The captains of the ‘Ocean Victory’ love the new expedition cruise vessel, stating that she ‘is perfect for any kind of expeditions’. A webinar hosted by the operator, Albatros Expeditions, highlighted how this newbuild differs from the other vessels in the INFINITY series.
The Ulstein designed ‘Ocean Victory’ is one of the expedition cruise vessels in the SunStone Ships’ INFINITY series and are currently under construction at the CMHI yard.
In a webinar, hosted by the CEO and President of Albatros Expeditions, Hans Lagerweij, three captains were interviewed together with Anders Ellemann Kristensen, the general manager of Albatros Travel China. The three captains are Rodolfo Spinelli from SunStone Ships, and Donael Adalberto Soto Hernandez and Piotr Aleksander Dudziak from CMI Cruise Management International.
Special features on the ‘Ocean Victory’
“Each ship has her particular characteristics. The ‘Ocean Victory’ has achieved a perfect balance between efficiency and comfort. There are certain features which are unique, such as an enclosed bow area and a polar observation lounge. This is a nice area to watch wildlife and enjoy sailing in polar regions whilst being protected by the weather, and if the weather is nice it can be opened up,” says Captain Hernandez.
Captain Spinelli continues: “Another characteristic is the marina-like platform and this is the only ship with this feature. There is a hydraulic door which opens to give a very wide area at sea level for the passengers to enjoy the Antarctic fully, and it can be used for activities such as going out kayaking or to dive.”
Rough weather - behaved perfectly
“The X-BOW® is a unique product from Ulstein”, says Captain Dudziak, “it is like a reversed bow. Instead of hitting the waves and slamming the water the ship reacts like a knife cutting the waves and going through. This makes the passage more comfortable, avoiding slamming and rocking. I have experienced this myself during the ship’s sea trials. The weather was not extremely bad, but it was rough outside, and the ship was behaving perfectly. We didn’t feel any hitting or slamming, it was really perfect. Very comfortable!”
He adds: “Also, we save fuel on this, and we can keep the speed. She is very powerful and behaving very well. I am sure everyone will love the vessel.”
“I love the vessel as she is, all of her, she is simply beautiful.”
“The top decks are one big viewing point”
With the X-BOW, the ship design is different-looking and this design feature affects not only the on-board comfort. Anders Ellemann Kristensen has been working at Albatros for 20 years and in the polar cruise industry for 10. His favourite spots are outdoors.
“The outdoor areas are extremely accessible on decks 8 and 9. I have not seen this on other polar vessels. Basically, the whole upper part of the vessel is one big viewing point. From the top of the vessel we can see everything around us. For polar venture trips this is of the most important, that you can see wildlife in the sky and in the ocean. Here, there is so much space and so many angles, you have an almost 360-degree view, and that is very unique. And of course, you can stand and look straight down on the bow, that is pretty incredible”, he comments.
“The X-BOW lets you see what is happening in front of the ship, just ahead of the bow, you don’t need to lean forward but can stay at front of the bridge or one deck above, and you will see whales, dolphins, ice. Additionally, when the vessel arrives Antarctica and stops, we can open the ramps, which are platforms where the guests can watch”, adds Captain Dudziak.
“Small ship with a lot of space”
Dudziak continues: “This is a small ship, 104m long but with a lot of space. The public spaces are beautiful. We carry only a small number of guests, and everyone will find a nice and quiet space.“
The centre of the ship is one huge common area. Most of the common areas are gathered on deck 5 including the main restaurant, the specialty restaurant, the bar, and library, shop and lecture room.
“One advantage of gathering the common areas on one deck is the comfort for the passengers. Common spaces should not be near the cabins, for example when you want to sleep and there is crowd in the bar. Also, in order to facilitate the passengers’ social interaction, here, the passengers get together, mingle, have a drink and then decide what to do. This will be the social centre of the ship, located straight forward of the stairs and lifts which lead to the upper deck with the big observation lounge on deck 8,” says Captain Spinelli.
Spinelli adds that the zero-speed stabilisers on this vessel add to the comfort.
“Stabilisers work like wings in a plane, they produce forces to keep the ship upright. Standard stabilisers need speed flow over the wings. Zero-speed stabilisers have active motors, so when the ship has stopped, they move the wings up and down to counteract the effect of the waves.”
The bridge is a Captain’s favourite
The captains have various feedback on their favourite assets and naturally, one of them is the bridge. “It is a very modern ship, and there is a lot of electronics up there, radars and electronic charts which help us with navigation and manoeuvring. The dynamic positioning system enables us to stay on a specific point which is very useful during tendering, while we are sending out the Zodiacs. It is a very environmentally friendly solution, as we avoid dropping anchors which can damage the ocean floor. Staying on DP, we help to protect the delicate environment in the Antarctica and the Arctic,” says Dudziak.
Clean and green
“The ship is very clean and green. The soft entry of the X-BOW in waves reduces fuel consumption. Also, she has Tier III compliant engines, probably one of the most environmentally friendly engines for ships. Tier III means that there are filters installed, with a particular focus on NOx. The gases run through a chemical reaction to separate the nitrogen and oxygen into particles which are not harmful for the environment,” states Spinelli.
100 per cent renewal ventilation
Many potential travellers are concerned about the ventilation on cruise vessels, and this has been thoughtfully planned.
“Even before the Covid-19 situation, we had already designed the ship with no recirculation of air. All air comes from the outside and is heated up and distributed through the ship. Each separate compartment receives new air. We have calculated that the air in the public rooms is changed 45 times per hour, so we have 100 percent, completely fresh air all the time”, comments Spinelli.
Love, perfection and beauty
The captains cannot wait to take the ‘Ocean Victory’ to Antarctica.
Dudziak sums up: “I love the vessel as she is, all of her, she is simply beautiful. This vessel is perfect for any kind of expeditions.”
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