Hurtigruten claims its new expedition cruise ship Roald Amundsen has become the first vessel to navigate the infamous Northwest Passage via hybrid propulsion.
Roald Amundsen arrived in Nome, Alaska, on Tuesday evening (10 September) after completing the 3,000 nautical mile journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
The ship, named in honour of Norway’s pioneering polar explorer who made the first complete passage between 1903 to 1906, is equipped with large battery packs to support its engines, which Hurtigruten says reduces emissions by more than 20%. Sister ship, Fridtjof Nansen, will enter service in 2020.
Captain Kai Albrigtsen said: “We have experienced gale winds, snow and ice. We have also witnessed spectacular sunsets, and striking scenery and wildlife. However, what has had the biggest impact on us is how warmly we’ve been welcomed by the local communities along the route, just as Roald Amundsen himself was. Their hospitality is what has made this a genuinely inspirational voyage.”
Daniel Skjeldam, Hurtigruten chief executive, added: “Only a few years ago, building cruise ships with battery packs was considered impossible; now MS Roald Amundsen pays tribute to the great explorer she is named after by traversing one of the world’s most fabled stretches of sea by hybrid propulsion.”
Roald Amundsen will now sail along the coast of North and South America to spend the winter operating expedition cruises to the Antarctica. The ship will return to North America in summer 2020 for a season of expedition cruises in Alaska.