Earlier this month I spent a few days in Norway’s cruise heartland; the “Fjord Norway”, between Bergen in south and Ålesund in the north with the UNESCO World Heritage Site Geirangerfjord as the epicentre. My week-long journey to Norway also included two other regions. But I knew that I had to visit the Geiranger area in what, in these years, could be a culmination or peak period for the number of cruise ships in the Norwegian Fjords.
The enormously expansive cruise industry is faced by an increasing concern. In particular from local and national governments in more and more of its European cruise hot spots. In Norway, the criticism is based on environmental concerns; air pollution and emissions in the pristine fjords or urban environments in big cruise hubs as Bergen and Stavanger.
Norway is a leading nation in green maritime technologies. It has a broad political consensus in the parliament to back green innovation, and Norway has the economic power to pursue those goals – and is, not least, in a position, where the national economy can afford a reduction in the tourist industry.
So already passed and coming new environmental legislation for the in-land ship traffic in Norway will probably reduce the numbers of cruise ship in the fjords in the years to come. I believe – and hope – that this reduction will only be an intermezzo until the cruise industry has geared-up and adapted to demands from forerunner nations as Norway.
I’m cheering on both teams. I love Norway’s nature and as a maritime photographer (a variant of a landscape photographer), I also follow and support the deeply fascinating cruise industry!