Russian Military Exercises Impact Arctic Cruises

Spitsbergen (Orjan Bertelsen)

Russian military exercises in the Arctic are said to be putting a damper on the booming expedition cruise market, and are impacting sailings to Franz Josef Land. a popular Russian archipelago for expedition ships.

Among the changes are two departures on Hurtigruten's MS Spitsbergen.

"MS Spitsbergen.meets the requirements of the Polar Code and has permission to operate in this part of the Arctic," the company said, in a statement. "Despite this fact, and at the last minute, the final remaining permits from Russian Authorities have unexpectedly been denied and we have not been granted the necessary final sailing permission to Franz Josef Land.

 "Hurtigruten has engaged in a long-term dialogue with Russian authorities about the planned expedition cruises. Their last-minute decision comes as a surprise, further highlighted by the very vocal strategy from Russian authorities to attract more cruise traffic and new operators in general – and Hurtigruten in particular – to Russian Arctic waters," the company statement said. 

Hurtigruten said it is in the process of reaching out to guests, offering compensations and alternative Hurtigruten expedition cruises.

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