What’s black, white and red but green all over? The new eco-friendly ship from Norwegian cruise line Hurtigruten, that’s what.
I joined the 530-passenger Fridtjof Nansen, named after a polar explorer, as it sailed from London to Liverpool on the first of three ‘showcase’ trips ahead of its official maiden voyage from Hamburg on April 1.
Not only does the expedition ship run on a combination of battery and diesel power, saving up to 30% on fuel, but there is not a piece of single-use plastic on board. Cabins are supplied with reusable water bottles that can be refilled at ‘hydration stations’ on each deck.
And if you feel your room doesn’t need a daily clean, simply hang a ‘we stay green’ sign on your door and Hurtigruten will donate half a euro to an environmental fund.
Some crew uniforms are made from recycled plastic and passengers are encouraged to take part in organised beach cleans at the destinations they visit.
Guests can also help scientists study seawater samples under microscopes in the onboard science centre, or attend talks on wildlife, history and geography in the lecture hall.
But there are plenty of places to relax as well, in the infinity pool, hot tubs, sauna and spa, as well as the two bars and the roomy Explorer Lounge.
In parts it feels like a futuristic space station with a stunning seven-storey high LED screen in the central lift shaft.
There’s a distinctly Norwegian feel to the three restaurants. The Aune main dining room, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, is named after a ship chandler in Tromsø.
Snack venue Fredheim offers treats such as waffles with smoked salmon, as well as delicious milkshakes, while fine-dining restaurant Lindstrøm serves dishes including Norwegian haddock, duck confit or reindeer and swede.
From the outside, Fridtjof Nansen looks like it could have been built from Lego, with its blocky shape designed to take whatever the Arctic and Antarctic throws at it.
But even the British weather can disrupt plans. Waves 13ft high on our taster journey scuppered scheduled visits to the Isles of Scilly and Isle of Man, though we went ahead with stops at Portsmouth and Portland and arrived in Liverpool a day early.
Of course, the whole cruise industry is weathering a storm at the moment because of fears over coronavirus.
Fridtjof Nansen the explorer survived treacherous Arctic terrain, temperatures in the minus 40s and a month adrift on an ice floe. It’s hard to know what he would make of the current international panic over a bug but I, for one, will carry on cruising.
A 10-day cruise around the British Isles and Faroe Islands on Fridtjof Nansen, leaving Hamburg on May 22, 2021, costs from £2,136pp. To find out more call 020 3553 3240 or visit hurtigruten.co.uk.
- You can read more cruise news from Dave Monk on Shipmonk.co.uk .
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