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Behind the names: Hurtigrutens new expedition cruise ships

Press release   •   Aug 19, 2019 13:06 UTC

As they are transformed into full-fledged premium expedition cruise ships, the current MS Trollfjord, MS Finnmarken and MS Midnatsol, will be renamed MS Maud, MS Otto Sverdrup and MS Eirik Raude. This are the stories behind the names.

MS Maud, the current MS Trollfjord, is named after one of the most famous polar vessels of all time, Roald Amundsens “Maud” from 1917. The original “Maud” got her name from the first Queen of modern-day Norway, who also had her namesake in Hurtigruten’s 1925 flagship DS Dronning Maud (DS Queen Maud).

When she was launched in 1917 Roald Amundsen’s “Maud” was a revolutionary ship. Custom-built for Amundsen’s expedition through the North-East Passage, with an aim to drift over the Arctic Ocean and get as close to the North Pole as possible, she is one of the most famous polar ships in history. She spent years in the ice, and was fitted with scientific tools to document meteorological factors, geophysics and to monitor the sea water.

ROYAL: Queen Maud was Norway's became Norway's Queen in 1905.

Amundsen’s ship was named after Norway’s first queen in modern history, Queen Maud, who also gave name to Queen Maud’s Land in Antarctica. Maud has also previously been used at a ship name by Hurtigruten, DS Dronning Maud was a company flagship when launched in 1925.


HURTIGRUTEN: DS "Dronning Maud" was the company flagship when she launched in 1925.


MS Otto Sverdrup, the current MS Finnmarken, is named after one of Norway’s most notable polar heroes. Alongside Fridtjof Nansen, he was the first to ski across Greenland, a key contributor to several expeditions and captain on the legendary polar ship “Fram”. Sverdrup also has a close connection to Hurtigruten: Between the expeditions he was a captain on board Hurtigruten ships.


EXPLORER: Otto Sverdrup was a Norwegian explorer and polar hero. Photo: Fridtjof Nansen.

Sverdrup was a man with enormous strength; he was strong, stout and trustworthy. These characteristics made him one of legendary polar explorer and Nobel peace prize winner Fridtjof Nansen’s most valued men. Sverdrup took part in the world’s first expedition crossing Greenland on ski. He was later an important figure in several expeditions that defined Norway as a leading polar power. He was the captain onboard Fram during the attempt to reach the North Pole by drift ice, he led an expedition to the islands west of Greenland now known as the Nunavut-region in Canada. Later he also led several rescue operations in the Arctic in the search for other explorers.


MS Eirik Raude, the current MS Midnatsol, is named after one of the most famous Viking chiefs in history. Eirik Raude – also known as Eric the Red – got his name from his huge red beard, and is not only known for discovering Greenland, but also for giving the island its name.

Eirik Raude was born in south west Norway around the year 950, and emigrated to Iceland. But after being declared an outlaw he travelled west – and discovered what we today call Greenland. He stayed there for three years to explore, before returning to Iceland with tales about the fantastic land in the west.

VIKING: According to the saga, Eirik Raude discovered and named Greenland. 

He described the land as “Greenland” to lure other potential settles to join him to the new land. When later started his voyage, 25 ships followed him. 14 of the ships safely arrived in the new land and settled by the fjords of West-Greenland where they survived as hunters, fishermen and farmers with Eirik Raude as their chief. But he wasn’t the only family member with an urge to explore. His son, Leif Erikson later discovered America. Both have inspired generations of explorers and adventurers around the world. 

Hurtigruten - World leader in exploration travel

Building on 125 years of Norwegian pioneering heritage, Hurtigruten is today the world's largest expedition cruise company.

Hurtigruten’s rapidly growing fleet of custom-build expedition ships takes modern-day adventure travellers to the world’s most spectacular destinations on our Planet - from the High North to Antarctica in the south.

Being the world leader in exploration travel comes with a great responsibility. Hurtigruten is enhancing destinations and runs an responsible, sustainable global operation.

Hurtigruten is introducing the world’s first hybrid battery powered cruise ships, the MS Roald Amundsen and the MS Fridtjof Nansen. A third hybrid powered expedition vessel will be added to the fleet in 2021.