Miami-based expedition cruise ship owner SunStone Ships has exercised an it option to construct an additional ice-class expedition vessel at China Merchants Heavy Industry shipyard.
In 2017, SunStone signed a contract with CMHI calling for the construction of a single ice-class expedition vessel to be built by CMHI in China. The contract included options for a total of nine additional vessels.
Ulstein Design & Solutions AS is responsible for the design and equipment on the newbuilds. The vessels will feature Ulstein’s patented X-Bow hull design, representing a first for the cruise industry.
Construction of the first vessel, named ‘Greg Mortimer’, is already underway at CMHI with delivery scheduled for Q4 2019. Upon delivery, she will be chartered by Aurora Expedition of Australia.
This second ship, which is scheduled for delivery in August 2020, will also be chartered by Aurora Expedition.
The vessels will be built to ULSTEIN CX103 design, measuring 104.3 meters long and 18.4 meters wide. Passenger capacity will range from 130 up to 200, with crew capacity from 85 to 115. The hull will be built according to Polar Code 6, with dynamic positioning system and zero-speed stabilizers.
For their role, Ulstein is responsible for the delivery of the design and equipment package with all main equipment.
“We decided to partner up with Ulstein due to their hull and the technical design, as well as their site team in China to supervise the production,” said Niels-Erik Lund, President/CEO SunStone Ships when announcing the first vessel. He stated: “It was of utmost importance that we developed an expedition cruise vessel of high quality and with proven design and technology. Ulstein has designed more than 105 vessels with the X-BOW design. These hulls have been developed for rough weather, high comfort and great fuel efficiency.”
“We are pleased that SunStone starts to declare their options with CMHI,” said Tore Ulstein, deputy CEO in Ulstein Group and COO Design & Solutions. “This shows that our designs and solutions fulfil their expectations. In addition to the design and equipment package, we will support the yard with a site team. This includes pre-commissioning and commissioning, testing and sea trial assistance. When the SunStone vessels start cruising, we believe they will be highly attractive to the expedition cruise passengers.”