Hurtigruten Steel CuttingHurtigruten marked the official start of construction of its new class of Explorer-class ships as company CEO Daniel Skjeldam was on hand to get things going at the Kleven Shipyard in Norway.

Steel was cut for the first of two ships, the Roald Amundsen, which enters service in summer 2018. A sister ship follows in 2019, and the company has an option for two additional 20,000-ton, 600-passenger vessels.

"Today is a historical day not only for Hurtigruten, but for the global maritime industry. We celebrate the construction start of the first ship in a new generation that will change expedition travel forever," said Skjeldam.

The cost of the ships is estimated at $220 million each. The vessels will be the first cruise ships in the world to utilize hybrid power using a battery system. A prepared statement from the company said the hybrid technology will allow for sailing up to 30 minutes on battery-powered propulsion.

Cruise Industry News Email Alerts