(5:38 p.m. EST) -- Hurtigruten's newest hybrid-electric ship, Fridtjof Nansen, has completed sea trials ahead of schedule, allowing it to sail five pre-inaugural cruises around the British Isles and Scandinavia in March 2020, including four departures from the UK, including London, Liverpool and Portsmouth.
The vessel had been scheduled for delivery April 1, but the line now expects to gain possession before the end of 2019, presenting an opportunity for passengers to preview the new ship.
"Pre-inaugural voyages are normally offered to specially invited guests only," Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said in a statement. "We want to share the special occasion and give more explorers the opportunity for a first-hand experience of the incredible MS Fridtjof Nansen and our unique expedition cruises."
The trips give passengers a chance to travel on a ship powered by some of the newest maritime technology. The custom-built 530-passenger vessel utilizes special battery packs to support its low-emission engines, which Hurtigruten says reduce CO2 emissions by 20 percent.
The first pre-inaugural cruise leaves from London on March 7, visiting Portsmouth, Portland, Isles of Scilly, Douglas and Liverpool. The second leaves Liverpool on March 12, visiting Dublin, Cardiff, Fowey, Dartmouth and Portsmouth. The third, March 17, sails from Portsmouth to Dartmouth, Isles of Scilly, St. Peter Port, Ostend and London.
The fourth cruise leaves London on March 21 and navigates the Kiel Canal before calling on Aalborg and Oslo. The final voyage, March 28, sails from Oslo to Skagen and ends at Hamburg.
After the pre-inaugural voyages, Fridtjof Nansen will sail from Hamburg to the Norwegian coast before spending the summer cruising Greenland and Iceland. During the 2020-21 winter season, it will join fleetmate Roald Amundsen sailing the Antarctic.