Radar: Hurtigruten target dead fish as power source of the future

Hurtigruten, the Norwegian expedition cruise line, intends to use cutaways from fisheries and other organic waste to power their fleet of ships.

The company has made strong moves in the sustainability field over recent years with the intention of becoming the world’s greenest cruise company. Liquified biogas (LBG) – fossil-free, renewable gas produced from dead fish and other organic waste is another step in this direction.

CEO Daniel Skjeldam says, “Renewable biogas is a clean source of energy, considered the most eco-friendly fuel currently available. Biogas is already used as fuel in small parts of the transport sector, especially in buses. Northern Europe and Norway, which has large fishery and forestry sectors that produces a steady volume of organic waste, has a unique opportunity to become world leader in biogas production.”

After celebrating the 125-year anniversary by being the first cruise line to ban single-use plastic, 2019 will mark two green milestones for Hurtigruten:

  • Introduction of the world’s first battery-hybrid powered cruise ship, MS Roald Amundsen, custom built for sustainable operations in some of the world’s most pristine waters such as Antarctica.
  • The start of a large-scale green upgrade project, replacing traditional diesel propulsion with battery packs and gas engines on several Hurtigruten ships.

In addition to liquified natural gas (LNG), these ships will also be the first cruise ships in the world to run on liquified biogas (LBG).

www.hurtigruten.co.uk

Wave Season 2018 – the best cruise deals

Crystal Serenity at Geiranger Fjord
Crystal Serenity at Geiranger Fjord

Wave Season – the time of year when most cruises are booked and cruise lines offer tempting incentives, runs traditionally from January to March. Although not necessarily the cheapest time to buy a cruise, the combination of enticing perks and plenty of choice appeals to many people dreaming of their next holiday.

Silversea
Silversea 

The key to a good deal is …. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Research air fares, weigh-up the real benefit of onboard credit and drinks packages, compare like-with-like and run your ideas past a travel agent as they can sometimes source better discounts and benefits.

Rib Safari
Hurtigruten’s RIB safari at Wilhelmina Bay

Most cruise lines highlight offers on their websites with digital brochures available for download.

Here are our favourites:

Holland America – early booking offers, signature cruises and package deals

Windstar – 7 for 7 deals and Tahiti packages

Silversea – some flights included, early booking offers and Antarctica all-inclusive

Seabourn – Signature Savings Event including Air Credit, Shipboard Credit and upgrades

Crystal – Clear Choices offers including Air Credit, Shipboard Credit and fare reductions

Azamara – 50% off second guest fare, free wi-fi and featured Book, Pay & Save voyages

Regent Seven Seas – up to 50% off fares and reduced deposit

Lindblad – offers on air fares, crew tips and bar tabs

Scenic Ocean – Early Bird fares and free city stays

Hurtigruten – air fare offers, cruise fare reductions and single supplements waived

Galapagos Sea Lion
Galapagos Sea Lion with Lindblad

Images courtesy of Hurtigruten, Silversea, Crystal and Lindblad

 

New Cruise Ships for 2018

2018 promises many exciting new cruise ships. Here are our top picks:

Seabourn Ovation

Seabourn Ovation
Seabourn Ovation

Seabourn introduce Ovation in 2018. Sister to the stunning Encore, this new ships offers the same pleasing design and first-class service, along with some new developments. Read our full preview here.

Nieuw Statendam

Nieuw Statendam
Nieuw Statendam

In December 2018 the latest Pinnacle-class ship, Nieuw Statendam, is due to embark upon its inaugural voyage from Fort Lauderdale to Key West and Half Moon Cay, Holland America’s private island in the Bahamas. Read our full preview here.

Viking Orion

VIKING ORION FLOATOUT
Viking Orion

Fifth in the Viking line of first-class cruise ships, the Orion will debut in 2018. Read our full preview here.

Celebrity Edge

Celebrity Edge
Celebrity Edge

Celebrity’s Edge intends to revolutionise the cruise ship experience with exciting design features. Read our full preview here.

Ms Roald Amundsen

Roald Amundsen
RoaldAmundsen

MS Roald Amundsen, launching in 2018, is one of two hybrid cruise ships on order from leading exploration cruise line, Hurtigruten. Read our full preview here. 

Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas

Symphony of the Seas at Night
Symphony of the Seas at Night

Debuting in spring next year, Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas is set to be the ‘world’s largest cruise ship’. Read our full review here

Norwegian Bliss

Norwegian Bliss
Norwegian Bliss

Norwegian Bliss, due to launch in April 2018, will be one of the largest cruise ships in the world. As the third in the successful Breakaway-Plus class, this 4000 passenger ship will debut in Alaska before moving to the Caribbean for winter. Read our full preview here.

