The 7,025gt vessel is temporarily called Norway Explorer. It was built in Portugal in 2009 at the Viana do Castelo shipyard.
The ship is believed never to have been named or officially launched, a Hurtigruten spokesman in the US told Seatrade Cruise News. He said it was built for another purpose but the company that commissioned it did not take delivery during the height of the global recession.
The vessel is now en route to Scandinavia.
Hurtigruten described plans for a 'total reconstruction' before service begins. This includes adapting it for polar waters, upgrading the accommodations and public spaces for 320 passengers and adjusting the power plant to meet higher standards.
The ship will replace Midnatsol, which will join Fram in Antarctica for the 2016/17 season.
'The new ship's maneuverability and optimal size will bring Hurtigruten's guests even closer to nature,' ceo Daniel Skjeldam said.