First steel cut for SunStone’s 5th next-gen expedition ship

The US-based company SunStone Ships recently celebrated the steel-cutting ceremony for Ocean Odyssey, the fifth Infinity-class next-generation expedition cruise vessel.


The ceremony took place at China Merchants Heavy Industries (CMHI) in Haimen, China, on 24 September 2020.

Image Courtesy: SunStone

Slated for delivery in 2022, the newbuilding will offer year-round expedition cruises for tour operator Vantage Deluxe World Travel. Ocean Odyssey marks Vantage Travel’s second entry into expedition cruising, following Ocean Explorer which is planned for delivery in 2021.

Designed by Norway’s Ulstein, the ice-strengthened (Polar Class 6) Ocean Odyssey is a luxury cruise vessel for worldwide operations. The ship features the Ulstein X-Bow design for smooth sailing in rough seas. The hull shape reduces fuel consumption when cutting through the waves and therefore also reduces local emissions.

“We are looking forward to continuing our relationships with all our partners in the Infinity-class project and we, even considering the COVID-19 world crisis, are moving fast forward as planned at very satisfactory speed, safety and quality level,” Niels-Erik Lund, SunStone CEO, commented.

The steel-cutting ceremony was held only several weeks after Ocean Explorer, the fourth unit in the series, was launched in China.

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The Infinity-class vessels feature a length of 104 meters, a width of 18 meters and a draft of 5.1 meters. In addition, they are able to accommodate up to 200 passengers and up to 115 crew members.

The vessels are built to Ice Class 1A, Polar Code 6, each with Safe Return to Port, Dynamic Positioning and Zero Speed stabilizers.

Greg Mortimer, SunStone’s first new expedition ship, was handed over to the company in September 2019. Another three units — Ocean Victory, the aforementioned Ocean Explorer and Sylvia Earle — are scheduled for delivery next year. Finally, Ocean Odyssey and Ocean Albatros are expected to be handed over in 2022 and Ocean Discoverer in 2023.