Every year, 60,000 vessels call at the ports in our district. Cruise traffic accounts for around 0.39% of total calls in our port district. Cruise traffic to Stavanger does not exceed local and national limit values for emissions and constitutes just under 2% of total local emissions.

Cruise development is now governed by an upper limit of 8,000 passengers per day, with a maximum of two cruise ships per day and seven cruise ships per week. During the transitional phase, the Port of Stavanger must consider calls that have already been booked. During this transitional period, these limits could be exceeded. 

Facts about the Quays in Stavanger:

  • The Port of Stavanger has four quays that can accommodate cruise ships: Konserthuskaien, Strandkaien, Skagenkaien and Skansekaien
  • Strandkaien is the main quay for cruise calls, as it has the best infrastructure providing the safest conditions for both cruise guests and our employees
  • Strandkaien can berth the newest and most environmentally friendly ships
  • Vågen guest harbour has increased its pleasure boats capacity and thus limits the use of Skagenkaien
  • Wherever possible, the cruise ships are berthed at Konserthuskaien according to the principle of outer quay lines to be used first, provided that safety is ensured

About Air Quality and Emissions

"Emissions from cruise ships occur high up and are diluted in the air, thus having less impact on air quality on the ground. Essentially, the cases of high pollution occur during the winter season, when there are far fewer cruise ships in the port." Ellen B. Klausen, advisor environmental health Rogaland Fire and Rescue.

We also refer to the annual report from Stavanger Municipality (report is in Norwegian) for air quality, which states, among other things:

Vågen Measuring Station: This station was fully established and opened in June 2021 on the roof of the harbour warehouse, shed 6. The intakes are about the same height as the houses in Old Stavanger. Vågen measuring station is a collaboration between Stavanger Havn IKS and Stavanger Municipality. The 2022 results from the station show emissions from wood-burning stoves in Old Stavanger, emissions from ships (including supply and cruise) and traffic emissions. So far, the results show that emissions from wood-burning stoves are the largest contributor, with road dust in second place, cf. Tables 2 and 3. (Section 5.4 page 18)


SRH has introduced several rules that cruise ships must adhere to when they are docked in Stavanger. Noisy maintenance is not allowed. In principle, the use of a ship's whistle and outdoor public address system are not permitted, unless it is necessary for the safety of the ship, passengers, crew, and other vessels in the port. Connection to shore power is also a noise reduction measure. Strategic registering of noise is being carried out. Cruise ships do not exceed noise requirements, cf. chapter 5 – in the Regulations for the limitation of pollution.

Air Emissions During Sailing

To focus on the environment is an important marketing value for cruise companies, whilst at the same time committing to operate within the limits set for emissions. The cruise companies have ongoing significant development work in hand, investing in improved environmental technology and operations.

Cruise ships spend roughly 80% of their operating time sailing and 20% in port. Most cruises begin and end in ports around the North Sea. This means the ships sail 1-2 days in international waters, as well as to and from Norway, thus environmental sustainability must be solved at a collective international level.

Foreign shipping in Southern Norway is subject to some of the strictest environmental restrictions in the world.

From 2020, there is a global requirement to use fuels with less than 0.5% sulpur, compared to the previous limit of 3.5%. SRH's port lies within the SECA area, where the highest permissible sulpur content of fuel is lower; with a maximum of 0.10%. The SECA area is defined in MARPOL (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships). The Norwegian Maritime Authority is the supervisory body, and breaches of the regulations may result in a violation fine.

The total environmental footprint of a large cruise ship is greater than that of a smaller cruise ship. But value creation, and thus economic sustainability, is greater from large ships with many passengers than from small ships with fewer passengers. In this respect, cruises are no different from other transport, such as planes and buses. At the same time, the largest ships are also often the newest, and thus have more of new and environmentally oriented technology.

SRH implements measures locally in Stavanger, in addition to contributing to the national and international interaction. Amongst other things, we are members of Cruise Norway and Norwegian Ports, which work for the common interests of Norwegian ports. Cruise Norway makes a significant contribution to the "Green Shipping Program", which was initiated by the previous government to improve the environmental footprint of shipping in Norway. Cruise Lines are continuously informed by ports, agents and interest organisations about the requirements and regulations that have been introduced and are under way in Norway. SRH publishes an annual handbook that is sent to cruise ships and shipping companies before a port call. It also includes information about the environment and neighbourly considerations.

