This Week in Cruise: New Renovations, Itineraries for 2016

hurtigrutenFrom a big renovation project at Hurtigruten to new itineraries in the Falklands, cruise lines are looking ahead to 2016 this week. 

Hurtigruten has announced a big renovation project for 2016 that will see all four of its mid-1990s-built ships get new interiors and furnishings based on a modern Scandinavian design inspired by the fjords of Norway's west coast. 

The four ships will be rotated through the shipyard with work expected to take a little over three weeks for each of the four ships: the Polarlys (completed by February 2); Kong Harald (February 7); Nordkapp (April 19); and Nordnorge (November 18). The new Spitsbergen, undergoing a more major upgrade to fit in with the current fleet, will launch in the spring.

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic's Falklands 360°, the line's first-ever circumnavigation of the Falklands, will launch in 2016, visiting Argentina’s Isla de los Estados, or Staten Island, the newest nature preserve in the Southern Hemisphere.

Set aboard the 102-guest National Geographic Orion, the 13-day expedition will offer two departures on October 19 and 28, 2016. Often the day-by-day itinerary will change to take advantage of rare wildlife sightings or to allow photographers to take pictures ashore during golden hour. 

Travelers will also get a chance to hike Carcass Island, home to rockhopper penguins, and explore New Island, a former stop for sealers and whalers in the 1800s that is now home to bull elephant seals and other wildlife. The trip will also stop at Steeple Jason, one of the most difficult landings in the Falklands and a good place to spot black-browed albatross, as well as the capital of Stanley and the outer settlements, where guests will have a chance to meet the islanders. 

In terms of shore excursions, Windstar Cruises has named TV personality and conservationist Jeff Corwin as the line's first Private Event host of 2016. 

Corwin will host the Isla de Coiba: Island Experience Private Event on Windstar’s Costa Rica & Panama Canal itinerary on the March 5, 2016, voyage. He is best known as host of the multi Emmy award-winning TV series Ocean Mysteries on ABC and Animal Planet's Jeff Corwin Experience, as well as for his years of wildlife and conservation work. The Isla de Coiba: Island Experience will take place on Panama’s Isla de Coiba, an UNESCO World Heritage Site and national park that is accessible only by special permit. Coiba is a marine reserve located off Panama’s Pacific coast, and offers guests a chance to view wildlife such as howler monkeys, Scarlett Macaws, turtles, and more in their natural environment, as the island maintains 80 percent of its natural habitat.

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