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Lounge area on the future Finnmarken (image: Hurtigruten)

Luxury awaits in Hurtigruten’s biggest ever refurb

MS Finnmarken, built in 2002, is to be transformed in a premium refurbishment ahead of a 2021 debut along Norway’s coast.

Hurtigruten says that its ship MS Finnmarken, which was built in 2002, is to get the biggest refurbishment in the company’s history in the first quarter of next year.

The comprehensive refurb will be ahead of a 2021 debut in the year-round service along Norway’s coast, turning it into a “premium expedition” vessel.

The move comes as Hurtigruten faces growing competition with luxury vessels in other cruise lines – and also as it prepares for competition from 2021 from new entrant Havila right along the 2,500-kilometre coast from Kirkenes in the north to Bergen in the south.

“We will transform her into a full-fledged premium expedition cruise ship, with all the comforts, facilities and expertise you need for creating a perfect adventure,” said Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

Features will include panoramic windows, upgraded low-emission engines, shore-power connectivity and preparing the ship for future battery-pack installation.

Batteries are not new for Hurtigruten as it will launch the world’s first hybrid-driven expedition ship this spring, MS Roald Amundsen, to be joined next year by sister ship MS Fridtjof Nansen and then a third ship in 2021. These ships are being pitched at the luxury expedition market.

Meanwhile, aft on deck eight on board the new-look Finnmarken, five suites with panoramic windows will replace the current gym and sauna area.

All of the vessel’s cabins and suites will be transformed using natural “Scandinavian materials” such as granite, oak, birch and wool and creating a relaxed and stylish feel, the company says.

Lots to eat
Four restaurants will be on board. Aune, Hurtigruten’s new main restaurant concept, will be social and informal, serving three meals a day based on a “Scandinavian identity”.

Lindstrøm, a specialty fine dining restaurant named after the favourite chef of Norway’s polar heroes, will also be added, with its roots in traditional Norwegian cuisine contrasting with modern cooking.

Fredheim will be an informal eatery named after a 1920s hunting station in Svalbard that sheltered adventurers from around the world. And a new grill space will be added outdoors.

Hurtigruten’s signature ‘edutainment area’ Science Centre will be added on deck four, promising state-of-the-art tech, touch screens, scientific equipment and interactive features.

The outdoor pool area will be upgraded, the shop expanded and the car deck made into a launching area for Hurtigruten’s explorer boats and expedition equipment.

Finnmarken’s extensive art collection will be preserved during the refurb, the company assures. The cost of the renovation has not been disclosed.

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