Ferry connecting Norway and Groningen is moving to Germany
There was a great deal of excitement for a passenger ferry connecting the Netherlands and Norway when it first launched in April 2022. However, capacity issues at the port in Eemshaven, Groningen, have led Holland Norway Lines to move the service out of the Netherlands. Instead, the MS Romantika will sail from Kristiansand, Norway to Cuxhaven, Germany in the coming months. The ferry will eventually operate more permanently from the port in Emden, Germany instead of Cuxhaven, possibly before the start of the summer season, Holland Norway Lines said.
The ferry service has faced operational challenges because it does not have a permanent berth at the Groningen port, and has to use a shared quay. Ships are moored there on a first come, first served basis. That forced Holland Norway Lines to find a more permanent solution that doesn't leave its passengers in the dark. "The port situation in Eemshaven forced us to look for alternatives. Now we are happy to have a solution in place from mid-April, which means that the ship can once again sail according to the timetable," said Morten Aggvin, the managing director of the shipping company, in a statement.
"We are sorry that they are leaving," Groningen Seaports spokesperson Tim Lambeck told RTV Noord on Friday. "But we made it clear from the start that they would have to provide their own suitable mooring facilities. As far as we are concerned, the realization of this quay is still possible."
Despite early enthusiasm for the ferry, Holland Norway Lines has faced several problems in Eemshaven ever since it began last April. The booking system for the service crashed soon after it came online in November 2021 with many excited to give the 14-hour journey a try. Over 100,000 tickets were sold in seven months at an initial minimum cost of 225 euros per person.
On its very first trip, the moorings came loose when high winds blew through Eemshaven causing significant delays. Then when campers and cars were driven onto the ship, many were damaged because the quay that was used was a half-meter lower than the crew expected.
This year has been particularly difficult for the ferry service. In January, journeys on the MS Romantika were cancelled because of a lack of space at Eemshaven. The situation repeated itself again in late February and twice in early March.
Strong winds with gusts of about 100 kilometers per hour also caused trouble at Eemshaven in February. The mooring lines that secured the MS Romantika to the quay broke loose. Three ships were badly damaged as a result, police said. There were no injuries reported, and there wee no passengers on the ferry at the time of the incident.