Ulstein signs with CMHI Haimen (China) shipbuilding contract for a SunStone INFINITY cruise ship

   February 18, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

The Miami-based expedition cruise shipowner SunStone Ships Inc is going for another cruise ship in its INFINITY class designed by Ulstein Design & Solutions AS.

Lars Stsle Skoge (Ulstein Design & Solutions' commercial director) said they were immensely pleased to announce that they had signed a new contract with the Chinese shipbuilder CMHI Haimen (Jiangsu China) for the construction of a cruise vessel (Ocean Discoverer, to be chartered by AQV-American Queen Voyages) of the INFINITY ULSTEIN CX103 design.

Although all the SunStone ships in this class are designed on the same platform (LOA 104 m, width 18 m) they are all customized to accommodate a varying number of guests and crew members. The public spaces are also designed according to the request of the client. The new ship shares the feature of 3 other INFINITY-class vessels of having windows all around the bow lounge in order to give a lot of light and a feeling of nature.

Tomas Tillberg Design is responsible for interior design.

Tomas Tillberg stated their main focus was "to bring the outdoors inside, capitalizing on the big windows like the two-story atrium ones and especially the spectacular bow windows that Ulstein made possible thus furthering the small ship to a big ship feeling."

The ship holds accommodation for 199 guests, and a crew of 101. ICE CLASS 1A certified for polar cruising, she holds the highest comfort class and is SOLAS certified (including the Safe Return to Port passport).

In May 2022, SunStone Ships Inc revealed the company had decided to move to a new (BOUNDLESS) class of newbuilds after the contracted CMHI Haimen walked out of the contract. The shipbuilder China Merchants Group has constructed a total of six 8200-GT-ton INFINITY-class vessels for SunStone and the 7th vessel (Ocean Discoverer/scheduled for delivery in 2023) will not be built. However, in mid-January 2023 SunStone announced that INFINITY Class' unit 7 (Ocean Discoverer) will be constructed as the shipbuilding contract with CMIH is already signed. The boat's delivery was scheduled for August 2025.

SunStone said it will focus to order vessels of the new BOUNDLESS-class that it's been developing for some time. The projected ships would be bigger than the Infinity class, with GT 12-13,000 tons and a passenger capacity of 200-300, compared to 140 on the Infinity class ships.