Battery-powered Hurtigruten’s MS Roald Amundsen cuts emission by 20%

Hurtigruten's MS Roald Amundsen / Image: Hurtigruten
Hurtigruten's MS Roald Amundsen / Image: Hurtigruten

Traditional cruise ships pose all kinds of environmental problems, including air quality at cities that they frequently visit. But Hurtigruten – a Norwegian cruise, ferry, and cargo operator – is looking at a greener future for its fleets.

On Monday, the cruise operator said its MS Roald Amundsen became the world’s first cruise ship to sail exclusively on battery power. The ship, which is a hybrid electric-powered vessel, entered service this week after being delivered to Hurtigruten last week.

Named after the Norwegian explorer who navigated the Northwest Passage in 1903-1906 and was the first to cross Antarctica and reach the South Pole in 1911, the MS Roald Amundsen is designed especially for the frigid polar waters. The ship boasts the kinds of luxurious amenities you’d expect on a modern-day cruise ship.

The company estimates that the MS Roald Amundsen cruise ship won’t be powered entirely by traditional fuels such as diesel or gas. Hurtigruten Chief Executive Daniel Skjeldam explains, while the engines run mainly on marine gasoline, the ship‘s battery packs enable it to run solely on batteries for around 45 to 60 minutes under ideal conditions.

The battery pack will reduce the will reduce CO2 emissions by more than 20% compared to ships of equal size.

The MS Roald Amundsen is designed specifically for the frigid polar waters/ Image: Hurtigruten
The MS Roald Amundsen is designed specifically for the frigid polar waters/ Image: Hurtigruten

This opens a new chapter in maritime history. MS Roald Amundsen is the first cruise ship equipped with batteries, something deemed impossible just a few years back. With the introduction of MS Roald Amundsen, Hurtigruten sets a new standard not only for cruising but for the entire shipping industry to follow,” CEO Daniel Skjeldam said in a statement.

MS Roald Amundsen will sail 540 guests in 265 cabins, half of which have private balconies. These cabins will be fully equipped with the science center, observation deck, infinity pool, spa, gym, three restaurants and bars, and an Explorer Lounge.

This shiny new ship was cruising off the west coast of northern Norway on its maiden voyage when it was announced that the ship will switch to electricity from diesel engines.

Hurtigruten now awaits MS Fridtjof Nansen, another hybrid-electric ship that will enter service in 2020 with twice the capacity of the Roald Amundsen. And then the third hybrid-electric ship, not yet named, to come into service in 2021.