Brodosplit Delivers Luxury Expedition Cruise Ship Ultramarine
A delivery ceremony was held on April 1 at the Brodosplit shipyard in Split, Croatia for the new polar expedition cruise ship Ultramarine. The technologically advanced vessel is the first company-owned cruise ship for the American company Quark Expeditions, a part of the UK Travelopia Group. A pioneer in expedition cruising, Quark plan to offer a new level of luxury for polar expedition.
Before the pandemic, expedition travel was one of the fastest growing segments of the cruise industry. Seeking to capture the growing interest in “bucket list” trips to exotic destinations 40 cruise ships were ordered for the segment with a plan to introduce nearly 8,000 berths by 2023 dedicated to expedition travel. In addition to technological advancements, the segment is also enhancing the levels of luxury and amenities offered to travelers.
"Today, we took ownership of more than a new ship. We officially welcomed into our fleet a game-changing vessel that will soon become an unrivaled operational base for polar adventures," said Andrew White, President of Quark Expeditions. "Every aspect of Ultramarine has been designed and engineered to enable our teams to get guests off the ship and deep into the polar wilderness better than ever before. This new vessel will allow us to create truly immersive off-ship adventures for our guests while providing them with a superior onboard experience."
Sea trials in February 2021 - Quark Expeditions
Launched in May 2020 and ready for sea trials in February, the Ultramarine is due to enter service in June. Her first cruise is scheduled to sail from Oslo to Spitsbergen, Norway, and then she will spend the summer offering Arctic cruises.
At 420 feet in length, the ship was specifically designed for Arctic and Antarctic cruising. It accommodates just 199 passengers with a crew of 140. The Ultramarine carries an ice class rating of 1A+ and PC6, which qualifies it for summer and fall operation in medium first-year ice, which may include old ice inclusions. The vessel's sustainability features include a Micro Auto Gasification System (MAGS), which converts waste into energy at the site that it's generated eliminating the environmental impact of waste transportation.
The ship has features for the exploration cruise marketing including specially designed ready rooms and an auditorium for destination presentations and lectures. Embarkation points were built on both sides of the hull and on the stern to make passenger transfers to and from the Zodiac crafts faster and safety than on previous vessels. An internal Zodiac hangar also quickly and safely deploys Ultramarine’s twenty Zodiacs making it possible for the ship to offer more spontaneous off-ship excursions when they encounter wildlife or other interesting sights.
Highlighting the luxury amenities for passengers, the ship also has two twin-engine helicopters and two heliports to provide passenger flight seeing, heli-hiking, and helicopter-supported alpine kayaking opportunities.
"This game-changing ship was delivered after more than five years of dedicated work and considerable financial resources," said White. "This commitment of time and money, especially during an industry-challenging pandemic, reflects our confidence in the future of polar travel and underscores our commitment to delivering life-changing polar experiences no one ever thought possible."
The Ultramarine also represents an important advancement for the Brodosplit operation and the broader shipbuilding industry in Croatia. Brodosplit has been developing its competence in building specialized expedition and luxury cruise ships. The Government of the Republic of Croatia also provided loan guarantees for the construction of the ship that was valued at over $115 million. The Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development also provided the construction loan. The shipyard yard is currently working on its third polar expedition cruise ship, the Janssonius which was launched in March and due for delivery to Oceanwide Expedition later this year.
Prepared for the handover at the Borodsplit shipyard (Brodosplit)