Launching a new cruise line during a global pandemic, doesn’t sound like the obvious thing to do but with the demand for cruising still strong, Havila Voyages has released information about its new cruises. This environmentally-friendly cruise line is setting sail in spring 2021. I am excited to share with you that this is a new AFFORDABLE small ship cruise line!
Who is Havila Voyages?
Havila Voyages is a family-owned Norwegian shipping company with headquarters in Fosnavåg in Sunnmøre on the west coast of Norway. The Havila Group dates back to the 1950s when the founder, Peter Sævik, bought his first fishing boat as a teenager.
Currently, Havila Voyages has ordered four identical new-build ships, designed to be the most environmentally-friendly vessels to operate along the coastal route from Bergen to Kirkenes.
The first two ships (Havila Castor and Havila Capella) will operate from 2021. Two more ships (Havila Polaris and Havila Pollux) are planned to following in 2022. Each ship will be able to carry 640 passengers (172 day-passengers and cabins for 468 passengers). This combination means that I would best described these vessels as cruiseferries.
“The voyage along the Norwegian coast is iconic, and a journey we wish to preserve for future generations. We therefore felt it was only right to utilise the latest technology and make environmentally based decisions when ordering ships that will sail through these pristine waters. Our guests will be able to immerse themselves in this magical experience, staying in spacious cabins, enjoying gourmet cuisine and participating in a whole host of local excursions – all while sailing on the most environmentally ships running along the Norwegian coast.”Matthew Valentine, UK Country Manager
I am impressed with the company’s commitment to sustainability. Each of Havila Voyages’ new ships will be fitted with the world’s largest battery packs. This means they can sail through fjords and other vulnerable areas for up to four hours – quietly and emission free. The batteries (2 x 43 tonne, 6,100 kWh capacity) will be charged in the ports along the route, using clean hydropower.
The hull has been specially designed to be energy efficient in the Norwegian coastal conditions – using as little power, and therefore emissions, as possible.
Meanwhile, surplus heat is recovered from the cooling water, the sea and the energy management system.
The combination of these changes in addition to the use of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) means that each ship’s CO2 emissions have been cut by around 25% and Nox by 80-90%.
Havila Voyages’ Cabins
Havila Voyages’ new ships will showcase a modern and stylish Nordic design and offer the most spacious cabins on the coastal route. Some larger cabins will sleep up to four guests and accessible cabins are also available. All 179 cabins feature free WIFI, USB outlets and a television.
There will be a variety of cabins available to choose from:
- Interior Plus
- Seaview Plus
- Deluxe Seaview Aft Suite
- Deluxe Panoramic View Suite
- Junior Balcony Suite
- Presidential Suite
The basic Interior Cabin is 10 to 15 m² with twin beds, whereas the Interior Plus Cabin is 16 to 18 m² with twin beds and sofa bed. The Interior Plus Cabin has a large wardrobe, desk and private bathroom with shower. There is a TV, fridge, hairdryer and coffee-making facilities. I kind of admire the simplicity of these cabins and their IKEA-esque decor.
The Seaview Plus cabin is larger at 20 m² with a double bed and cabin window. It has a TV, fridge and hairdryer in addition to coffee-making facilities. I feel that this would be a great cabin for winter cruises.
The aft seaview and panoramic front-facing suites are perfect for enjoying the scenery, with large windows to maximise the view.
For extra luxury, the Junior/Deluxe Balcony Suite (22-25 m²) has a private balcony. Guests receive a bathrobe and slippers, welcome pack and breakfast in main dining or à la carte included. Tea and coffee is also included.
The two presidential suites on each ship offer a spacious 45 m² with balcony (15 m²) . Key features include a hot tub on your private balcony and a free minibar that is restocked on a daily basis.
Havila Voyages Public Areas
Comfortable lounges with panoramic views will give guests the best possible views of Norway’s ever-changing coastline. The observation lounge has been designed with a glass roof and reclining chairs. This is ideal for uninterrupted views of the northern lights or midnight sun. I could see myself gravitating to these areas to admire the views from the warmth and comfort of the ship.
The ships will have spacious deck and promenade areas. Why not enjoy the jacuzzi whilst looking out over the mountains and fjords?
Other onboard facilities include a fitness room, sauna, shop and conference room. The views from the treadmill could be worth the visit!
Norwegian Culinary Delights
One of the highlights of Havila Voyages will be the onboard culinary experience. Menus have been carefully selected to reflect Norway’s heritage and culinary traditions using the highest quality Norwegian produce, prepared by first-class chefs and served in restaurants and spaces that reflect the landscape the ships are passing. Interestingly, the menus have also been designed to minimise food waste.
Guests on full board basis will be served a choice of dishes in the main dining room. Those looking for something even more special can book the more exclusive A La Carte restaurant, while hot and cold food will also be available for purchase in the café.
Havila Voyages’ Itineraries
The 12-day itinerary takes in 34 different ports and sails through narrow fjords and open seas.
Along the way, the ships pass through four UNESCO Heritage sites. You cross the Arctic Circle twice and can experience the Northern lights in winter or Midnight Sun in summer.
Guests can choose to join the round trip, the Northern or Southern journey or just two or three days onboard to get a flavour of coastal Norway.
An excellent range of organised excursions will be offered. You can expect a whale safari, king crab fishing in a frozen fjord, dog-sledding and snowmobiling.
An affordable way to explore Northern Norway
The new cruise line is offering guests the option to book cruises on a cabin-only or full-board. Prices start from £241 per person for a two-day trip from Trondheim to Bergen on cabin only basis.
The 6-day Southbound voyage from Kirkenes to Bergen starts from £497 per person. The 12-day round trip costs from £829 per person on full board basis.
A full 12-day round trip in the lavish Presidential Suite costs from a £4,737 per person on full board basis. (Prices based on departures from 15-31 December 2021).
A range of payment options are offered to you with cheaper, non-refundable rates or a choice of more flexible options. Bookings can now be made through travel agents but will also be bookable on Havila Voyages website, later in 2020.
I’ll be keeping my eye on this company. I’m impressed with the plans to use battery power and energy saving systems to minimise the emissions. The itineraries interest me and the prices seem affordable.
Personally, I’m not sure I’d choose the cabin-only option because despite enjoying local cuisine, I enjoy the convenience of onboard breakfast and evening meals. The seaview cabin definitely seems like a good option for winter cruises. I’m not going to lie, sitting in the Presidential Suite balcony hot tub in the Midnight Sun sounds pretty good too!