Hurtigruten could sail from UK this year if Covid-19 levels fall

Norway's Hurtigruten has hinted it could carry British passengers before the end of 2020
Norway's Hurtigruten has hinted it could carry British passengers before the end of 2020

Cruise line Hurtigruten has given a glint of hope to Britons missing their cruises that they may be able to sail before the end of 2020 – but only if the UK manages to lower its coronavirus三级成人视频 infection rate.

三级成人视频Speaking at a digital press conference from on-board Finnmarken as it sailed along the coast of Norway, chief executive Daniel Skjeldam said that should it be safe his company would “start to look at operating cruises” from Britain.

The Norwegian line became the first major cruise operator to restart ocean cruising since the coronavirus pandemic led to a global pause across the cruise industry in March.

It set sail from Bergen on Monday for a coastal voyage, carrying around 200 guests – mostly Norwegian but some Danish. From next week it will bring three more ships back into service.

This follows the return of river cruising in Europe, with a voyage in Germany earlier this month and another line, A-Rosa, sailing again from yesterday.

Hurtigruten's Finnmarken set sail on June 16, after a three-month hiatus

But for British cruisers eager for a taster of life on the water, a Hurtigruten itinerary may come this year – months before the line’s planned home-porting of one of its ships in Dover begins a year-round programme of expeditions.

After the “great success” of cruises around the British Isles onboard Fridtjof Nansen earlier this year, Daniel Skjeldam said: “We could accept UK guests onboard our ships to sail out of the UK before January 2021.”

These voyages wouldn’t visit other countries but instead “sail destinations around the UK”.

The first international cruise for Hurtigruten will be a 15-day itinerary on Fridtjof Nansen departing on June 26. It will be exclusively for German passengers, and as it stands passengers will only be leaving the ship for small boat cruises and kayaking – not for excursions on shore.

Britons are unlikely to cruise with other nationalities in the short-term, Skjeldam believes, as “the infection rates we see today in the UK, it’s not a situation to bring nationalities together” even when sailing from home shores.

Despite changes to the cruise experience, Skjeldam said those sailing were “really enjoying themselves” and that he had “not seen people congregating”.

三级成人视频Among the new measures in place are a smaller number of passengers – the ship is sailing with around a fifth of its capacity, and for the time being will not run at more than 50 per cent full – as well as temperature checks on embarkation and no buffets.

In line with Norwegian regulations, face masks are not required.

Despite being back in business, the chief executive remained cautious: "The crisis is not over – not for us, and not for cruise in general.”