Hurtigruten, first established in the late 1800s, was initially used by the Norwegian government to help aid correspondence between the remotest parts of Norway’s vast and rather rugged coastline. Following a gradual fleet expansion and an increased focus on tourism throughout the last 30 years, this expert cruise line is now the leading operator for voyages in Norway. They also sail to Antarctica and Greenland, and recently we had a chat with Fiona Jobling, one of the wonderful Expedition Staff members at Hurtigruten, and we couldn’t help but ask a few questions about what her role entails and where she most likes to visit.
How long have you worked for Hurtigruten?
I’ve worked for Hurtigruten for over 20 years and have been on the Expedition Staff as a Tour Group Leader for 6 years.
How many expedition team members are normally on one voyage and what are their roles?
Depending on the Region, between 7 and 12. They look after the guest programme of activities and “edutainment”
What areas of the world have you visited with Hurtigruten?
I’ve been lucky enough to visit Europe, South America, the Arctic and Antarctic.
Which destination is your preferred and why?
This is always a horrible question! Hurtigruten’s Explorer Voyages visit so many places, how can you compare the destinations and their histories? Ice and rock to rain forest; wild open spaces, to a central mooring in a buzzing European city; mingling with the Inuit villagers in Greenland to the scientists in Antarctica; and Polar Bears to Penguins.
If you really want to pin me down, however, I do have to say Antarctica. There’s something about the sense of journey in getting there as well as its beauty, and a sense of admiration for those who have explored it without the home comforts of a Hurtigruten ship.
Can you give us a summary of a day in your life when you were in Antarctica?
Never a dull moment is the short answer. I’m normally in Antarctica as the Leader of Group Tours from the UK with pre-and post stays. On board, I’m liaising with my colleagues in the Expedition team.
In Antarctica, I’m up and out on deck long before breakfast is due to be served. To smell the air, see the land and ice, look for birds, seals, whales. But a day actually starts the evening prior when the Expedition Team meet to review that day, and discuss duties for the next.
There are many different duties for the Team during an Antarctic Voyage and they are circulated among the Team by the Expedition Leader. Fitting guests with their Hurtigruten jacket on arrival, compiling the Voyage Log, giving lectures on sea days, displaying information, escorting bridge visits, and participating in some of the after dinner casual entertainments. For landings, the Team head ashore first, mark the boundaries of the area to be visited and have allocated positions to assist guests, whether helping them on and off the RIB’s or explaining what they are seeing. Leading hikes, guiding ice cruises and kayaking, and overnights in camp – it’s all to be done.
Working on an Expedition vessel, the public areas are our “Living Room”, I love the relaxed family atmosphere that comes with international guests having a common interest in the region. Between lectures, landings and activities, I’m talking through the history and nature of Antarctica with guests. But not everything is serious, I’m also one of the models alongside senior officers in the after dinner Fashion Show. No frocks and no rehearsal! Beautiful Norwegian sweaters and activity wear.
What are the highlights of a voyage to Antarctica?
When is your next voyage and how long will you be away?
The length of time I’m on board varies from one to several voyages in succession, my next is on the inaugural voyage for MS Midnatsol. She is heading out of Bergen next month having had many extra facilities added for the Explorer Voyages.
Book Your Hurtigruten Cruise with The Cruise Line
The Cruise Line has been an agent for Hurtigruten for many years and we are proud to offer some incredible deals and incentives on a wide selection of Hurtigruten voyages to Norway, Greenland, Iceland and Antarctica. For further details, please call one of our Cruise Experts on 0800 008 6677.