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Cruise lines come together to protect Norwegian fjords

A biking tour in Ålesund, a town expecting to receive 570,000 cruise passengers in 2022
On Oct. 5, 13 cruise lines comprising 23 representatives from around the world met online with Ålesund Cruise Network, the ports of Ålesund, Geirangerfjord, Kristiansund, Molde & Åndalsnes and Visit Alesund members to work on a plan for more sustainable cruise tourism in the Norwegian fjords.

‘Our goal is to work together with the cruise lines to develop sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions,’ explained Monica Berstad Mæland, CEO, Ålesund Cruise Network. ‘Our goal is to work together with cruise lines and other stakeholders to come up with creative new concepts for land-based activities and year-round cruise destinations.’

She went on to add, ‘We will do this by looking into the itineraries and infrastructure, combined with attractions and activities this area can offer.’

On the agenda

The digital round table was intended to start a dialogue exploring new, sustainable opportunities in the region.

Participants looked at cooperating to navigate the green transition as environmental requirements are tightened, with Norway’s new National Tourism Strategy focussing on the importance of creating local value with a smaller footprint.

The ports are working to facilitate – with the development of an onshore power supply – waste management and the introduction of the Environmental Port Index.

According to a spokesperson for Ålesund Cruise Network, short distances between the ports makes it possible to sail between them at a slower pace, using less fuel. They claim that longer port calls and spreading cruise traffic – while taking advantage of ports’ close proximity to key attractions – creates value for local businesses and leads to lower emissions.

Møre and Romsdal

Møre and Romsdal is the second largest county in Norway in terms of the number of cruise calls and has spoken out on its aim to become Norway’s most sustainable county.

Said Mæland, ‘The county has welcomed cruise ships for more than 100 years and hopes to do so for a 100 more.’

Predicted 2022 cruise calls

Ålesund expects 263 calls and 570,000 cruise passengers across the whole of 2022, with growth in the shoulder season. From January to the end of April, it has 52 calls and 67,000 passengers.

Molde & Åndalsnes anticipates a total of 133 calls and 310,000 cruise passengers throughout next year, most of the calls taking place in the summer months, while Kristiansund has 47 calls and 36,000 passengers scheduled for arrival during the year, with calls spread across 10 months.

Geirangerfjord is slated to receive approximately 150 calls in 2022.