SunStone’s new expedition cruise vessel, the Ocean Explorer, has been launched at the China Merchants Heavy Industries (CMHI) shipyard, China, on August 12, 2020.
The ship is the fourth unit in the INFINITY class of X-BOW expedition ships, all designed by Ulstein.
Ocean Explorer’s sister vessels are Greg Mortimer which was delivered in September 2019, Ocean Victory set for delivery in October 2020 and Ocean Discoverer set for delivery in September 2022.
In total, SunStone Ships has contracted six expedition cruise vessels of the ULSTEIN CX103 design for construction at the shipyard CMHI.
In July 2020 the keel-laying ceremony was held for the Sylvia Earle vessel, named after an accomplished marine biologist, oceanographer, conservationist, and explorer. The Sylvia Earle is scheduled for delivery in 2021.
The vessel features a Tier 3 engine, which delivers an 80% reduction in emissions compared to the older Tier 1 engine and can utilise virtual anchoring to hold its position instead of dropping an anchor on the delicate sea floor.
The sixth ship from the batch is named M/V Ocean Odyssey and is scheduled for delivery in March 2022, according to the information available on SunStone’s website.
All the ships in the INFINITY class are owned and managed by Miami-based SunStone Ships, and are available for charters to tour operators.
Ocean Explorer will work for the Vantage Cruise Line and is scheduled for delivery in 2021.
The vessels are based on ULSTEIN’s CX103 design, but individual adaptations can be made.
The Infinity Class vessels are 104.4 meters long and 18.4 meters wide. They have a passenger capacity of 130-200 and a crew capacity of 85-115.