July 2, 2019

CLEAN CRUISING: Hurtigruten sails the world’s first battery-powered cruise ship

Words by Travel to change the world
Hurtigrutens, MS Roald Amundsen

Norwegian cruise company Hurtigruten marked a new chapter in maritime history yesterday, launching the first ever cruise ship to sail on battery power.

Hurtigruten’s hybrid-powered MS Roald Amundsen yesterday became the first cruise ship in the world to sail purely on battery power.

The brand-new expedition cruise ship moved through the water silent and completely emission-free, powered by her large battery packs only off the west coast of Norway.

Specially designed for some of the most spectacular but precious waters of the planet, MS Roald Amundsen features groundbreaking green technology such as the large battery packs which were put to the test as she left Kleven Yard in Western Norway for her maiden voyage.

Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam

“This opens a new chapter in maritime history. MS Roald Amundsen is the first cruise ship equipped with batteries, something deemed impossible just a few years back. Hurtigruten is setting a new standard not only for cruising but for the entire shipping industry to follow,”

Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

Hurtigruten took delivery of the world’s first hybrid-powered cruise ship from Norway’s Kleven yard last week. She has been built alongside sister ship MS Fridtjof Nansen, debuting in 2020.

What’s the challenge?

Climate change has already removed at least 75 per cent of Arctic summer sea ice volume at rates never before experienced in human history.

Plastic pollution is widely recognised as the single biggest threat to our oceans with an estimated 15 metric tons of plastic ends in the world oceans every minute of the day.

If this trend continues, this number will double in the next 10 years. This means that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans.

While more and more travellers desire to explore the remote Polar regions, it’s imperative that these fragile eco-systems are explored in a sustainable, responsible way.

Both for future generations as well as for northern and indigenous communities whose livelihoods rely upon a healthy Arctic today.

Pic World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

What’s the solution?

Named after polar hero Roald Amundsen – who led the first expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage, the first expedition to the south pole and the first expedition proven to have reached the North Pole – MS Roald Amundsen is set to honour his legacy.

Starting this summer, the hybrid-powered cruise ship will explore some of the most spectacular areas of the planet using the battery packs to support her low-emission engines.

Hurtigruten says the hybrid propulsion will reduce CO2 emissions by more than 20% compared to other ships of the same size.

MS Roald Amundsen’s maiden season includes expedition cruises along the Norwegian coast, to Svalbard and Greenland, before becoming the first hybrid-powered ship to attempt a traverse of the legendary Northwest Passage – following in the wake of the namesake explorer Roald Amundsen’s famed expedition.

In addition to eco-friendly expedition cruises along the west coast of North- and South-America – with destinations bigger cruise ships cannot reach – MS Roald Amundsen will head to the extreme south for a full 2019/2020 Antarctica season.

“Hurtigruten have built a game changer. The interest and support from the travel industry and travellers alike have been overwhelming. The desire to work and travel with the recognised world leader in Sustainable Expedition cruise travel is a clear indication that innovation of this type is valued by all.”

Hurtigruten Managing Director, Damian Perry.

Designed with natural simplicity in mind, facilities onboard the MS Roald Amundsen include a fully equipped Science Center, observation decks, an infinity pool, panoramic sauna, wellness centre, three restaurants and an Explorer Lounge.

What will the positive impact be?

MS Roald Amundsen is designed and built with sustainability in every little detail. In addition to the green technology, this makes her the first cruise ship in the world designed to be single-use plastic free.

Hurtigruten CEO says sustainability will be an integral part of the guest experience.

“From the hand-picked Hurtigruten Expedition Team to the industry-first Science Center, we will give the guests a deeper understanding of the areas we explore,” Skjeldam says.

Highly experienced Hurtigruten captain Kai Albrigtsen was at the helm as MS Roald Amundsen left the yard for her maiden voyage along the Norwegian coast.

“To captain a new ship and bring her from the shipyard is always an honour. With MS Roald Amundsen being a green pioneer makes this moment truly special to me and the rest of the crew. I am extremely impressed by the ship, the technology and how she handles. Now, we are all really looking forward to welcoming the first guests on board and create life-long memories together”.

Hurtigruten captain Kai Albrigtsen

Find out more:

A Hurtigruten beach clean up in Svalbard, Norway
A Hurtigruten beach clean up in Svalbard, Norway

How can you travel to change the world?

Congratulations! By reading this post and taking some of these insights on board, you’ve already made a difference.

Now you can easily create your impact by sharing your new-found knowledge with other friends who you think would also be interested.

Ultimately, responsible travel comes down to common sense – stay curious, keep yourself up-to-date with the challenges at hand and make yourself accountable for your actions on your travels.