Ship sail

Order of the world’s first zero-emission cruise ship

Northern Xplorer has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with Portuguese shipbuilder West Sea to build its first ship, which would be the world’s first zero-emissions cruise ship.

West Sea intends to build the 250-passenger vessel at its facilities in Viana do Costello north of Porto for delivery scheduled for the start of the 2025/2026 cruise season.

“As a shipbuilder focused on advanced, high quality vessels, we very much look forward to working with Northern Xplorer. We are proud to take the lead in building such an innovative and technologically advanced vessel of a high which will have minimal impact on the environment,” said West Sea Director Vitor Figueiredo.

“This is another step in our journey towards emission-free cruising. Having approached shipyards around the world for tenders, we are delighted to embark on this exciting project with West Sea. “” said Rolf André Sandvik, founder and CEO of the recently created Norwegian cruise company Northern Xplorer.

The vessel’s design features ABB’s all-electric propulsion system, including battery and hydrogen fuel cell technology that will allow it to cruise emission-free in Norwegian fjords and further afield as the green shift takes hold .

“We are very pleased on behalf of Northern Xplorer, and it was an honor to contribute our expertise to this pioneering project to prove the viability of environmentally friendly cruise operations using carbon-free fuel,” said Jorulf. Negard, vice-president. Business Development, ABB Marine & Ports.

NX and ABB are currently in dialogue with several subcontractors for ship systems. “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,” said Sandvik.

NX worked closely with Oslo-based Affinity Offshore AS, who “did a tremendous job finding the right shipyard for such an innovative project”, Sandvik said. “Our financial partner Clarksons Securities AS will assist us as the project lead, while I would also like to thank our fantastic vessel designer, Multi Maritime AS in Førde, who have worked tirelessly for three years with a design that is truly eye-catching. It is a vision for the future and it will be a gem to travel in.

Oslo-based business law firm Grønvigh, Tjersland & Indrevær DA played a pivotal role in creating the legal framework for the LoI. “As part of our mission to create maximum value for our customers, we are very pleased to support Northern Xplorer in its journey towards developing the cruise industry of the future,” said partner Jonas Tjersland.

The Letter of Intent is an important step towards creating a new paradigm in the cruise industry and to respond to Norway’s courageous decision to ban fossil fuel ships from its World Heritage Fjords from 2026. this revolutionary green ship, we aim to meet this strong demand,” said Sandvik.

Sandvik previously ordered the hybrid-electric touring vessels Vision of the Fjords (built in 2016) and Future of the Fjords (built in 2018) in its former role as founder and CEO of tourism company The Fjords. Built by Norwegian specialist shipbuilder Brødrene Aa, both ships won the ‘Ship of the Year’ award at the SMM shipping show in Hamburg during their respective delivery years. “It was an exciting project at the time and a world first enabling pollution-free travel in Norway’s UNESCO-listed Nærøyfjord. With NX, we’re taking things to the next level,” a- he declared.