Havila Voyages, the new Norwegian coastal cruise operator due to start operations in 2021, has appointed Matthew Valentine (pictured) as UK & Ireland Country Manager, with additional responsibility for other territories.
He was previously at Hurtigruten, where he was a member of the commercial management team for six years, most recently as Head of Sales EMEA.
Prior to Hurtigruten, he also held positions at Cox and Kings, Kirker, Croatian Villas and The Traveller.
Havila’s ships will be operating as part of a 10-year Norwegian Government funded contract to operate the coastal route. Havila will operate four of the 11 ships that depart daily from Bergen to Kirkenes.
Valentine commented “The iconic Norwegian coastal voyage offers a cruise unlike any other. Sailing through narrow fjords, four UNESCO heritage sites and travelling high up into the Arctic circle, in a small cruise ship is an experience our guests will never forget. We have some exciting plans for our inaugural programme in 2021, details of which will be unveiled later this summer.
“I’m delighted to be joining such a dynamic business and I look forward to working with UK based operators and agents in the months and weeks to come,” he said.
Havila Voyages has ordered four newbuildings, designed to be the most environmentally friendly vessels to operate along the Norwegian coastal route.
The first two ships – ‘Havila Castor’ and ‘Havila Capella’- will operate from Spring 2021, with two more – ‘Havila Polaris’ and ‘Havila Pollux’ – following in 2022.
Each of the new ships will be fitted with what is claimed to be the world’s largest battery packs, meaning they can sail through fjords and other vulnerable areas for up to four hours – quietly and emission free.
The batteries will then be recharged at the numerous ports along the coast, using clean hydropower.
In addition, the hull has been specially designed to be energy efficient in the Norwegian coastal conditions – using as little power and therefore emissions as possible.
Surplus heat will be recovered from the ships’ cooling water, the sea and the energy management system.
The combination of these changes means that each ship’s CO2 emissions will be cut by around 25% and NOx by 80-90%, Havila said.
They will also showcase a modern & stylish Nordic design and offer the most spacious cabins on the coastal route.
Inside cabins start from 10 sq m, while the two presidential suites on each ship will offer 45 sq m. Some larger cabins will sleep up to four guests and disabled cabins are also available.
All 179 cabins will feature free WIFI, USB outlets and a television.
Comfortable lounges with panoramic views will give guests views of Norway’s ever-changing coastline. The observation lounge has been designed with a glass roof and reclining chairs.
Other on-board facilities include a fitness room, sauna, shop and conference room.
Havila Voyages is a family-owned Norwegian shipping company headquartered in Fosnavåg in Sunnmøre on Norway’s West Coast.