The World’s First Ice-Class Hybrid Expedition Ship Ready to Set Sail

Courtesy Hurtigruten

It seems like every month we hear about a new a cruise ship that holds the title of “Largest at Sea.”

And it makes sense that cruise companies would seek to build bigger vessels as more than 27 million people go cruising each year. But, while that industry grows, so too does the concern for the environmental impact it’s having. That’s why one Norwegian cruise company decided to push the boundaries on what’s capable by creating the first hybrid expedition ship that’s ice class.

Next month, Hurtigruten will add a brand new ship to its fleet––the MS Roald Amundsen––which features new and environmentally sustainable technology that cuts emissions by sailing with electrical propulsion. (It can actually sail with electric propulsion for 15 to 30 minutes, a number they’re hoping to increase as the technology is perfected.) It’s these hybrid capabilities combined with the hull construction and efficient electricity use on board, according to the company, that will reduce fuel consumption and CO2-emissions on the ships by 20 percent.

What’s more is company also constructed the ship to withstand polar waters, given trips to Antarctica and the Arctic are some of their most popular voyages. So, it’s not surprising that Hurtigruten would name the ship after Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen who marked a first in exploration: becoming the first man to cross Antarctica and reach the South Pole.

Now they want to mark a first in the industry by being the first cruise line to “show the world that hybrid propulsion on large ships is possible.” In fact, the MS Roald Amundsen is the first of two hybrid ships Hurtigruten will add to its fleet over the next few years, proving their investment in this sustainable idea.

While the cruise line is excited about their new builds, they’re also working to make their other ships more environmentally friendly. While lobbying for a global ban of heavy fuel oil, they’re marking another first in the industry by rebuilding their existing vessels to run on a combo of large battery packs, liquefied natural gas, and liquefied biogas (LBG) made from organic waste, such as dead fish.