Hurtigruten suspends expedition cruises after Covid outbreak

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Hurtigruten's Fridtjof Nansen in Norway earlier this year.
Hurtigruten's Fridtjof Nansen in Norway earlier this year.

Hurtigruten has temporarily suspended all expedition sailings on three of its ships, in response to the Covid-19 outbreak on the Roald Amundsen.

The Norway-based cruise line, one of the first to resume service this summer, this weekend said that 36 of the 158 crew on the Roald Amundsen had tested positive for Covid-19 and that 120 were negative.

Hurtigruten suspended the expedition itineraries on that ship along with the Fridtjof Nansen and Spitsbergen until further notice. The Roald Amundsen had been operating weeklong sailings out of Tromso to the Svalbard archipelago of the Arctic.

Hurtigruten said the decision has no impact on its coastal Norway itineraries.

"In light of the recent increase in new cases of Covid-19 globally, the only responsible choice is to suspend all expedition sailings until we are absolutely confident we can carry out our operations in line with all requirements from the authorities and with the even stricter requirements we have set for ourselves," CEO Daniel Skjeldam said in a statement.

The majority of the nationalities of confirmed cases are from the Filipino, Hurtigruten said, and three are Norwegian, French and German nationals.

In June, Norway became the first country to allow overnight, domestic ocean cruising. Hurtigruten said it was the first line globally to resume sailings with the Finnmarken's Norwegian coastal itinerary.  It ramped up service with the addition of Arctic cruises to Svalbard in mid-July. The line said last month it was ramping up its service from 4 to 16 ships by the end of September due to the high demand.

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