In 2017, Ulstein Design & Solutions AS announced their first 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, have been chartered by the Australian Aurora Expeditions.

“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.”

Tore Ulstein, deputy CEO in Ulstein Group and COO Design & Solutions comments:

«We are pleased that SunStone starts to declare their options with CMHI. 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.»

Ulstein’s contract is with the China Merchants Group (CMG), China, and the vessels will be built at their 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 of proven technology and from well-known manufacturers in Europe.

The expedition cruise vessels are the first of their kind in which the ULSTEIN X-BOW® hull design has been implemented. The shape of the X-BOW enables the passengers to stand at the bow and look directly down to where the waves meet the hull. The bow leads to reduced ship movements, and therefore a more comfortable stay. 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.

It's not just the X-BOW® that makes these ships stand out. The layout is designed for indoor excellence and outdoor experiences. Observation decks and balconies offer a range of views to the spectacular surroundings. A high-class restaurant and bar serve all-day delicacies and refreshments.

The ULSTEIN CX103 expedition cruise ship is 104.3 meters long and 18.4 meters 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 stabilizers.

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