The Cruise Examiner – Expedition Ships: To Convert Or To Build?

The Cruise Examiner for 28th September 2015

Seabourn Quest © Robin West

The Seabourn Quest in Antarctica, in an image by Robin West, Seabourn’s manager of expedition operations

There have been many changes in the field of expedition cruising in recent years. New ships were built, a few of them. Russian ships were chartered, a few more. And ships were converted, variously from small ships, coastal vessels and ice-class ferries. Last week’s announcement by Silversea that it was converting its Silver Cloud into an ice-class ship followed a move two years ago by Seabourn to ice-strengthen its own Seabourn Quest. Meanwhile, ship managers, naval architects and shipbuilders have all come up with various proposals for new designs. First off the block, a few years ago, was Sunstone Ships of Miami with its Project Unlimited. Then, STX France introduced its Ulysseas design this March, and the Danish firm of Knut E Hansen followed up with its own design six months later. This week we look at the two alternatives of converting or building.

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