(11:40 a.m. GMT) -- Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has announced a series of dedicated whale-watching cruises that will enable representatives from the marine conservation charity ORCA to carry out research and talk to passengers about their work.
The nine 2020 sailings mark the line's first year of partnership with the organisation that studies and protects whales, dolphins and porpoises in U.K. and European waters -- a region that is home to one third of the world's population of all three species.
Sailings will include the 16-night "A Voyage to Remote Spitsbergen," round-trip Liverpool on Black Watch, departing June 25 and the 16-night "Fjords & Icebergs of Remote Greenland" round-trip Dover sailing on Boudicca departing August 11.
During the cruises ORCA volunteers will collect data on whales and dolphins sighted and identify marine wildlife "hotspots". The findings will be used as part of the charity's Cruise Conservationist Programme, which has been running for the past decade and includes ORCA members leading wildlife watching on deck, giving lectures and hosting Q&A sessions. On the Fred. Olsen sailings they will also accompany passengers on excursions aboard the line's rigid inflatable boats (RIBs).
Steve Jones, Head of Partnerships at the charity, said: "ORCA and Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines share so many common values, and our burgeoning partnership has shown that the two organisations have a strong cultural fit.
"We’re looking forward to a promising future working together, both through the great itineraries we have announced for the rest of 2020 and the incredible adventures we are planning for 2021 and beyond."
Thomas Rennesland, Hotel Operations Director at Fred. Olsen Cruises, added: "These cruises will be mutually beneficial for both ORCA, Fred. Olsen and our guests. We know that whale-watching is a real highlight for those taking their holidays with us, and having ORCA on board not only supports the collection of vital data, but also enables our guests to learn more about the marine wildlife that they see on their travels, and further enriches their cruise experience."