History of the MS Spitsbergen
The MS Spitsbergen began her life in 2009 as the MV Atlantida, a Portuguese car ferry that carried 140 cars and 750 passengers. However, Hurtigruten purchased the ship, significantly refurbished her as an expedition ship, and relaunched her as the MS Spitsbergen. The ship is named after the largest island in the Svalbard Archipelago, a Norwegian island group located between Norway and the North Pole.
The shipyard added steel plates to the MS Spitsbergen hull to make her ready for sailing in the polar ice. The newly refurbished ship has 5 passenger decks, 100 cabins, and carries 335 passengers in 243 berths when on the coastal Norway cruise ferry route between Bergen and Kirkenes but only 200 passengers (all cruise and no ferry) as an expedition ship.
More New Ships for Hurtigruten
Although the MS Spitsbergen is the first new ship for Hurtigruten in a decade, the company signed a letter of intent with the Norwegian shipyard Kleven in April 2016 to purchase up to four new explorer ships for delivery in 2018 and 2019. Like some other travel companies, Hurtigruten's leadership has recognized the rapid growth in the adventure travel segment and is planning for the future. Travelers are always looking for new destinations and experiences, and Hurtigruten is making plans to bring polar and other expedition cruising to its loyal (and new) customers.
As the company adds new ships, it is also adding more active shore excursions for its guests and more learning opportunities onboard. Since the company operates in Norway year-round, guests can enjoy cold weather activities like dog sledding and snowmobile riding in the winter, and kayaking, hiking, riding in a speedy RIB, and water activities in the summer.
Photo Tour of the MS Spitsbergen
The MS Spitsbergen is a beauty, with the contemporary Scandinavian decor. She seems almost luxurious for an expedition ship.
The rest of this article provides a photo tour of the common areas, dining venues, and accommodations on the MS Spitsbergen. The last page provides information on the ship's itineraries.
Hurtigruten MS Spitsbergen Reception Desk
Entering the Hurtigruten ship, guests immediately get a feel for the contemporary look of the MS Spitsbergen explorer ship at the welcoming Reception Desk.
Hurtigruten MS Spitsbergen Torget Main Dining Room
Passengers are often active on expedition cruises, and activity leads to hunger. The main restaurant on the MS Spitsbergen is the Torget Dining Room.
Like other Hurtigruten ships, the dining room has a buffet area and a set up for self-service coffee, tea, and juice. Torget offers buffet-style breakfast and lunch. Dinner is two seatings, with a 3-course menu served by a waiter. Wine by the bottle is also offered at extra cost, but Hurtigruten has a wine package available for purchase.
Hurtigruten MS Spitsbergen Torget Main Dining Room Seating
The Torget Dining Room on the MS Spitsbergen features large windows and comfortable, casual seating. It is located on deck 5 (the Lido deck) aft of the Reception Desk and Brygga Bistro.
Hurtigruten MS Spitsbergen Brygga Bistro
The Brygga Bistro is open 24 hours a day and serves drinks and snacks. It is located midship on deck 5 (Lido Deck).
Hurtigruten MS Spitsbergen Explorer Bar Fireplace
Located on deck 5 (Lido Deck) forward, the MS Spitsbergen Explorer Bar has this lovely fireplace and some very comfortable lounge chairs, which are shown in the next photo.
Hurtigruten MS Spitsbergen Explorer Bar Seating
These chairs in the MS Spitsbergen Explorer Bar are very comfortable. However, they are almost too comfortable; since lots of guests might be napping in them!
Hurtigruten MS Spitsbergen Observation Lounge
One deck up from the Explorer Bar and Lounge is the Observation Lounge on deck 6 (the Promenade Deck). This lounge has large panoramic windows that provide amazing views of the sea and surrounding areas. It also has access to an outside forward deck.
Hurtigruten MS Spitsbergen Fitness Room
Many travelers who take expedition and adventure cruises are active adults. Hurtigruten has taken this active personality into account and included a large fitness center with all sorts of exercise equipment on deck 7. Outside and near the fitness center are two hot tubs, and in keeping with the Nordic tradition, a sauna is located next to the fitness center.
Hurtigruten MS Spitsbergen Cruise Ship Sauna
This sauna, which is found on deck 7 next to the fitness center, has amazing views. It is very popular on the MS Spitsbergen explorer ship.
Hurtigruten MS Spitsbergen Outdoor Deck
Although the MS Spitsbergen spends much of its time in Arctic or Antarctic waters, guests want to be outside to see the sights, wildlife, and birds. The ship has an outdoor area with hot tubs on deck 7, but the top deck 8 (sun deck) is open for guests and has plenty of seats.
Hurtigruten MS Spitsbergen Amundsen Suite
The MS Spitsbergen has two grand expedition suites named the Amundsen Suites (category MG). These large suites are aft on deck 6 and have 375-400 square feet (including a private balcony). These two-room suites have a separate sitting area with a sofa, chair, television, and coffee table. The bedroom has a queen bed, and the suites have robes, slippers, and bath amenities.
The MS Spitsbergen also has six other balcony suites (category M), also located on deck 6. These accommodations measure 300-325 square feet but do not have a separate sitting room, although they do have a sofa, chairs, and table.
Hurtigruten MS Spitsbergen Amundsen Suite Bathroom
The bathroom in the MS Spitsbergen Amundsen Suite has a toilet, large shower, sink, and large vanity.
Hurtigruten MS Spitsbergen Superior Outside Cabin
The MS Spitsbergen has 30 Arctic Superior Outside Cabins. These cabins measure only 85-140 square feet and are located on decks 6 and 7. They all have bathrooms with shower and toilet. These cabins all have tea and coffee -making facilities and a television. Although most of the Arctic Superior Outside Cabins have separate beds, where one doubles as a sofa, some have double beds.
The MS Spitsbergen also has 41 Polar Outside Cabins. These cabins are located on decks 4, 6, and 7 and have 75 square feet, a private bath with shower and toilet, and a television. The Polar Outside Cabins have Porthole Windows, single and sofa beds (some with upper/lower beds).
Hurtigruten MS Spitsbergen Inside Cabin
The MS Spitsbergen has 22 inside cabins. These cabins measure 65-110 square feet and are located on decks 4, 6, and 7. They have single beds and sofa beds. Some are with additional upper/lower beds.
Hurtigruten MS Spitsbergen Navigational Bridge
It is important for all passenger ships to utilize modern equipment on the bridge, but it is especially important for expedition ships. The MS Spitsbergen is environmentally-friendly with technical improvements to reduce emissions and fuel consumption.
Hurtigruten has over 100 years experience sailing in polar seas, and the company has incorporated all the latest technology in its re-design of the MS Spitsbergen. Its vast experience in the region adds to the overall cruise memories of its guests.
Hurtigruten MS Spitsbergen Itineraries
The MS Spitsbergen sailed on her first voyage from Bergen on July 24, 2016, and the new Hurtigruten explorer ship sailed coastal Norway for the remainder of the 2016-2017 season. Although she sails the same basic coastal passage route between Bergen on the southwest coast of Norway and Kirkenes on the far northern coast, the MS Spitsbergen can stop at some of the smaller ports of call due to her size. She also makes calls at all regular coastal route ports during the daytime but has no port stops during the night.
Starting in May 2017, the MS Spitsbergen alternates between the Norwegian coastal route and polar expeditions. Guests can sail to Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe and the Shetland Islands, and to Arctic Canada.
The polar-ready MS Spitsbergen is a great fit for all of these exciting destinations, and she's ready to take guests on their dream vacation to polar regions.