Netherlands – Norway Startup Secures Tallink Cruiseferry

By: Steven Tarbox
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A mockup of ROMANTIKA in Holland Norway Lines livery. Image: Holland Norway Lines.
A mockup of ROMANTIKA in Holland Norway Lines livery. Image: Holland Norway Lines.

Romantika set to sail between Kristiansand and Eemshaven 

In a surprise move, a startup company has secured the charter of Tallink’s 2002-built cruiseferry ROMANTIKAHolland Norway Lines, which was founded during 2020, has agreed terms for a three year (+1 +1 option) charter for the vessel.  The deal is subject to the approval of the mortgagees of the ship.

Holland Norway Lines intends to use Tallink’s ROMANTIKA on its new service between Eemshaven (Groningen province, Netherlands) and Kristiansand (Norway).  While Kristiansand is an established passenger port, Eemshaven has until now mainly concentrated on cargo and windfarm traffic.

The 18-hour crossing is scheduled to be offered three times in each direction per week.  By comparison, travel between the two ports presently takes around 11 hours using a car and ferry according to Google maps.

ROMANTIKA will depart Eemshaven at 3pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The return journey departs from Kristiansand at 3pm on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.  Holland Norway Line says that the first crossing will take place on April 7, 2022.  The planned arrival time is 9am in both ports.

Tickets Already on Sale

Early bird tickets are already on sale, and demand has been strong according to the operator. As a result, the reservation system was overloaded for a time.  

One of the deluxe cabins onboard ROMANTIKA. Image: AS Tallink Grupp
One of the deluxe cabins onboard ROMANTIKA. Image: AS Tallink Grupp

Early bookers on the company’s website can avail of a 10% discount.  We found a single fare for two people starting at €135 single.  An inside two-berth cabin was an additional €68 using the promotion code.

Financial Support

The Holland Norway venture is receiving financial support from the Groningen provincial development fund and the Eemshaven port authority.  There are plans for Holland Norway Lines to use a 6-8 acre site at Eemshaven.  Work on constructing facilities is due to start shortly.

This will be the second passenger ferry service to use the Dutch port – there is already a much shorter crossing from Eemshaven to the German Island of Borkum.  Eemshaven was previously linked as a potential destination for a new ferry service from Rosyth, Scotland.  These plans fell through, however.

The port of Kristiansand already has two ferry companies, Fjord Line and Color Line, and so is well prepared for passenger ferries.  Both of these operators sail from Kristiansand to Hirtshals, Denmark.  Holland Norway Lines also plans to open offices at Kristiansand, and has said it will employ Norwegians both onboard and ashore.

Third Charter for Romantika

ROMANTIKA was previously expected to reopen Tallink’s Stockholm – Riga route in April 2022.  The company now says that the laid-up ISABELLE will fulfill this role instead.

This is the third charter Tallink has announced for the ROMANTIKA this year.  The ship is currently providing accommodation at Glasgow for the COP 26 Environmental conference.  Between July and September this year, ROMANTIKA was operated by Intershipping on the Sète – Nador route.

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