The Viking Sky, a luxury vessel carrying 1,300 passengers and crew members, signaled for help after it was hit with the engine problems and began migrating landward, The Associated Press reported, citing the Norwegian newspaper VG.
Photos from the scene showed the large vessel surrounded by intensely choppy waters.
The ship was ultimately able to drop anchor in Hustadsvika Bay, according to police in Moere og Romsdal; responders reportedly arrived with both helicopters and boats in their effort to unload anyone aboard.
The evacuation will require time, as passengers needed to be hoisted individually from the cruise ship to one of the five available helicopters, Norwegian public broadcaster NRK reported. The rough weather made rescue efforts by way of life boats or other vessels not possible, authorities told NRK.
Responders had reportedly removed 100 people from the Viking Sky by the evening, local time.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.