14 December 2018

Roald Amundsen under construction, 13 December 2018

Yesterday, I had the chance to visit the Kleven shipyard in Ulsteinvik, Norway (as a representative of Cruise Business Review) and see Hurtigruten's new expedition ships Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen under construction. I have written a bit about the event and ships for Cruise Business' website here, and a more detailed article will follow for the magazine's next issue. Here on my blog, however, I thought I would share some pictures from the visit to Kleven, and take a look at what the Roald Amundsen looks like inside now and what it will look like when delivered.

As per the usual, all photos are mine – except, this time around, the artist's impressions from Hurtigruten, which are clearly marked. As usual, you can see the images in larger size by clicking on them.
The world's most environmentally friendly expedition vessel in the outfitting quay.

Roald Amundsen

IMO 9813072
Built 2019, Kleven Ulsteinvik, Norway
Tonnage 20 889 GT
Length 140,00 m
Width 23,60 m
Draft 5,30 m
Ice class PC6
530 passengers
530 berths
4 Rolls-Royce Bergen diesels, combined 14 400 kW
2 Azipull azimuthing propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 15 knots

Fridtjof Nansen

IMO TBA
Built 2020, Kleven Ulsteinvik, Norway
Tonnage 20 889 GT
Length 140,00 m
Width 23,60 m
Draft 5,30 m
Ice class PC6 
530 passengers
530 berths
4 Rolls-Royce Bergen diesels, combined 14 400 kW
2 Azipull azimuthing propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 15 knot

So, what was it like at Kleven? We had a chance to photograph the ships under construction (above and more below), were treated to several presentations from not only the people from Hurtigruten but also the Kleven shipyard and Rolls-Royce (who designed the ship), plus a lovely lunch of authentic food to be served onboard the ships. And, last but certainly not least, we had a chance to go onboard the Roald Amundsen in its incomplete guise, which is always an intensely interesting experience.

Presentations (and lunch) were the yard's welding hall, which also had this nice model of the Roald Amundsen on display.
Roald Amundsen under wraps in the lingering sunrise.
The Fridtjof Nansen is still in a more incomplete state – but fortunately (for photos) not under wraps.
Impressive ships up close, despite their modest dimensions.
Work at the yard didn't stop just because we were there – post-lunch the welding robots were in action (I believe building blocks for a ship under construction at the nearby Ulstein Verft shipyard), attracting the attention of many photographers.

Next, it was time for our tour of the ship. Obviously, with delivery still half a year away, most of the Roald Amundsen's interiors are still far from finished – which, of course, made the visit all the more interesting!

The forward battery room.
The first stop on our tour was of the most innovative parts about the ship – the battery room of the hybrid diesel-electric power plant. The batteries are charged from the ship's own engines, and then their output is used in "peak-shaving mode", aka allowing the engines always to operate at optimal output and getting extra power from the batteries as needed. Although to a layman like me it sounds counter-intuitive, this is expected to decrease emissions from the ship by at least 14 percent.

As you can see, the battery room is relatively empty. This, we were explained, is a concious strategy – as battery technology is currently developing at a high speed, Hurtigruten decided the sensible thing is to get additional batteries one technology has developed further, rather than get top-range batteries now and then discover in a few years they are outdated in terms of storage capacity. Considering how much resources the production of batteries takes up, this certainly lines up with Hurtigruten's sustainability efforts.

The forward engine room, with two Rolls-Royce Vergen diesels. As demanded by regulations, there is a second, separate engine room with two additional main engines.
The main dining room Aune, as it appeared yesterday...
...and as it will be in six month's time. Image courtesy of Hurtigruten.
In the passenger areas, the layout of the ship follows the model of existing 1990s/2000s generation Hurtigruten vessels surprisingly closely. Aft on the main deck is the main restaurant, Aune (named after Tinus Aune, who supplied food to make Norwergian polar expeditions).

Fredheim restaurent under construction...
...and as it will be. The windows especially look like they're going to be amazing (with all due respect to the decor, of course). Image courtesy of Hurtigruten.
With the new ships, Hurtigruten offers their passengers three different dining options for the first time. One of the two new restaurants is Fredheim, a casual eatery serving international cuisine (the name comes from a famous hunting lodge on Svalbard, a place visited by people world-wide). A third dining venue, which we alas did not see, is the extra-cost fine dining restaurant Lindstrøm, named after the cook who travelled with Amundsen both through the Northwest Passage and to the South Pole.
The science center did not look that impressive when we were there...
...but it not only looks to be impressive, it is also going to be innovative as heck. Image courtesy of Hurtigruten.
The Amundsen Science Center is found on the forward part of the main deck (where the existing Hurtigruten ships of the 90s/00s generation have their conference suites). This is by far the most exciting place onboard if you ask me; as an "edutainment" venue, it showcases the nature of the destinations the ship sails to and allows passengers to connect to the places they will visit already before they arrive. While a portion of the center is suitable to the traditional lectures, the space will be so much more than that, being akin to a science center or museum of science aimed at the general population on dry land, albeit of course smaller.

Forward of the science center is an enclosed observation deck.
Two cabins were already (almost) completely outfitted; here is a family cabin which should have a double bed, plus the convertible sofa you see in the foreground...
...and here is a standard balcony cabin for two.
The cabins will step up the standard for Hurtigruten ships: all will be outside cabins, with circa 50 having their own private balcony. Even the smallest cabins are a generous 23 square metres in size. Surprisingly – at least to me – the cabins are not made from prefabricated modules, but assembled in situ... which seems somewhat anarchonistic for shipbuilding of this day and age. (And without intending to brag, I am something of an expert in shipbuilding these days).

On the traditional top-deck location there is an observation lounge...
...which will look much better when it's actually outfitted. Image courtesy of Hurtigruten.
Again mirroring the layouts of the previous generation of Hurtigruten vessels, there is an observation lounge on the top deck, above the bridge. Personally, I am ever so slightly disappointed that the lounge is a single-level space and not a two-level space like those onboard the Trollfjord and Midnatsol – but that doesn't change the fact it's going to be a really impressive space.

The Roald Amundsen is going to enter service in May 2019, and I really hope I will have a chance to go onboard again to see the ship as it is meant to be. But for now, special thanks to Hurtigruten for the chance to see the ships as they are now, and to Cruise Business Review for letting me be the one who goes to visit Kleven.

Edited 15.12.2018: Additional information for the ships' technical details.

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