DFDS opens Frederikshavn – Oslo

When DFDS reopens its ferry route between Copenhagen and Oslo on 25 June, the ships will also provide a service on the Frederikshavn – Oslo route. There will be daily departures on both routes.

By Peder Gellert, EVP, Ferry Division

As we have said before, a crisis also always provides new opportunities. One such new opportunity appeared in the Denmark – Norway ferry market when another operator’s sailings between Frederikshavn in Jutland and Oslo were permanently ceased from the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.

I am extremely pleased to inform you that, following careful investigation and analysis, we have decided to enter into this market and open a new passenger route between Frederikshavn and Oslo.

That we are able to open a route is – not least – due to the fact that we can benefit from synergies with the Copenhagen – Oslo route as the ships pass Frederikshavn every night, just a few miles off the port.

Therefore, from 25 June when the route reopens, our two popular Oslo ferries, Pearl Seaways and Crown Seaways, will call at Frederikshavn enroute between Copenhagen and Oslo.

However, it will still be two separate routes as no voyage will be offered exclusively between Copenhagen and Frederikshavn.

Daily departures are planned from Copenhagen at 14:00 and from Frederikshavn at 23:30, with arrival in Oslo at 9:00.

There will be daily departures from Oslo at 12:00, with arrival in Frederikshavn at 22:00 and in Copenhagen at 09:00.

We will later evaluate the schedule to ensure it is adapted to our passengers’ need and the new situation in which passengers from Norway must document that they have booked accommodation for minimum six nights outside Copenhagen before they are  allowed to enter Denmark.  We are still looking into this to fully understand what it means to our service.

We will start up with the minimum number of staff required for operational start-up, and will monitor booking development closely and change manning on board and ashore when needed.

When the borders reopen
Kasper Moos’ teams from the Passenger department are working hard to get ready for the opening. They are planning the on-board services, operations, sales and marketing, so it all fits with the new requirements we expect to see on the new route and following the COVID-19 change in travel behaviour.

I assume there will be greater demand from customers with a transport need, especially on Frederikshavn – Oslo where we expect to welcome many guests who travel on holiday in their own cars to visit summer houses or to continue on to other countries. But of course, our goal is to provide all our guests with a great service and experience on board. We will offer what customers demand in a post-coronavirus era, with plenty of room for the individual to stay safe and with a focus on cleaning and hygiene.

DFDS has a history in Frederikshavn
Some of you may also know that DFDS in fact has a strong history in Frederikshavn. For a long time, we owned the Frederikshavn Shipyard and, even more important, from the very beginning of DFDS, we operated a route between Frederikshavn and Oslo until 1974 – at times with other ports included in the schedule.

Ship enthusiast may recall ships Aalborghus that was renamed and served the route under her new name ‘Frederikshavn’ in the 1930ies. She had a capacity for 25 cars -which may not seem like a lot today. And then, Akershus that serviced the route from 1965 as DFDS’ first real car ferry with a capacity for 800 passengers and impressive 150 cars.

So, after a few decades of absence, I am extremely pleased to say that we are finally back in Frederikshavn where we have found important synergies between the new route and our Copenhagen – Oslo route, which is needed after the expensive COVID-19 suspension of the route.

Copenhagen – Oslo route resumes service on 25 June

Pearl Seaways and Crown Seaways will start sailing again on 25 June from Copenhagen and  26 June from Oslo

Following the announcements from the Danish and Norwegian governments about the opening of the borders between the two countries, DFDS has decided to resume sailings between Copenhagen and Oslo. As both ships are laid up in Copenhagen, the first departures will take place on Thursday 25 June from Copenhagen and Friday 26 June from Oslo.

“We are very pleased that we are finally able to welcome our passengers back to the route. However, there will still be some travel restrictions for guests from Norway. We are investigating how these restrictions should be interpreted and administered.

Minimum staff and crew
“Those travel restrictions and the reduced on-board services dictated by our COVID-19 measures mean that we will start out with the minimum number of staff required for operational start-up, and will monitor booking development closely and change manning on board and ashore when needed.

I am sorry about this, as it means that many of you will remain on temporary leave for yet a while,” Kasper Moos, Head of BU Short Routes & Passengers says.

Those crew members and shore-based staff who will be needed to start up services will be informed separately about this very soon.

“Those of you who do not hear from us this week will remain on temporary leave until further notice. This is driven by our need to ensure that we get a viable service and continue to benefit from the national support schemes. However, I want to express my gratitude for your continued patience and your support during the many weeks the route has been suspended,” Kasper says.

Will do our best
“I’m really looking forward to starting up the service after this long period of time without a route between Copenhagen and Oslo, and I am confident that together we can still ensure that our passengers can relax and enjoy their sea voyage while practising social distancing,” he adds.

Cruise routes suspension extended until 17 June

Crown Seaways and Pearl Seaways will continue to be laid up in Copenhagen. The same goes for King Seaways and Princess Seaways in Amsterdam.

