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Hybrid-Powered Cruise Ship Is First Caller of 2020 Season to Belfast Harbour & Island of Ireland

2nd March 2020
Hybrid-powered expedition cruise ship MS Fridtjof Nansen is a Norwegian newbuild named after the first explorer to successfully cross the Greenland interior. The 500 passenger ship operated by Hurtigruten made a debut to Belfast Harbour at the weekend and also became the first visitor this season to the island of Ireland . Hybrid-powered expedition cruise ship MS Fridtjof Nansen is a Norwegian newbuild named after the first explorer to successfully cross the Greenland interior. The 500 passenger ship operated by Hurtigruten made a debut to Belfast Harbour at the weekend and also became the first visitor this season to the island of Ireland . Photo: Doyle Shipping -facebook

Afloat tracked MS Fridtjof Nansen, the latest addition hybrid-powered custom-built cruise ship for Norwegian operator Hurtigruten, which made its first visit to Belfast Harbour at the weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.

As previously reported on Afloat, Belfast Harbour was named the Best port of call in the UK & Ireland for cruise ships which totalled a record for the Ulster port in 2019 with 146 cruise calls and 280,000 visitors to the city and region.

Last Saturday's visit by the 21,765 gross tonnage MS Fridtjof Nansen into Belfast Lough followed a call to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, west Scotland. The newcomer to Belfast Harbour was also on a promotional call and remained overnight. In addition the ship was the inaugural cruise caller for this year's season.

Assisting the 140m long ship to a berth on the south bank of the Lagan downriver from Harland & Wollf shipyard was SMS Towage's Masterman.

MS Fridtjof Nansen featuring Hurtigruten's revolutionary battery hybrid powered propulsion system is more environmentally sustainable by reducing fuel consumption and CO2-emissions by 20 per cent.

Hurtigruten has demonstrated to the world that hybrid propulsion on large ships is possible following near identical sister MS Roald Amundsen. The leadship named after the first man to cross Antarctica and reach the South Pole was introduced into service last year. The hybrid pair are a first for the operator and designed to operate in polar regions and by serve as comfortable basecamps at sea.

Interiors of the newbuild not surprisingly have Scandinavian materials sourced from nature, such as granite, oak, birch and wool has been used to create relaxed and stylish cabins and public areas. All of the cabins are outside and 50% have private balconies and aft suites feature private outdoor hot-tubs.

Both new vessels were built at the Kleven Yards in Ulsteinvik, Norway. They have state of the art technology and offer premium on board experience as the next generation of adventure travel cruise ships for operations to far-flung corners of the globe.

A passenger capacity is for 530 though it is reduced to 500 when operating in Antarctica.

In addition to global cruises, Hurtigruten is famous for domestic cruises that begun in 1823 along the stunning coastline of this Nordic nation. This involves daily departures from Bergen to Kirkenes, in the Arctic Circle and close to the border with Russia.

Returning to the Irish Sea this morning and where Afloat again tracked MS Fridtjof Nansen to Douglas, Isle of Man having sailed overnight. The new visitor called to the Manx capital by berthing on the outside of the harbour's pier.

MS Fridtjof Nansen's call to Belfast Harbour is normally the first large port on the island of Ireland to welcome cruiseships each season. Note the harbour's online cruise scedule list is 'not' currently available.

In the case of Dublin Port cruise callers, click the (list) which starts with Saga Cruises veteran vessel Saga Sapphire scheduled to call on 11 March and on the 13th March by the new Norwegian cruise ship. On the same day, Saga Sapphire is also due to call at the Port of Cork, see (list). 

Published in Cruise Liners
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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