China joins other major nations including the U.S, Canada and Russia, building its first arctic polar expedition cruise ship (see video below). SunStone Ships will build four expedition vessels with an option for six more in China, aligning with China Merchant Industry Holdings (CMIH) which will build the vessels.
Construction of the 104.4-metre ship with an advanced electric propulsion and control system for navigating sea ice, was expected to be completed by August 2019.
SunStone is the largest tonnage provider of expedition vessels to the cruise and travel industry, with an existing fleet of ten small cruise vessels on charter to companies within the expedition market, and this new order positions the Company as the leading tonnage provider in this segment of the cruise industry.
CMIH has entered into an agreement with Ulstein Design & Solutions, who will supply the vessel’s design and equipment package, as well as the supervision for the building of the vessels. Ulstein Group is a well known international designer, builder and provider of ship system solutions. The family-owned group is headquartered in Ulsteinvik, Norway and employs 600 employees in six countries. Arctic polar cruise expeditions have become very popular with six ships leading the trend.
U.S. Arctic Polar Expedition Ships
Quark Expeditions (Seattle, Washington) arctic expeditions ship Ocean Nova is flagged in the Bahamas, has outside cabins only, a spacious dining room, 24-hour beverage service and a bar, glass-enclosed forward observation lounge on the top deck, a polar library, daily shore landings and lectures on wildlife. Ocean Nova carries a crew of 38 to attend to 78 passengers.
Ocean Adventurer is also a Quark Expeditions cruise ship flagged in the Bahamas and was upgraded in 2017 with bathrooms in every cabin, window-lined dining room has unreserved seating, upgrades to the lounge and dining room, and the addition of new Deluxe cabins and Owner’s Suites, theater-style lounge, 24-hour beverage station in the lounge as well as two bars, one adjacent the dining room and one in the lounge, library, polar boutique, gym and staffed medical clinic. Kayaks are carried aboard. Ship-to-shore satellite communications with email and wireless Internet access are available for purchase. Ocean Adventurer carries a crew of 87 to attend to 132 passengers.
Canada Arctic Polar Expedition Ships
Russia Arctic Polar Expedition Ships
Akademik Sergey Vavilov has an ice-strengthened hull and a cruising speed in open water of 14.5 knots. This expedition ship is designed for polar adventure trips in Antarctica and the Arctic. Akademik Sergey Vavilov has a separate lounge and bar, library, dining room, which can host all passengers in a single seating, theatre style presentation room, gift-shop, fitness room, massage room, hot water spa, sauna and plunge pool. Vavilov carries a crew of 53 to attend to 92 passengers.
Akademik Ioffe was once part of the Russian scientific fleet this ship was built in Finland with an ice-strengthened hull and designed to be exceptionally stable, maneuverable and quiet. There is ample deck space and public areas, including lounge, bar, library, gym and sauna. The window-lined dining room is catered by international chefs offering a varied menu.
There is also a full complement of Zodiac crafts aboard and a medical room. Akademik Ioffe carries a crew of 65 to attend to 93 passengers.
Kapitan Khlebnikov is an authentic, refurbished Soviet icebreaker. The cruise ship has two onboard helicopters for spectacular sightseeing at the top of the world. Kapitan Khlebnikov has twin decks with superstructure and engine room in the middle, an icebreaker bow and transom stern. The stern region is cushioned to allow for the close towing of other vessels when helping them through the ice. Passenger
accommodation is in 54 cabins and suites, with 2 dining rooms, a lounge and bar. Facilities include a heated indoor swimming pool, exercise room and sauna, theatre-style auditorium and library. Kapitan Khlebnikov carries a crew of 70 to attend to 108 passengers.
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Video: SunStone Expedition Ship