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Norwegian shipping company Northern Xplorer AS (NX) has announced the launch of an emission-free, luxury cruise concept with hydrogen-powered ships.
Editorial office / Oslo

NX plans to build a series of 14 ships that can accommodate up to 300 passengers in 150 cabins, supported by around 100 crew members. The first ships are scheduled to be operational from 2024/2025, well ahead of the 2026 regulations that will make zero emissions for cruise ships mandatory in Norway’s Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord World Heritage Sites.

Eco-friendy tourism

“This means the end of polluting cruise ships sailing in the world’s first zero emission sea zones,” says founder and CEO Rolf André Sandvik. He prefers to see small-impact explorations rather than overcrowded ships and destinations teeming with tourists. “Our concept is somewhere between ocean and river cruises. It’s for those who want to get up close and personal with new cultures, with a holiday that makes a positive contribution to local communities and the planet. We will offer exciting activities that support local employment. And conduct rigorous due diligence on suppliers to ensure our green philosophy spans the entire value chain, while also enabling scientific research and marine conservation.”

Sandvik is a master mariner with extensive experience at cruise lines NCL and Crystal Cruises. He previously founded travel company The Fjords, based in Flåm in western Norway, where as CEO he ushered in a new era of eco-friendly tourism with the commissioning of the hybrid electric ships Vision of the Fjords (built 2016) and Future of the Fjords (built 2018). Both ships were built by Norwegian shipbuilder Brødrene Aa and won the ‘Ship of the Year’ award at the SMM maritime trade fair in Hamburg in their respective years of delivery.

Clean technology

The new NX-ships now planned will be equipped with clean technologies, including all-electric propulsion, energy storage in batteries, hydrogen fuel cells and additional renewable energy supply (wind and solar). HVAC systems will provide protection against the spread of pathogens, while the extensive use of recyclable materials will promote circularity. The ships will also be equipped with LiDAR technology to detect plastic waste at sea and raise awareness of marine pollution. All vessels will be performance-optimised for superior energy efficiency and lower fuel consumption.

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