New Expedition Cruise Ship Launched in Croatia
While cruise operations remain suspended, the emerging luxury expedition segment of the market is still pushing forward to support its future expansion.
One of the newest ships destined for the expedition market, the Ultramarine, was launched on May 16 at the Brodosplit shipyard in Croatia. Costing an estimated 106 million Euros, the Ultramarine is a polar class vessel that will be operated by Quark Expeditions.
“Today’s launch ceremony is a time-honored shipyard tradition,” said Andrew White, President, Quark Expeditions. “That very moment when ‘ship first meets water’ is a major milestone for any vessel. The sound of Ultramarine’s hull entering the water from slipway No. 2 into Supaval Bay signified we’re one step closer to exploring the polar regions.”
Keeping with the theme of luxury expeditions, the vessel, which will measure 128 meters by 21.5 meters, will accommodate up to 200 passengers with a crew of 140. The vessel will be outfitted with a broad range of amenities, including two twin-engine helicopters and 20 quick-launching Zodiacs access via two ready rooms outfitted with lockers for each guest to dry and store personal items and expedition gear between excursions. Public spaces will include the Panorama Lounge, two restaurants, a wine-tasting bar, a lecture theatre, and the Wellness Centre with a spa, sauna, and fitness room.
The launch ceremonies took place at the shipyard with special events to honor the workers who continued with the construction during the global pandemic. The ship was christened by Andrea Mutak, the head of a local organization that cares for physically disabled and developmentally challenged children.
“The launch of any ship is complex and once underway, uncontrolled until the vessel is attached to tugs standing by,” says Malcolm Ellis, Senior Vice-President, Operations for Quark Expeditions. “The total time involved from trigger release until the vessel is stopped in the water is little more than a minute or two.”
This is the third polar cruise ship being built at the Brodosplit yard and one of more than 25 cruise ships expected to enter the luxury expedition cruise market over the next four years. In 2019, Brodosplit delivered another polar class cruise ship, the Hondius, to Oceanside Expeditions, and at the end of 2019 began cutting steel for a sister ship that is scheduled for completion in 2021.