoulos explains why
In 1949, following the war, our founder Diogenis Venetopoulos – a historian turned tour guide – had a vision to share the world through his eyes, aboard small wooden boats that explored the seas. As a true pioneer in his industry, even then sustainability was at the core of his vision. He was a man that was climate-positive; a man before his time.
Variety Cruises (formerly Zeus Tours) was the first small boat company to share the history of the Greek Islands with the world. As the company and its family tradition enters its third generation of leadership, we remain committed to our promise as pioneers of sustainability, becoming the first cruise line worldwide to join Tourism Declares.
Sustainability has been a key pillar of our company for over half a century. From baby steps that included protecting cultural heritage and visiting Unesco sites, to actively engaging with research on biodegradable materials and protecting sea-life while supporting the health of our oceans, we have always been proactive. Now, given the opportunity to join an organisation that supervises, supports and connects like-minded organisations with the common goal of lowering carbon emissions was a natural collaboration for us. The time, energy and resources invested are positively outweighed by the benefits of the mission.
So, we decided to publicly join Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency not only as a follower, but as a leader within the cruise industry, paving the way with our efforts. We know that we have a long way to go and admit that our industry has contributed in the global increase of carbon emissions; this is why this action is timely and necessary.
Our room for improvement is an opportunity that we choose to grasp. We strive to grow, learn, adapt and foresee how we can remain faithful to our promise. For instance, the pandemic took us a step back in terms of our single use plastic policy in order to protect our guests and team from infection.
Now, as we learn more, we adapt to our sustainability goals and general policy, returning to ‘no single use plastic’ in a series of safe steps. We hereby commit to developing an transparent, practical and functional 12-month plan that will guide the way for lowering carbon emissions, while remaining committed to our additional sustainability initiatives, including no single use plastic and ethical food sourcing.
We hope our commitment will shed light for other operators within the travel industry and beyond to follow. We look forward to joining forces as we take the next steps in monitoring our impact on the environment, with ships running on marine diesel oil, reducing plastic waste via our single use plastic reduction plan, and further developing our beach clean-up initiatives, while adhering to the most stringent policies on waste management. All in all developing a concise plan that will lower carbon emissions and provide a platform for other climate-positive cruise lines to follow suit.
See tourismdeclares.com for more