In keeping with the cruise industry’s overall trend toward expansion, even smaller, more focused cruise lines are building new ships. The latest? Norwegian Coastal Voyage has launched two of what it is calling “Millennium-class” ships (not to be confused with Celebrity’s Millennium class) that are sailing west-coast-of-Norway itineraries. Both the 643-passenger Finnmarken and 674-passenger Trollfjord weigh in at 15,000 tons. Three more Millennium-class ships are slated for debut through 2005.
In this case, these sister ships, which have replaced older, 164- and 171-berth vessels, have new features, such as private balconies and whirlpools. They feature floating art galleries that showcase Norwegian paintings, textiles and sculpture. The Finnmarken chalks up another Norwegian Coastal Voyage first: it’s got a swimming pool, wine bar and indoor/outdoor cafe.
The 11-ship Norwegian Coastal Voyage line -- distinctive because its vessels carried passengers and cargo in near-equal measures -- says despite the spiffy new designs and innovations on this newest duo -- it will still be comprised of “working ships carrying local passengers and cargo to 34 ports between Bergen and Kirkenes, above the Arctic Circle, and a lifeline to remote coastal towns.”