On 6 September, the Greg Mortimer (see also CruiseMapper) was named and delivered in a ceremony on the CMHI Haimen base. This is the first expedition cruise vessel in SunStone’s INFINITY series. The vessels have been designed by Ulstein Design & Solutions together with the ship’s owner and their client, Aurora Expeditions.
The vessel has received her name after Greg Mortimer, the founder of the Australian company Aurora Expeditions, who has chartered the ship. The vessel is all set for her first Antarctica venture.
“The ship design contracts for SunStone Ships were a break-through for Ulstein in the expedition cruise market, and we are excited that our partner, the China Merchants Heavy Industry (CMHI) yard, now has delivered the first Chinese-built expedition cruise vessel. From Ulstein’s side, a strong effort has been put on understanding the demands of passengers and crews to design a vessel that is creating the best possible platform for a lasting experience”, says Tore Ulstein, COO Ulstein Design & Solutions and deputy CEO in Ulstein Group.
The ‘Greg Mortimer’ is the first, of potentially ten, polar expedition cruise vessels for the U.S based SunStone Ships to be built at the CMHI yard, China. The vessel is the first expedition cruise ship to incorporate Ulstein’s patented X-BOW® innovation, a bow hull design which leads to a smoother and more comfortable journey in head seas. Less resistance in waves means that less fuel is needed to cut through the waves, hence a lower environmental footprint.
All vessels in the INFINITY Class will be customised to each client, as is also the case with the ‘Greg Mortimer’. Aurora’s team experts have been closely involved in the ship project, to ensure the best possible expedition vessel for their purpose and itineraries.
The 104-metre ship is built to Polar Class 6 standards for venturing in cold waters. She boasts 80 passenger cabins with private bathrooms and balconies. Other facilities include a restaurant and a bar, a lecture room, a lounge, a 180-degree indoor observation deck and outdoor viewing areas.
After a long day venturing on the ice, the passengers can choose to retreat to the ship’s gymnasium, sauna and spa or one of the two Jacuzzis. Other highlights include a custom-designed platform for kayakers and divers, a dedicated sea-level Zodiac loading platform, and a mud room for day ventures. Side ports facilitate the loading and offloading of four Zodiacs at the same time.