SunStone Ships announced a deal earlier this year to build four expedition vessels with an option for six more in China, aligning with China Merchant Industry Holdings (CMIH) which will build the vessels.
SunStone plans on chartering the ships out and said it is the largest tonnage provider of expedition vessels.
“The market is very strong, and there are no second-hand vessels available for acquisition,” said Niels-Erik Lund, president and CEO, in an interview with Cruise Industry News for the 2017 Expedition Cruise Market Report.
“We consider the expedition market to be fully ocean-going, SOLAS approved vessels between 50- and 250-overnight passengers, based on double occupancy. In this market segment, there are 37 vessels with an average age above 28 years. With an average lifetime of a cruise vessel of 40 years, and an expanding market, a large number of vessels will have to be built in the next 10 to 15 years to replace the existing fleet, and to create additional capacity.”
Among SunStone clients are Quark, Iceland Pro and other charterers. A sister company, located at the same Florida address, CMI Leisure, runs the vessel management.
The four contracted ships will be built to Polar Code 6, with zero speed stabilizers and X-Bow.
“So it is our opinion that from an expedition ship point of view, we will be able to provide a very comfortable ride and have very safe vessels,” Lund said.
The ships will have between 65 and 100 staterooms, and will be classed by Bureau Veritas.
All four ships will be built on the same hull design, with passenger capacity of either 130, 160 or 200.
The 130-passenger Infinity-class ships will offer a luxury product, said Lund, while the 160- and 200-passenger vessels will offer more of a premium product.
Excerpt from the 2017 Expedition Cruise Market Report.
About the Expedition Market Report
The 2017 Expedition Cruise Market Report is a comprehensive PDF report detailing the quickly expanding expedition cruise market.
It includes capacity projections through 2027, and profiles of 17 major players with exclusive reporting, research and interviews.
There is also a trends report, original research and a look at the new ships, plus much more.