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Damen shows more of its all-weather expedition cruise design

(Renderings courtesy of Damen Cruise Newbuilding)
The vessel is at home in polar regions or tropical waters. Bottom, from left, one of the pools, marina and observation lounge
A restyling of Damen Shipyards Group's expedition cruise vessel design shows continuity with the lines of SeaXplorer, the world's first purpose-built, Polar Code compliant range of expedition yachts created by Damen.

Like SeaXplorer, the cruise vessel is at home in polar regions or tropical waters. It has a highly fuel efficient diesel mechanical hybrid propulsion system and is 'battery ready' should an owner wish to incorporate a battery system for functions like peak shaving, supplementary power for maneuvering or silent sailing.

The vessel would be built to comply with Polar Class 6 and have 30 days of autonomous cruising capability.

First unveiled in late 2016, the design was created in partnership with Expedition Voyage Consultants, which brings years of expedition operations expertise (one high-profile project was Crystal Cruises' inaugural Northwest Passage sailing in 2016) and the seasoned naval architecture firm Knud E. Hansen, whose designs have gone into the building of more than 700 ships.

The concept is for a roomy, between 200 to 250-passenger vessel in the high-end, luxury segment.

'We are very open to a lot of customization for the client in the interior spaces,' said Andrea Trevisan, SVP sales and marketing, Damen Cruise Newbuilding.

The new renderings also convey how the ship looks and feels with people using the various spaces—in Trevisan's words, it's 'a comfortable environment where guests feel at home even when visiting amazing and remote places, in cold or warm exotic environments. [It is] an all-around expedition cruise ship.'

The renderings, which are going into a new brochure, depict a marina for watersports, a helicopter, a sun deck with an infinity swimming pool, an observation lounge with expansive windows and a virtual fireplace, and a suite with contemporary styling and a whirlpool tub facing the balcony.

In marketing the concept, Damen is working on a number of projects with established cruise ship owners, expedition experts and newcomers.

'There is a high demand for expedition ships in the market and we see more tour operators and leisure/hospitality industry experts interested to know more about expedition cruising,' Trevisan said.

A number of shipbuilders have branched into the expedition cruise vessel sector in recent years—more than 20 such newbuilds are currently in the orderbook.

Though there is high demand, it is a challenging market. Trevisan noted Damen's design takes into account the vast knowledge developed within the large shipyards group, which has a track record of complex vessels, mega-yachts (Amels brand) and adventure yachts such as SeaXplorer. Plus, Damen benefits from Knud E. Hansen's design expertise and Expedition Voyage Consultants' operational expertise.

Moreover, Damen can provide support through the full lifecycle of the vessel via its ship repair and conversion facilities. 'We have a number of yards in various regions and a track record of successful jobs for the cruise industry,' Trevisan said. Customer financing possibilities and worldwide service provide further added value for clients.