Aker Yards and G.A.P Adventures, a world leader in adventure travel, have signed on 9 September 2008 a contract on converting a ferry to an expedition cruise vessel.

The conversion work of MS Expedition is scheduled for delivery in April 2009 from Aker Yards in Rauma, where dismantling work has been going on since the design contract was signed in June.

Both contracts were signed by Aker Yards Lifecycle Services unit, which offers vessel upgrades, modifications, conversions, lengthenings, and engineering consulting.

The conversion work includes building of new cabins on former car decks, and the former tax free area will be converted into luxury cabins and suites. The main restaurant will be totally refurbished, and new service facilities created. An expedition cruise vessel also needs lots of special facilities for maritime activities.

"We are very pleased that G.A.P. Adventures have trusted us this contract", says Vesa Marttinen, VP, Aker Yards Lifecycle Services. ""It shows that our customers believe in our ability to take care of their needs during the whole lifecycle of their vessels".

"We're pleased to partner with Aker Yards, which is one of the top rated shipyards in its field," says Bruce Poon Tip, CEO of G.A.P Adventures. "Our exceptional marine program, led by our new ship the MS Expedition, takes our travellers to some of the most scenic destinations on earth, including Antarctica and the Arctic. It offers today's travellers a truly unique adventure of a lifetime."

MS Expedition, which was originally built in Denmark in 1972, is 105 metres long and 18.6 m wide. After the conversion the vessel will offer cosy cabins and large public areas for 120 tourists joining the vessel’s travels in polar waters, from the land of penguins to that of polar bears, the Antarctica and the Arctic. Onboard you can find a large dining room, fitness centre, sauna and up to the theme the Polar Bear pub and the Albatross Bar.