While you make take for granted that you can now jump on a ship and sail the Antarctic waters, years of sailing and development have made this journey possible.
It all began with the rich fishing grounds along the Norwegian coast. As this important seaway was lined with perilous reefs, small islands and narrow inlets, it was essential that a safe trade route was established to link the southern and northern regions of Norway.
In the late 1800s, maritime maps were unreliable and the concept of travelling between northern and southern Norway was a fresh concept. When the decision to sail the waters that separated the two ends of Norway was made by the country’s government, Richard With and Anders Holthe took on the challenge of mapping the unchartered seas along the Norwegian coastline.
In 1893, Captain With’s steamer, DS Vesteraalen, was brought into regular service along the coast of Norway and Hurtigruten was established. The ship ran a daily service, first from Trondheim to Hammerfest and later from Bergen to Kirkenes. The trip was completed in seven days; With called this connection ‘hurtig ruten’ (fast route).
Hurtigruten is renowned for its comprehensive and adventurous voyages to some of the most beautiful, remote and dramatic coastlines on the planet. With 117 years of maritime experience and a fleet of 13 comfortable ships, it offers voyages which go beyond the realms of other cruise companies, providing and opportunity to encounter incredible environments, wildlife and people.
Hurtigruten ships have been an integral part of Norwegian coastal life for generations, with daily departures from Bergen crossing the Arctic Circle to sail deep into the heart of this spectacular landscape. Beneath the dazzling brilliance of the Midnight Sun or Northern Lights, these regular sailings call into remote ports almost never visited by commercial liners, delivering goods and passengers to isolated communities lying amidst a backdrop of breathtaking scenery.
Greenland, Spitsbergen and Antarctica
Hurtigruten’s intrepid Norwegian spirit also inspired it to go further, to explore landds far beyond its natural horizons – Spitsbergen, Greenland and Antarctica – where regular shore excursions and on board lectures unveil some of the most inaccessible, unexplored and enticing locations on Earth.
To experience the historic and magical voyage for yourself, contact Bentours on 1800 221 712 or visit www.bentours.com.au.