Norwegian shipbuilder Ulstein has announced that the first of nine potential options has been declared by Florida-based SunStone Ships. Last year Ulstein Design & Solutions AS announced their first design and equipment contract on an X-BOW expedition cruise vessel for SunStone which included nine options.
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 said “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. The expedition cruise vessels are the first of their kind in which the ULSTEIN X-BOW hull design has been implemented. The ULSTEIN CX103 expedition cruise ship is 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 stabilizers.
Sunstone announced in April that its contract with CMHI is for four vessels with six options. In June this year it confirmed the building contract for the third vessel had been signed.