Miami-based SunStone Ships has decided to order two more expedition cruise vessels in China.
The company has inked an agreement with China Merchants Heavy Industries (CMHI) for the construction of two INFINITY class vessels. The newbuilds will be sister ships to three vessels already on order at CMHI shipyard.
“Our charterers are anxious to enjoy the advantages of our cutting-edge technology, like the Xbow design, along with the significant operating efficiencies offered by the INFINITY class. So, we’re moving as quickly as possible to get them into the market,” Niels-Erik Lund, SunStone President and CEO, commented.
INFINITY class vessels are 104 meters long, and 18 meters wide, having a draft of 5.1 meters. They can accommodate up to 200 passengers and up to 115 crew members. The vessels are Ice Class 1A, Polar Code 6 and are being built with Safe Return to Port, Dynamic Positioning and Zero Speed Stabilizers.
Current INFINITY class newbuilds on order include the Greg Mortimer, scheduled for delivery in August 2019, the Ocean Victory in September 2020, the Ocean Explorer in March 2021, and the Ocean Odyssey in May 2022. The Ocean Explorer and Ocean Odyssey both already have long-term charter agreements.
This contract is part of the ten-vessel framework agreement with CMHI.
“We are very pleased with the development and the speed with which we are signing these new-build contracts. In addition to the five vessels already ordered, SunStone is in negotiations for additional vessels and it is expected that the remaining five options will be signed within 2019, so that ten INFINITY class vessels will be built at CMHI, China,” Lund added.
Separately, SunStone announced the sale of Victory Cruise Lines to the American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC). AQSC will acquire the Victory I and Victory II cruise vessels, as well as other assets.
SunStone operates a fleet of eleven vessels available for long-term charter, mainly for the small-ship/expedition ship market.