Interior view: Havila Castor and Havila Capella

Camilla Løvlien explains how Havila Voyages’ Norwegian heritage has inspired its new ferries

Interior view: Havila Castor and Havila Capella
Passengers can fully observe their surroundings through floor-to-ceiling windows and a glass ceiling in the Observation Lounge

By Elly Yates-Roberts |

Norway is known for its striking landscapes and abundance of nature. Paying tribute to its homeland, Havila Voyages is building these characteristics into its new, environmentally friendly passenger ferries that will sail between Bergen and Kirkenes, Norway. The first of these – Havila Castor and Havila Capella – will both feature 179 cabins.

“The design of these vessels is inspired by the different Norwegian nature scenarios that passengers can experience during the journey along the coast,” says Camilla Løvlien, director of hotel operations at Havila Voyages. “Colours, textures and materials abstracted from the different landscapes of mountains and fjords are part of the interior design and make the vessels feel like a floating landscape.”

Løvlien says that the natural materials and Nordic design create a warm, genuine and unpretentious atmosphere. “We have made sure that you can enjoy the scenery gliding by outside from the ship’s many public areas. Comfortable seats and panoramic windows give you the best possible views of the Norwegian coastline and the world’s most beautiful sea voyage.”

Upon boarding, passengers immediately enter the atrium, which is the heart of the ship. The open space combines contrasting materials such as wood and stone, both elements abundant in the Norwegian nature.

The atrium connects all areas of the vessels, and from there, passengers can visit the restaurant and café. “The organic shapes and soft colours that are abstracted from the south coast of Norway, as well as the gentle tones and light wood, make the areas spacious, airy and comfortable,” says Løvlien.

These designs contrast with the grey and dark green tones of the Forward Lounge which are reminiscent of Norway’s forests and mountains, and aim to create a feeling of “cosiness, relaxation and comfort”, according to Løvlien.

The cabins are large, spacious and designed for a good night’s sleep, while the common areas feature floor-to-ceiling windows. “The cherry on top is the Observation Lounge which invites passengers to enjoy the stunning views through these windows and a glass ceiling. Here, they can gaze at the Northern Lights and starry skies, or midnight sun and bright summer nights,” says Løvlien. “The outer decks also have long promenades, so guests can go for a stroll through nature even while onboard the ship.”

To deliver these interior experiences, Havila worked with Steen Friis Design and Norwegian Marine Interior. “Both firms have extensive experience with various maritime interior design projects, particularly when it comes to aesthetics, durability and maritime compliance,” says Løvlien. “This is essential when implementing the design according to maritime safety rules. Our combined knowledge of Scandinavian design and how to present this in the different spaces was part of the good synergy between both design and outfitter collaborators.”

As well as bringing nature onboard, the ships’ configuration, architectural styling and interior design also reflect Havila’s brand values.

“The overall philosophy for the design and the concept is that the vessel should feel as a natural part of the surrounding landscape,” explains Løvlien. “This is why we have brought in the colours, textures and materials found on the Norwegian coast, just outside the windows. This way, the vessel reflects Havila’s identity and our aim of providing a holistic travel experience.

“Havila’s firm foundations underpin a bold, inquisitive and enterprising spirit that is both down to earth and innovative. We aim to build lasting values by creating rewarding jobs, helping communities along the coast and working towards a sustainable future. This is reflected in some of the technology onboard.”

To preserve the natural environment, Havila powers its ships with battery packs and natural gas. “Not only do the batteries reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they also allow you to stand out on deck and enjoy quiet sailing through the Norwegian fjords,” says Løvlien.

The ferry operator is also minimising noise and pollution by sailing into and out of ports using only battery power. “Silence is a scarce commodity in many parts of the world, while Norway abounds with magnificent, pristine nature, clean water, fresh air and silence,” says Løvlien. “At Havila, this is how we’d like it to remain. We want to play our part by providing green transportation and focusing on sustainability.”

Alongside its focus on nature, comfort, innovation and sustainability, Havila is also delivering a new food concept called Havila Food Stories which invites guests to enjoy their sea voyages in another dimension.

“To enhance the experience of the Norwegian coast, Havila has divided the menu in the main restaurant into four different food regions – the fjords, the polar region, the Arctic and the archipelagos – that reflect the landscape in which you are sailing,” explains Løvlien. “This gives the kitchen the opportunity to show off the excellent ingredients that are found on the Norwegian coast, while giving our guests great freedom of choice.

“In addition, the new Havila ships do not have buffets with crowds and queues that increase risk of infection. Instead, there is personal service at each table.”

This article was first published in the 2021 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. 

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