This week, we’re taking a look at what makes Hurtigruten’s MS Roald Amundsen a contender for the title of The World’s Greenest Cruise Ship…
Here’s a question for you – what if you could cruise with minimum addition to your carbon footprint, sailing the seas without adding to the pollution plaguing the world’s oceans and air? And what if Roald Amundsen paved the pathway for this new, conscientious cruising? Amundsen the ship, not the explorer, of course.
Just to begin with, Amundsen the man was an early 20th-century pioneer, innovator and polar explorer par excellence. He put Norway on the map as a ground-breaking country, and he staged a daring ‘race to the South Pole’ with Robert Falcon Scott, becoming the first man to reach the world’s southernmost point in 1911.
As well as his South Pole exploits, the redoubtable Norwegian led the first expedition to successfully navigate the Northwest Passage (in 1906) and the first proven group to reach the North Pole (1926). His name continues to resonate today as one of unique attributes, courage and originality.
“A New Chapter In Maritime History”
The new vessel is very possibly the world’s greenest cruise ship built to date, and those involved in her construction are this week lauding her as a maritime pioneer in her own right. Setting out on her maiden voyage from Trømso on July 2, it marked the first time a cruise ship has sailed purely on battery power, highlighting a new frontier in hybrid engines.
Just to start with, the Amundsen is a purpose-built expedition-style ship from the Kleven shipyard in Ulsteinvik, created to sail in the more sensitive waters of the world and, hence, to do so in a more eco-friendly manner.
As well as an ice-hardened hull and wave-piercing bow, she will have her own Science Centre, extensive observation decks and a sleek Scandinavian design that sets her apart from most of the ocean-going monoliths that are more like Las Vegas-At-Sea.
There are no single-use plastics of any kind on board, and Hurtigruten insists she is built “with sustainability at the core.”
But the most important attribute of the newcomer is her radical Rolls Royce-designed propulsion unit, a rare combination of tradition diesel and electric motors (the big brother of the Toyota Prius, if you like!) that allow her to cruise using the huge, specialised battery packs virtually silently and with ultra-low emissions in the polar areas.
When the ship is in these more ecologically sensitive regions, it can switch to 100 per cent battery power and sail without putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere while, overall, she will emit more than 20 per cent less CO2 than traditional ships.
Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam insisted: “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. With her introduction, Hurtigruten sets a new standard not only for cruising but for the entire shipping industry to follow.”
The Kleven yard is already building a sister ship, MS Fridtjof Nansen, due to debut next year, and a third for 2021. Project manager Asbjørn Vattøy insists: “In the world of ship-building, some projects stand out. This is one of them.
“MS Roald Amundsen is not only one of the most advanced expedition cruise ships in the world, but she is also a premium cruise ship with a number of ground-breaking solutions. We are extremely proud of the ship, which is the result of a tremendous team effort of the Kleven employees and our sub-contractors.”
Highly experienced Hurtigruten captain Kai Albrigtsen was at the helm as the new vessel set sail from Trømso on her maiden voyage along the Norwegian coast. And he said: “To captain a new ship and bring her from the shipyard is always an honour. With MS Roald Amundsen being a green pioneer, this makes the 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 guests on board and creating life-long memories together.”
Perhaps just as impressive from the passenger point of view is the level of quality and facility on board. In the course of the past 10 years, Hurtigruten has steadily been increasing its product delivery from a very standard three-star level to four-star-plus, transforming from its original style as a pure coastal service to a genuine cruise company.
In addition to the high-tech Science Centre, their latest vessel boasts an infinity pool, a panoramic sauna, a spa and wellness centre, three restaurants and bars, a lavish Explorer Lounge and a range of extremely stylish accommodations, including aft-facing suites with private outdoor hot tubs.
Skjeldam added: “MS Roald Amundsen is designed and built with sustainability at the core of 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. Sustainability will be an integral part of the guest experience. From the hand-picked Hurtigruten Expedition Team to the industry-first Science Centre, we will give guests a deeper understanding of the areas we explore.”
MS Roald Amundsen – Maiden Season
The 530-passenger ship’s maiden season will include cruises along the Norwegian coast to the Arctic (featuring itineraries in Svalbard and Greenland), and then across to the west coast of North America, including a highly fitting traverse of the Northwest Passage, before travelling down the west coast of South America and on to Antarctica.
For those looking to get in on the Amundsen’s maiden season, she is booking up quickly for the American sections of her first season, while the full Antarctic programme is also proving extremely popular. But don’t worry if you miss out this year – the Fridtjof Nansen will be along in summer 2020, so there will be even more choice to visit these rare and rewarding parts of the world in true ‘green’ style!
Are you interested in sailing on the Roald Amundsen, and is ‘green’ cruising important to you? Add your thoughts in the Comments section below.