 

Scenic Eclipse

Scenic Eclipse
Adventure on the Eclipse

Billed as ‘The World’s First Discovery Yacht’ the Scenic Eclipse promises to bring something very unique to the ocean cruising experience when it launches in August 2018. Read our full preview here.

 

New Cruise Ships for 2018 – Hurtigruten: MS Roald Amundsen

MS Roald Amundsen, launching in 2018, is one of two hybrid cruise ships on order from leading exploration cruise line, Hurtigruten.

Pioneering a more sustainable approach to cruise travel, the MS Roald Amundsen is designed by Rolls Royce and currently in construction at the Kleven shipyard in Norway. The hybrid technology, which cuts emissions by sailing with electrical propulsion, works in combination with advanced hull construction and effective use of electricity on board. This should reduce fuel consumption and CO2-emissions by 20 percent.

Roald Amundsen Hybrid
Hybrid technology

Accommodating 350 guests, the MS Roald Amundsen is designed for remote polar waters, providing a luxurious and well-equipped base for adventurous travellers. Guests can expect first-class accommodation; from the Expedition Suites with expansive windows, balconies and private outside jacuzzi to Artic Superior or Outside Polar class cabins.

Roald Amundsen Exploration Suite
Expedition Suite

Decor on the MS Roald Amundsen is inspired by the natural Scandinavian environment; with birch, oak, granite and wool used in the many lounges and bars. Three restaurants serving Norwegian and locally-inspired food are planned along with an infinity pool and large observation area.

Roald Amundsen Infinity Pool
Infinity Pool

Of particular note is the high-tech activity centre, where the expert Expedition Team are on hand to answer questions, provide training and give lectures. The use of Virtual Reality technology enhances the  understanding of the surrounding environment.

Roald Amundsen Activity Centre
Activity Centre

The MS Roald Amundsen is effectively a base camp for exploring the remote polar waters of Antarctica. Itineraries to this isolated and pristine continent will explore the wildlife and spectacular landscape with expert-led tours.

Roald Amundsen Itinerary
An Antarctica journey

Images courtesy of www.hurtigruten.co.uk

 

 

Best Cruises: Iceland

Following on from our feature on Iceland we pick our top cruises to the Land of Fire and Ice.

Windstar: Around Iceland Reykjavik to Reykjavik

Windstar Iceland Cruise
Iceland with Windstar

Windstar, the niche provider of yacht-style ultra-luxurious cruises, takes the graceful Star Legend to Iceland on a circumnavigational tour of this magical place. With the cruise line’s ethos firmly rooted in traditional sailing Windstar offer a unique perspective on Iceland; finding secluded bays and rarely seen wildlife, able to stay longer in special places, giving guests an authentic experience and real sense of the true Iceland. Although the Star Legend is a motorised vessel, with no masts or sails, it still has the intimacy of the original Windstar brand, offering a small-scale private-yacht experience. Equalling any exploration cruise in terms of accessing remote places, the Star Legend also carries passengers in total style and comfort.

Iceland Cruise Godafoss Waterfall
Godafoss

The trip, starting and finishing in Reykjavik, visits many geological wonders as well as the iconic Icelandic waterfalls, thermal waters and national parks. Highlights include Surtsey Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which rose from the sea in the 1960s making it one of the world’s youngest places and the Viking Sushi Experience where pristine seafood is caught and instantly prepared for guests onboard a small local fishing trawler as whales and sea-eagles glide and soar nearby. Departures in July and August 2017. www.windstarcruises.com

Lindblad Expeditions: A Circumnavigation of Iceland

Hurtigruten Iceland Cruise
Jokulsarlon glacier

This professional and well-rounded itinerary truly captures the drama, intrigue and history of Iceland as it takes guests on a ten-day voyage around the whole island. Visits to Reykjavik and the established (and busy) tourist sites on the famous Golden Circle tick obvious boxes but Lindblad, in keeping with their strong expedition focus, then seeks out the rugged western frontier and remote north-east coastline.

