First Chinese-built polar cruise ship delivered to US client
The first Chinese-built cruise ship designed for polar trips was handed to US-based Sunstone Ships Inc on Sept 6 in Haimen, Nantong, in eastern Jiangsu province, according to local media reports.
The 104.4-meter-long vessel is 18.4 m wide. It took China Merchants Group 18 months to build, weighs 8,035 metric tons and has 135 cabins that can house 254 passengers and crew.
The builders said it is equipped with the world's most advanced navigation technologies and meets the strictest safety requirements. The X-Bow prow is designed to make sailing faster, smoother and more comfortable.
China Merchants Group said the interior design of the ship was inspired by the natural beauty of the polar region. The carefully selected material textures and fresh blue color, CMG added, bring out the extraordinary and the uniqueness of the Antarctic and Arctic regions.
The cruise boasts more than 80 deluxe rooms with balcony, family suites, deluxe suites and portholes to meet the varying needs and budgets of passengers. It can accommodate up to 160 passengers.
As polar region tours gain in popularity, expedition cruises have been brought into the spotlight.
According to data, polar expedition cruise ships usually have smaller tonnage and passenger capacity than the conventional liners and the safety requirements are also higher, as necessary to meet a certain ice resistance ratings.
The ship, which was named the Greg Mortimer, has been chartered to Australia-based polar exploration company Aurora Expeditions and will start a 12-day maiden voyage to the Antarctic in October.
China Merchants Group said it is working on a world-class cruise ship-construction base and industrial park in Haimen which will cover an area of 650,000 square meters. The base is scheduled to go into use in 2022.
The Greg Mortimer sets sail from Haimen. [Photo/WeChat account of Haimen Fabu]