BU Short Routes & Passenger have extended the suspension of our Amsterdam – Newcastle and Copenhagen – Oslo services until 17 June.

“Our ability to resume sailings is, as you know, very dependent on the national measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. “If our passengers can’t cross borders, we can’t sail and therefore have no alternative but to extend the suspension,” says Kasper Moos, Head of BU Short Routes & Passenger.

“Our customer service colleagues are now working hard to inform our customers about this, rebook travel and handle requests.

“We are all very eager to start sailing again, and we are even receiving requests from passengers who can’t wait to get out to sea with us. However, there is little we can do until the relevant nations have reopened borders for travellers and tourists. Even though some governments have indicated they will make a decision about this before mid-June, patience is still required as we don’t know what they will decide. We also need both Denmark and Norway to open their borders before we can start sailing on the Copenhagen – Oslo route. The same goes for the Netherlands and the UK for the Amsterdam – Newcastle route.”

“As we informed earlier, working groups are already looking into which changes a post-Covid-19 operation will require in the market and on board. However, one thing is certain: When the borders reopen, we can offer one of the safest means of travel. There is plenty of space for social distancing on those large ferries, and passengers have their own cabins. We will of course continue to comply with all recommendations for using public areas and restaurants, including extra cleaning and disinfecting touchpoints to protect the health of both passengers and colleagues.”

DFDS donates food from Pearl and Crown

With the Copenhagen – Oslo route temporarily suspended, Pearl Seaways and Crown Seaways are now sitting empty at the terminal in Copenhagen. No ongoing ferry services unfortunately mean no guests to serve and as a result, no meals to prepare. Both ferries had a large volume of food on board that would not be used. Some of the food was due to expire within the coming weeks and throwing it away was naturally not an option. So, some of our colleagues in Copenhagen acted quickly and found an opportunity to make something good out of a bad situation. 

Stine Rysgaard Jensen, Content & Brand Specialist, says: “We contacted a local youth shelter, RG60, and ‘Fødevarebanken’, a Danish organisation that fights against food waste and helps distribute meals to socially vulnerable people. Both organisations were very happy to receive the food, as this will serve meals for the people who need a helping hand. The food was arranged to be picked up from the ships, and is now on its way to help people in these difficult times. A big thank you to the crews on board Pearl and Crown together with others involved for their contribution and work to make this a reality”.

Oslo – Copenhagen colleagues sent home with pay

Danish aid package for business means that crews on Pearl and Crown can be sent home with pay. A small group of crew members will continue in order to prepare the ships to be laid up. Staff who are sent home to contribute with a week’s annual leave.

As announced last Friday, Pearl Seaways and Crown Seaways will be laid up in Copenhagen. This is a consequence of the temporary suspension of sailings on the Copenhagen – Oslo route because of the Danish and Norwegian entry restrictions that have been introduced to protect the countries against the spread of Covid-19.

Naturally, the laying up of the ships has major consequences for a ferry route as a workplace and as a business. Therefore, we are incredibly relieved that, in record time, the partners in the labour market have succeeded in agreeing on an aid package that will greatly benefit the employees on the Copenhagen – Oslo route.

The aid package, which currently runs until 9 June, means that the vast majority of crew members can be sent home with pay during the lay-up period.

The crew members who are not sent home must help get Pearl and Crown ready to be laid up. They include parts of the operating and catering crews.

The crews were briefed about this today at meetings on board.

Land-based staff are also affected
The cancelled sailings will also affect colleagues on land. Although it has been extremely busy to adapt the business to conditions that have changed from hour to hour, while also ensuring good communication with customers, there will gradually be less work ashore. Therefore, some of the employees at the terminal and office in Copenhagen will also be sent home with pay during the temporary route closure. We will provide more information about this as soon as possible.

Contributions from employees
The Danish government and the labour market partners have agreed that those who are sent home with pay must themselves contribute by taking a week’s annual leave, and that they must also be available to be called back to work when the need arises.

I am incredibly pleased that in this way we can pause the workplace until the situation has normalised. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you aboard and ashore who have ensured that our ships have been sailing steadily and safely, and customers have received the normal good service, even under the very difficult conditions of the Covid-19 crisis.

Best regards
Torben Carlsen

Shore power project: Student measures emissions

Aja Hammou from Technical University of Denmark measured particle and CO2 emissions for the Copenhagen – Oslo route, studying the environmental impact of shore power. Picture of Pearl Seaways by Aja


When Aja Hammou stepped on board Pearl Seaways on 11 February, it was not for a relaxing mini-cruise to Oslo, but to work on her university project about ferry emissions and shore power on board and in the terminals.

Aja studies Civil Engineering in Environmental Technology and Environmental Chemistry. She and Technical University of Denmark (DTU) contacted DFDS about a project to investigate emissions and air pollution from shipping in local environments, and focused on shore power as a mitigating solution.

