The Norwegian America Line (NAL) was founded in 1910 to help develop the Norwegian shipping industry, to stimulate trade between Norway and North America, and to maintain good relations between Norway and her emigrated sons and daughters and their descendants in the USA.
The line’s first vessel, "Kristianiafjord", left Oslo (at that time named Kristiania) on its maiden voyage on 7 June 1913, and arrived in New York 10 days later. Later in the summer, its sister ship "Bergensfjord" joined her, and a direct passenger route between Norway and America was established.
From the start, the line’s passenger vessels were considered Norway’s finest seagoing vessels. Their departures and arrivals received much attention in the newspapers, and large crowds showed up to watch the ships'' arrivals and departures. They were discussed in radio programmes and pictured in news clips shown in cinemas—later also on television.
NAL’s vessels were also favoured as places of employment. Men and women from all over Norway applied to work on board. Some worked for just a few months, others worked for NAL for several decades.
Today, the days of glory and glamour are gone. But for seven decades, the Norwegian America Line was the most important maritime representative of a most maritime nation. Even today, both in Norway and America, people recall the names "Stavangerfjord", "Bergensfjord", "Oslofjord", "Sagafjord", and "Vistafjord" with nostalgia and pride, and tell of the times that they, too, crossed the Atlantic on the Norwegian America Line.