Cruise Line Shuffles Fleet and Cancels Africa Cruises

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Hurtigruten Group has announced the temporary reassignment of MS Maud back to the company’s Coastal Express service. The move coincides with the cancellation of cruises and a major upgrade to the Hurtigruten fleet.

Hurtigruten, with a history spanning over 130 years, operates ferries and coastal cruise ships under the Hurtigruten Brand. It also operates expedition cruise ships through its recently rebranded expedition segment, HX. 

Strategic Fleet Reshuffle Amongst Hurtigruten Brands

Hurtigruten Group, parent company of Hurtigruten Coastal Express and HX (Hurtigruten Expeditions) has revealed that MS Maud will be temporarily transferred back to its Coastal Express service under the Norwegian state contract. 

This adjustment is part of a larger plan by the company to upgrade environmental features onboard the Hurtigruten ships, leaving a void that will be filled by MS Maud. The vessel is no stranger to the Norwegian coast, previously serving here until 2021 when she was integrated into the HX fleet to support the company’s ambitious goals in expedition cruising.

“Hurtigruten is undertaking the most significant environmental upgrade in the cruise industry. The diverse fleet capabilities of the Hurtigruten Group give us the opportunity to temporarily move MS Maud from HX to Hurtigruten, filling the void left by the upgrade program,” explained Daniel Skjeldam, CEO of Hurtigruten Group.

MS Maud will be sailing in Norwegian waters until 2026, after which she will be returning to HX to resume her expedition cruises.

West Africa Cruises Cancelled

That Hurtigruten is able to bring MS Maud back to the Coastal service is due to the cancellation of operations in West Africa amongst increasing regional instability. Guests who were booked onboard cruises to West Africa onboard MS Maud have been offered a full refund or a 125% future cruise credit.

MS Maud Expedition Cruise Ship
MS Maud Expedition Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: melissamn)

Guests booked on Antarctic cruises aboard MS Maud in the winter 2024/2025 season will be automatically transferred to sailings on hybrid ships like MS Fridtjof Nansen, MS Fram, or MS Roald Amundsen.

MS Maud is scheduled to resume sailing in mid-April 2024 with British Isles itineraries, before venturing into the Arctic for the summer season. The cruise ship was in the news earlier this year when a rogue wave struck the vessel on Thursday, December 21, 2023, while sailing in the North Sea between Norway, Denmark, and the UK. 

The ship momentarily lost power and the ability to navigate after a wave shattered several windows on the bridge, leaving it briefly adrift.

Hurtigruten Adjusting Focus

Hurtigruten Group is currently underway with a comprehensive environmental upgrade, targeting a significant reduction in its fleet’s carbon footprint for its seven Norwegian Coastal Express service ships.

MS Maud Expedition Cruise Ship
MS Maud Expedition Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Bjoern Wylezich)

The initiative aims to reduce CO2 and NOx emissions through modern technologies, sustainable biofuels, and other green advancements. It’s among the most extensive environmental efforts in European maritime history and will take approximately seven years, with the first ship being converted back in 2019.

Hurtigruten also plans to retrofit up to nine expedition ships with hybrid propulsion, installing LNG engines and battery packs, in collaboration with Rolls-Royce Marine. This strategic push towards more eco-friendly operations has the ultimate goal of deploying a zero-emission ship by 2030

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