In Oslo, Pearl and Crown can connect to the power grid, but in the Danish capital the ferries must generate power from an on-board auxiliary engine until an installation is built.

Poul Woodall, Director of Environment & Sustainability, says: “The situations in the two ports make them useful for a comparative study, and we were happy to oblige Aja with the necessary access and data to carry out measurements for her project. This also helps us with additional data on the impact in Oslo and the potential in Copenhagen.”

Measurements ashore and at sea

She mostly worked on her project during the voyage, but the crew also took Aja to see the engine room. In Oslo, most of the work consisted of doing measurements around the port and becoming familiar with the shore-power installation.

Aja says: “I want to help discover the best ways of creating greener and more sustainable ports and port cities, and to find out whether shore power is part of those solutions. DFDS has been supportive of me and this project in sharing its experience and data. I look forward to working with what I’ve collected, finishing the project and sharing the conclusions.

“I also want to thank staff in the terminals and on board who accommodated my work there.”

Aja will publish the study as her Master’s thesis to be defended in June at DTU.

Pearl Seaways plugged into shore power in Oslo

Power-to-X conference on board Pearl Seaways

Key players in industry joined DFDS to discuss green shipping fuels


Power-to-X is about finding the synergies and creating the scale for turning green electricity into affordable fuel for the shipping industry.

For this purpose, shipping companies, the energy sector, and dozens of other experts joined DFDS in a conference on board Pearl Seaways in Copenhagen harbour on 30 January.

When we announced the conference last month, Jakob Steffensen, Head of Innovation and Partnerships at DFDS, explained what we aim to do with key players such as Maersk, Ørsted, Siemens A/S, Danish Ship Finance and Dansk Energi.

DFDS’ CFO Karina Deacon introduced the conference with some important words: “Over the next six hours you will be discussing solutions for a green transition for shipping. You are gathered here today to do something about it. Those solutions will be necessary for us to renew the maritime and maritime supply industries. We need to become climate friendly to stay relevant in the future, to maintain our businesses and the many jobs we provide.”

Why ammonia is so interesting

“Ammonia can be made from air, water and green electricity. It doesn’t add CO2 to the atmosphere when burned, and power-to-ammonia can be done with high total energy efficiency. Yes, it is toxic and smelly, requiring dedicated precautions, but there is so much potential in this carbon-free molecule as a fuel, that we must take this potential pathway very seriously,” says Tue Johannesen, Senior Innovation Portfolio Manager at Maersk.

Ammonia is already developed to a practical state that can be used by ships, with the three related factors of cost, scale and demand recognised as the key drivers by the conference speakers. Converting green energy such as wind power into hydrogen and ammonia is a viable way of achieving the scale, where costs become viable for industry.

It’s also a chicken and egg situation in terms of what comes first, the demand for the fuel from the industry, or the fuel provided by the energy sector.

Jakob Steffensen said: “The biggest issue is the price gap between black and green energy – it’s much easier to go green if the two meet. We need to learn fast in order to make the right strategic decisions. That’s why this day is all about partnerships, so we can share knowledge, discuss the barriers we need to cross, and drive innovation together.”

DFDS and Karina Deacon thanked the day’s participants: “We owe you our gratitude for being here today. Thank you for sharing your technologies, knowledge and experiences.”

The day brought us great insight from the speakers, with difficult questions and lively discussions throughout. Pearl Seaways provided a great venue, many thanks to the staff on board for hosting all our guests.

Anders Nordstrøm, VP and Head of Hydrogen at Ørsted

Jakob Steffensen, Head of Innovation & Partnerships at DFDS

Claus Møller, CEO at Siemens A/S and Head of Siemens Smart Infrastructure

Majbrit Hoppe, Business Developer at Funen’s Maritime Cluster

DFDS hosts ‘Future & Tech’ conference on board Pearl

Business Sales Nordic from BU Short Routes & Passenger offers conference and meeting services to companies and institutions on board our cruise ferries, Pearl Seaways and Crown Seaways sailing on Copenhagen – Oslo.

Together with DBTA (Danish Business Travel Association) and the crew, they hosted a conference on board Pearl where the theme was ‘Future & Tech’. It included a packed programme of speakers with inspiring information, such as Amadeus (global booking system), American Express business travel, FCM Travel, Lufthansa Group as well as SAP Concur that were giving exciting talks on AI (Artificial Intelligence), Chatboots and basically the potential of the travel industry.

Henrik Møller, Strategic Sales & Key Account Manager, says: “Almost 90 corporate travel buyers and travel service providers attended the conference. The group of participants were rather impressed with the upgraded design and look of the terminal, as well as our disembarkation efficiency of offloading 1,150 passengers in just 10-15 minutes.

“At the Kick-off Coffee Session, which took place outside our Conference Auditorium, many participants said that they were further impressed with our conference facilities.”

Following the formal DBTA welcome speech, DFDS introduced our business on the Copenhagen – Oslo route that offers a great venue for conferences, kick-off meetings and events in a different and inspiring environment.

