World's first ocean cruise line to resume passenger shipping is Hurtigruten

   June 17, 2020 ,   Cruise Industry

On Tuesday, June 16, Hurtigruten became the world's first ocean cruise line to resume passenger shipping operations following the COVID lockdown.

Hurtigruten's MS Finnmarken (Otto Sverdrup) ship set off on her familiar 34-port voyage from Bergen along the Norwegian coast to Kirkenes. Nearly 200 passengers boarded the cruiseferry to sail past 100+ fjords as Finnmarken serves as a ferry service for the scattered communities.

The 12-day voyage is the first ocean-going journey since the virus outbreak shut down the cruise industry worldwide. 

Hurtigruten had not technically stopped services drastically cut them to just 2 ships and operating as a ferry service for locals using it to sail from one port to another. The Norwegian cruise company is focusing on the expedition market and adding new homeports for its future sailings as part of an expansion strategy for the post-COVID-19 industry. Beginning in 2021, the company will be offering year-round voyages from Bergen Norway, Dover England and Hamburg Germany, to explore the Norwegian coast.

Hurtigruten is launching its new cruise program in January and deploying Finnmarken, which will be rebuilt as Otto Sverdrup, to sail from Hamburg, Germany on a couple of different summer and winter itineraries to the North Cape and back. 

A second ship, MS Midnatsol, will be rebuilt as MS Maude to sail from Dover UK on cruises above the Arctic Circle and a couple of new summer itineraries exploring the British Isles.

MS Trollfjord will offer expeditions departing from Bergen.