The sleek, environmentally-friendly cruise ferry MS Stavangerfjord has completed its maiden voyage to the joy after four years of waiting of Fjord Line staff and to the delight of its first passengers.
On the evening of Sunday, July 14, Captain Erik Johansen and his crew could at long last could say ‘welcome aboard’ to roughly 1,000 passengers who departed from Hirtshals, Denmark on a glorious summer day. The passage over the Skagerrak strait went without a hitch and on Monday morning the impressive ship docked with passengers for the first time when it arrived at its Risavika wharf near Stavanger.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better start,” said CEO Ingvald Fardal before the ship resumed its maiden voyage, which a second leg to its regular stop in Bergen.
Passengers on this first trip, about evenly split between Norwegians returning home and other nationalities bound for vacations in Norway, did not seem to be able to praise the sparkling cruise ferry enough. The 170-meter long ship towered over the habor of Hirtshals, and many of those aboard took the stroll up to the “Sky Lounge” and the spacious outdoor deck area just outside before the ship cast off. Their admiration for the ship strengthened our impression that MS Stavangerfjord will be queen of the seas that she sails. Fjord Line also treated all comers to champagne or sparkling soda and water, enhancing the already high spirits of celebration on the upper deck. The celebration may also be firmly entrenched in the memories of some 300 children on board, who revelled in streamers and colorful balloons sent aloft.
Mayor cut the ribbon
Earlier in the evening, Hirtshals Mayor Arne Boelt marked the event with a speech and a ribbon cutting ceremony. The first passengers aboard were also greeted with flowers, and the largest choir from the nearby township of Hjørring sang in beautiful harmony in the ship’s honor.
The crew of the MS Stavangerfjord has worked relentlessly to get all the final details in place in the week since Fjord Line accepted delivery of the ship from the Fosen shipyard last Monday. In his welcoming speech, Johansen, the captain, expressed joy and pride over being able to show off the magnificent ship.
No risk of boredom aboard
There is plenty to do for all passengers on this new cruise ferry as it sails between Norway and Denmark. Food and drink are served at seven different restaurants, and the tax-free shop offers and exciting selection of goods. On board live entertainment also had its premiere on Sunday night, with the artists becoming an immediate hit with their audience.
Innovative technology that works
Before MS Stavangerfjord left Risavika for Bergen on Monday morning, Fardal, the CEO, said he was delighted with the start.
“MS Stavangerfjord is the first cruise ferry in the world powered exclusively by liquefied natural gas, and now we had show that this environmentally friendly propulsion system performs with the same excellence in practice, with passengers aboard, as it did in testing,” he said.
Party continues in Bergen and Langesund
When the MS Bergensfjord arrived in Bergen this afternoon, it was hailed with a waterspout in salute from a Bergen fireboat. There was also a ceremony at its Jekteviken dock before the new ship turned south again for new stops in Stavanger and Hirtshals. On Tuesday, the ship would do its other route. Hirtshals to Langesund, Norway, where another celebration was planned.
Fjord Line, July 19, 2013