In 2017, Ulstein Design and Solutions has won a design and equipment contract on an X-bow expedition cruise vessel for ship owner SunStone Ships. The contract included nine options, and the first option has now been declared.
The first vessel for SunStone, which has received the name Greg Mortimer, is well underway at the CMHI (China Merchants Heavy Industry) yard and is set to sail off for her first cruise after her completion in Q4 2019. This vessel, as well as the next one, has been chartered by Aurora Expeditions of Australia.
Ulstein’s contract is with the China Merchants Group (CMG), China, and the vessels will be built at its yard. This second ship is scheduled for delivery in August 2020.
Ulstein is responsible for the delivery of the design and equipment package with all main equipment being provided by European manufacturers.
The expedition cruise vessels are the first of their kind in which an X-bow hull design has been implemented. The shape enables the passengers to stand at the bow and look directly down to where the waves meet the hull.
The X-bow has a tapered fore ship shape to pierce waves of all heights, resulting in reduced pitching and bow impact loads in rough seas. It prevents the vessel from rising on the waves and dropping violently onto the water’s surface.
The vessel needs less fuel to cut through the waves, reducing fuel costs and energy use, and thus reducing emissions.
The Ulstein expedition cruise ships will be 104.3 metres long and 18.4 metres wide. The SunStone vessels are part of the Infinity class, in which the passenger capacity can range from 130 to 200, and the crew capacity from 85 to 115.
The hull will be built according to Polar Code 6, Category B, with dynamic positioning system and zero-speed stabilisers.