Color Line (ferry operator)

This article is about the ferry operator. For the civil rights issue, see Color line (civil rights issue).
Color Line AS
Predecessor Jahre Line and Norway Line
Founded 1990
Headquarters Oslo, Norway
Area served
Norway, Denmark, Germany, Sweden
Key people
Morten Garman, Chairman
Olav Nils Sunde, President
Services Passenger transportation
Freight transportation
Parent Color Group

Color Line AS is the largest cruiseferry line operating on routes to and from Norway. The company is also one of the leading operators in Europe. Color Line provides transportation for people and cargo, hotel accommodation, shopping, restaurants and entertainment. The company currently employs 3500 people in four countries.

Color Line main office is in Oslo, but the company also have offices in Kristiansand, Sandefjord and Larvik in addition to international offices in Kiel, Hirtshals and Strömstad.


MS Color Magic, the largest cruiseferry with cardeck in the world
Color Line terminal in Hirtshals

Color Line has roots in the ferry business that go back more than 100 years. The company was established in 1990 when two Norwegian shipping companies, Jahre Line and Norway Line merged.[1] Jahre Line had operated ferries between Oslo and Kiel since 1961,[2] while Norway Line had operated ferries from Norway to the United Kingdom and the Netherlands since 1986.[3] During 1990 Color Line also took over the Fred. Olsen Lines cruiseferry operations,[1] thereby expanding the traffic area of the new company to Norway—Denmark routes.[4]

During the first half of the 1990s Color Line enlargened their tonnage by lengthening their existing ships by acquisition of larger second-hand ships.[5] The company began operating fast ferries between Norway and Denmark during the summer of 1996. Initially the operations were in collaboration with SeaContainers, but were run without them from 1997 onwards.[5][6][7] In October of the same year Color Line took over the operations of Larvik Line, their competitor in the Norway—Denmark traffic.[1][8] In September 1998 Color Line acquired both the Color Hotel Skagen and Scandi Line, which operated two ferries on the short routes connecting Norway and Sweden.[1][9] In the end of 1998 the Norway—United Kingdom operations were sold to Fjord Line.[10] For the 1999 summer season the (former) Scandi Line ships received new Color Scandi Line liveries. They were fully incorporated into the Color Line fleet in 2001.[9][11]

During the 2000s Color Line begun investing heavily in new tonnage, with MS Color Fantasy, MS Color Magic, MS Superspeed 1 and MS Superspeed 2 supplanting much of the older tonnage between 2004 and 2008.[12] In April 2008 the company announced the closure of the OsloHirtshals service from 6 May 2008 onwards.[13]

Ships and routes

Ship Built Entered service
for Color Line
Route Tonnage1 Notes
MS Bohus 1971 1999 SandefjordStrömstad 8,772 GRT ex-Prisessan Desireé, Europafärjan, Europafärjan II, Lion Princess
MS Color Fantasy 2004 2004 OsloKiel 75,027 GT
MS Color Magic 2007 2007 OsloKiel 75,100 GT Largest cruiseferry in the world
MS Color Viking 1985 2000 Sandefjord—Strömstad 19,763 GRT ex-Peder Paars, Stena Invicta
MS Superspeed 1 2008 2008 KristiansandHirtshals 33,500 GT
MS Superspeed 2 2008 2008 Larvik—Hirtshals 33,500 GT
1May be specified in gross tonnage (GT) or gross register tons (GRT).

Former ships

Ship Built Years in service Tonnage1 Status as of 2009
MS Kronprins Harald 1987 1991–2007 31,122 GRT Since 2007 MS Oscar Wilde for Irish Ferries
MS Prinsesse Ragnhild 1980 1991–2008 35,855 GRT Since 2008 MS Bahamas CelebrationIn 2015 sold for scrap, Alang India.
MS Jupiter 1973 1991–1999 11,344 GRT recently sold for scrap
MS Skagen 1975 1991–2005 12,333 GRT Since 2005 MS Sherazad for Arab Bridge Maritime Co. In 2011 sold for scrap, Alang India.
MS Venus 1974 1991–1994 8,753 GRT Since 2002 MS Cesme for Turkish Marmara Lines
MS Christian IV 1982 1991–2008 21,699 GT Since 2009 MS Julia for Fastnet Line.
MS Color Viking 1975 1994–1998 20,581 GRT Since 2007 MS Jupiter for Royal Group Ltd.
MS Color Festival 1985 1994–2008 34,694 GRT Since 2008 MS Mega Smeralda for Corsica Ferries
HSC SeaCat Danmark 1991 1996 3,003 GT Since 2006 HSC Pescara Jet for SNAV.
HSC SeaCat Norge 1991 1996 3,003 GT Since 2007 HSC Snaefell for Isle of Man Steam Packet
MS Octagon 3 1984 1996–1997 10,243 GRT Since 2005 MS Fast Independence for Independence Shipping Co. Ltd.
MS Peter Wessel 1981 1996–2008 29,706 GRT Since 2008 MS SNAV Toscana for SNAV
HSC Silvia Ana L 1996 1997–2007 7,895 GRT Since 2007 sailing for Buquebus
HSC Pegasus Two 1997 1997–1998 3,971 GT Since 2007 HSC Queen Nefertiti for Arab Bridge Maritime Co.
MS Color Trader 1977 1998 8,454 GRT Scrapped 2004
MS Feederman 1972 1998 3,166 GRT Since 2003 MS Dorrah Jeddah, owned by an unknown Saudiarabian company
MS Sandefjord 1965 1999–2000 5,678 GRT Since 2007 MS Red Star I for Star Ferries
MS Landi 1976 1999 9,079 GRT Since 2007 MS Ammari for Ustica Lines
MS European Mariner 1978 2002 1,598 GRT Since 2003 sailing for P&O Ferries
MS Gute 1979 2003 7,616 GRT Since 2007 laid up in Visby, owned by Rederi AB Gotland
MS Calibur 1976 2003 3,642 GRT Since 2007 sails for P&O Ferries
MS Color Traveller 1981 2004–2006 17,046 GRT Since 2007 MS Rostock for Scandlines
1May be specified in gross tonnage (GT) or gross register tons (GRT).

Key people


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Color Line's history". Color Line. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  2. Asklander, Micke. "Jahre Line". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  3. Asklander, Micke. "Norway Line". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  4. Asklander, Micke. "M/S Olau Britannia (1982)". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  5. 1 2 Boyle, Ian. "Color Line". Simplon Postcards. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  6. Asklander, Micke. "HSC Hoverspeed Belgium (1991)". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  7. Asklander, Micke. "HSC Hoverspeed France (1991)". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  8. Boyle, Ian. "Larvik Line". Simplon Postcards. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  9. 1 2 Boyle, Ian. "Scandi Line". Simplon Postcards. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  10. Asklander, Micke. "M/S Wellamo (1975)". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  11. Asklander, Micke. "Scandi Line". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  12. Asklander, Micke. "Color Line". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  13. "Color Line to focus on its engagement in cruise and transport". Color Line press release. Color Line. Archived from the original on 4 July 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
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