Expedition line, Hurtigruten has extended the suspension of its worldwide sailings until 16 June.
“We are two months into what is a truly extraordinary situation. In one way or another, the consequences of the pandemic impact us all,” said Daniel Skjeldam, Hurtigruten CEO.
“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. Step-by-step, the pandemic is being brought under control. Businesses are re-opening and everyday is slowly getting back to a degree of normality.”
The company will restart operations of its fleet of small, custom-built ships in Norwegian waters from mid-June. Hurtigruten also plans to gradually restart Arctic expeditions cruises in summer in “areas where restrictions are lifted, where and when we believe it is safe,” Mr Skjeldam added.
“Gradually, restarting operations within Norwegian waters are the natural first steps towards normalisation for us. The size and scale of our step-by-step restart is dependent on national and international travel restrictions, government support and other external factors outside our control,” he said.
Because of uncertainties on international travel restrictions, Hurtigruten has introduced a flexible booking policy where guests can rebook their cruises free-of-charge on all voyages departing before 30 September. The line is also offering a 10 discount for a future expedition or Norwegian coastal cruise in 2020 or 2021.
Hurtigruten has also introduced strict measures and protocols to combat the spread of the virus. These include tougher hygiene measures and reduced guest capacity to allow social distancing. The company stressed that it did not have any confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 on any of its ships
The first planned Norwegian coastal voyage on MS Finnmarken from Bergen, Kirkenes and Bergen will depart on 16 June.