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

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 percent 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.

10 December 2018

Book review: Ferries of Scandinavia by Matthew Punter

Matthew Punter: Ferries of Scandinavia, the Baltic Sea and the Nordic countries. Ferry Publications: Ramsey 2018. 144 pages.

For a change, I'm featuring a book here that I haven't written anything for – instead, Matthew Punter's Ferries of Scandinavia features numerous photos that I have taken. Most of them will of course be familiar from this blog, but certainly it's different seeing them printed in a book. (Although, full disclosure, I did proofread the manuscript and offer some feedback).

Unlike some of the other books in Ferry Publications' Ferries of... series, Ferries of Scandinavia is not a pure photo book, but a lavishly illustrated overview of the ferry scene of Scandinavia, the Baltic Sea, Faroe Islands and Iceland. The book is divided into six segments: Northern Baltic, Southern Baltic, Kattegat & Skagerrak, Danish Domestic, Norwegian Domestic and Iceland & the Faroe Islands.

As an overview, the book is a very welcome addition, as no such volume previously existed. Personally, I especially enjoyed the last three chapters, as the domestic services of Denmark, Norway, Iceland and the Faroes are not something I would have detailed knowledge of. For all regions covered, there is also a short look into the local ferry history, as well as a more general history of the overall Scandinavian ferry development in the beginning of the book. These, unfortunately, have several small errors in them, such as wrong delivery years for ships or wrong routes. Nothing major, but it is somewhat irritating these have not been fixed. Whether such small errors are a dealbreaker is, of course, entirely up to each individual reader.

The photos range from great (these include ones from the likes of Kim Viktor, Søren Lund Hviid and, of course, yours truly, so there are bound to be great ones) to decent. While the standard is towards the great photos, some of the choices did make me wonder if the photo used in the book was really the best one available – although this may also be a matter of personal preference.

Despite the occasional piece of criticism, overall Ferries of Scandinavia is a very good book that nicely fills a gap in ferry literature and is certainly worth the price of admission. Ferries of Scandinavia is available from well-stocked bookshops – but for those of us living in countries that no longer have such luxuries (like Finland), I recommend getting yours from the Ferry Publications website (which, for some reason, shows the book with a different – and arguably superior – cover).

Kships will return later this week with, I hope, some very interesting pictures of certain under-construction cruise ships.

02 December 2018

Trollfjord in Ålesund, 2 October 2017

Since I will be heading back to the lovely Norwegian town of Ålesund soon (unfortunately only passing through en-route elsewhere), I thought this week would be a fine time to post some previously unreleased ship photos taken there.


IMO 9233258
Built 2002, Bruce Shipyard Landskrona, Sweden (hull) / Fosen Mek. Verksted Rissa, Norway (outfitting)
Tonnage 16 140 GT
Length 135,75 m
Width 21,50 m
Draft 4,90 m
822 passengers
636 berths
35 cars
2 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 8 280 kW
2 Aquamaster azimuthing propellers
3 bow thrusters
Speed 18 knots

The Trollfjord was the second of Hurtigruten's so-called "Millennium ships" (albeit the first in the series, the Finnmarken delivered earlier in the same, was of a completely different design). It was ordered in June 2000 by the Troms Fylkes Dampskibsselskap (TFDS) from the Fosen shipyard in Rissa, Norway, although the hull construction was subcontracted to the Bruce Shipyard in Sweden. The ship's exterior, quite different from the previous newbuildings in the Hurtigruten fleet, was by Falkum-Hansen Design, who also designed the interiors and the general arrangement plan. The Trollfjord was delivered May 2002, delayed by some six weeks. After the first summer season, the ship returned to its builders for the installation of a third bow thruster unit.

In 2006 the Trollfjord lost its original attractive TFDS funnel colours (a broad white stripe flanked by two anrrow red ones on a black background) when TFDS and the other Hurtigruten partner Ofotens og Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskap merged to form Hurtigruten ASA. This did not have an effect on the ship's operations, of course. As is perhaps inevitable on such a hectic schedule, the ship has experienced the occasional accident, such as minor groundings and collisions, but none have been severe. At the time of writing, the ship remains in the Norwegian coastal service, but when Hurtigruten loses a part of the state-subvented service to the newcomer Havila Kystruten in 2021 the Trollfjord is, to my understand, one of the ships slated to ne moved to be a full-time cruise ship.

The photos below show the Trollfjord moored at Ålesund during the post-midnight call in the port on the route southbound from Kirkenes to Bergen on 2 October 2017. As per the usual, click on the images to see them in larger size.

I did take some photos of the ship at sea, too, but the lighting conditions were such that none of them turned out too good. It would be interesting to try something similar around midsummer...
Contemporary Norwegian architecture, ship and buildings all.
A bit more unusual view, but one I very much like.

As always, Kships will return.