Hurtigruten Expeditions is responding to guest demand for more warm water destinations by adding the West Coast of Africa and its unique archipelagos – the Bissagos Islands and Cape Verde – to its ever-growing list of new destinations. The 13-day itinerary includes four countries: Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, and Senegal, with MS Spitsbergen based out of Dakar, one of Africa’s most bustling cities.
The expansion follows the cruise line’s recent launch announcement of year-round expedition cruises to the Galapagos Islands starting early 2022. Besides its first-ever African expedition cruises, Hurtigruten will also introduce a series of itineraries to the Canary Islands and Madeira for the 22/23 seasons.
“2022 will be one of the most adventurous years for Hurtigruten Expeditions. We will start the year by launching our Galapagos operations in January, and at the end of the year, we will introduce our first African cruises. We are very excited about expanding to new unique destinations, which complements our Caribbean and South American expedition cruises and strengthens our global position,” said Hurtigruten Expeditions CEO Asta Lassesen.
“We know our guests want to explore many different parts of the globe, and our ambition is to offer the world’s most exciting destinations that can best be explored by our small ships. With the Bissagos Islands and Cape Verde, we offer a truly unique and off-the-beaten-track destination that is perfect for an expedition adventure like no other,” said Lassesen.
Hurtigruten Expedition’s first-ever African adventure will depart on November 27, 2022, and will be the first in a series of expedition cruises to visit Cape Verde and the Bissagos Islands. One of the world’s most untouched destinations, the Bissagos Islands will offer guests a combination of distinctive wildlife and diverse landscapes as they enjoy four days exploring the 88-island archipelago that is home to hippos, dolphins, crocodiles, sea turtles, manatees, and 500 species of birds.
Guests will explore Cape Verde and the Bissagos on board the extremely popular MS Spitsbergen, the best small cruise ship in Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice awards 2018. With fewer than 200 guests, the small expedition cruise ship entered service in 2016, providing an intimate and exclusive setting onboard. The ship also features Hurtigruten Expedition’s signature state-of-the-art Science Center. The industry-leading Science Program includes a wide range of Citizen Science research projects that guests are encouraged to participate in during their trip.
Cape Verde offers a distinctively different scenery compared to the Bissagos. Hurtigruten Expedition’s itineraries spend four full days visiting ports and destinations that no other cruise ships include. The ten rugged volcanic islands that make up the country boast a unique blend of African and Portuguese influences. Besides colonial churches, palatial mansions, and old forts in many of the cities and towns spread out across the archipelago, the islands are also a birdwatcher’s haven with many migratory and endemic species crisscrossing the islands. Other wildlife includes whales, dolphins, and sea turtles.
The itinerary also includes a day in Banjul, the capital of The Gambia, the smallest country in mainland Africa. All cruises out of Dakar include land-based adventures as part of the itinerary. Before departure, guests will explore the impressive island of Gorée, where they will experience the colorful colonial houses, baobabs, and palm trees and immerse in the dark history of this former slave island. A city tour of Dakar is included on the disembarkation day, where guests will experience the charming multi-faceted city while discovering its historical moments and driving along the corniche.
Hurtigruten Expedition’s new African cruises will depart Dakar on November 27, December 9 and 21, 2022, and January 2 and 14, 2023.
While the Canary Islands and Madeira are known tourist destinations among European travelers, Hurtigruten Expedition’s cruises will show a different side of these islands, focusing on great hiking, national parks, and cultural walking tours. Wildlife includes whales, dolphins, and various birds. Madeira is also home to endemic and invasive plant species, with one optional excursion allowing guests to identify and remove invasive species with a local naturalist. The five 10-days sailings to the Canary Islands and Madeira in November 2022 and January through March of 2023.