Northern Xplorer signs LOI with West Sea Shipyard to build world’s first zero-emission cruise ship

Recently established Norwegian cruise venture and Portuguese shipbuilder West Sea today signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) for the construction of the company’s maiden vessel, with expected delivery at the start of the 2025/2026 cruise season.
Northern Xplorer signs LOI with West Sea Shipyard to build world’s first zero-emission cruise ship
Courtesy of Multi Maritime.

West Sea intends to build the 250-passenger vessel at its facility in Viana do Costello north of Porto. Its cruise newbuilding portfolio to date includes the 200-passenger World Navigator (built 2021), World Voyager (built 2020) and World Explorer (built 2019), the first three in a series of seven high-end polar expedition vessels for a renowned luxury cruise operator.

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

“This is a new milestone on our journey towards emission-free cruising” said Northern Xplorer (NX) founder and CEO Rolf André Sandvik. “Having approached yards worldwide for tenders, we’re delighted to be embarking 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.”

NX and ABB are currently in dialogue with multiple sub-suppliers for vessel systems. NX has worked closely with Oslo-based Affinity Offshore AS. “We haven’t made any final decisions yet because we want to go with the newest technology as it becomes available. Where possible we also aim to select the most sustainable materials available in the market” added Mr Sandvik.

Oslo-based business law firm Grønvigh, Tjersland & Indrevær DA (www.gtilaw) were central to creating the LoI’s legal framework.

The LOI is an important step towards creating a new paradigm in the cruise industry and to meet Norway’s brave decision to ban fossil fuel-powered ships from its world-heritage fjords from 2026.

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Northern Explorer (NX)

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