NORDSTJERNEN Returns!

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The classic scoop:  NORDSTJERNEN’s returnin’! The vintage Hurtigruten ship will be back in 2015, offering a season of cruises from Spitsbergen.

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A vintage post card view of NORDSTJERNEN in BDS (Bergen Line) colors. Peter Knego collection.

In rare but exciting news for vintage cruise and liner aficionados, Norway’s Hurtigruten has just revealed to MaritimeMatters that its classic MV NORDSTJERNEN (“North Star”) will be re joining the fleet after a three-year absence with a season of cruises from Spitsbergen to the Svalbard archipelago in 2015.

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NORDSTJERNEN in recent Hurtigruten colors, courtesy of Hurtigruten.  Note funnel markings and red boats.

The 150-guest NORDSTJERNEN was built in Hamburg in 1956 and was the longest serving ship in the Hurtigruten fleet when she was withdrawn and sold in 2012 to Bestland Rederi AS who invested some 2.5 million Norwegian Kroners in refitting her at Gdansk.

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NORDSTJERNEN returns to her original BDS (Bergen Line) livery, courtesy of Hurtigruten.

The protected ship’s most recent upgrade was done in accordance with the Conservation Ruling issued by the Norwegian Directorate Of Cultural Heritage, including the refinishing of all teak decking; the removal of all old layers of hull paint; updating of electrical equipment and machinery; refitting of all original lighting; replacement of C Deck portholes and the installation of new carpets and curtains. The ship’s original Bergen Line livery was also restored with the funnel returned to its black with white striping and the lifeboats again painted white.

Since the refit, NORDSTJERNEN has been used in varying roles as an hotel ship and on charter cruise service.

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An icy MV NORDSTJERNEN, image courtesy of Hurtigruten.

Hurtigruten’s new program of Explorer voyages will call at Longyearbyen, Barentsburg, the research town of Ny-Ålesund and the entire northwestern coast of Spitsbergen. The NORDSTJERNEN will visit such places as Magdalenefjord, Moffen and Liefdefjorden, and sail as far north as 80 degrees latitude (less than 700 miles from the North Pole) on two different itineraries departing from the settlement of Longyearbyen on Mondays and Thursdays between June 11 and August 24, 2015. Hurtigruten is also offering multi-day pre- and post-trip opportunities.

Hurtigruten, along with its wholly owned subsidiary Spitsbergen Travel, is the principal tourism operator on Svalbard, offering a series of popular longer voyages around the islands aboard its deluxe expedition ship MV FRAM and multi-day land adventures. “This strategic investment for the future, utilizing the MV NORDSTJERNEN, completes the range of services we offer in Svalbard. Now those guests with limited time for vacations can experience the spectacular Longyearbyen and sailing along the north-western coast with a product that only we offer,” says Hurtigruten Group CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

Fares vary by departure day, but all include hotel accommodations in Longyearbyen, a voyage with full board (excepting drinks), some meals ashore, a tour of Longyearbyen, a folkloric show in Barentsburg, all hikes and landings during the voyage, and transfers. Additional information, brochures and reservations can be obtained from travel agents or Hurtigruten.

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Hurtigruten’s 1983-built MV VESTERALEN as seen from the passing MV LOFOTEN.

Hurtigruten operates thirteen ships, including the classic MV LOFOTEN of 1964. To see what life is like on board, please see the “Catching Up With LOFOTEN” Sea Treks blog series on this site.

With special thanks to Mindy Bianca and Elliot Gilles

Peter Knego

Peter Knego

Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea.  With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications.  Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India.  He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
Peter Knego

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