A startup Norwegian company has announced plans to launch a regular car, passenger and cargo ferry link between the U.K. and the west coast of Norway.
The news is sure to be received with joy by the thousands of campaigners who have kept up calls for a direct ferry service to be reinstated across the North Sea since the last one closed in 2008.
Linking England with Norway’s west coast
Tentatively set to launch in 2026, the route will run between both Bergen and Stavanger on the west coast of Norway and Newcastle on England’s northeast coast. The company plans three weekly departures in high season and two weekly departures during the rest of the year.
If it launches to schedule, the ferry will be the first direct non-cargo sea transport between the two countries in 18 years.
A cruise ferry concept
According to the announcement from Bergen Cruise Line (BCL), the planned large cruise ferry will have a passenger capacity of 2,380 together with a large car deck and space for cargo. It will be crewed by 200 people.
The cruise ferry will feature a shopping street, several restaurants, casino, theater, beauty parlor, fitness center, and several bars including English-style pubs. An observation deck is planned for those who prefer a more relaxing voyage.
BCL claims the ship will be heavily automated leading to lower emissions and reduced movement of the ship in high waves. When approaching harbors, the vessel will be maneuvered on battery power, delivering zero emissions.
Now comes the tricky part
Before travelers get too excited, BCL still needs to raise the funding required to see the project become a reality. Work to raise the shipbuilding costs of approximately 2.1 billion Norwegian kroner ($206 million) begins soon.
The founding team includes marine services industry veteran Jan Harald Berg and technical maritime expert Frithjof Hustig. Jan Petter Eilertsen, whose senior management experience includes spells at Radisson SAS, Carlson Rezidor and Fjord Line, is the intended CEO.
The plans come just a few months after the successful launch of a direct ferry service between the north of the Netherlands and the south of Norway. BCL’s management team will no doubt be studying the launch of Holland Norway Lines as a blueprint for their own success.