Midnatsol joins Fram, increasing Hurtigruten's seasonal berths from 2,268 in 2015/16 to 6,800 berths in 2016/17.
'This is an important strategic choice for Hurtigruten as we strengthen our position in the growing exploration market,' said Hurtigruten ceo Daniel Skjeldam.
Antarctica itineraries include highlights such as the Falkland Islands, Chilean Fjords, Patagonia, the Magellan Strait and Cape Horn. Sailings will depart from October 2016 to March 2017 with prices ranging from $5,999 to $6,666 per person, double occupancy.
In its first season sailing the Southern Hemisphere, Midnatsol will operate 10 Antarctica voyages from Punta Arenas, Chile, ranging from 15 to 18 days.
Every sailing will carry an experienced expedition team to lead landings and shore excursions including hiking on glacial ice, viewing penguins, kayaking among seals and snorkeling in the frigid waters. Multifaceted scientific lectures will be offered on board.
Hurtigruten is also refining the itineraries and programs associated with the 200-berth Fram, which sails from Ushuaia, Argentina. The ship's expedition teams will seek new sites in Antarctica that are inaccessible to larger groups. Passengers will have the opportunity to take more challenging and extreme excursions such as skiing on glaciers and expedition camping among penguins.
'We are working to offer our guests a range of choices—whether it is the more traditional Antarctic experience with all the highlights one would expect when they sail aboard the Midnatsol, or take on a more challenging, activity-based Antarctica product with MS Fram, sailing to places we haven’t been before,' Skjeldam said.
Midnatsol is suitable for Antarctica operations as it was built for the Arctic region. Some minor adjustments will be made but the ship already has an ice class 1C rating, helipad, a redundant propulsion system and will be equipped with the latest, customized oil retention system.