Since the Vikings first designed their dragon headed longships to terrorise, colonise and trade with the rest of Europe, Norwegians have been striving to push the boundaries in innovating ways to get from A to B. From skiing to plogging, the Northmen have even been trailblazers in modern times. Here’s a look at some of their most ingenuitive innovations in the modern world.
Ever since the epic saga’s of Eric the Red’s expeditions to the New World, one of the forerunners in modern day voyages is Norwegian Arlines. Probably best-known internationally for a newspaper advert for one way flights to LA after Brad Pitt became single again, Bjørn Kjos’ budget airline has pushed the boundaries of what is commercially feasible and set the standard in making trans-Atlantic flights accessible to the masses. Instead of going the way of the ‘cattle class’ airlines, weighing and measuring every bit of luggage, trying to charge you to go to the toilet and squeezing you into a chair battery chickens would feel claustrophobic in before landing at Stranraer-London airport, his philosophy was very different. On the contrary to many cheap airlines who add to the cost with ‘extras’ and make you do as much as you can yourself to in reality save them employing people, Norwegian has great self-check in and bag drop offs which are much simpler and quicker than competitors when tested. Some of their other notable advancements include each seat having an interactive TV screen for games, movies and so on. Although similar to one Virgin started with, Norwegian’s model has gone above and beyond with not only the entertainment system and chargers, but also the option to order food and drinks using the device at the ‘Virtual Bar’- no more annoying ringing the bell for service!
What else did Norwegian add?
In addition, Norwegian has introduced Wi-Fi onto their short-haul aircraft to great success, with long-haul flights to be upgraded in the near future. Norwegian’s windows are 30% larger than normal to let in more natural light while amazing ‘sunglasses’ technology allows you to dim the window rather than just pull down a blackout shutter. Clever ambient lighting depending on the time of day and better air-conditioning systems also mean a better long flight experience. This goes a long way to combatting jet lag upon arrival. Furthermore, Norwegians relatively young long-haul fleet are extremely fuel efficient. This means you can fly from Europe to America, quicker, easier and in more comfort for between 20-50% less than other competitors.
While Norwegian Air conquers the sky, Norwegian Cruise Lines are making advances at sea. Since Vikings first got on their longships to terrorise the rest of Europe, the Norse have been making waves in terms of seafaring innovations as well. Norwegian Cruise Lines are an excellent example of this and lauded as the ground-breakers in the cruising world for innovation. In true Scandie Ikea style, Norwegian Cruise Lines have always tried to be inventive with the space they have aboard their ships. Their genius idea to not just have poky little balconies at the side of the ship to having a ship-long walkway around was a major turning point in how to layout the deck plan of a fun filled cruise ship that even has the adult only relaxing area, ‘the Haven’. Larger family suites and little single-person studios were also introduced, as well as the traditional two bed en-suite in order to cater for the new generation of cruiser. Catering to younger customers is where Norwegian Cruise Lines really excels as they were the first to introduce the concept of “Freestyle Cruising”. This revolutionised the passenger experience on ship as they were no longer restrained to the strict eating and activity timetables onboard.
On a Norwegian freestyle cruise, passengers were on a floating city with up to twenty five different restaurants to pick from each night on a high-street running the length of the ship. The customers were able to be as smart or scruffily dressed as they wished as they tucked into anything from a burger to five course Michelin star level meal without having to queue at a buffet. In addition, Norwegian was the first cruise line to buy their own private island, Great Stirrup Cay in 1977, in the Bahamas. Here, you can snorkelling an underwater sculpture garden, where many species of underwater critters have made their home, pet stingrays and spot turtles or enjoy your own private cabana and sip drink rum cocktails.
As we can see, it looks like we are truly living in the second age when it comes to . From reaching America to sailing Europe, the Norwegians continue to be pioneers of travel with their technological innovations and mentality to never stop yearning to see what lies beyond the horizon.