Vision of the Fjords has won this year’s Universal Accessibility Award at the Universal Design Awards. The Fjords’ hybrid electric tourist vessel was recognized by the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture (DOGA) for its commitment to optimal passenger accessibility, experience and environmental sustainability.
Owned and operated by The Fjords DA, the Vision of the Fjords shows guests the natural beauty of West Norway’s fjords. Designed to mirror the mountain paths that go along the fjords themselves, the 400-passenger tourist vessel offers comfortable lounges, panoramic windows and low emission operations, with silent running electric motors carrying its hull through the Naeroyfjord (Nærøyfjord).
The vessel was designed and built by Norwegian shipyard Brødrene Aa, and it was conceived with the aim of universal accessibility. It's new design that sports zig-zagging ramps gives all 400 passengers front-row viewing space, making it an innovative vessel in the way of mobility and accessibility for all.
Consultations during the building process ensured that all passenger groups would be accommodated, with the Norwegian Handicap Society bringing in a user group on board to test the unique design concept. The DOGA was as impressed as the guests with the ship, with the jury calling the design both “radical and ground-breaking,” addressing mobility and and accessibility issues with innovation.
The Fjords CEO Rolf Sandvik made it clear that praise from the DOGA is important, but not the company’s main goal.
“The recognition from DOGA is, of course, very pleasing, but the real prize is in seeing the reactions of the passengers,” said Sandvik. “We, and our owners Fjord1 and Flåm AS, are not only committed to safeguarding our fjords, but also to ensuring that absolutely everyone can enjoy an experience of a lifetime on board our vessels.”
Vision of the Fjords sails between Flåm and Gudvangen and operates year round. The Fjords operates a fleet of seven tourism vessels in the area, with the Future of The Fjords due to set sail in May next year.