Jo Kessel boards Hurtguruten’s new expedition ship, Fridtjof Nansen, on a special inaugural sailing in the UK
It’s rare to go on holiday and be the first person to stay in your accommodation.
But as I board Hurtigruten’s newest expedition ship Fridtjof Nansen I am my cabin’s first guest on the ship’s first ever sailing.
It’s a five-night showcase voyage from London to Liverpool and my brand new Arctic Superior balcony stateroom (a double cabin which can sleep four) is impressive. There are bendy bedside reading lights. There’s more storage space than I can fill. And for families there’s an ingenious privacy curtain that can be drawn to turn the TV/sofa-bed area into a separate space.
Too often expedition ships favour functionality over style, but not 530-passenger Nansen, whose staterooms all have an outside view or balcony. Cabin decor is Scandinavian-chic, paying homage to the liner’s Norwegian roots.
Large mirrors give a sense of space and grainy birch furniture (including a knockout floor-to-ceiling headboard) is offset by accents of grey.
In all things green, however, Nansen leads the way.
The words “Hybrid powered” are painted on the ship’s side and Hurtigruten’s chief naturalist John Chardine explains how Nansen (and identical sister ship Roald Amundsen) uses 20% less diesel fuel than other liners.
“It has a big bank of batteries which enable us to save power. It’s the first ship I’ve travelled on where every watt you save, either by switching off lights in cabins or having a shorter shower, means that more electricity can be stored in the batteries and used to power the ship.”
Your clients can make a real difference on Nansen. Each cabin has a recycling bin and a sign to hang to forgo the daily clean. Do this and Hurtigruten donates half a euro to an environmental fund.
Waiters’ uniforms and hairdryer bags in cabins are made from recycled plastic and linen and single-use plastics are banned – instead everyone is gifted a reusable water bottle which can be filled at “Hydration Stations” on each deck.
And the expedition team arranges litter-pickups in port. That’s how I find myself on a nature reserve that is home to herons and terns near Weymouth, aghast at what’s nestling in foliage: tyres, polystyrene, stockings, you name it. Disposing of it is extremely gratifying.