In the days when everyone gets worked up about the newest cruise ships, it’s sometimes nice to look back and reflect on some of the ships that are still chugging along despite many years of service, still offering the chance to enjoy a delightful cruise.
It seems that these days you should almost measure a ships age in the same way you’d measure a dog’s. OK, maybe not the exact same, I wouldn’t go with seven years to every one real year, but maybe four – if a ship is twenty years old it’s sometimes viewed as being more akin to an 80 year old.
It’s not necessarily the case though, and I bring you to my example for today, which is the MS Lofoten. This ship is currently the oldest in the Hurtigruten fleet of ships and one of the oldest ships still sailing.
The ship was first built in 1965, meaning that in 20145 it’ll celebrate a half-century of service. Unlike a lot of the cruise ships that were built in the 60s and 70s that are still going (and there aren’t many), the MS Lofoten has only served under Hurtigruten Cruises, rather than a number of different lines. Think of it as the sort-of Ryan Giggs of the cruise ship world, but Norwegian rather than Welsh, and without all the shenanigans.
She’s been few a few different refurbishments to ensure it stays relevant, firstly in 1980 and then in 1985, 1995 and again in 2004. At the time of building she cost 17,000,000 kroner to build, which is just under £1.9million. Consider the new builds that have launched this year, the Royal Princess and the Norwegian Breakaway, cost around the £500 million and you get an idea of the difference 50 years makes (I’m aware that they aren’t comparable by size or features, but you still get the picture).
She’s an impressive vessel. In 2000 it was even granted protected status by the Norwegian Director General of Historic Monuments, which shows how revered the ship is. She can comfortably carry up to 400 passengers with sailings around the Norwegian coastline, and the occasional trip up to Svalbard.
Hopefully we’ll still see the MS Lofoten sailing for another few years. It would be great to see her reach another milestone. She reminds us of the heritage of cruising, and proves that you don’t need something built in the past few years to enjoy a relaxing, high quality cruise.
By Ian Lewis