Raw beauty and tough conditions go hand-in-hand during Hurtigruten® expeditions. Brave patrons who choose to voyage with the expert Hurtigruten Expeditions team experience captivating landscapes, awe-inspiring scenery and destinations teaming with life. These kinds of trips not only command the highest levels of respect for nature and pioneer a greener way of cruising, but they also require a tremendous trust in addition to reliable equipment.
Hurtigruten has a 130-year legacy of leading successful expeditions to some of the most remote destinations in the world. Today, the company takes passengers to 15 global destinations with stops in more than 230 ports and landing sites. Why venture to these extreme locations? Karin Strand, Vice President of Development for Hurtigruten, explains it all has to do with heritage.
“Our company was founded by Norwegians. We are used to extreme conditions, and we feel confident in those environments,” she said. “In the beginning, we focused on traveling within Norway and to the Artic. Then about 20 years ago, we expanded our travels to Antarctica. Because of our history and background, we felt we had a good understanding of what Antarctica would demand of us and we felt like we could do it well. We know how frost, snow and ice work and it appealed to the team to honor our roots by adding this destination to our offerings.”
The Hurtigruten team also knew they had to have the best equipment and technology available, and that they had to carry enough on board to tackle any repairs necessary along the way.
“When we are in Antarctica, we must be self-sufficient and self-reliant. Reliability is absolutely key. We have to trust our equipment to take care of us just as our passengers trust us to take care of them,” said Strand. “Planning is critical, but you cannot plan for every situation. There are no ‘repair shops’ around so we have to be prepared and we need to have confidence in our equipment.”
Hurtigruten chooses Yamaha 60-horsepower, four-stroke outboard motors for its fleet of sturdy inflatable boats used to take passengers exploring off the larger ships. The company currently has 55 Yamaha F60s among three of its larger ships. Two of the ships carry 20 Yamaha F60 outboards and one ship carries 15.
“We’ve been using Yamaha power since 2002 for these expeditions,” Strand continued. “We’ve been very happy because they are super reliable. In fact, if we have ever had outboard damage, it was typically user error on our part and rarely had anything to do with the product at all. We can always trust Yamaha, and that’s a very comforting feeling to have when you are traveling through polar regions. We know our Yamaha-powered fleet can take us into these conditions and get us back safely to our ships. They just work – every time.”
Hurtigruten operates its Antarctic expeditions across three ships during the summer season, which is toward the end of October through mid-March. Each ship will carry 400-450 guests in addition to an expedition team of 10-20 members. The trips range from eight days to three weeks, attracting adventure-seeking passengers usually in their 50s or older and offer a variety of activities for passengers including kayaking, hiking, snowshoeing and stand-up paddle boaring. Some lucky passengers get an overnight stay on land in a tent.
“What we’ve discovered is that our expeditions are on many bucket lists and typically attract guests who have a little more time to explore, though we are beginning to attract more people in their 30s and 40s who are ready for a life-changing adventure,” said Strand. “It’s not easy to go to places like these but it’s also not necessary to be super fit or limber to get the most out of the experience. Many of our patrons have never been kayaking in their lives before they travel with us. Our qualified guides make them feel confident and secure. It’s a great way to help people get out of their comfort zones in a very safe way.”
In addition to the outdoor activities, the Hurtigruten Expeditions team builds in sustainability and education elements to add even more meaning and understanding to the experience.
“We use our ships as scientific platforms and ‘eyes in the field’ for research institutions worldwide. Our guests return home with broadened horizons and new knowledge of these rugged marine environments,” Strand continued. “We have an extensive citizen science program that allows passengers to participate in global studies by helping us register species, observe whales, count birds, record the migration patterns of marine mammals, and take regular measurements of the salinity and temperature of the water. We also do beach clean ups wherever we go, and our Yamaha-powered tender boats aid in those missions. When people travel with us, they help contribute to research that will help us all gain a deeper understanding of nature.”
Exploration opens minds and has the ability to remind us that the world is wide, rugged and beautiful. Some of the best stories are often created through memories made on the water. Yamaha is proud to play a small role in the incredible adventures led by the Hurtigruten Expeditions experts. We are grateful for their commitment to explore these remote corners of the Earth and for the knowledge they share through their travels.
For more information and a complete list of Hurtigruten Expeditions destinations, visit www.hurtigruten.com.
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