After the conclusion of the official programme, the Business Sales team gave all guests a guided tour around the ship to showcase the conference and meeting facilities on board. The Sales Team received a lot of positive feedback from the participants and the DBTA board, including 100 positive LinkedIn postings from the participants.

“We made a lot of new interesting sales opportunities and contacts during the conference, and I am excited to see what it can lead to going forward. The Business Sales DK Team consisting of Bente Poppelhøj Nielsen, Anders Christensen and myself, would like to give a huge thanks to all the staff on board Pearl, who did a fantastic, professional job to make this important key event such a success,” says Henrik.

New dog exercise area on board Pearl Seaways

18 November was a big day on board Pearl Seaways, when we were proud to welcome the first dog in the newly-constructed dog exercise area on deck 6.

Brian Blixt Jacobsen, Commercial Head, Pearl Seaways, says: “The exercise area is equipped with artificial grass and has both a fire hydrant and a small lamppost where dogs can cock their legs. Of course, there is also access to bags for ‘accidents’, as well as a rubbish bin to deposit those bags after use, so that the area can be kept just as nicely as in these pictures. In addition, 10 cabins have been adapted for dogs and their owners, and these ‘pet cabins’ are located up by the outside deck, where the dogs can be let out, allowing easy access to the exercise area.”

Pearl Seaways breaks fuel record

The new fuel consumption record is the seventh since 2012.


Thanks to efficient fuel-saving initiatives, optimised routines on board and favourable weather conditions, Pearl Seaways succeeded in beating the previous fuel consumption record on the sailing between 13 and 14 November.

The record is the seventh since the first record was noted back on 25 January 2012. It now stands at 19.2 tonnes of Ultra Low Sulphur Fuel for propulsion only for a single journey between Copenhagen and Oslo.

Well done, Captain Johnny Andreasen and the crew.

See below the records for Ultra Low Sulphur Fuel proudly posted on the bridge on Pearl Seaways.

DFDS and WeShelter celebrates 10-year anniversary

WeShelter is an organization that has been doing social work in Copenhagen since 1893. The organization runs numerous shelters in and around the city which provide vulnerable men and women living on the street with food, a safe place to sleep, psychological and medical consultations, and whenever possible, help them in the process of moving into their own housing.

This year, we welcome back Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus and the gospel choir, Voice Zone, who have volunteered for us for the last couple of years. Lisa Larsen, General Manager at WeShelter, says that for many of WeShelter’s homeless, the DFDS Christmas lunch is a highlight of the season:

“Christmas time is a time where homelessness and loneliness can feel particularly difficult. Very few of the men and women who stay at our shelters have a family, and their network is often very small, so when the rest of us get together with our families over Christmas, the feeling of being an outsider in society intensifies. With this Christmas lunch, DFDS gives homeless and vulnerable people a fantastic day to look forward to – a day where they are the center of attention. It spreads so much joy to know that there are those out there who are thinking of them, a joy that can be felt throughout the year.”

Sofie Hebeltoft, Head of CSR, says: “I was at the Christmas lunch last year and feeling the great atmosphere as well as seeing the well-organized event really showed what great collaborations can achieve. Throughout the year, we contribute with a mini-cruise for every donation of 200 DKK donated to WeShelter and the Christmas lunch is a culmination of that cooperation. At DFDS, we have the ambition and the resources to act for the benefit of social responsibility and do good for the society and local communities – the 10-year anniversary of the Christmas lunch is a perfect example of that.

Pictures provided by WeShelter:

Are your books gathering dust?

Then you can donate them to an initiative which helps our guests and the environment at the same time.

Line Nors Frandsen, who is Concept Manager in BU Short Routes and Passenger, is behind the initiative, and she says: “We want to make a bookcase where people can exchange books on board Crown Seaways and Pearl Seaways. Many of you may be familiar with the concept which has gained popularity in recent years. Guests may either borrow a book or exchange one for one of their own.”

“We hope that our guests will welcome this opportunity for a good read while taking in the beautiful sea view when looking up over their reading glasses. To get the project going, we need 100-150 books, so we are reaching out to our colleagues in the hope that you may have some pre-loved books on your shelves that you might want to donate. Any genre and language will do, however, we would prefer languages that match our passenger mix, so books in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Korean, Chinese, Thai, Japanese or English.”

If you have one or more books that you no longer read, you may hand them in to Line Nors Frandsen at DFDS House. She sits in the back of the room on the 2nd floor North, or to Linda Palmquist in the marketing department in Norway, who is located on the 2nd floor, Vippetangen, Skur 42. On board the vessels, you can hand in books to Business Leader Accommodation & Service.

The bookcase will be in the back of the area where Espresso House is located. Check it out next time you are on board the Oslo ferry.

Reflections of a trainee chef

Sleeping under the night sky on Troy Seaways’ weather deck is something only a few can brag about. One who can is trainee chef Ann Cathrine Thorhauge Holm and if you recently dined on board Pearl on the Copenhagen – Oslo route there is a good chance that you have eaten food prepared by her.

