The name was chosen from more than 15,000 suggestions submitted from around the world since July. The winner of the contest is Erlend Baldersheim from the Norwegian village of Baldersheim, near Bergen. He and a friend will sail as guests of the captain on the new ship.
Hurtigruten ceo Daniel Skjeldam said there were many great suggestions but the company deemed Spitsbergen to be 'especially appropriate as it ties together our long history of polar exploration with our vision for a modern-day Hurtigruten.'
As early as 1896, Hurtigruten founder and tourism entrepreneur Richard With built a hotel in Spitsbergen and established sailings there from Hammerfest.
Spitsbergen will sail on Hurtigruten’s Coastal Voyage, the route along Norway’s western coast, and will replace Midnatsol as that vessel becomes the company’s second ship in Antarctica during the 2016/17 season.
After its first season in Norway, Spitsbergen will alternate between the coast and polar expeditions. The ship has 180 berths with a total capacity for 320 passengers.