Silence can be pretty noisy. That’s what many people learn when they visit a remote area such as Antarctica and hear the rumbling of their expedition ship’s engines instead of quietness.
Now that may change.
Next year the Norwegian explorer cruise line Hurtigruten will add a new expedition ship to its fleet that uses electric propulsion, reducing fuel emissions by 20% and allowing cruisers to explore some of the world’s quietest places without mechanical noises to interrupt the moment.
The Roald Amundsen, due to launch in 2018, is the first of two hybrid ships Hurtigruten will operate. Designed by Rolls-Royce Corp., which makes aircraft and marine propulsion engines, the ships are being specially constructed for voyages in polar waters. The second hybrid ship, the Nansen, will be built in 2019.
The Amundsen will be equipped with an auxiliary electric engine that will allow silent operation for short periods of time. The Nansen will be built with a hybrid engine that can power the ship for longer periods and across greater distances, into fjords and environmentally vulnerable areas.
The ships will carry about 600 passengers each and include large observation platforms and infinity pools.
When it’s launched, the Amundsen will sail itineraries in Antarctica, the Falklands, and the Chilean fjords.