Norwegian start-up Northern Xplorer has signed its first construction contract in the race to operate the world’s first zero-carbon cruise ship.
The company has chosen West Sea in Portugal to build its first ship, which should be ready in time for the 2025/26 cruising season.
“This is another step in our journey towards zero-emissions cruising,” said founder and managing director Rolf Andre Sandvik.
He explained that Northern Xplorer had approached shipyards around the world in its tender.
“We are delighted to embark on this exciting project with West Sea. It’s a modern and professional yard with a good track record,” he added.
The owner has worked with technology company ABB on the ship, for which no price has been revealed.
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“As a shipbuilder focused on advanced, high quality vessels, we look forward to working with Northern Xplorer,” said Vitor Figueiredo, West Sea Director.
The 250-passenger vessel will be built at its facilities in Viana do Costello, north of Porto.
The yard has already completed three small cruise ships for Mystic Cruises, and four more are on order.
The Northern Xplorer design features ABB’s all-electric propulsion system, including battery and hydrogen fuel cell technology that will allow it to cruise emission-free through Norwegian fjords and further afield as the green shift takes root.
No final decisions
The owner and ABB are in talks with several ship systems contractors.
“We haven’t made a final decision yet because we want to use the latest technology as it becomes available. Wherever possible, we also aim to select the most durable materials available on the market,” Sandvik said.
The vessel was designed by Multi Maritime in Norway.
TradeWinds reported that Northern Xplorer is planning a series of 14 identical ships with up to 300 passengers each that will operate in the Nordic countries.