Havila Kystruten became the first to operate emissions-free cruises in Geirangerfjord (Norway)

   June 6, 2022 ,   Cruise Industry

The Norwegian cruiseferry company Havila Voyages made history on June 2, 2022, becoming the first to operate 100% emissions-free while navigating in Geirangerfjord (UNESCO heritage site).

Havila demonstrated its battery power system, which is said to be the biggest on any vessel in operation, while also discussing the challenges/future potential.

The 15800-GT-ton Havila Castor (max passenger capacity 680 plus 76 staff/crew) is the second of all four Turkey-built cruise ships/coastal ferries. The boats incorporate multiple elements designed to increase environmental performance and operating efficiency. In addition to the battery pack (capacity of 6,1 MWh), the vessels run on LNG (as the primary fuel) and their hulls are specially designed for maximum energy efficiency. Excess heat from cooling water and sea is used for heating onboard.

The company has been promoting that the ship can operate for up to 4 hours on her battery pack. During Thursday’s trip in Geirangerfjord, Havila Castor used her battery-powered propulsion for 3 hours. Hurtigruten, by comparison, said 3 years ago its hybrid expedition cruise ships could comfortably operate on batteries for 45 to 60 minutes.

Bent Martini, CEO of Havila Kystruten, said they had spent just over 60% of the battery's capacity on the voyage and that demonstrated to them that the goal of 4 hours on the battery was achievable.

“With even more testing and adaptation of all energy use on board, we will eventually be able to sail the entire world heritage route emission-free without major challenges.”

Prior to the change to battery operation, the passengers onboard were encouraged to be aware of the use of electricity for lights, heating, and mobile charging, in addition to the hotel operation of the ship reducing its power consumption.

Port of Geiranger (Norway)

Havila Kystruten highlighted that the Norwegian Parliament had decided in 2018 that cruise ships and ferries had to sail emissions-free in Norway’s World Heritage fjords. They said it should happen as soon as technically possible (not later than 2026). 

And Havila achieved the goal 4 years before the deadline.