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Northern Xplorer and West Sea Viana sign LOI for zero-emission luxury cruise ship

West Sea Viana shipyard signed an LOI with Northern Xplorer to build a 250-passenger zero-emission cruise ship
Norway’s Northern Xplorer, a cruise venture launched last year by Rolf André Sandvik, and Portugal’s West Sea Viana shipyard signed a letter of intent for the construction of a 250-passenger emissions-free luxury cruise ship.

The ship is expected to be delivered at the start of the 2025/2026 cruise season.

The Fjords

Sandvik is a master mariner with extensive experience at Norwegian Cruise Line and Crystal Cruises. He is the man behind The Fjords, a company based in Flåm in western Norway, which built hybrid electric sightseeing vessels Vision of the Fjords (in 2016) and Future of the Fjords (in 2018).

Having approached yards worldwide for tenders for the 250-passenger emissions free newbuild, Northern Xplorer’s founder and CEO Sandvik said he is 'delighted to be embarking on this exciting project with West Sea.'

Cruise ship building experience

The ship will be built at West Sea’s Viana do Costelo shipyard which has experience of cruise ship construction delivering World Explorer (in 2019) and World Voyager (in 2020) for Mystic Cruises plus World Navigator for Atlas Ocean Voyages last year. Atlas has four more sisters on order there  – World Traveller arriving this year, World Seeker in 2023, and World Adventurer and World Discoverer, in 2024.

‘We’re proud to be taking a lead in building such an innovative and technology advanced vessel of a high standard that will have minimal impact on the environment,’ said Vitor Figueiredo, manager West Sea.

ABB battery and hydrogen fuel cell technology

The vessel features ABB’s fully electric propulsion system, including the battery and hydrogen fuel cell technology that will enable it to sail emissions-free.

‘It has been an honour to contribute with our expertise to this pioneering project aiming to prove the viability of eco-friendly cruise operations using zero-carbon fuel,’ noted Jorulf Nergard, VP business development, ABB Marine & Ports.