On 16 December 2019, the CMHI Haimen yard in China carried out the keel-laying ceremony for the Ocean Explorer. This is the fourth ULSTEIN X-BOW® design in the INFINITY class of expedition cruise vessels that the U.S. based shipowner SunStone Ships has contracted to CMHI.
The Ocean Explorer (see also CruiseMapper) is based on the ULSTEIN CX103 design featuring the X-BOW® by Ulstein Design & Solutions.
The INFINITY Class vessels are 104,4 m long and 18,4 m wide. They have a passenger capacity of 264, and a crew capacity of 99, small enough to give an exclusive atmosphere, large enough to yield all expected services and facilities, such as jacuzzi, bar and restaurant, boutique, open-air cinema, gym and spa.
The flexible design of the INFINITY class series opens up to new possibilities for every new vessel. The 'Ocean Explorer' stands out from vessel number 1, the 'Greg Mortimer', by having an infinity pool installed on deck 7. Furthermore, and novel for this vessel, is a unique entrance atrium on deck 4 and 5 in way of main passenger entrance port and starboard. Another feature is an atrium forward consisting of a two-level lounge with piano bar and panoramic bow windows.
The first vessel in the INFINITY class, the 'Greg Mortimer', has received much positive feedback and media attention after her delivery in 2019. The X-BOW® provides gentle movements in head sea and reduces slamming and subsequent vibrations, this makes the crossing much more comfortable.
Vessel number three in the INFINITY class, the 'Ocean Victory', is currently assembled in the slipway at CMHI and scheduled to have her launching in early March.