Ferries Cancelled as Holland Norway Lines Hits Financial Trouble

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A Dutch ferry company linking Germany and the Netherlands with Norway has suspended service. Here’s what travellers need to know about the situation.

The Holland Norway Lines vessel MS Romantika is not sailing for the time being and ticket sales have been halted. That’s according to a press release, which has replaced the ferry company’s usual website content.

Holland Norway Lines ferry leaving Kristiansand. Photo: David Nikel.
Holland Norway Lines ferry MS Romantika leaving Kristiansand. Photo: David Nikel.

Many travellers have taken advantage of the Eemshaven to Kristiansand ferry service since its launch in the spring of 2022. One of the Life in Norway team members even used the service and wrote this review.

“Since its launch in 2022, nearly 400,000 passengers have sailed on the cruise ferry MS Romantika. The company grew in no time from a start-up to a full-fledged organisation, with almost 400 employees,” stated the company.

However, the company hit trouble earlier this year due to what it calls a “forced departure” from Eemshaven. From June, the ferry service restarted in Emden, just across the strait and the border in Germany.

Operations suspended

Unfortunately, the financial losses incurred during the switchover period—which saw many cancelled crossings and passenger refunds—have taken their toll.

Earlier this week, Holland Norway Lines applied for suspension of payments from the court. This has resulted in the suspension of operations and ticket sales.

Holland-Norway foot passengers have to board via the car deck. Photo: Daniel Albert.
Holland-Norway foot passengers boarding the MS Romantika. Photo: Daniel Albert.

According to the press release, under Dutch law, the appointed administrator will try to find a short-term solution for Holland Norway Lines that might secure its future sailings.

Stranded passengers

The sudden suspension of operations has left many passengers that were waiting for a return trip stranded either Germany/Netherlands or Norway.

A company statement reads: “We are very sorry, but in the current situation a return trip is no longer possible with the MS Romantika. The ship will not sail for the time being.”

Under the administration process, the company says it is unable to assist on an individual basis. “You unfortunately need to arrange alternative transportation by yourself. If you have a travel insurance, we also recommend that you contact them to see if they can assist,” reads the press release.

Drone shot of Kristiansand in Norway.
Kristiansand, Norway.

In most situations, tickets bought by credit card are covered by your card provider. Check your travel insurance or credit card provider for more information.

Alternative travel options

Of course, the potential of a refund doesn’t help passengers who are stranded, or those who had counted on a future ferry crossing as part of a travel itinerary.

There are several ferries Norway from mainland Europe, operated by the likes of Color Line, DFDS, Fjord Line, and Stena Line. However, none provide a direct service between the Netherlands and Southern Norway.

Flying to Norway is also an option. The closest airports to the ferry crossing are Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) and Kristiansand Airport Kjevik (KRS). Dutch carrier KLM provides a direct service, and there are many more options too on the Amsterdam-Oslo route.

Have you been affected by the sudden disruption to Norway Holland Lines? Let us know in the comments below.

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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