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World’s first hybrid-electric cruise ship steams into Vancouver harbour

WATCH: A new hybrid cruise ship has arrived in Vancouver. As Jennifer Palma reports, electric propulsion isn't the only way it's changing cruising for the better.

The world’s first hybrid cruise ship has arrived in the Port of Vancouver.

MS Roald Amundsen uses a system of large battery packs to help reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions by 20 per cent, and allows the vessel to operate on pure electric power for short periods, according to cruise line Hurtigruten.

The Roald Amundsen has a propulsion system designed to reduce noise and drag, uses heat exchanger to recover surplus energy and is stocked with 100 per cent biodegradable lubricants and oils.

READ MORE: Busy weekend for downtown Vancouver, with 30K cruise passengers expected

The environmental advances come amid growing concern over the impact of the cruise industry.

A recent study by European think tank Transport and Environment found Carnival Cruise Corporation emitted nearly 10 times as much sulfur oxide as all of Europe’s 206 million cars in 2017.

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What’s more, a 2019 study by environmental group Stand.Earth found air quality on Carnival ships was worse than some of the world’s most polluted cities.

Gallery: Inside the world’s first hybrid cruise ship

Credit: Credit: Hurtigruten
Credit: Credit: Hurtigruten
Credit: Hurtigruten/ Agurtxane Concellon
Credit: Hurtigruten/ Agurtxane Concellon
Credit: Hurtigruten / Agurtxane Concellon
Credit: Hurtigruten / Agurtxane Concellon
Credit: Hurtigruten / Agurtxane Concellon
Credit: Hurtigruten / Agurtxane Concellon
Credit: Hurtigruten / Agurtxane Concellon
Credit: Hurtigruten / Agurtxane Concellon
Credit: Hurtigruten/ Agurtxane Concellon
Credit: Hurtigruten/ Agurtxane Concellon
Credut: Hurtigruten /Oscar Farrera
Credut: Hurtigruten /Oscar Farrera
Credit: Hurtigruten / Oscar Farerra
Credit: Hurtigruten / Oscar Farerra

But the environmentally friendly features on the Roald Amundsen come with a hefty price tag. Alaskan cruises on the Roald Amundsen range from $6,500 to nearly $16,000, and run a minimum of two weeks.

A typical Alaskan cruise of that length on a traditional cruise line costs about $1,650.

WATCH: Cruise ship powered by battery to set sail on maiden voyage

Cruise ship powered by battery to set sail on maiden voyage
Cruise ship powered by battery to set sail on maiden voyage

The vessel is the first of two such hybrid ships  Hurtigruten plans to launch.

READ MORE: Cruise ships are getting so big, industry says B.C. needs to act now to revamp infrastructure

The ship is named after the first explorer to cross Antarctica, and the company says it is designed for voyages in polar waters.

Hurtigruten intends to use the Roald Amundsen to ply several popular Alaska and British Columbian coastal cruise routes.

One of the cruise routes the MS Roald Amundsen will follow.
One of the cruise routes the MS Roald Amundsen will follow. Hurtigruten

The vessel is appointed with luxurious Scandinavian furnishings, and is fitted with a “state of the art” science centre where passengers can learn about the coastal and arctic environments.

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All of its cabins have sea-views, and half of them boast private balconies. Passengers flush enough to book an aft cabin will also get to soak in their own private, outdoor hot tub with ocean views.

READ MORE: Cruise ships collide at berth near Vancouver’s Canada Place, causing damage

The vessel also carries typical cruise-line features, including several restaurants, a gym, wellness centre, hot tubs and an infinity pool.

You can watch a live stream from a vessel-mounted webcam here.