TORONTO — Hurtigruten is heading to the West Coast of Africa for the 2022/23 season, becoming the only expedition cruise line to explore the region next year.
The addition of the West Coast of Africa and its unique archipelagos – the Bissagos Islands and Cape Verde – to its growing list of new destinations was in response to growing demand for more warm water destinations, says the company.
A new 13-day itinerary onboard the MS Spitsbergen will depart for the first time on Nov. 27, 2022 from Dakar to four countries: Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal. Guests will also spend a day in Banjul, the capital of The Gambia, the smallest country in mainland Africa. All cruises out of Dakar include land-based adventures, including a pre-departure visit to the island of Gorée and a city tour of Dakar on disembarkation day.
The new itinerary marks the first in a series of expedition cruises to Cape Verde and the Bissagos Islands. In Cape Verde, known as a birdwatcher’s paradise, guests will spend four full days visiting the 10 rugged volcanic islands that make up the country, as well as colonial churches, palatial mansions and old forts. In the Bissagos Islands, where guests will also enjoy four days, the 88-island archipelago will afford plenty of opportunities to view hippos, dolphins, crocodiles, sea turtles, manatees and 500 species of birds.
“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,” said Hurtigruten Expeditions CEO, Asta Lassesen. “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.”
The expansion into Africa follows Hurtigruten’s announcement of year-round expedition cruises to the Galapagos Islands starting early 2022. The cruise line will also introduce a series of itineraries to the Canary Islands and Madeira for the 2022/23 seasons.
Added Lassesen: “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.”
The new Africa itinerary will sail on the MS Spitsbergen, which accommodates less than 200 guests and features Hurtigruten Expedition’s signature Science Center. In addition to its inaugural voyage on Nov. 27, 2022, other departure dates include Dec. 9 and 21, 2022 as well as Jan. 2 and 14, 2023.