Ann Cathrine started as a waiter two and a half years ago and switched to be a trainee chef last year. During her traineeship, she has cooked in the restaurants, learning different methods and work procedures while cooking anything from pastry to gourmet dishes. She was also on Troy Seaways’ maiden voyage. She and Jeppe Skjøde Knudsen, Chief Steward, cooked food for the whole crew of 25 while enjoying the spectacular viewpoints and different countries during the four-week voyage. With a strong willingness to continuously improve and the right mindset to take the opportunities that are presented, she fits just perfectly into the DFDS Way.

All the way from China to Turkey, Ann Cathrine and Jeppe Skjøde Knudsen cooked food for the entire crew of Troy Seaways 

Ann Cathrine says: “When given new challenges, my traineeship has taught me to think ‘I haven’t tried that before, but I probably can’. I would never have got so far in my personal development and taken giant steps out of my comfort zone if I hadn’t been a trainee chef at DFDS. This eagerness for experiences and the ‘can do’ attitude also made me enter a cooking competition in Dragør, which I originally thought I wasn’t good enough for, but here I am winning second place that I am really proud of.

Ann Cathrine at the cooking competition “En bid af Dragør” (in english; A bite of Dragør) where the task was to come up with a new interpretation of Fish & Chips

“Every day at work I learn a lot more than just cooking. I learn to transcend my own boundaries, take the opportunities that are thrown up, I have freedom with responsibility, and I have become more independent and adaptable. I also have a huge network of great colleagues who are always there for me if I have bad days and you simply cannot find this kind of community among colleagues unless you work at sea.
“I am sure that a combination of all that will make me a better chef in the end, both professionally and personally.” Ann Cathrine is set to conclude her traineeship next June.

“Being a chef can be quite tough and there will be bumps in the road, and times when you just want to give up. However it is such a fantastic feeling when you are doing well and sometimes when I have done a really great job and everything just succeeds, the only thing I can think is ‘How great it is to be a trainee chef and even more great that it is with DFDS’.”

A tribute to the community

This year’s Community Awards event was once again celebrated, with 250 festive guests gathered on the deck of Pearl Seaways for an afternoon of fun and celebration on Thursday

The sun slowly broke through the mellow skies as 10 community awards were presented with glowing hearts, heartfelt smiles and touching words. It was time for the yearly Community Awards on board Pearl Seaways in perfect surroundings and atmosphere for an afternoon filled with joy, laughter and caring love for society, communities and those who selflessly make an effort to help others and enhance community life in Denmark. An event which DFDS took part in bringing to life in 2014 with the current Danish Prime Minister and Leader of the Danish Social Democratic Party, Mette Frederiksen, together with other partners. And which Pearl Seaways has proudly hosted ever since.

The crew was well prepared as always and the guests were greeted on the sun deck with champagne and canapés creatively prepared by the skilled colleagues in the kitchen on board.

Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil (right) handing over an award to Børnebuddies

The Minister for Children and Education, , opened the event by reminding everyone how important communities are and how they can make a lot of people feel included and valued. She presented one of the 10 awards to people in Denmark who have made an exceptional and selfless contribution to their communities. Read more about the 10 award winners in this article in Danish.

An entertaining afternoon of music and speeches went smoothly as Pearl made a round trip in the calm waters of Copenhagen harbour. The many guests noisily expressed their excitement with the ship, the service and, of course, the lovely and beautifully prepared food served on the trip.

“We are extremely honoured and thankful to be the chosen venue for this amazing event. It means a lot for us to be part of a celebration that recognises exceptional people as well as diversity. Once again it was a great experience and, true to form, the weather gods smiled on us, allowing us to host this beautiful event on the sun deck. I would like to thank everyone who helped make the event a success again this year,” says Brian Blixt Jacobsen, Commercial Head on board Pearl Seaways.


Trainee programme on board Crown and Pearl concludes

Some of the trainees on board Pearl Seaways happily showing their certificates of a successful ITAC programme completion

Three months ago, 12 students from Asia joined the International Trainee Academy Certification programme (ITAC). They were given responsibility for supporting the crew on board Pearl Seaways and Crown Seaways on the Copenhagen – Oslo route with even greater cultural knowledge and understanding about our passengers travelling from countries such as South Korea, China and Japan.

Last week, ceremonies on board Pearl and Crown concluded the programme and congratulated our trainees on a successful course.

Josefine Jönsson, HR Manager, is responsible for the ITAC programme and says: “During the three months the trainees did an excellent job in supporting the teams in the shop and various restaurants on board the cruise ferries. They also participated in different workshops to learn about DFDS and attended supplier visits to get insight into the products we offer on the ferries.

“For the students it was a huge cultural change to start work on the cruise route, so together with the managers on board, we put a lot of effort into preparing them before they arrived on board the ship. During the programme, we also gave them a lot of individual focus with ongoing performance reviews ensuring that the trainees would grow and develop during their time at DFDS.

