Cruise: Major cruise line returns to sailing – but without any port calls

Europe-based cruise company Hurtigruten has returned to sailing with a new take on the traditional cruise holiday. Though passengers might normally expect a few port stops along the way to explore new destinations, this 14-day cruise will remain entirely at sea for the duration.

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The two-week-long cruise by the Norwegian cruise company is temporarily sailing from Hamburg, Germany, all the way to the Norwegian coast without a single port call.

This is due to many countries continuing to keep their borders closed to outside nations.

However, a spokesperson for the cruise line told The Points Guy UK that itineraries would be adjusted as soon as border restrictions were amended.

He said: “Itineraries are easy to adjust.

“We will be taking guests ashore immediately as travel restrictions are lifted. It could even happen mid-cruise.”

Passengers on board the ship were able to take in the sights of the famous Norwegian Fjords.

However, though the Fridtjof Nansen ship normally carries around 530 passengers, according to The Points Guy UK, only 160 people were signed up for the initial trip.

Luckily, the ship, designed for expeditions, carried a number of smaller boats designed for exploration and ocean day trips which the cruise line said would be used throughout the sailing.

The sailings are among some of the first to resume with the line, which plans to further bolster its offering in the coming weeks.

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Hurtigruten line also plans to relaunch its 530-passenger Roald Amundsen ship, which will operate seven and 150-day long expedition cruises from Tromso, Norway, to the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic.

Meanwhile, the 335-passenger Spitsbergen will return to the waters embarking on three- to five-day trips out of Longyearbyen, a small town in the Svalbard archipelago.

Of course, social distancing and hygiene measures are now a top priority for cruise companies.

The new sailings will include “hundreds of small and large measures to keep our guests and crew safe and healthy,” Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said.

“Some of them are transitory, some will be permanent.

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“But from even stricter hygiene protocols to reduced guest capacity to allow social distancing, this will give you a safer voyage without impacting the experience.”

Initial sailings will be aimed at a local crowd in Norway, but as Europe slowly lifts travel restrictions, there could be some hope ahead for cruise lovers.

Genting Cruise Lines has also resumed services, but much like Hurtigruten, these sailings are geared towards locals.

The ships will depart from Keelung, calling at Penghu, Matzu and Kinmen islands, but will only be for domestic travellers who live in Taiwan.

Genting made the decision to sail its under its Dream Cruises name in Taiwan thanks to the nation’s low COVID-19 figures.

Taiwan has suffered seven deaths during the pandemic, and of 447 confirmed cases 435 are reported to have fully recovered.

“After months of detailed planning with the authorities to ensure the safety and health of guests and crew, we appreciate the approval of Explorer Dream resuming cruise operations in Taiwan,” Tan Sri KT Lim, Chairman and CEO of Genting Hong Kong said in a statement.

He added that Dream Cruises will be “the first cruise line in the world to begin sailing after the global cruise industry was shut down due to the pandemic”.

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