Wave-piercing new vessel ordered by adventure cruise operator

Australian polar adventure cruise operator Aurora Expeditions has ordered a purpose-built expedition vessel.

The yet-to-be-named ship will be delivered in time for 2019-20 Antarctic season which runs from November to March.

Itineraries for the new ship are expected to be released later this year.

Aurora Expeditions has worked closely with US-based ship builders SunStone Ships to create a custom-designed vessel.

Company managing director Robert Halfpenny said: “We are excited to be the first to market with this exciting new design.

“The vessel is the first to use the patented X-BOW technology which has the ability to pierce waves with much greater stability, making open sea journeys – like Antarctica’s notorious Drake Passage – more pleasant for passengers than what is currently available from other small ships on the market today.”

While a traditional bow vessel rises on the waves and then drops violently onto the surface of the water, an X-BOW vessel is claimed to be less subject to the vertical motions induced by the waves.

It also helps to save energy because the special design means the ship uses less fuel to get through the waves, according to the company.

Features also include a 180-degree indoor observation deck, wellness facilities including gymnasium, sauna and spa and  outdoor viewing areas.

The state-of-the-art ice class ship will be built to the latest polar code specifications, offering “unprecedented” levels of safety and environmental protection – for operations not just in the high latitudes, but across the planet.

Designed specifically for expedition cruising, the 104-metre ship will be the first in a new series of high-performance vessels designed to make the ocean-going experience as safe and comfortable as possible in the polar regions.

Halfpenny said: “With the development of our purpose-built expedition ship, we stay true to our small-ship philosophy where the focus is on the experience and engagement with the environment while at the same time providing the most comfortable form of travel in these challenging environments.

“In the polar regions, we will have the ability to reduce passenger numbers so we can continue to visit existing landings sites as well as explore new areas where strict regulations enforce no more than 100 people ashore at any one time.”

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