Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2023

182 NORTHERN EUROPE: REPORT Rebecca Gibson reports on some of the enhancements various ports and destinations are making to their facilities and shore excursion offerings to improve the cruise experience in Norway Ports and destinations in Norway are adopting the Environmental Port Index (EPI), building shore power facilities, extending the shoulder season and involving locals in shore excursions to create an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable future for cruise tourism in the country. In 2023, Ålesund opened one of Europe’s biggest shore power facilities, Haguesund connected its first cruise ship to the local power grid, and more passenger vessels plugged in at Bodø. The city is also using EPI and has 30 cruise calls scheduled for 2023, 35 for 2024 and expects further growth when it hosts more than 600 events as the European Capital of Culture next year. Tromsø will provide shore power at its city centre cruise pier from 2024 and aims to offer the same facilities at the Breivika pier by 2027. The port, which has recorded a rise in both the time vessels remain berthed and the number of autumn and winter calls, is also collaborating with local stakeholders to make Tromsø a sustainable cruise destination. Molde has already signed up to the EPI and intends to open shore power facilities in 2024. It expects almost twice as many calls in 2023 as in 2019 and has spread them out to reduce overcrowding. Similarly, both Hardangerfjord and Skjolden are planning for shore power, with the latter having already signed a letter of intent. While it is currently unfeasible for Lofoten to build shore power facilities due to insufficient capacity in the local power grid, it is working on other sustainability initiatives to become a ‘green island’ by 2030. Lofoten will handle a couple of overnight stays and a record 16 maiden visits in 2023, up from four inaugural calls per year before 2020. The Leknes berth has 62 cruise calls booked for 2024 and 35 for 2025 and may be updated with dolphins and a cruise terminal. Other destinations are upgrading their infrastructure to cater for an upswing in demand. In June 2023, Harstad opened a new cruise quay for 300-metre-long ships in the town centre and will receive 10 calls this year. Trondheim has equipped its main quay with new fenders and will soon conduct feasibility studies to build a second pier in the city. The port authority will host 104 calls this season (up from 92 in 2023), Ports in Northern Norway are developing shore excursions that enable guests to experience the local Sami culture first-hand Photo: Katelin - Sorrisniva Building a foundation for sustainable growth