Expedition cruise line Hurtigruten announced Monday it would extend the temporary suspension of worldwide sailings through mid-June, but plans on launching a phased return to service on June 16.
Travel restrictions in Norway have been gradually lifted and other businesses like schools and restaurants are already open. Hurtigruten plans to restart operations in Norwegian waters first and then expand internationally as further restrictions are lifted.
The first planned departure will be MS Finnmarken from Bergen on June 16. The cruise line will make decisions for every subsequent voyage individually, with guests being informed of changes no later than three weeks before the scheduled ship’s departure.
Officials from the cruise line also revealed they plan on gradually restarting Arctic expedition cruises this summer “in areas where restrictions are lifted – where and when we believe it is safe.”
“There is still a lot of uncertainty in what the next weeks and months will bring. However, we do see international restrictions gradually being lifted,” Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said in a statement. “Step by step, the pandemic is being brought under control. Businesses are re-opening and everyday life is slowly getting back to a degree of normality.”
There have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus on any of Hurtigruten’s ships, but the cruise line has imposed strict measures, “hundreds of small and larger” protocols and reduced guest capacity to combat the spread of the virus.
In addition, the cruise line instituted a flexible rebooking policy, which allows free rebooking for guests on all voyages departing before September 30. Passengers will also receive a discount of 10 percent on any future Hurtigruten cruise in 2020 or 2021.
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