VISION OF THE FJORDS, ship of the year 2016
11 September 2016 • Last week I attended the SMM in Hamburg, the biggest maritime fair, and was happy to find out that the VISION OF THE FJORDS had been elected as "Ship of the Year" by the Norwegian magazine Skipsrevyen. By coincidence I had been sailing on her the week before, when I visited Flåm on a cruise with the KONINGSDAM.
Indeed, I can confirm VISION OF THE FJORDS is a revolutionary vessel.
VISION OF THE FJORDS, launched in June, is a unique catamaran. Built from carbon fibre, with a 400-passenger capacity, the vessel has been designed with lines that resemble a twisting mountain path, complementing the scenery of the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Nærøyfjord it voyages along.
Her promenade deck reminded me of the Trollstigen (see above), which I visited in 2014. Do you see below what I mean?
Passengers can literally climb the vessel as they watch the 1800m mountains rise from the water, or enjoy the outside from inside thanks to sweeping panoramic lounges and windows.
There are also two viewing platforms in front of the ship, just under the wheelhouse.
The Nærøyfjord is one of the must-see destinations in Norway. Did you know that you can even do it as a one-day excursion? It is called "Norway in a nutshell" and I wrote about it last year. See here.
She is a hybrid vessel. Her dual fuel solution allows running on diesel engines up to the entrance of the protected Nærøyfjord, where the Chief Engineer then switches to silent running, emission free electric power from onboard batteries.
The picture below shows her in Flåm, with the yellow electricity cables plugged into the vessel for her 15-minute recharging session.
On both ends of the route, in Flåm and in Gudvangen, she is being connected with shore power for recharging.
In addition, the vessel features a special hull designed to minimise wake and thus reduce impact erosion on the area’s vulnerable shoreline.
What a contrast with the fleet of old tourist boats and ferries (some 50 to 60 years old) who sail on the same route. They might make ship spotters enthusiast but the reality is that these veterans are polluting. A lot. Which is a shame in this pristine environment.
Still even these old ferries --such as the 1968-built LUSTRAFJORD below-- make a fine, irresistible sight in the Aurlandsfjord, on their way to Flåm.
VISION OF THE FJORDS is owned by The Fjords, a joint venture between Fjord1 AS and Flåm AS, two progressive ferry and tourism organisations. They share an ambition for responsible, environmentally friendly vessels that put passengers at the heart of the voyage experience.
The vessel was built by Norwegian shipyard Brøderne Aa.
My advice? If your ship visits Flåm on your next cruise to Norway, then you should experience this fantastic vessel.
When I was on KONINGSDAM the Nærøyfjord excursion was available, however it did not specify which vessel operated the trip.
And honestly, you don't need to purchase an expensive onboard excursion. You can book cheaper online, or in the Flåm tourist office, just in front of where the VISION OF THE FJORDS berths. Important: look at your time of departure and make sure you're back onboard your cruise ship in time!
The boat trip takes two hours, and you can either book a return ticket, or book it in combination with a return-by-bus ticket. In the latter case you will pass the 755m Kjellfossen waterfall.