We travelled by that route several times, the last in 1991. We're hoping that we'll be fit enough to do it when the new ship comes into service. Our holidays in Scandinavia were fantastic and we made it to North Cape 2 or 3 times. Good news indeed, and it should be good for businesses here if it brings the Norwegian tourists back here to the north east.
I travelled Newcastle to Stavanger in 1967 on a school skiing trip. I think it will be popular but probably expensive. The north sea ferry from Rosyth in Scotland sadly didnt last long - not sure where that went though.