Eventful week for Ulstein brings new order and arrival of Color Hybrid

Paul Gunton

Paul Gunton · 09 November 2018


A second option declared for an expedition cruise vessel and the arrival of the hull of the world’s largest hybrid vessel has given a boost to Norwegian shipbuilder Ustein.

The hull of the Color Hybrid, Color Line's next flag ship that will be servicing the Sandefjord-Strömstad route, arrived at Ulstein Verft on 6 November for completion following its tow from the Crist shipyard in Gdynia, Poland where the 14 hull blocks were assembled.

Ulstien Colour
The ‘Ocean Victory’, third vessel in the INFINITY-class series of expedition cruise vessel designs from Ulstein, shipowner SunStone Ships. Illustration courtesy Ulstein Group.

The Color Hybrid is the world’s largest plug-in hybrid ship, measuring 160m in length, and with a capacity of 2,000 passengers and about 500 cars. It was contracted by Color Line at Ulstein Verft and is scheduled for delivery Q2 2019. It presents an increased capacity on the line between Norway and Sweden.

Following its arrival, the hull was positioned in the dock hall on 8 November. Completion work will now commence on the various areas of the vessels such as the engine area, public area, car deck and outer decks, thereafter comes tasks such as painting, commissioning, testing and sea trial.

In between the arrival and docking of the Color Hybrid hull, Ulstein announced that SunStone Ships has declared its second option for an INFINITY-class expedition cruise ship to be built at the China Merchants Heavy Industry (CMHI) yard in China. Ulstein Design & Solutions has designed the vessel. Ulstein is also responsible for the delivery of the equipment package, with all main equipment being of proven technology and from well-known manufacturers in Europe, as well as supervising the technical construction of the vessel. Tillberg Design USA is responsible for the interior design, and Makinen for the construction of all interior spaces.

The X-Bow, INFINITY-class expedition cruise ships measure 104.3m in length and 18.4m in the beam. Ocean Victory will have accommodation for 100 crew members and 200 passengers. The hull will be built according to Polar class 6, Polar code Cat B, with dynamic positioning system and zero-speed stabilisers.

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. Facilities include three restaurants and one open deck dining facility, observation lounge, lecturer lounge, piano bar, gym and spa facilities, library, shops, changing facilities for Zodiac excursions, 20 Zodiacs, swimming pool, Jacuzzis, & pool bar.

SunStone Ships originally placed one firm contract and nine options on Ulstein deliveries of expedition cruise vessel designs and equipment packages back in 2017. All ten vessels are part of SunStone Ships’ series of vessels in the ‘INFINITY-class’. With the declaration of the next option, the CMHI (China Merchants Heavy Industry) yard in China will be constructing three expedition cruise vessels based on the Ulstein design. Ulstein’s contract is with the yard.

SunStone Ships has signed a long-term charter contract with Victory Cruise Lines on the third vessel, which will carry the name Ocean Victory. The new-build will be delivered in March 2021. The company’s President & CEO, Niels-Erik Lund said, “We are pleased with the rapid adoption of the INFINITY-class vessels. It seems our European design & technology, combined with lower overall operating costs ticks all the boxes for the small and expedition-ship market.”

“We are pleased with the work laid down by SunStone Ships in finding charterers for these vessels, and firmly believe that they will realise all ten vessels in the series”, said Tore Ulstein, deputy CEO in Ulstein Group and COO Design & Solutions. “We have a very good cooperation with the involved parties and look forward to a continuous and fruitful collaboration on the next vessel.”

The First INFINITY-class ship, named the Greg Mortimer, is scheduled for delivery August 2019 and goes on charter to Aurora Cruises, Australia.

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