In response to the global coronavirus outbreak, Hurtigruten is to cease its entire operations until the end of April.
“To temporarily suspend operations was a difficult decision to make. And it’s an emotional moment for me and the entire Hurtigruten team. But I firmly believe it is the only responsible decision in the extraordinary crisis the world is currently facing,” Hurtigruten CEO, Daniel Skjeldam explained.
Similar to the rest of the cruise industry, last week Hurtigruten agreed to stop operations in US waters for 30 days. Over the past weeks, Hurtigruten has encouraged guests to move their bookings free of charge and have been working 24/7 to help guests return to their home countries.
Yesterday (Wednesday), the expedition cruise company announced a temporary halt to their global expedition cruise operations through 28thApril and the Norwegian coastal cruises through 19thApril.
“One of Hurtigruten’s core values is ‘We care’. We care about our staff, we care about our guests, we care about the local communities we visit, and not least, we care about our role in the global society. That is why we are now taking these monumental steps to follow up on our continued commitment to take all appropriate actions to combat the spread of COVID-19,” Skjeldam added.
To ensure a smooth and safe halt to operations, Hurtigruten will gradually take the small, custom-built expedition cruise ships out of service.
“At the same time, in co–operation with the Norwegian Government, we will deploy two of our ships in an amended domestic schedule, bringing critical supplies and goods to local communities on the Norwegian coast at this time of crisis,”Skjeldam explained.
Since the start of the outbreak, Hurtigruten said that it had introduced several targeted measures to combat the spread of the virus, which meets or exceeds all regulatory and industry standards.
There have been no confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus on any Hurtigruten ships thus far, the company stressed.
“This is made possible thanks to the small size of our ships, combined with the professionalism, dedication and skills from teams of medical experts, industrial hygienists and other hard-working colleagues on board and on shore,” said Skjeldam.
Guests who have their voyages cancelled because of the temporary suspension of operations will be offered a Hurtigruten Future Cruise Voucher amounting to 125% of amounts paid, including fees. They will also get a 10% discount on any future Hurtigruten cruise – Expedition or Norwegian Coastal – from 1st July, 2020 to 31st December, 2021, with a flexible re-booking date.
“After more than 125 years of operation, we’ve learned from our past experiences weathering storms, such as wars, recessions and outbreaks. This is a setback for us, for the local communities and for our guests. But the setback is only temporarily.
“I am confident that this decision was both right and responsible. And I am confident that Hurtigruten and our explorers will hit the ground running, as soon as we resume operations – embarking on life-changing adventures with all the Hurtigruten difference, “ Skjeldam concluded.