"Environmental Port Index" EPI index as an economic incentive system for reducing environmental footprint.

This tool defines the ship's environmental impact at the quay and will stimulate more environmentally friendly cruise operations. SRH was the first in Norway to adopt this in 2019 and has intensified its scope from 2020.

The EPI Index works in such a way that a Cruise Ship Call with a high environmental impact must pay up to 167.5% more in dock berthage dues compared to a Cruise Ship Call with low environmental impact. Settlement is done on a scale for EPI scores against the price list for dock berthage dues. In other words, the cruise ships that pollute the most must pay up to triple the berth price (150% mark-up on the price list), and cruise ships that pollute the least receive a discount of up to 17.5%.

Alternative Energy Sources

In total, we are looking at approximately 650,000 cruise tourists visiting the region during 2023. Of these 650,000 cruise guests, approximately 225,000 are on board cruise vessels fuelled by LNG. Carnival Corporation ships the most frequent callers, and Princess cruises are switching from marine diesel to LNG. By 2025. 11 new LNG-powered cruise ships will join the cruise fleet, eight of which have already been delivered. In total, these vessels are expected to represent 20% of the total capacity in 2025.

The use of LNG as fuel in engines and boilers will result in the following emission reductions compared to the most common fuel types used today:

  • 100% reduction in SOx emissions
  • 90% reduction in NOx emissions
  • 10 – 12% reduction in CO2e emissions

Ships operating with advanced air quality systems, also known as scrubbers, have the advantage of removing sulpur from fuel — preventing it from being released into the air — and returning it to the ocean, which is the world's primary natural reservoir for sulpur. Marine fuels also require less refining than marine diesel, which means less greenhouse gas is generated during production. Marine fuels also have a lower combustion temperature than marine diesel, resulting in less production of nitrous oxide (NOX) at sea. Scrubbers remove 99% of sulpur dioxide, 60 – 90% of particulate matter and 10% of nitrogen dioxide. 93% of the cruise fleet has scrubbers installed.

60% of Carnival Corp.'s cruise fleet is built to connect to shore power.

Waste disposal

Waste management is regulated by the "Regulations relating to environmental safety for ships and mobile offshore units", which states:

"The master shall ensure that waste and cargo residues are delivered to the receiving facility in port before departure.

Ships that have documented sufficient capacity to store waste and cargo residues generated during the voyage in addition to what is already on board can proceed to the next port without delivering waste and cargo residues before departure.

For oil-containing waste, there must be a residual capacity of at least 75% of the total capacity.

If there is reason to believe that the next port of call does not have a satisfactory reception facility or it is not known where the next port of call is, the NMA may require that waste and cargo residues are delivered before departure, even if the storage capacity on board pursuant to the second and third paragraphs is considered sufficient."

Carnival Corporation achieved a 31% reduction in unit food waste in 2022, relative to 2019 figures. Carnival Corp. is working toward its next interim goal of a 40% food waste reduction by 2025 and a 50% reduction by 2030.

They have reduced single-use plastics by more than 50% and eliminated over 500 million single-use items from cruise ships since 2018.   87% of the fresh water used on board is produced from seawater. Advanced wastewater treatment systems on 2/3 of the fleet purify water used onboard for municipal water quality before the water is released back into nature.

Link to Carnival Corporation Sustainability Report.

Oil spill

Vivian Jakobsen, senior adviser in the Norwegian Coastal Administration's environment and analysis department, states that nine emissions from cruise ships have been registered along the Norwegian coast over the past 10 years. Total emissions are in the order of 160 litres distributed as follows:

  • Unknown oil type 150 litres
  • Hydraulic oil 32 litres
  • Waste oil 5 litres
  • Other 1 litre
  • MGO (Diesel) 1 L

These emissions are of small quantities, and in most cases, occur in connection with transfers between ship and land. Consequently, emissions are also followed up in the form of consequence-reducing measures. We are not aware of any major emissions from cruise vessels along the Norwegian coast during the last 10 years, says Jakobsen.

The cruise development in Stavanger is now managed according to the Action Plan for Cruise Calls at Stavanger City Centre 2022-2030. The main task of the Action Plan for Cruise Calls is to show goals and measures as to how the cruise traffic to Stavanger city centre can be managed in a sustainable way for the diversity of interests affected by cruise tourism.

The Action Plan for Cruise Calls uses tolerance limit analysis for cruise tourism as a scientific basis. Furthermore, it is based on Stavanger Municipality's population survey.