The two vessels, costing US $225-million each, will be built at the Mariotti Damen shipyard and are expected to be delivered in 2021 and 2022. They will be designed from keel to mast as expedition cruise ships.
They will be almost identical, and will be designed to operate with a high level of autonomy, enabling Seabourn to cruise further north into the Arctic, and further to Antarctica, than its current fleet is able to.
Seabourn has been offering expedition-style cruises for several years, but these voyages aboard Seabourn Quest have been constrained by the ship’s cruise ship design, which makes it vulnerable to ice flows and the harsh elements of the earth’s most remote destinations.
Although itinerary details, and full on-board features and amenities have not yet been released by Seabourn, the Carnival-owned cruise line said in a release that the ship’s “will venture farther north and south than any ship in Carnival Corporation history”.
But they’ll do so in total ultra-luxury comfort, all 132 staterooms on-board will be oceanfront veranda suites. The first ship is currently planned to sail in the Arctic in late summer 2021, with a full summer season in Antarctica to follow.
The hull for Seabourn’s expedition ships will be constructed to PC6 Polar Class standards, making them capable of summer and autumn operation in medium first-year ice in Antarctica, the Arctic, and other destinations around the world.
“Our primary goal in building these new ships is to give expedition travelers the best possible destination experience on-board and far afield, with an innovative design that enables us to get all guests out into the environment as quickly as possible to fulfill those travel wish lists,” said Robin West, Vice President of Expedition Operations for Seabourn.
“These ships are being designed from conception for expedition travel blended with ultra-luxury and personalized service by leading travel experts and seasoned professionals with great depth of experience in expedition, hospitality, and luxury cruising,” he added.
Other operational design considerations being incorporated include shell doors placed on the waterline giving passengers the ability to step right into the onboard complement of Zodiacs in calm weather.
While cold-weather cruising will be part of the ships’ offerings, they will also likely cruise in warmer climates, such as the Galapagos and South Pacific. Seabourn has designed them to have 2,750sqm of open deck space.
Each ship will also carry two submarines on-board, as well as kayaks for passenger use and 24 Zodiacs for going ashore on remote islands and for cruising near glaciers.
Onboard crew will include a well-traveled 26-person expedition team comprised of experienced wilderness experts, scientists, historians and naturalists.