With a strong foundation now in place, Havila Voyages is poised to capitalise on new opportunities in 2023 and beyond.
In its relatively short existence, Havila Voyages has punched above its weight on numerous fronts. With a focus on exploration and sustainability – as well as one eye on the future – it has begun to carve out its own niche in the market.
As of now, it operates two ships – Havila Castor and Havila Capella – designed to be the most environmentally friendly vessels to operate along the coastal route from Bergen to Kirkenes in Norway.
An additional two ships, Havila Polaris and Havila Pollux, are due to join the fleet this year, following the same design and technology traits.
When Capella was christened during a ceremony in Fosnavåg, Norway, in November 2022, Havila Voyages CEO Bent Martini said: “The characteristics of Havila Capella make her a guiding star along the coast, like her sister ships.”
Havila Voyages: Reaching goals
Havila’s own guiding star since launch has undoubtedly been its sustainability drive, which continues to be one of its foremost selling points, with no sign of that focus dwindling this year.
Havila Voyages is supporting an initiative, alongside a series of other maritime and shipping organisations, to work towards reducing emissions from shipping by 100 per cent by 2030, in line with Norway’s national climate goals.
Martini explained: “This is completely in line with our visions for the future of our industry in general, and along the coastal route. Therefore, it was only natural for us to support this initiative.
“In many ways, we have already set a new standard both in the world heritage fjords and along the coastal route and have proven that it is possible today to reduce our emissions significantly, while at the same time have forward-looking and achievable thoughts for the future.”
As for those achievable aims, the line is pushing ahead with plans for its “ultimate goal” of operating its 12-day voyages emission-free. A key part of this will be switching its ships to run on biogas, which it says will happen as soon as local supplies allow.
The cruise line is also working with its sister company Hav Hydrogen on a pilot project designed to bring hydrogen to the cruise market. Once such technology is readily available, it could be used on the line’s existing ships.
Fundamental to spreading this message is the line’s relationships with trade partners.
Havila Voyages head of sales UK Matthew Valentine has spoken of his and the company’s desire to work closely with UK agents, and new partnerships are emerging rapidly.
The next step is its application for ABTA membership, which is in its final stages – something that Valentine told Cruise Trade News in 2022 would “open a number of new doors”.
Havila has also sought to reach out to clients, not least with its Northern Lights promise. This means any guests booking a 12-day cruise along the Norwegian coast (Bergen-Kirkenes-Bergen) will be eligible for a free six or seven-night voyage if the natural phenomenon doesn’t appear during their trip.
It is valid for all departures up to 31 March and the replacement trip (if needed) will take place the following winter.
This year is also the 130th anniversary of the Norwegian coastal route and Havila is celebrating the milestone by including all meals and baked goods in the Havly cafe (plus a tea and coffee package) in the price of all cruises.
Meanwhile, the Havila Gold upgrade package has been improved and now includes a non-alcoholic drinks package, as well as an upgrade to a five-course signature dinner in the Hildring fine dining restaurant and a 20 per cent discount on Havila-branded products in the on-board store, among other things.
This package is priced at approximately £430pp for a round voyage. For this year, Havila has also introduced new excursions, including an exclusive husky tour in Tromsø, giving guests the opportunity to be a musher of their own team of huskies.
In Honningsvåg, a sauna and swimming excursion – called Hot & Cold on Top of the World – includes a refreshing ice bath experience in the Arctic Barents Sea.
Header image: Havila Kystruten