Lindblad Iceland Cruise
Blue Lagoon

Sailing on either the National Geographic Orion or the National Geographic Explorer, the curious and adventurous traveller experiences world-class field geology, expert-led hiking and kayaking, Zodiac tours of hidden places and surreal scenery. Iceland is a first-rate photography destination after all. Of course itineraries can change, sometimes due to the weather, but with Lindblad this is more often to take advantage of rare wildlife sightings or to linger over exceptional light. Expeditions are scheduled for July 2017 and June/July 2018. www.expeditions.com

Azamara: Fjords and Iceland Voyage

Azamara Iceland cruise
The Colours of Iceland

Azamara Journey embarks on a summer voyage to Iceland with stops in Denmark, Norway, The Faroe Islands, Scotland and England – it’s common for an Iceland cruise to incorporate visits to other Northern European destinations.  Three days are spent in Iceland, out of a total of twelve, with two of these docked in the lively and cosmopolitan capital, Reykjavik. This vibrant city is an excellent base to explore the waterfalls, geysers, lava fields and thermal waters of The Golden Circle; Iceland’s famous tourist trail.

Azamara Iceland cruise Akureyri
Akureyri

A further day is spent in Akureyri, Iceland’s second largest city, where the unexpected botanical gardens are located. Two thousand species of native and foreign plants grow here, surprisingly without greenhouse cover despite the Arctic location. Departure date is July 2017. www.azamaraclubcruises.co.uk

Hurtigruten: The Elves, Sagas and Volcanoes of Iceland

Hurtigruten Cruise Iceland
Heimaey

With a heritage dating back to 1893 and widely regarded as a leader in Arctic exploration cruises, Hurtigruten is a popular choice for an Icelandic cruise. The Grand Arctic Traverse is a stunning nineteen-day voyage starting in the picturesque Lofoten Islands then travelling to the isolated island of Jan Mayen, followed by Iceland and finishing in Greenland. However, with only three days spent in Iceland, the alternative Elves, Sagas and Volcanoes of Iceland circumnavigates the island and is ideal for travellers seeking a comprehensive and exciting Icelandic experience.

Hurtigruten Iceland Cruise
Hornbjerg Cliff

MS Spitsbergen, a polar-class vessel, takes a full twelve days to sail around the coast. Itineraries are suggested only, with the final journey being determined en-route according to weather and opportunities – this is a true expedition cruise. As well as visits to the established thermal bathing sites and waterfalls, the captain usually stops at remote islands such as Siglufjörður and Grimsby, where guests can access wildlife and geological sites by Polarcirkel boats, and the Westman Islands which are famous for their volcanic activity and whale-spotting. Exploration cruises sail in June and July 2017. www.hurtigruten.co.uk

Images courtesy of Windstar, Lindblad, Azamara, Hurtigruten

Cool Places: Kirkwall – Gateway to the Orkney Islands

 

Orkney Cruise Sea Cliffs

The Orkney archipelago is a place of magic and mystery; a stunning coastal landscape steeped in ancient history.

Orkney Cruise Brough of Birsay

The chain of 70 islands, separated from Scotland’s rugged north coast by the formidable Pentland Firth, are grassy-green and flat-topped. Rich in marine life and seabird colonies, the islands are also home to a wealth of prehistoric sites, standing stones, Viking relics and sunken warships.

Orkney Cruise Ships Kirkwall

The majority of Orcadians live on the ‘Mainland’ which is the largest island, centred around the bustling town of Kirkwall where most cruise ships arrive. Others have homes on a few outlying islands, with enchanting names like Sanday and Papa Westray, accessible by ferry or small plane, although most islands are uninhabited.

Orkney Hurtigruten Cruise ship

Cruise ships generally drop anchor in Kirkwall harbour, bringing guests ashore by tender, or berth at nearby Hatston Pier, a short 2.5 miles from town, accessible by complimentary shuttle bus.

Orkney Cruise St Magnus Cathedral

The St. Magnus Cathedral is Kirkwall’s most significant landmark. Built in 1137 and dedicated to the martyred Magnus Erlendsson, Earl of Orkney, this is the most northerly cathedral in the UK and owned by the people of Orkney themselves. The Highland Park Distillery is located on the outskirts of Kirkwall. The superb visitor centre has fascinating and fun tours showing how this famous Orcadian whisky is made – and offers a welcome nip of the amber nectar too.

Orkney Cruise Skara Brae

Orkney is world-renowned for the number and quality of ancient sites it hosts and cruise ship passengers can easily see several of them in one day. Local guides offer comprehensive tours and car rental is readily available for visitors who prefer the independence of self-discovery. The most prominent site, and an absolute must-see, is Skara Brae on the western side of the main island. This Neolithic site, uncovered by a fierce storm in 1850, is one of the best-preserved in Western Europe and transports visitors back 5000 years.

