The U.S. based ship owner SunStone Ships has contracted six expedition cruise vessels of the ULSTEIN CX103 design for construction at the shipyard CMHI, China. In July 2020 the keel-laying ceremony was held for the Sylvia Earle (CruiseMapper), vessel number 2 in this series of X-BOW vessels.
The vessel's name has been given to honour Sylvia Earle, an accomplished marine biologist, oceanographer, conservationist and explorer who has been named by Time Magazine as Hero for the Planet. The vessel pays tribute to Sylvia’s long-standing conservation efforts for marine protected areas and ocean wildlife,’ states the cruise operator.
The ‘Sylvia Earle’ has been designed by Ulstein Design & Solutions AS. The ULSTEIN X-BOW® hull shape has been used for offshore vessels through many years and for more than one hundred vessels, but 'Sylvia Earle''s sister vessel, the 'Greg Mortimer' was the first in the cruise industry. Her naming ceremony and maiden voyage in October 2019 was followed with great interest by media and voyagers.
'The passenger ship will be the second in the fleet to sail with the patented X-BOW®, whose inverted bow design, in combination with dynamic stabilisers, offers unrivalled stability and comfort on ocean crossings. The X-BOW® cuts through the swell, minimising vibrations and disturbances, and makes quicker transits through waves. This helps reduce fuel consumption,' states Aurora Expeditions, continuing:
'As well as improving comfort at sea the inverted X-BOW® offers an enhanced viewing experience by bringing passengers much closer to the immediate environment than that which can be achieved on ships with a traditional, bulbous shaped bow. The X-BOW® on the ‘Sylvia Earle’ will feature a unique two-level glass atrium lounge in the bow, offering extraordinary views to the front to the ship. In Polar regions this means that passengers will be able to appreciate the majesty of an iceberg immediately as it appears on the horizon.
With the revolutionary X-BOW® technology to cross oceans more comfortably, expansive observation decks to bring you closer to the environment, inviting communal areas and unsurpassed environmental credentials, Aurora Expeditions’ ships offer the perfect base camp for adventures at the outer limits of human exploration.’
Ulstein has delivered the ship design, equipment packages and site follow-up. The series of vessels are being constructed at the CMHI yard, China, and the ‘Sylvia Earle’ is scheduled for delivery in 2021.
‘In the spirit of exploration, and as part of its commitment to responsible travel, we will continue to name its new ships after explorers who are passionate about their environmental commitment and who share the company’s vision for the future. In keeping with Sylvia’s own vision and achievements, the ‘Sylvia Earle’ will have a large focus on marine education and conservation. Aurora Expeditions ships boast the lowest polluting marine engines in the world, due to a combination of low energy consumption, high fuel-efficiency and a streamlined design. The state-of-the-art Tier 3 engine delivers an 80% reduction in emissions compared to the older Tier 1 engine and can utilise virtual anchoring to hold its position instead of dropping an anchor on the delicate sea floor. On-board desalination plants convert seawater to fresh water that is safe to drink. Ships therefore carry less fresh water on sea crossings, further reducing fuel consumption,’ states the operator.