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Underwater drones join Hurtigruten's arsenal of 'wow' explorer tools

Underwater drone adds a new dimension for travelers, says Hurtigruten's Daniel Skjeldam
In a novel twist Hurtigruten plans to introduce underwater drones as part of the experience aboard its worldwide expedition cruises.

The company partnered with the Norwegian start-up Blueye Robotics, developer of underwater drones for ocean exploration, and plans to introduce the tools on its expedition ships, including newbuilds Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen.

'With the introduction of underwater drones, we are adding a new dimension for our guests,' Hurtigruten ceo Daniel Skjeldam said.

Developed in the extreme conditions of the Arctic where Hurtigruten has sailed for 125 years, the Blueye Pioneer drone combines compact size (15 pounds), power (four robust thrusters) and stability.

Blueye Pioneer's HD wide-angle video camera uses special technologies that work in low-light conditions and can stream true-color images live to screens on the Hurtigruten ships, or to screens or digital diving masks worn by passengers in smaller explorer boats.

The underwater drones will give the opportunity for adventurous travelers to become real explorers, Skjeldam said, adding that all findings and relevant video material will be made available to scientists.

Hurtigruten sails in remote destinations like Antarctica, the Northwest Passage, Arctic Canada, Greenland, Svalbard and the Norwegian coast. Now the underwater mysteries of these places will become accessible to all travelers on board.

Hurtigruten and Blueye share a common concern for the oceans and a will to educate and advocate through inspiration and understanding, according to Blueye co-founder and chief global strategist Christine Spiten.

The Blueye Pioneer will be a new tool for the shipboard expedition teams, opening a wide range of exciting possibilities for passengers, Spiten added.

Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen will be the world’s first expedition cruise ships powered by hybrid battery technology.

Underwater drones are the latest addition to a vast variety of custom-built expedition equipment passengers will find on board. The ships also will feature extensive inside and outdoor explorer decks, an immersive Activity Center, three restaurants, a fitness and wellness center, an aft top deck pool bar with Jacuzzis and an infinity pool, among other features.

See also 'Cool exploration tools' in Seatrade Cruise Review's September issue.