Orkney Cruise Churchill Barriers

The Ring of Brodgar, The Standing Stones of Stenness and Maeshowe are a trio of established historical sites clustered near to Kirkwall and easily enjoyed on a return journey from Skara Brae. Ness of Brodgar, a current archaeological dig, is ongoing beside these sites and visitors are welcome to view the excavations from a platform overlooking the site.

Orkney Cruise Ring of Brodgar

The Ring of Brodgar stone circle, with 36 megaliths and over a dozen burial mounds, is older than Stonehenge and dates back to the 3rd Millennium BC.

Orkney Cruise Maeshowe Orkney

The chambered tomb of Maeshowe, dating back around 5000 years, is one of the finest examples in Europe. A narrow passageway, lined with huge slabs of Orcadian stone, leads to a large chamber perfectly aligned with the winter solstice which illuminates the tomb at the setting sun. In the 12th century, Viking raiders broke into Maeshowe and their runic graffiti is easily seen on the walls.

Orkney Cruise Stones of Stenness

Nearby, the Standing Stones of Stenness, again dating back 5000 years, encircle a large hearth and are mystically beautiful.

Orkney Cruise Tomb of the Eagles

Another Neolithic chambered tomb, The Tomb of the Eagles, was discovered on South Ronaldsay by a local farmer in the 1950s. Thousands of human bones were found inside, along with the remains of white-tailed sea eagles and artefacts of the time. Walking tours describe this interesting story in depth, taking visitors along the cliff path to the tomb and then showing some of the items recovered in the visitor centre.

Orkney Cruise Churchill Barriers

Orkney played an important strategic role in WWII and visitors to the islands can see the impressive Churchill Barriers, built to protect the British fleet while anchored in Scapa Flow.

Orkney Cruise Italian Chapel

The causeways link several small islands and lead to the intricate and beautiful Italian Chapel. Italian POWs, who were in Orkney constructing the Churchill Barriers, adapted a plain prion hut into an intimate chapel complete with stunning Italian artwork.

Orkney Cruise Stromness

Stromness,on the West Mainland, is Orkney’s second largest town and a popular port for smaller vessels. The quaint cobbled streets lead visitors to the excellent Pier Arts Centre, famous writer George Mackay Brown’s Memorial Garden and another poignant memorial, this time in honour of Orcadian explorer John Rae who is credited with finding the final portion of the North West Passage.

Orkney Cruise Tall Ship

Viking, Silversea, Crystal, Seabourn and Hebridean Island Cruises are due to visit Orkney in 2017.

Photos courtesy of Cruise Orkney

 

Hurtigruten – The Facts

 

Hurtigruten Kongsfjord Foto Ørjan Bertelsen

Hurtigruten, Norway’s famous passenger and freight shipping service, has transported goods, locals and tourists to numerous ports on the Norwegian coast daily since 1893. The company, known for outstanding exploration trips beyond the Arctic Circle to view the Northern Lights, also travels further afield to Greenland, Iceland, Spitsbergen, Southern Europe and Antartica. New ultra-modern, hybrid vessels are expected to join the fleet from 2018. Well-travelled passengers enjoy the casual atmosphere and modest facilities, content to simply enjoy the stunning scenery and good company.

Fleet: 

MS Spitsbergen Foto Ørjan Bertelsen

Within the wider fleet, MS Fram is Hurtigruten’s original expedition vessel, spending most time in Greenland and on pole-to-pole voyages. 2016 sees the newly launched MS Spitsbergen, built with an ice-strengthened hull to explore polar waters. Hurtigruten will introduce the world’s first silent and fully electric Arctic and Antarctic expedition ships in 2018 and 2019. The ground-breaking hybrid propulsion will allow for greater fuel efficiency and emission-free sailing in environmentally sensitive areas.

 Destinations

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Voyages extend to Northern Europe, Iberia, the Mediterranean, Svalbard (Spitsbergen), Iceland, Greenland, Transatlantic, South America and Antarctica.

On Board

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Cabins are furnished in a comfortable and basic style; some have outside windows and limited suites are available. There is a small library, observation lounge, bar, Wi-Fi service, fitness area and sauna. Entertainment includes a lecture schedule attended to by subject experts and workshops led by the resident photographer. Bracing walks on deck and interesting conversation with fellow guests are popular ways to spend the time. Specialised landing craft enable shore visits to remote locations.

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Dining is relaxed with a buffet service for breakfast and lunch. Dinner is served at fixed times.

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Perks

The 1893 Ambassador Programme offers repeat guests a range of benefits and discounts.

 Photos courtesy of Hurtigruten

www.hurtigruten.co.uk