Norwegian shipbuilder Kleven Maritime at Ulsteinvik, Western Norway, has signed an agreement with Hurtigruten to build up to four what are termed expedition-style passenger ships.
The core business of Narvik based Hurtigruten is the passenger, car and express cargo service between Bergen and Kirkenes, but the decision was made several years ago to diversify into specialist cruising especially in the polar regions and it seems to be increasingly successful.
Hurtigruten’s current fleet consists of 14 ships. Initially the cruise ships were considered as dual use and could be used on the Norway coastal service, but these new ones increasingly appear rather too specialist and too large. The new vessels will be designed by Rolls-Royce which has a regional HQ in Ulsteinvik. The order is expected to have secured hundreds of jobs at Kleven.
The Memorandum of Understanding involves the construction of two ships with options to build two additional vessels. This is the largest investment in Hurtigruten’s 120-year history. Delivery will begin in 2018.
I like the look of them, partly I think due to the innovative paint scheme. If only they had the style though of Stella Polaris which Bergen Line developed as a cruising yacht. She sank under tow in 2006 after serving as a leisure centre in Japan.