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On a hybrid ship on an Arctic expedition

maria brios

The MS Roald Amundsen is Hurtigruten’s first hybrid expedition ship. We went on an Arctic voyage onboard for glacier and peak shaving between Tromsø, Nordkapp, and Spitzbergen.

Hurtigruten’s newest ship, named after Norway’s great explorer (disappeared without a trace on Svalbard in 1928),  Roald Amundsen, is 140 meters long, 23.6 meters wide, and has a draft of 5.3 meters. Ice class PC 6 allows trips through ice up to one meter thick, said Captain Benny Didriksen during my visit to the hypermodern bridge: “You can call that extreme ice conditions!” He should know, he has already had ten seasons in Antarctica and seven in the Arctic behind …

Hybrid for peak shaving

The combination of four diesel-electric machines, each with an output of 3,492 kilowatts (equivalent to 4,750 hp) and two lithium-ion battery blocks, each with 1,750 kilowatts, on a cruise ship is new worldwide.

“This technology is primarily used,” says chief engineer Jonny Johnsen, “for peak shaving. When the energy requirement increases, for example when putting on and taking off, the machines are not started up, but the batteries jump in. They are recharged as soon as the machines produce more electricity than is used for propulsion and ship operation.

It is not primarily about driving longer distances purely electrically. Should this be necessary, however, the current storage capacity is sufficient for 20 minutes? “

Soon, Hurtigruten will have to increase the expensive and heavy battery capacities by a factor of three: From 2026, only emission-free ships in Norway’s five world heritage fjords, Nærøy, Aurlands, Geiranger, Sunnylvs, and Tafjorden, will be allowed to sail.

Since 2021, six ships have been operating on the post ship route along Norway’s coast in gas-battery operation. In addition to LNG, Hurtigruten also wants to use LBG (Liquefied Bio Gas), which is to be obtained primarily from fishery waste and biomass from the state’s forestry. Peak shaving reduces the consumption of marine diesel by around 20 percent – and thus carbon dioxide emissions by 3,000 tons a year. As here we are talking about Pontoon boats, so if you want Pontoon boat to see here the best Pontoon boat dealer Memphis Tennessee.

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This is how you sleep and live

The MS Roald Amundsen has 265 outside cabins, around 50 percent of which – all suites and some of the higher-class cabins – have a balcony. Tasteful interiors with comfortable, adjustable armchairs instead of sofas characterize the almost 17 square meters “Polar outside cabins” as well as the “Arctic outside cabins”.

That certain something

The design. The distinctive, massive bow with a vertical stem cuts through the water instead of displacing it. This reduces the resistance forces and ensures smooth driving behavior. It was designed by Rolls-Royce, which was involved in many areas of the new building, including the “newly designed, particularly ice-resistant side thruster”, says chief engineer Jonny Johnsen, head of over 15 men in the engine and control room of the new Hurtigruten flagship.

The chic design of the cabins, restaurant, and bar areas bears the signature of Espen Oeino International, which has made a name for itself with luxury yacht design.

Spectacular: the seven-deck high LED screen in the atrium for films and live streams from the 360 ​​° camera on the mast or the underwater drone.

Environmental issues

For its 125th birthday, Hurtigruten banned “unnecessary” single-use plastic from the ship. When landing, you wear rental boots that are cleaned after each shore leave so that no biological foreign material is carried to other, sensitive landing sites.

With the “Norway’s Coastal Kitchen” concept, Hurtigruten does not use industrially processed foods and has removed endangered species from the menus. In addition, they want to reduce the amount of food waste by a fifth – to do this, they rely on digital recording and real-time measurement in food processing.

According to a resolution by the international shipping organization, since January 1, 2020, only fuel with a sulfur content of 0.5 percent has been permitted worldwide (sulfur content of car diesel: 0.001 percent). The MS Roald Amundsen sails with Low Sulfur Marine Gasoil with less than 0.1 percent sulfur content.

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Matters of taste

The main restaurant “Aune” under the aegis of head chef Yannick Peltier, who previously served on board the luxury cruiser from Ponant, serves international and Norwegian dishes in small but fine selections. The “Lindstrøm” is dedicated to Norwegian fine dining, although it is primarily reserved for suite guests.

There is a surcharge for the other guests and there are waiting lists (unfortunately I couldn’t get a table in five days). Burgers, dim sum, and pizza are available for an extra charge in the “Fredheim”.

What we particularly like

The partly glass Horizon pool at the stern. The science center, which is opulently equipped with microscopes, exhibits, science books, and interactive screens. And the competent expedition team with oceanographers, glaciologists, geologists, marine biologists, and ornithologists from all over the world.

They are not only active for the guests but, together with other colleagues from Hurtigruten, are also involved in environmental research projects such as the registration of polar bears on Svalbard (unfortunately we did not see any on our trip) and the statistical recording of the seawater temperature Norway’s coasts.

The MS Roald Amundsen is ideal for …

Active explorers with a high thirst for knowledge. 14 Zodiacs with Oxe diesel outboards (90 percent less nitrogen oxide emissions than classic gasoline engines) as well as 12 double kayaks and a couple of SUP boards and dry suits guarantee action on the water.

Karin Strand, Vice President Expeditions at Hurtigruten: “We are planning to equip the Zodiacs with electric motors shortly.” That would indeed be welcomed: exhaust fumes and noise impair the enjoyment of lonely fjords or glacier bays on excursions and landings. As is usual with Hurtigruten, there is usually one landing per day and a Zodiac cruise for everyone – and thematically appropriate lectures.

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