China Merchant Heavy Industries (CMHI) has cut the steel for the first of SunStone Ships’ Infinity-class newbuilds at its shipyard in Haimen, China.
To be named Greg Mortimer, the new ice-class expedition cruise ship is the first of four on order at CMHI and will be chartered to Australia-based operator Aurora Cruises when she is delivered in August 2019. The 104-metre Greg Mortimer will be the first to use Ulstein Group’s patented X-BOW hull design, to reduce fuel and energy use and make passengers more comfortable. Onboard highlights will include between 80 and 95 passenger cabins with private bathrooms and balconies, as well as a restaurant, a space for lectures, a lounge, a 180-degree indoor observation deck, outdoor viewing areas, a gym, sauna, spa and a custom-designed platform for kayakers and divers. There will also be a dedicated sea-level Zodiac loading platform and a mud room.
Greg Mortimer is both the first cruise ship built at CMHI and the first European-designed vessel to be built in China for the international market.
“We believe this is the perfect marriage of European cruising expertise with efficient and capable production in China,” said Niels-Erik Lund, president and CEO of SunStone Ships. “Our Norwegian technical design, and our Finnish interior design will be brought to life by the oldest, most respected ship builder in China. Take into account the delivery of our first vessel to an Australian customer, and we have a well-rounded global team making this dream a reality.”
During the ceremony, SunStone Ships also signed a contract with CMHI for the construction of the second Infinity-class ship, Infinity II, which is scheduled for delivery in August 2020. Infinity II will have a capacity of 160 passengers and will offer several different onboard features to Greg Mortimer. The vessel has not yet been chartered to any operator, unlike the next two in the series, Infinity III and Infinity IV.
“While we aren’t yet ready to announce the long-term charterer of the second vessel, we are happy to report that long-term charter contracts have already been signed for the Infinity III and Infinity IV,” said Lund.