Hosts Cruise Norway kicked off the event on Wednesday with an update on activity in the region, before cruise lines and media met with representatives from more than 20 destinations in Norway, and tour operators. The event, held a stone’s throw from the Port of Southampton, was also a chance to exchange best practice, with a competition rounding off the day.
Hareid makes its debut
Hareid, located on the eastern coast of the island of Hareidlandet, along the Sulafjorden, is a brand-new cruise destination still awaiting its first call. Around one-hour from Ålesund, it is home to a polar museum, hiking trails and a nine-hole golf course, plus historic sites such as Kvitneset fort connected with World War II and Hareid Church dating back to 1877. At the unspoilt Overåsanden beach, 3km from Hareid center, a towering monument stands as a memorial to the battle of Hjörungavágr in 986AD. A new viking centre in the village of Hjørungavåg will also pay testament to the naval conflict: work on the viking longhouse will finish soon with the park opening up further down the road. ‘Hareid has kept its authenticity,’ said Aina Balsnes, BDM, Hareid Municipality. At Snipsøyrdalen, cruise passengers can still observe the traditional bonfire and festivities on Midsummer Eve.
As for infrastructure, harbour master Bent Grytten told Seatrade Cruise that the destination is working on building a new cruise pier. Its Hareid Godsterminal quay is 120mtr in length with a 6-7mtr draught and located 100mtr from the centre of the village.
From Hareid, cruise passengers can also visit Runde Island, renowned for its bird life and less than an hour away from the port on water, or Hjørundfjorden, just over 70km away from the centre.
The village of Trandal, in the middle of Hjørundfjorden and accessible only by water, comprises roughly six inhabitants with the Christian Gaard Bygdetun pub a further attraction.
Reduced port fees
Leknes, Narvik, Sortland and Harstad shared early plans for a scheme to reduce port fees when at least three of the four ports are visited consecutively. ‘We did it in 2015, but it was not as detailed or as incentivised as it will be now,’ stated Grethe Parker, sales and marketing manager, Port of Narvik.
It allows for overland tours, with passengers meeting the ship at a different port involved in the scheme than the one disembarked at.
Further information will be shared at Seatrade Europe later in the year.
Several ports described shore power works as being underway or their ambitions to install the technology.
Due to the dimensions of where the facility is located, only smaller vessels can use shore power at Trondheim, which has been operational since 2022. This year, the port will work with Mystic Cruises to see if the line may also be able to utilise Trondheim’s shore power infrastructure.
In 2025, the port aims to introduce shore power at its bigger quay for larger cruise vessels.
Electric buses are being rolled out, too - today Trondheim has four electric buses for excursions with more on order. In 2024 the municipality will begin the process for the city's waste collection to be carried out using electrical vehicles. When the measure takes effect, it will mean that waste handling for cruise ships will also be conducted using electric vehicles.
New tours announced
A host of new shore excursions were announced at the event, among them, a trip to the newly opened Seafood Factory at Nordkapp with capacity for 20-50 passengers. The privately owned island of Tamsøya, which can be visited on the way to Northcape, is rich in wild vegetation and bird life and is beginning to open up increasingly to cruise passengers. Passengers can stay for a three-course meal in historic surroundings, try Tamsøya-cloudberries – a Norwegian delicacy – or take in views of Porsanger fjord and Sværholt peninsula, and more.
A detailed round up from Norway Day featuring news and updates from each port that attended will appear in the September 2023 issue of Seatrade Cruise Review, which will be distributed at Seatrade Europe (September 6-8) as the official publication of the event.