The Polarlys, the second of 12 vessels in Hurtigruten’s fleet, went “live” with new software installations from German cruise IT specialist Fidelio Cruise on September 10th.

She is the second vessel in the Norwegian coastal cruise company’s fleet to have Fidelio Cruise systems installed following the first IT upgrade onboard the Kong Harald in January 2013.

The company’s ten other vessels are due to have similar installations between now and the end of 2014.

Prior to the first installation, Fidelio Cruise had been working closely with Hurtigruten to analyse the company’s shipboard and shore-based business, including specific requirements relating to their coastal and adventure cruise operation.

The result is that Hurtigruten’s twelve vessels will all have new Shipboard Property Management System software, especially tailored for their coastal operation, together with a range of other Fidelio products including the company’s Materials Management, Fleet Management, iCrew and Simphony systems.

“We decided to install Fidelio Cruise software across our fleet following extensive analysis of advanced software systems available on the market and matching our complex operational requirements” added Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

Sigrid Hov Fodnæss, Hurtigruten’s ICT Project Manager, said: “We have worked very hard on the pre-installation phases in order to ensure that our business needs are translated into easy-to-use systems that can benefit the organisation in the long run,” and continues: “We are pleased with progress to date and we have already been able to demonstrate how this innovative IT can help to improve on-board and shoreside operations. We look forward to completing the remaining installations in the months ahead.”

The installation process involved replacing Hurtigruten’s previous shipboard systems with Fidelio Cruise software, enabling significantly more functionality on board the vessels and providing the potential for improvements to both operating efficiency and passenger service levels.

A particular challenge has been the Hurtigruten’s contractual schedule obligations. The daily calling to 34 ports along the Norwegian coast cannot be deviated. But the Hamburg-headquartered cruise IT specialist has successfully implemented the new systems on board without disruption to operations. The installations have been taking place ‘live’ whilst the ships have continued to run as usual.

Specific challenges included the high frequency of port rotation – 11 coastal cruise vessels call at no fewer than 34 ports in just 11 days. At each one, there is complex handling of passengers, crew, and car transport, all centralised in one software program. Meanwhile continuous crew rotation on a 22 day shift has presented a challenge for training. And the software company is also in the process of addressing specific issues relating to the operation of the MS Fram, an expedition vessel which cruises in the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans.

Fidelio Cruise President, Antonius Heuer commented: “Fidelio Cruise has embraced this project as a great opportunity to serve this industry and to come up with the most innovative IT solutions designed and built to support Hurtigruten’s business model. We have partnered successfully with them in developing new software systems such as the Port Handling module and the Housekeeping module, specifically designed for an on schedule business.”

“These new developments expand our expertise into a new sector and have enriched our portfolio of products,” he continued. “We are delighted with progress to date and we are proud that we have been able to fulfil all of our customer’s requirements. We are looking forward to a successful fleet deployment with benefits for individual business units and their profitability, as well as for passengers and, last but not least, crew.“