Expedition Cruising: Full Speed Ahead in China
Talk of trade wars and politics aside, attention should be paid to a growing relationship between U.S.-based SunStone Ships, Inc. and Chinese shipyard China Merchants Heavy Industries in Haimen, China, as the pair is quietly growing a cruise shipbuilding business in China. Sunstone announced that on June 12, 2018, the keel was laid for the first Infinity Class vessel Greg Mortimer, the first in a series that could eventually total 10 high-spec expedition cruise vessels.
Greg Mortimer and the entire 10-ship framework contract is unique in that it is the first passenger ship to combine European design and technology with the efficiency of Chinese shipbuilding.
“We are pleased to have brought together world-class design from Tillberg, ground-breaking X-Bow technology from Ulstein, interior construction by Makinen and over a century of shipbuilding expertise from CMIH. This dream team is helping us pioneer a new age of expedition cruising, and we are proud to be a part of it,” said Niels-Erik Lund, SunStone’s President & CEO.
The first vessel is scheduled for delivering a little more than a year from now in August 2019 to Aurora Expeditions, Australia on a long-term, deck and engine timecharter. The vessel will operate Antarctic cruises in the winter; and Arctic cruises in the summer. The technical management will be the responsibility of Cruise Management International, Miami, while the hotel management will depend on the expertise of CMI Leisure, Miami.
Representing Aurora Expeditions were Messrs. Neville Buch, Chairman, and Robert Halfpenny, President. Also participating in the keel-laying ceremony, were representatives of the partners in all of the Infinity Class vessels: China Merchants Industry Holdings, China Merchants Heavy Industries, Ulstein Design and Solutions, Makinen-Finland, Tilberg Design-US, SunStone Ships and SunStone Marine Advisors-Miami.
Greg Mortimer Specs
Speed: 15.5 knots
Passenger Capacity: 180 in 80 suites
Crew Capacity: 100 in 57 cabins
- Zero-speed Stabilizers
- Safe Return to Port
- Dynamic Positioning
- Polar Code 6
- Ice-Class 1A