British company to relaunch ferry to Norway
A British company has announced plans to restart the ferry between western Norway and the UK, with two weekly sailings planned from April next year.
Peter Iles, head of Norwegian Seaways, which is launching the route announced a firm start date of April 14 at the Logistics Day 2013 conference in Stavanger on Thursday.
In his presentation he said that his ferry would go between Newcastle in the north of England to Bergen and Stavanger, reprising a route discontinued in 2008.
"Norway is a wonderful destination for Brits," said Peter Iles, head of Norwegian Seaways, said. "We will cooperate with the Norwegian tourism authorities to extend the season. We aim to launch Norway as a destination for skiers."
Iles claimed that the 200-metre long ferry, weighing 27 000 tonnes, which his company was fitting out, was big enough to ride off the worst of the bad weather.
"We are operating with a large ship which is fully stabilised. We have a ship that can do the job, but it is clear that when the wind is really strong, it will be rough."
The ship will feature a spa, bars, discos and a casino to draw in holiday-makers from Norway and the UK.
Hallvard Ween, Stavanger head of Norwegian trade body NHO said he welcomed the link, but was uncertain as to whether the company could genuinely get the service started by April.
"There was applause in the audience when he presented the plans and after the conference, I assumed that the 14 April was correct," he said. "But then things started to get a bit messy, because I had a telephone call from a newspaper in Bergen, and they said that the board was so astonished that the date was so firm in that presentation."