Ulstein Floats Out X-Bow Expedition Cruise Ship
Norway’s Ulstein Verft floated out a new expedition cruise ship continuing the company’s introduction of the unique X-Bow design to the cruise industry. According to the shipyard, the X-bow provides strong advantages to exploration cruise ships that are sailing to some of the more remote destinations around the globe.
The 408-foot long polar-class cruise ship, National Geographic Resolution, is one of the first to employ the X-Bow, which Ulstein has also been using for a range of commercial ships suited to harsh weather conditions. According to the designers, the bow’s wave slicing action will provide a smoother ride for the ship’s 126 passengers while making it possible for the cruise ship to operate across harsh stretches of sea, such as in Antarctica. It also enhances the fuel efficiency of the ship and reduces spray on deck, which allows for superior observation with a closer view of the hull due to the shape.
Construction of the cruise ship, which is being built for Lindblad Expeditions, began with steel cutting in May 2019 and assembly in September 2019 at CRIST S.A. in Gdynia, Poland. The construction of the hull and the structural steel work, along with the installation of the main engines, bow thrusters, stabilizers, and major HVAC equipment, was completed in Poland before the vessel was towed to the Ulstein yard in Norway in October 2020. Ulstein is completing all the electrical and hotel outfitting with the vessel, due to be delivered later in 2021.
The first of the two sister ships, National Geographic Endurance, one sea trials (Lindblad Expeditions)
The National Geographic Resolution, which is named in honor of explorer Captain James Cook’s favorite vessel, was floated out from the building hall on June 8. With a Polar Class 5 (PC5) designation, the vessel and her sister ship delivered to Lindblad in February 2020, can go far into polar areas and are permitted to start their polar travels up to two weeks ahead of the other expedition cruise vessels.
To permit the ship to operate extended exploration voyages in remote areas, the vessels are also outfitted with expanded fuel and water tanks. Passengers will be accommodated in 69 outside cabins, of which 53 will offer private balconies. The ship will also carry a full suite of expedition tools and offer a variety of experience-enhancing amenities.
In addition to the two Lindblad expedition cruise ships being built by Ulstein in Norway, Sunstone is also building a class of expedition cruise ships designed by Ulstein and built in China that also employ the X-Bow.
Before the pandemic paused global cruising, the expedition segment was one of the fastest-growing parts of the cruise market. The small ships are expected to again gain popularity with the travelers as the expedition market resumes operations.