Shipyard selected for the world’s first zero-emission cruise ship

Norwegian cruise venture Northern Xplorer has signed a letter of intent with Portuguese shipbuilder West Sea to construct what the company says will be the world’s first zero-emission cruise ship.

Under the deal, West Sea would build the 250-passenger vessel at its facility in Viana do Costello north of Porto, with expected delivery at the start of the 2025/2026 cruise season.

The vessel’s design by Multi Maritime features ABB’s fully electric propulsion system, including the battery and hydrogen fuel cell technology that will enable it to sail emissions-free in the Norwegian fjords and further afield as the green shift takes root. 

Northern Xplorer has worked with Oslo-based Affinity Offshore to source the right shipyard, while Clarksons Securities will assist the company as lead manager on the project. Oslo-based business law firm Grønvigh, Tjersland & Indrevær was central to creating the LoI, which was signed at this year’s maritime trade fair SMM in Hamburg.

“This is a new milestone on our journey towards emission-free cruising. Having approached yards worldwide for tenders, we’re delighted to embark on this exciting project with West Sea. They are a modern, professional yard with a good track record. It’s great to be here at SMM for the signing alongside our technology partner, ABB, whose expertise has been key to developing the concept of this pioneering vessel,” said Northern Xplorer founder and CEO Rolf André Sandvik.

Sandvik previously commissioned the hybrid-electric sightseeing vessels Vision of the Fjords, built in 2016 and Future of the Fjords built in 2018 in his former role as founder and CEO of tourism company The Fjords. Both vessels won the Ship of the Year at SMM in their respective delivery years. 

Adis Ajdin

Adis is an experienced news reporter with a background in finance, media and education. He has written across the spectrum of offshore energy and ocean industries for many years and is a member of International Federation of Journalists. Previously he had written for Navingo media group titles including Offshore Energy, Subsea World News and Marine Energy.


  1. Excellent news. I can now put that cruise line completely off the table for any business ever.

    I don’t deal with cowardly nut jobs who pander to environmentalist nut jobs they’re sleazy business people prepared to steal taxpayer dollars.

  2. Because of the ship size, The machine room will be huge. Will it be possible to generate hydrogen on board, on its self?

    I have this idea for a few years now. By using seawater, the hole process on-board…


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