In a rare bright note for the troubled cruise sector, technology group Wärtsilä announced Thursday that it is providing Amundsen Expeditions with a custom design for up to six new luxury expedition cruise vessels. The 200-passenger ships are targeted primarily at the growing Chinese market.
“The ships are designed to operate efficiently in both tropical and polar waters. Because of the harsh environment and often remote location of the cruise destinations, special attention has been given to ensuring the ships’ operational reliability,” said Markku Miinala, general manager of ship design sales for Wärtsilä Marine.
The vessels are designed around a complete package of Wärtsilä systems, including Wärtsilä 32 engines, selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems for NOx abatement, electric propulsion, the Nacos Platinum bridge system for navigation and communication, and a range of Wärtsilä automation products. The supply package will likely be supported by a 10-year maintenance agreement with Wärtsilä's after-sales service arm, which is intended to make opex costs more predictable for Amundsen's budgeting.
“Our one-stop-shop capability, which allows the ship design to be combined with a complete package of onboard solutions, enables a truly integrated design. This results in the various onboard systems working seamlessly in harmony to provide the optimal level of reliability and efficiency, while keeping cost and time considerations under control,” said Maikel Arts, the general manager of Wärtsilä Marine's cruise business.
“We have great respect for Wärtsilä’s experience and broad portfolio of high quality solutions. This is important to us as these cruise ships are highly complex and require advanced design expertise. The cruise ships will feature all outside guest cabins, presidential suites, winter gardens and the latest environmental equipment,” said Captain Rajko Zupan of Amundsen Expeditions, who has been actively involved in the ship’s design.
The design order with Wärtsilä was signed in the third quarter of 2019, before the coronavirus lockdown.