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ARCTIC NAMING: Ice breaks agains the hull as battery-hybrid MS Fridtjof Nansen was named in a ceremony at home in Longyearbyen, Svalbard. PHOTO: Espen Mills/Hurtigruten Expeditions
ARCTIC NAMING: Ice breaks agains the hull as battery-hybrid MS Fridtjof Nansen was named in a ceremony at home in Longyearbyen, Svalbard. PHOTO: Espen Mills/Hurtigruten Expeditions

Press release -

Named with ice ‘next to the North Pole’: Battery-hybrid powered cruise ship named in world’s northernmost ceremony

Hurtigruten Expeditions’ battery-hybrid powered MS Fridtjof Nansen has made history with the northernmost naming ceremony for a passenger ship – at the location where expedition cruising began in 1896.

In spectacular surroundings at latitude 78˚ North in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, the local community joined the celebrations of one of the world’s greenest and most advanced cruise ships.

“We are thrilled to celebrate more than 125 years of exploration and adventure travel where it all began. We couldn’t be prouder acknowledging this important milestone by naming this engineering marvel at the spot where our founder Richard With pioneered modern-day expedition cruising,” said Hurtigruten Group CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

Since founding expedition cruising in 1896 with sailings to the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, often dubbed “next to the North Pole”, Hurtigruten Expeditions has grown to become the largest and leading expedition cruise operator in the world.

Ice-breaking ceremony

NO BUBBLES: Battery hybrid MS Fridtjof Nansen was named by crushing a chunk of ice in her hull. PHOTO: Kim Rørmark/Hurtigruten Expeditions

Replacing the traditional bottle of champagne with a chunk of ice, godmothers and environmental advocates Hilde Fålun Strøm and Sunniva Sørby, named MS Fridtjof Nansen by continuing a Hurtigruten Expeditions ritual invented by polar hero Roald Amundsen himself

As Sørby and Strøm crushed the ice against the hybrid powered ship’s raked bow, the explorers quoted Amundsen’s words from when he named polar ship Maud in 1917.

“It is not my intention to dishonor the glorious grape, but already now you shall get the taste of your real environment. For the ice you have been built, in the ice you shall stay most of your life, and in the ice, you shall solve your tasks.”

The traditional godmother gift was also replaced by a joint donation to local projects by Sørby and Strøm’s Hearts in the Ice project and Hurtigruten Foundation.

EXPLORE MORE: The fascinating history behind MS Fridtjof Nansen’s godmothers

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COLLABORATION: Hurtigruten Group CEO Daniel Skjeldam with godmothers Hilde Fålun Strøm (right) and Sunniva Sørby (left). PHOTO: Espen Mills/Hurtigruten Expeditions

To honor the century-long Svalbard heritage, MS Fridtjof Nansen is also the first cruise ship ever to be registered in Longyearbyen.

“By naming this unprecedented ship after Fridtjof Nansen, on Svalbard, we pay tribute to him as an explorer and a scientist and to the rich arctic legacy of Hurtigruten Expeditions. We also salute our long-lasting relationship with the Svalbard community. This small-sized, battery-hybrid powered expedition ship will explore all waters – and she will do so proudly calling Svalbard home,” said Hurtigruten Expeditions CEO Asta Lassesen.

At home - in Longyearbyen

APPROACHING: Battery-hybrid MS Fridtjof Nansen about to dock in her new homeport of Longyearbyen, Svalbard for the very first time. PHOTO: Oclin/Hurtigruten Expeditions

Hurtigruten Expeditions offers a wide range of all-year expedition cruises and on-land experiences to Svalbard – and expeditions to more than 30 countries and 250 destinations across the world.

The company just added both the Galapagos Islands and pioneering expeditions to the unique West African archipelagos of the Bissagos Islands and Cape Verde to their range of offers.

“Exploration is who we are. We will always explore. Today is a very special day for me and all my colleagues onboard this magnificent ship. We are thrilled to welcome guests onboard MS Fridtjof Nansen to co-explore the remote corners of the globe with us – and wholeheartedly committed to explore in the most sustainable and respectful manner,” said MS Fridtjof Nansen Captain Bent Ivar Gangdal.

Godmothers Hilde Fålun Strøm (left) and Sunniva Sørby (right) with Hurtigruten Group CEO Daniel Skjeldam (fourth from the left), Hurtigruten Expeditions CEO Asta Lassesen (third from the left), and Captains Bent Ivar Gangdal and Svein Rune Strømnes.


FOR MEDIA: More images and videos of MS Fridtjof Nansen – and the world's northernmost naming ceremony – can be found here:


About Fridtjof Nansen

  • One of the most famous explorers in the history of polar exploration, professor of oceanography, diplomat and Nobel Prize laureate.
  • Born in Kristiania (now Oslo) on 10 October 1861. Died in Oslo on 13 May 1930.
  • Made the first crossing of the Greenland interior in 1888 on cross-country skis.
  • Reached a record northern latitude of 86°14′ during an expedition from 1893 to 1896 on board the famed polar ship Fram, attempting to reach the North Pole.
  • Was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922 "for his leading role in the repatriation of prisoners of war, in international relief work and as the League of Nations' High Commissioner for refugees."
  • Read more about Nansen here (external link from The Norwegian Nobel Institute)

About MS Fridtjof Nansen

Alongside her sister ship MS Roald Amundsen, the world’s first hybrid powered cruise ships - equipped with large battery packs and groundbreaking green technology.

Built: Kleven Yards, Norway
Gross tonnage: 20.889
Length: 140 m
Width: 23,6 m
Draft: 5,5 m
Guests: 530 (500 in Antarctica)
Staterooms and suites: 265
Cruising speed: 15 knots
Ice class: PC-6

On board facilities includes: A fully equipped Science Center, observation decks, infinity pool, panoramic sauna, wellness center, three restaurants, bars, Explorer Lounge, more than 50 % of cabins with private balconies.


Hurtigruten Expeditions - World leader in exploration travel

With sustainability and exploration at core, Hurtigruten Expeditions founded expedition cruising in 1896. Today, Hurtigruten Expeditions is the world’s largest and leading expedition cruise line.

Building on more than 125 years of experience dating back to 1896, Hurtigruten Expeditions offers big adventures on small ships, taking guests to over 250 spectacular destinations in more than 30 countries worldwide.

Hurtigruten Expeditions operates a fleet of small, custom-build expedition cruise ships, including the world’s first battery-hybrid powered cruise ships.

Hurtigruten Expeditions is part of Hurtigruten Group, the world leader in exploration travel, which also operates Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express, known as ‘the most beautiful voyage in the world’ and extensive land-based activities – including hotels, restaurants and more – through Hurtigruten Svalbard.


HX Hurtigruten Expeditions Press Duty Phone

HX Hurtigruten Expeditions Press Duty Phone

Press contact +47 47 666 888
Øystein Knoph

Øystein Knoph

Press contact Head of Media Operations Hurtigruten +47 977 39 224

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