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A fine old lady

The old coastliner MS "Nordstjernen" was built in 1955 and put into operation the following year. FOTO: Geir Barstein

A fine old lady

The Nordstjernen returns with millions in refurbishments.

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Oppdatert:
17.06.2015 kl 19:03

The summer of 2012 was supposed to be the last time she cast off and ventured out into Isfjorden, but this week the venerable ship was back in Longyearbyen for a new round of expedition cruises along the coast of northwest Spitsbergen.

Following its supposedly final voyage here, the former Hurtigruten vessel got a new owner and was declared a floating cultural monument by Norway's Directorate for Cultural Heritage.

In addition, she received an extensive facelift in Poland.

"Now she looks like she did in 1956," said Terje Skogheim, the ship's chief offer, during an interview with Svalbardposten on the bridge.

"It's hard work when all the equipment is so old-fashioned, but there is really a charm in bringing her here," he said.

Coming back
The Nordstjernen ("North Star") is scheduled to embark on two weekly sailings from Longyearbyen with room for about 100 passengers on board. She is scheduled to point her nose south again on Aug. 28, but this time not for good.

"We have an intention of five years, but we are signing one-year contracts. What we know so far is that the ship will return in 2016," said Hilde Fålun Strøm, Spitsbergen Travel's project manager for the cruises.

The charters are being provided by the Bergen company Indre Nordhordland Dampbåtlag, which purchased the Nordstjernen in November of 2012.

Millions spent
Strøm said the ship's restoration cost between 15 million and 20 million kroner, with the declared goal of accentuating and preserving "the original feeling."

Obviously not everything was nice and clean after more than 50 years of Hurtigruten sailings along the coast.

"All of teak is now plastered down, while all of the brass is polished up," Strøm said.

"Old lamps from 1956 and all of the art has been restored to their original condition."

The MS Nordstjernen is named after the star of the same name; the star that for centuries has been used by mariners to find their way north.

She was built by Blohm & Voss in Hamburg in 1955 and put into regular service for the first time on March 1, 1956.

In 2012, the ship was received cultural heritage status.


Translated by Mark Sabbatini

Nøkkelord

Se bildet større

Chief Officer Terje Skogheim looking forward to this summer. FOTO: Geir Barstein

Se bildet større

Wooden deck provides a nostalgic touch. FOTO: Geir Barstein

Se bildet større

The owner has spent between 15 og 20 million kroners for restoring «Nordstjernen». FOTO: Geir Barstein

Se bildet større

The artwork on the walls are restored and brought up to its original course. FOTO: Geir Barstein

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