“Every single one of our trainees has taken responsibility for the tasks in the programme, and it is with pride that we can report back to their university that all the students have successfully passed our ITAC programme.

“We are now collecting feedback from the trainees to improve the programme for next summer when we accept a new group of trainees.”

The trainees who worked on Crown Seaways during the programme were joined by part of the crew, who congratulated the trainees – seen with their certificates

Pearl turned around en route to Oslo to discharge sick passenger

A sick passenger needing urgent medical care led to Pearl sailing back some way to get the woman to a hospital before returning on its route.


It is quite rare that the Copenhagen-Oslo ferry turns around after departure, but it occurred Sunday at 19:30 on 11 August when a female passenger was sick on Pearl Seaways shortly after departure from Copenhagen. The crew contacted the medical team at Radio Medical Denmark who advised the crew to bring the passenger to a hospital ashore.

At 19:30 near Kullen peninsula on the Swedish coast, Pearl changed the course to nearby Elsinore where the sick passenger was taken ashore to a waiting ambulance by Pearl’s Fast Rescue Boat.

The ferry is so visible and usually so predictable in its sailing that the sudden change of direction caused people to contact media and media to contact DFDS.

Radio Medical Denmark is a 24-hour maritime medical service body, whose function is carried out by a special team at Sydvestjysk Hospital in Esbjerg. Doctors can be contacted ‘around the clock’ by seafarers aboard Danish ships from the merchant and fishing fleet as well as on ferries, wherever they are on the world seas.

HR expands trainee programme on board Crown and Pearl to accommodate growing number of passengers from Asia

Josefine Jönsson (second from left) and some of the incoming trainees who will be working on board Crown or Pearl

In recent years, DFDS has experienced significant growth among our international guests, in particular guests from Asia, and this growth shows no sign of stopping. This year, we expect around 135,000 international guests, of whom 75,000 are from South Korea, Japan and China.
To accommodate this growth, DFDS has decided to expand the DFDS trainee programme, called the International Trainee Academy Certification programme (ITAC programme).

Securing great customer service with cultural knowledge and understanding
Josefine Jönsson, HR Manager, Cruise Routes, is responsible for the programme. She says: “The three-month programme on board Pearl and Crown will include 12 selected Asian students from various universities and business schools that offer tourism courses. The trainees will get ‘hands-on’ experience while supporting the crew on a wide range of assignments, including in the restaurants, shop and reception. This creates better links between guests from Asia and our colleagues on board, as the trainees will share cultural knowledge and insight. Additionally, the trainees will also be introduced to Nordic cultures and mindsets, while being on the frontline, meeting our international client portfolio face-to-face.”

Preparing the trainees for the voyage of a lifetime
“Starting work on board the ferries is a big change for anyone, let alone for people so far from home. We have therefore prepared a pre-boarding process to support the trainees and provide clear expectations before they arrive on board the ships. The trainees received pre-boarding material which describes the programme, gives an insight into DFDS and provides practical information about what they will be doing. Furthermore, the 12 trainees also participated in an ITAC workshop together with me, where we dug deeper into the organisation and culture, and took part in a ‘Yes We Will’ workshop facilitated by Training & Development,” says Josefine.

“I want to thank my colleagues Anne Boisen-Thøgersen, Tommy Brink, Kim Fuglsang and all the supportive leaders on board the ships. We have put this programme together to give the trainees the best possible experience with DFDS.”

During the ITAC program, the trainees will support the crew with even greater cultural knowledge and understanding

Training & Development concludes leadership training on cruise routes

Over the last few weeks, Emma Nordström and Trine Arlyng from Training & Development went on our Amsterdam – Newcastle and Copenhagen – Oslo cruise routes to conclude a 5-module leadership training that started last June. It was an initiative to accommodate the changes from Project Starlight and the new organisational structure on board the cruise ferries.

The five modules covered topics like change management, situational leadership, conflict management, feedback, coaching and questioning technique, and the DISC training. This was also the first time all leaders on board had gathered to receive the same training at the same time.

“The fifth module has allowed Business Leaders and Floor Managers to reflect upon the training and tools from previous workshops. They have shared concrete examples and best practices on how they have implemented the tools and how it has made a difference and positive impact,” says Emma Nordström.

“Gender diversity was another topic on the agenda as diversity and inclusion are things all managers should be aware of and incorporate in their management. The leaders had good discussions and came up with good reflections on what initiatives they can take to make a difference; for example, be aware of bias and stereotypes when delegating daily tasks and consistently raise awareness about the topic within your own team. The ideas and input collected from the sessions will also be shared with the Gender Diversity Steering Committee.”

Emma and Trine both say: “We have received really positive feedback from our colleagues on board who say that they benefit from the training and management tools in their daily work. Thank you to all participants who met us with enthusiasm every session.”

