Hurtigruten’s MS Roald Amundsen – History in the Making

If you have never heard of Hurtigruten before, you soon will. The Oslo-based cruise line has been operating since 1893, primarily as a ferry service delivering supplies and sustenance to remote communities on the Norwegian coast. In 2002, it began offering expeditions to Antarctica, and in 2019 it made maritime history by launching the world’s first hybrid electric-powered cruise ship – the MS Roald Amundsen. Named after the intrepid Norwegian explorer who was the first to sail through the Northwest Passage and also the first to reach the Geographic South Pole in Antarctica, the ship is an explorer’s dream, full of innovation and green technology.

The Greenest Cruise Line

Hurtigruten has tremendous respect for the environment in which it sails and has implemented numerous sustainable initiatives onboard. Its fleet including the MS Roald Amundsen is completely single-use plastic-free. Guests are provided with refillable water bottles, bath amenities are in pump containers, recycling bins are found in the staterooms and throughout the ship. Ashore, guests have the option to participate in beach clean-up programs. Hurtigruten is currently implementing bio-gas fuel technology and is targeting to become emissions-free in the future.

Part of the heartbeat of the MS Roald Amundsen is her battery pack – the first of its kind onboard a cruise ship – which allows the ship to sail for up to 30 minutes under electric power, reducing emissions by 20 percent. The Amundsen is built with extra space to accommodate additional batteries in the future, and Hurtigruten will be retrofitting 7 more ships in its fleet to have battery packs.

The battery packs onboard MS Roald Amundsen were designed by Vancouver-based company Corvus Energy. 

Cozy Accommodations

Carrying just 530 guests (and only 500 in Antarctica), the staterooms and suites onboard the MS Roald Amundsen are well-appointed and elegant. Decorated with a light palette of grays and beiges, Scandinavian pine and oak, flannel and wool, they envelop guests with warmth and coziness after a day of exploration ashore. The entry-level Polar Outside stateroom has a picture window, the Arctic Superior stateroom includes a spacious balcony. Both stateroom types have two reclining chairs and a writing desk. Expedition suites come with large sitting areas, (some with faux fireplaces), espresso makers, floor-to-ceiling windows, and private decks – some even outfitted with hot tubs. The thought of expedition cruising may convey the idea of roughing it in cramped quarters and basic facilities, but not on today’s expedition ships, and certainly not onboard the MS Roald Amundsen!

The spacious Arctic Superior stateroom includes reclining chairs and a large balcony.

Delightful Dining Options

There are three delightful dining venues onboard the MS Roald Amundsen. Aune is the main dining room, named after the Norwegian ship chandler and polar expedition supplier Tinus Aune. Aune serves breakfast and lunch buffet-style, and dinner with table-side service. Located at the aft, wraparound windows bring in the light and the passing scenery.

The Fredheim restaurant is a casual eatery named after a 1900s hunting station on Svalbard. The hardwood floors, wood paneling, and open kitchen serving international comfort food give off a casual, après-ski vibe, very appropriate for the Polar region!

And for fine dining, there is Lindstrøm – a reservation-required specialty restaurant. Named after Adolf Lindstrøm, the chef who provided meals for Roald Amundsen’s polar expeditions, the menu reflects Hurtigruten’s Norwegian heritage. Dining in Lindstrøm is included for suite guests and a cover charge applies non-suite guests.

Unlike the original Arctic explorations which had to stock food and supplies to last up to several years, the MS Roald Amundsen carries onboard the freshest ingredients, locally sourced where possible, to create memorable meals even in the most remote regions on earth!

Lindstrom is an elegant specialty restaurant that is complimentary for suite guests.

Fascinating Science Centre

The Science Center onboard the MS Roald Amundsen is the first of its kind on any cruise ship. Hurtigruten first experimented with placing a few microscopes on their expedition vessels, displaying interesting specimens found in the local waters. It became wildly popular with their guests, resulting in a full-fledged science centre – the first to debut onboard MS Roald Amundsen. With interactive displays including animal skulls, rock samples, and many microscopes, guests can learn about the environment in which they are cruising from the experts onboard. The Science Centre also has large seating areas for lectures, with an LED video wall to display images and presentations. Additional comfortable seating areas allow guests to pore over books and publications, or have a discussion with fellow friends or expedition team members.

Explore with the Experts

And speaking of the experts onboard, every Hurtigruten expedition is staffed with a knowledgeable and passionate team to provide guests with the most educational and immersive program possible. Onboard activities such as photography workshops, and in-depth lectures on thought-provoking topics such as history, culture, climate change, sustainability, and more – are conducted by expedition team members, to help guests better understand the destination they are visiting. The onshore programming is just as extensive, ranging from zodiac cruising, guided hiking, snowshoeing, kayaking, and even overnight camping.

Microscopes are part of the intriguing Science Centre where guests can learn about the flora and fauna of the places they visit, take in lectures, and interact with expedition team members.

Pampering Wellness Center

Scandinavians know spa and wellness, and it clearly shows onboard the MS Roald Amundsen. In addition to an impressive fitness centre, the spa offers a variety of treatments. There is also an oceanview sauna with a full wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, where guests can enjoy the rejuvenating heat without missing any of the scenery outside. Two large hot tubs, an infinity pool, and plenty of deck chairs for lounging can be found on the back deck.

The heated infinity pool at the back deck is a great place to relax and watch the scenery go by.

Where to Next?

The MS Roald Amundsen will spend this winter in Antarctica, offering expeditions of up to 20 days. In spring 2020, she will sail up the west coast of South, Central and North America, offering a series of expeditions along the way, before making Vancouver her home base for several Alaska expeditions. In August 2020, she will sail 29 days through the Northwest Passage eastward to Halifax, and head down the East coast of the United States before spending the fall season repositioning back down to South America.

Hurtigruten also sails to Svalbard, Franz Josef Land, Iceland, Greenland, North America, and Mexico. With 4 ships dedicated to global expedition cruising plus 11 ships home-based in Norway for coastal cruising (including newly announced Norwegian Coast expeditions for 2021/2022), there is a wealth of choices for you to discover the world of expedition cruising with Hurtigruten.

The Explorer Lounge and Bar is a great place to enjoy a drink and a relaxing moment onboard MS Roald Amundsen.

By Ming Tappin (Your Cruise Coach)

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