FOR PASSENGERS DRAWN TO cold-water sailing, from the Arctic to Antarctica, and those who delight in exploring as well as cruising, Hurtigruten (although not well-known in North America) is the byword. Since 1893 Hurtigruten carried passengers as well as mail and other shipping commodities up and down the icy, fjordlaced Atlantic coast of Norway, and recently the line branched out into full-fledged expedition cruising at a time when this has become the hottest trend in the industry. Nearly half of the new ships to be launched this year by cruise lines worldwide are smaller craft dedicated to adventurous explorations at sea. Hurtigruten, which bills itself as “the world’s largest expedition cruise operator,” keeps pace in a number of ways.
Employing 11 coastal ships and five expedition liners, Hurtigruten calls on 250 ports annually. Cruises concentrate on the line’s well-established routes in Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Canada’s High Arctic and Antarctica, but some explore warmer waters in the Caribbean and Central and South America. Wherever it sails, Hurtigruten’s emphasis squarely sits on expedition and adventure rather than Broadway shows, bumper cars and butler service, but it still offers facilities and services at a premium level.
This is underscored by the introduction this year of Hurtigruten’s first new expedition ship in a line of 530-passenger ice-breaking vessels, the MS Roald Amundsen. The Amundsen provides a high level of accommodations (60 percent with balconies, 20 percent qualifying as suites); services (teams of expert Englishspeaking guides); and facilities that include a science center, three restaurants, indoor-outdoor observation decks, a running track, infinity pool, gym and sauna — even a stock of rubber boots for bracing adventures ashore.
In addition, the MS Roald Amundsen is positively green. Sustainability and environmental preservation have long been the hallmarks of Hurtigruten’s approach to expedition cruising. The line banned all single-use plastics and is replacing all its older ship engines with propulsion systems relying on liquid natural gas and liquid biogas. Its new generation of ships goes a step further. The Rolls-Royce-designed Amundsen is a sort of Prius at sea, a hybrid cruise ship that relies on batteries as well as cleaner fuels. Its batteries, large enough to fill two 600-square-foot halls in the hull, deliver enough power to be the sole fuel source for runs of 30 to 45 minutes. Overall, this diesel/electric propulsion system saves 20 percent on fuel consumption and emissions.
The MS Roald Amundsen, slated to ply Hurtigruten’s newest destination, Alaska, will sail its inaugural cruise on an 18-day, Sept. 10 itinerary from Nome to Vancouver. In 2020 it will conduct seven exceptionally lengthy 14- to 18-day cruises in Alaskan waters.
While a 530-passenger ship is large by expedition standards, Hurtigruten’s newest venture intends to lower the fares for adventure sailing and thereby open up expedition cruising to more passengers. For those seeking something beyond the usual big-ship, familiardestination cruise, Hurtigruten offers the cold-water alternative.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Lufthansa is starting an innovative new carbon offset program, Compensaid, which will allow customers to purchase CO2 neutral aviation fuels. The platform allows customers to replace the fossil fuel of their flights with sustainable aviation fuel.
The Luxury Collection again teamed with artist Sofía Sanchez de Beta to unveil an exclusive capsule collection, this time with 54 pieces inspired by the Arabian Desert and Emirati culture. The ready-to-wear line includes an array of separates created with Dubai’s climate in mind, such as lightweight blouses and tunics, flowing jumpsuits, long skirts and dresses.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Google announced last month it added additional features to its price comparison tool. The tool helps users plan trips and compare rates. The new features include one that shows whether the price of a planned flight plus accommodations is low, average or high.
Singapore Airlines launched its non-stop service between Singapore (SIN) and Seattle (SEA), Sept. 3. Seattle is Singapore Airlines’ fourth U.S. destination following Los Angeles (LAX), New York (EWR) and San Francisco (SFO) to receive non-stop service to and from Singapore.
For those without accessibility issues, going to the beach can be simple. There’s nothing to do but pack up your gear, head to the shore and walk out onto the sand. For those who may be inhibited, however, the beach poses more of a challenge.