New Expedition Ships are On Their Way to Adventure
Rendering courtesy of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
Just when it seems the luxury cruise segment is the one with the most growth, the expedition market starts to boom too. Both Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Hurtigruten have newly detailed ships on the way in addition to the likes of the Scenic Eclipse and those from Ponant.
TUI Group subsidiary Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has just announced plans to build two new 5-star expedition ships to set sail in April and October 2019 after a constriction period of 20 months. Each will be rated to the highest PC6 Polar Class passenger ship designation and manufactured at the Norwegian Vard shipyard of Vard Holdings Limited, a shareholding of Italian Fincantieri.
“The cruise business is one of the key elements of TUI’s growth strategy,” said Sebastian Ebel, member of the Executive Board of TUI Group in charge of Cruises. “Our ambitions are underpinned by our investment in the two new ships for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ luxury and expedition cruise segments serve as world-class benchmarks.”
One ship will cater to German-speaking markets (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) and the other will cater to those in addition to Belgium, the UK, Netherlands and the US. They will measure in at 16,100-gross tons, 138 meters in length, 22 meters in width and 5.4 meters in draft with 7 passenger decks above. 120 cabins and suites, a high ratio of which will feature balconies, will accommodate 240 passengers served by up to 170 crew members.
Architectural designs (as rendered above) will be drafted by Oceanarchitects. Public rooms on each ship will include three restaurants and a spa and fitness center, and they will carry onboard Zodiacs and a water sports marina. They will be capable of deployment in Arctic and Antarctic regions as well as warm-weather destinations like the Amazon thanks to state-of-the-art environmental technology.
“The former director Albert Ballin invented the modern cruise concept 125 years ago. We are perfectly positioned in the luxury market with our cruise ships ‘EUROPA’ and ‘EUROPA 2,’” said Karl J. Pojer, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. “In this anniversary year, we are charting the course for the future. Already we operate successfully in our expedition segment, which offers growth potential for 5-star cruises. Our new-builds will help us to develop further the expedition segment and offer a modern interpretation. They will also serve to strengthen our leading position in this market, in particular at the international level.”
Previously announced new-builds from Hurtigruten will also feature Rolls Royce-developed, environmentally-friendly hybrid designs. Their new propulsion systems will reduce fuel consumption by around 20 percent and allow for fully-electric thrust for 15-30 minutes at a time, saving over 3,000 tons of CO2 annually in the process.
The ships will be one step closer to being completely electric.
“The future of shipping is, without a doubt, silent and emission free,” says CEO of Hurtigruten, Daniel Skjeldam. “We will use our new expeditionary ships as groundbreakers for this new technology and show the world that hybrid propulsion on large ships is possible.”
As to sound, the hybrid technology is rolling out to the first 2018 ship for silent running with a battery-powered auxiliary engine and to the second 2019 ship with a a fully-fledged hybrid engine and larger batteries for longer electric operation, provided the technology is ready in time. The goal is then to refurbish the first with the latter’s technology.
“To be able to sail using only electrical power is not only a great benefit for the environment, but it will also enhance the impact of experiencing nature for the guests,” added Skjeldam. “Picture sailing into a fjord silently without any form of emissions.”
Specifications of each 530-guest, ice-strengthened polar ship will be 140 meters long, 23.6 meters wide, 29 meters high and 5.3 meters in draft with a total of 265 passenger cabins.
More by Jason Leppert
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