Business Leaders and Floor Managers on board Pearl Seaways generating ideas and inputs for a more inclusive and diverse DFDS

Pearl and Crown Seaways in fierce competition

When you spend as much time with your colleagues as our staff do on board our cruise ferries, a healthy and caring work environment is essential to ensure smooth operations.

The crews work long hours in an often busy and fast-paced setting. This naturally leads to a great sense of community and creates exceptionally strong bonds among the crew during their time at sea.

Throughout recent months, different courses and workshops on board have been going on to encourage an even more supportive and caring environment on board, including various training and development courses, information meetings about employee care, and how to prevent addiction to drugs and alcohol, for example.

In early April, gender diversity workshops will also be facilitated by Training & Development.

Additionally, as part of the DFDS Moves initiative, our colleagues’ competitive spirit was tested in weeks 9 and 11 on the Copenhagen – Oslo route. Pearl Seaways and Crown Seaways faced each other in a heated duel to see which ship could collect the most points in various challenges arranged by Champions of 2morrow, which specialises in supporting companies in health and well-being activities.

Trine S Kristensen, HR Recruitment Specialist, says: “Everyone had a blast, and enjoyed two weeks filled with health checks, friendly competitions and, most importantly, a lot of laughter and happy faces.

“The crews spend many consecutive days at sea, and they can’t simply go home after work. Your colleagues on board often become the ones you talk to after a bad day, so initiatives like these are always very welcome, as they create a good atmosphere and strengthen our relationships with one another.”

Digital door locks installed on doors for crew and staff areas on Pearl Seaways

Jacob Grønnegaard, Chief Officer on board Pearl Seaways, left, and Martin Lange, Business Analyst in IT Pax, right

During her recent stay in dock, new digital door locks were installed in the crew and staff areas on Pearl Seaways. Pearl is thus the first vessel in the DFDS passenger fleet to use RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology.

The new door lock system will be rolled out to all future passenger newbuildings and door lock replacements, and our new ro-pax vessels being built at the GSI Shipyard will have the new RFID technology and system installed. The system is also being considered for passenger cabins on board Crown Seaways and Pearl Seaways, but that relies on developing a mobile solution for opening doors and adding prepaid catering.

The staff on Pearl Seaways have now had their first experiences with the new Visionline system and they report that many procedures are now a lot easier to handle, and it is easier to gain an overview and get reports on the locks.

Martin Lange, Business Analyst in IT Pax, says: “This technology is a step in the direction towards even more digital interactions with our guests. Looking to the near future, we will be able to support our guests with a fully-digital boarding flow, where key cards can be provided in a mobile application.”

The project is carried out in close collaboration between IT Pax, Technical Organisation and staff on Crown Seaways and Pearl Seaways.

Jacob Grønnegaard, Chief Officer on board Pearl Seaways, says: “The current door lock system on Crown and Pearl is coming towards the end of its life, and is difficult to support and maintain. A new door lock system is much needed, as the reliability of the old system is very poor, causing many issues and resulting in wasted resources. This new technology allows a modern way of handling of keys on board, and provides a more intelligent management of access conditions. Additionally, it is a giant step speaking ISPS (International Ship and Port Facility Security).”

The new digital door locks

Pearl Seaways connected to on-shore power in Oslo

Today at 09:57 Pearl was connected up for the first time to Port of Oslo’s new on-shore power installation

Port of Oslo’s new on-shore power installation was inaugurated with great festivities and music on 8 January, and today at 09:57 Pearl was connected up for the first time after lengthy approval and test procedures in February with the classification company and the supplier.

“This has been made possible as a result of major installation work carried out while the ship was in dry dock in January,” says Martin Øhlenschlæger, DFDS supervisor on the project.

“A huge thanks must go to the crew and Martin for their great efforts in connection with the project,” says Moshe Poulsen, Superintendent.

Images of the installation on Pearl Seaways


DFDS trainees meet up in Copenhagen

The trainees and Dorrit Bresser on board Pearl Seaways. From left to right: Liene Polakova, George Protonotarios, Nicholas Serritslev, Anna Zeblin, Dominykas Pocius, Dorrit Bresser, Martin Kovacic and Arron Welling

Last week all but one of the trainees came together at DFDS House for training and a tour on board Pearl with Jette Krog from HR. We currently have four first-year trainees: Arron Welling, Dominykas Pocius, Martin Kovacic and Karolina Triuskaite (who was not able to attend) and four second-year trainees, George Protonotarios, Nicholas Serritslev, Anna Zeblin and Liene Polakova.

The trainees gathered in Copenhagen to attend internal training hosted by Veronique la Havrehed from Training and Development. The training was based on DISC theory, and how they can use the knowledge of profile types to better adjust their behaviour depending on the situation. Apart from internal courses the trainees also attend a two-year formal external education at the Danish shipowners’ academy where they delve into subjects like maritime economics and maritime law.

