(8:00 a.m. EDT) -- Norway-based cruise line Hurtigruten has confirmed it will return 14 of its 16 ships back into operation from next month.
The line restarted cruising along the Norwegian coastline on June 16 on MS Finnmarken, and has gradually increased the number of ships plying this route to four, as well as a round-trip Hamburg cruise.
From mid-July, MS Roald Amundsen and MS Spitsbergen will offer six- to 15-day voyages on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.
Seven additional ships will be added to the Bergen to Kirkenes voyage along the Norwegian coast in August and September.
"With the safety and well-being of our guests and crew as our number one priority, the response to our successful return to sailing last month has been extremely positive from both the local communities, our guests and crew. As travel restrictions are lifted, we are now entering the next phase of our step by step return to full operation, , Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said.
There have not been any confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 on any of Hurtigruten ships since the restart. Hurtigruten has implemented strict health protocols, including reduced capacity to allow for social distancing, strict hygiene protocols, health checks and -screenings, frequent temperature readings upon boarding and entry to restaurants, and numerous other measures.
The line will start a series of British isles cruises from Portsmouth on September 2, Liverpool (Sep 7 and 17) and Glasgow (Sep 12) on its battery-powered hybrid ship, Roald Amundsen.
The short expedition cruises will call in at lesser-known parts of the UK including the Isles of Scilly, Fowey, Rathlin Island, Fort William, Oban, Fishguard and Waterford.
In June, Hurtigruten announced its 2021 plans for year-round expedition cruise departures from Dover and Hamburg to Norway, Southern Scandinavia and the British Isles.