Milestones reached for SunStone expedition ship projects


On 5 September 2019, the CMHI yard, China, carried out the keel laying ceremony for the 'Ocean Victory' and the steel cutting ceremony for the 'Ocean Explorer' newbuilds. The expedition cruise vessels are under construction for U.S. based SunStone Ships and have been designed by Ulstein Design & Solutions.

SunStone Ships has placed a ship construction order of up to ten expedition cruise vessels in their INFINITY Class series at the China Merchant Heavy Industries (CMHI) yard in Haimen, China, of which the Ocean Victory is number 3, and the Ocean Explorer is number 4, respectively.

The 'Ocean Victory' will be operating on Antarctica cruises for Albatros Expeditions in the winter season, and on Alaska cruises for American Queen Steamboat Company in the summer season.

The 'Ocean Explorer' has been chartered to Vantage Travel on a year-round long-term charter.

According to ship owner SunStone, the INFINITY-class combines 'European design and quality with Chinese shipbuilding efficiency. The INFINITY-class delivers cutting-edge design, innovations like X-BOW technology, and significant operating efficiencies'.

The INFINITY vessels are based on the CX103 design featuring the X-BOW® by Ulstein Design & Solutions. This patented bow was originally developed for excellent seakeeping in rough conditions, but also has the advantage of offering more space in the bow areas, taken in use for spacious lounges with outstanding views.

“Our charterers are anxious to enjoy the advantages of our cutting-edge technology, like the X-BOW® design, along with the significant operating efficiencies offered by the INFINITY class. So, we’re moving as quickly as possible to get them into the market,” comments CEO and President Niels Erik Lund, SunStone Ships.

Vessel specifics

The vessels are 104.4 m long and 18.4 m wide. They have a passenger capacity of 130-200, and a crew capacity of 85-115, small enough to give an exclusive atmosphere, large enough to yield all expected services and facilities, such as a swimming pool, bar and restaurant, boutique, cinema, gym and spa. The vessel stores abundant gear for outdoor activities such as Zodiacs, bikes, kayaks or paddle boards.

The hull will be built according to Polar class 6, Polar code Cat B, with dynamic positioning system and zero-speed stabilizers, and classed by Bureau Veritas.

The first vessel in the series, the ‘Greg Mortimer’, is getting prepared for her naming ceremony on 6 September.

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