Dorrit Bresser, HR Advisor, says: “The trainee programme for our young professionals runs over two years. They spend one year in shipping and one year in logistics at two different locations throughout the company. Developing interpersonal skills is important for the trainees as they encounter different people and cultures during their traineeship. They need to adjust and get acquainted very quickly with a completely new culture, both at work and in their private lives. Having identified their own personality profile as well as being aware of other profile types around them makes this adjustment easier.”

While the first-year trainees headed back to their locations after the training, the second-year trainees spent one more day at DFDS House. They discussed their future within DFDS after they graduate, where currently two of them already have jobs lined up and two of them are still searching.

Eddie Green and Peder Gellert joined the meeting to share their views on the future of shipping and logistics.

DFDS and Metal Maritime union invest in seafarers’ health and well-being

When the Oslo – Copenhagen crew followed the World Championship handball match between the Danish and Norwegian teams during their voyage from Oslo to Copenhagen last Thursday, it coincided with the launch of a major well-being project on Crown Seaways and Pearl Seaways.

The project is being paid for by the Social Labour Market Fund, which was established by DFDS and the trade union Metal Maritime as part of the collective bargaining negotiations seven years ago. The project will run throughout 2019, and will later be rolled out to other Danish flagged vessels. It will offer inspiration and coaching to increase crew members’ mental and physical well-being through healthier food, better habits, exercise and joint activities, as well as ongoing health checks.

Henrik Holck – who is chairman of the Social Labour Market Fund in addition to his role as EVP of People & Ships and head of the Oslo route, is particularly happy about the holistic approach to the project.

He says: “Well-being and welfare cover many things. Seafarers are often on board ship and away from their families and homes for long periods of time and when they are with their colleagues all the time can’t just go out for a walk in the woods. Therefore, well-being on board is as much connected with mental and social well-being as it is with physical well-being.”

The project will be run in collaboration with the company Champions of 2morrow, which also helps with the DFDS Moves project, initiated by colleagues at DFDS House to inspire people to eat more healthily, move more and manage stress better.

The new on-board project will also be based on close cooperation with the employees.

New food experiences will be put together, so everyone is inspired to eat more healthily. There will be new opportunities for joint exercise, coaching on stress and food, as well as support for new, healthier habits, so that TV viewing and snacks in cabins in leisure time will have to compete with activities that are both more fun and more healthy.

There will be opportunities for mindfulness and coaching on sleep, because a good night’s sleep is crucial for well-being, energy and health. Employees will be offered health checks on an ongoing basis, so that they can monitor their progress.

“A wide range of exciting events throughout the year will ensure that the initiatives are something our colleagues on board look forward to,” says Henrik.

The Social Labour Market Fund:

“The project is a core example of what can be achieved when the employer and the trade union work together for the common good for both business and employees.”

“The background to the creation of the fund in 2012 was a desire to take on an additional social responsibility and contribute to the individual seafarers in DFDS being able to maintain their jobs and remain in the labour market, even when wear and tear, age and illness take their toll. Welfare and well-being are absolutely central. Therefore, it is obvious that the fund should support this project,” says Ole Philipsen, chairman of Metal Maritime.

Oslo inaugurated shore power for cruise ferries

Shore power celebrations: Kim Heiberg, Route Director, DFDS; Johan Edelman, Trade Director, Norway, Stena Line; Kjetil Lund, Vice Mayor, Business Development and Public Ownership, City of Oslo; Lan Marie Berg, Vice Mayor, Environment and Transport, City of Oslo; Ola Elvestuen, Minister of Climate and Environment; and Ingvar M. Mathisen, Port Director, Port of Oslo.

It was quite a celebration with music, Norwegian seasonal delicacies and lunch on board Stena Line’s ship in the Port of Oslo on 8 January. The port had invited government and city officials, including Ola Elvestuen, Norway’s minister for the environment, and partners to the official inauguration of the new shore power system for Stena’s and DFDS’ ferries in the port.

DFDS was represented by Kariann Jacobsen, Margrethe Sand,  Linda Palmquist and Route Director Kim Heiberg. He received flowers from the port and was interviewed by journalists.

The interest was huge, as could be seen from the many news reports in Norwegian and international press after the ceremony.

Stena Line is expected to start using the system shortly and DFDS’  Pearl Seaways will do so in February  after maintenance docking in Fayard in Denmark, where the necessary on-board equipment for receiving shore power is installed. The other ship on the route, Crown Seaways, will have equipment installed in January 2020 during the scheduled maintenance docking.

“We have decided to install shore power equipment on board our ships to support the environmental policies of the City of Oslo and Port of Oslo and their investment in shore power facilities. With the investment in the equipment on board, we’re helping to ensure that the expensive power installation ashore is used as intended to reduce the emission of harmful substances in an urban area. We are obviously pleased to contribute to this,” says Kim Heiberg.

The aim is to make the maritime industry as environmentally friendly as possible and support the Port of Oslo’s journey towards becoming a zero-emissions port.