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Color Line’s history

Color Line is now the only remaining shipping line in Norway with scheduled passenger traffic between Norway and abroad with a Norwegian head office, under Norwegian ownership and sailing under the Norwegian flag. 

Young shipping line - old history
Color Line’s history can be traced right back to 1872 and a ferry connection between Kristiansand and Frederikshavn in Denmark, operated by the shipping line Kristiansands Dampskibsselskap. A different branch can be traced back to the England boat between Newcastle and Bergen from 1890. In 1961, Jahre Line started the first services from Oslo. These were between Oslo and Kiel. 

Color Line 1990
Color Line was established in 1990, based on the two Kosmos companies Jahre Line and Norway Line. In the same year the company took over the ferry activities of Fred. Olsen Lines. The acquisition strengthened Color Line’s strategic position and considerably expanded its activities.
Later in the 1990s, the group contributed to the further consolidation of the Norwegian cruise ferry market when it took over the operations of Larvik Line and Scandi Line. As part of this development, Color Line took over Color Hotel Skagen in 1998.

Today Color Line is a leading company in European short sea shipping, with six ships on four routes between Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.
In addition to passenger and goods transport, Color Line operates cruises with conferences and exhibitions, hotel operation, restaurants, shops, entertainment and tour production. 

Click image to open gallery.

Investment in the two cruise ships M/S Color Fantasy and M/S Color Magic helped Color Line to strengthen its market position by combining the cruise ships’ high standards with conference facilities and the transport of cars and goods.   

New concepts were also introduced on the routes between Norway and Denmark, with the ships SuperSpeed1 and SuperSpeed2 from Kristiansand and Larvik to Hirtshals. These ships considerably increased capacity for passengers, cars and goods and reduced crossing times.  

On 17 February 2017, Color Line and Ulstein shipyard signed an agreement to build the world’s largest plug-in hybrid ship. The hybrid ship will go into service between Sandefjord and Strømstad in June 2019.

Digitalisation and new technology
In recent years, Color Line has invested more than NOK 500 million in new technology, including a new, internet based booking and check-in solution (CBI). This solution has made it possible to move bookings to digital interfaces, so that the guests themselves can book the journey. The new technology provides a better service for guests and represents a considerable efficiency step for Color Line.  

In autumn 2017, the company launched a new app for some of the ships with information about and opportunities for pre-booking offers on board straight from a mobile phone. In some of the ports a solution has been established for number plate recognition, to simplify car check-in.

During the period 2007-2008, Color Line sold 5 of its older ships. During the period 2004-2008, the company put 4 new ships into service: Color Fantasy, Color Magic, SuperSpeed 1 and SuperSpeed 2.

In 2019, Color Line will put the world’s largest plug-in hybrid ship into service between Sandefjord and Strømstad. The ship will be the first of its kind with a considerably increased capacity for passengers and cars and it will offer passengers extended shopping and experiences.  


  • Milestones

    Here you can read a summary of the most important milestones in the company’s history.