Hurtigruten Expeditions confirmed it will return to Antarctica with two ships this year, both departing from Punta Arenas, Chile, instead of the line’s usual homeport of Ushuaia, Argentina.
Hurtigruten is the second line so far to move from Ushuaia, due to Argentina’s border closure. Although the country says it will open to vaccinated travelers on Nov. 1, Hurtigruten said “the rules and procedures applicable for cruises and cruise travelers are still uncertain and unclear.” The company plans to return to Ushuaia next season.
Silversea also moved its Antarctica operations to Chile this year due to Argentina’s border closure.
Scenic, meanwhile, said that expedition ship Scenic Eclipse will sail from Ushuaia but will launch its season later than planned. The vessel will resume sailing Jan. 7 instead of in November. Until then, the Eclipse will offer Saudi Arabia sailings.
Jason Flesher, Scenic’s expedition operations manager, said that after nearly two years with no tourists, “we are expecting unbelievable encounters and experiences with the wildlife” on the White Continent.
Related: Hurtigruten sailing from pole to pole in 2022
Hurtigruten’s battery-hybrid powered Roald Amundsen and the Fram will operate Antarctica cruises starting in November and December. However, citing “the travel restrictions situation,” the third ship planned for Antarctica, the battery-hybrid powered Fridtjof Nansen, will instead sail Norway expedition cruises from Hamburg, Germany.
“Preparing for a two-ship Antarctica season this fall marks a remarkable turning point for us,” said Hurtigruten Group CEO Daniel Skjeldam. “With MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fram sailing out of Punta Arenas and MS Fridtjof Nansen offering in-demand expedition cruises in Europe, we are back with all our planned expedition fleet activities at the start of the new year.”
The Roald Amundsen’s first departure will be a solar eclipse sailing that will bring guests to the Scotia Sea near the South Orkney Islands, the best place to experience the eclipse, according to Hurtigruten.
Hurtigruten is one of several lines with Eclipse sailings on the books.
All guests and crew on Hurtigruten’s and Scenic’s Antarctica expedition cruises must be vaccinated against Covid-19.
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