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Having been traversing the coastline of Norway since the late 1800s, it’s safe to say that Hurtigruten knows a thing or two about crafting unrivaled Scandinavian cruise trips. But now, the operator is taking its appreciation for the natural world to the next level with the announcement of the first-ever emission-free cruise ship.

Set to launch in 2030, the sustainable ship will operate on the existing Norwegian Coastal Express route, which journeys from the southwestern city of Bergen up to the remote town of Kirkenes. The 12-day journey makes stops at 34 villages, towns and cities along the way, giving passengers a chance to immerse themselves in Norwegian culture and see the country’s spectacular scenery.

While the company has long been in the process of trying to limit its environmental impact, with a recent fleet upgrade to hybrid vessels cutting CO2 emissions by 25%, the latest announcement cements Hurtigruten Norway’s commitment to achieving net-zero.

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Norwegian Coastal Express route

The sustainable ship will operate on the existing Norwegian Coastal Express route / ©Hurtigruten Norway

“We have built our last fossil-fueled ship for the Norwegian Coastal Express. When we sail the coastal route for the next 100 years, it will be emission-free, making the world’s most beautiful voyage even more spectacular,” says Hurtigruten Norway CEO, Hedda Felin.

As well as being a stunning natural region for travelers to explore, the route of the Norwegian Coastal Express serves a dual purpose as the starting point in the development of green shipping. Having such a large number of calls throughout the journey affords Hurtigruten Norway the unique benefit of being able to make use of land-based green infrastructure, with the country’s political support for sustainable travel another significant plus.

To make its ambition a reality, Hurtigruten has partnered with Norwegian research institute SINTEF to carry out research, development and analysis for the project. The new ships are in the first stages of development, which involves a feasibility study assessing the operational and technological solutions for a zero-emissions vessel.

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hurtigruten cruise ship norway

The Norwegian government’s support for green infrastructure is a key benefit for the development of sustainable shipping / ©Hurtigruten Norway

The next stages will involve collaborating with other key maritime industry players to put initial findings into motion, with emission-free fuel and alternate propulsion and power systems naturally being the main focus.

“With this project, Hurtigruten Norway and SINTEF can show the world that green and sustainable passenger ships can be achieved in the near future. Cutting emissions in the maritime sector is by no means an easy feat, and we need ambitious companies like Hurtigruten Norway to take initiatives like this,” says SINTEF president Alexandra Bech Gjørv.

hurtigruten.com

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