Specifications of Ocean Albatros
|Year built||2022 new ship|
|Builder||CMIH-China Merchants Heavy Industry (Haimen shipyard, Jiangsu China)|
|Class||INFINITY ULSTEIN CX103 (ice-strengthened expedition ship)|
|Building cost||USD 65 million|
|Owner||SunStone Ships Inc|
|Speed||16 kn / 30 kph / 18 mph|
|Length (LOA)||104 m / 341 ft|
|Beam (width)||18 m / 59 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||7400 gt|
|Passengers||146 - 200|
|Decks with cabins||4|
|Sister-ships||Greg Mortimer, Sylvia Earle, Ocean Victory, Ocean Explorer, Ocean Odyssey, Ocean Discoverer|
Ocean Albatros Review
Review of Ocean Albatros
MS Ocean Albatros cruise ship is an ice-strengthened (polar class 1A-Super / PC6) expedition vessel scheduled for delivery/inauguration in October 2022. The vessel is owned by SunStone Ships (USA) and will be operated under charter by Albatros Expeditions (Copenhagen Denmark-based company specializing in Arctic and Antarctic cruise tours).
Albatros Expeditions itineraries are in Arctic Europe (Svalbard Norway, Faroe Islands, Scotland), Arctic Canada (with Greenland-Iceland) and Antarctica (with Patagonia/Chilean Fjords and SGSSI-South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands). Ocean Albatros has as a fleet mate the 1986-built Ocean Atlantic (also chartered from SunStone Ships).
Ocean Albatros is the sixth in a series of ten "Ulstein CX103" design (Infinity-Class) expedition vessels, with sisterships Greg Mortimer (2019-Aug), Ocean Victory (2021-March), Ocean Explorer (2021-Jan), Sylvia Earle (2021-Sept), Ocean Odyssey (2022-Feb), Ocean Discoverer (2023-March) plus 4 more (TBN) units. The patented ULSTEIN X-BOW design is one of the unusual for expedition ships features, The vessel also utilizes the latest technologies in naval engineering. The ship is technically managed by Cruise Management International (Miami-based passenger vessel/fleet management company). CMI Leisure Miami handles hotel operations.
With the highest for passenger vessel ice-class 1A (Polar Class 6 / PC6), MS Ocean Albatros has icebreaking capacity 1 m (3 ft) and complies with maritime industry's latest polar code requirements and specifications. The boat offers unprecedented levels of safety and environmental protection.
The major advantage of the patented "ULSTEIN X-BOW" design is the ship's ability to navigate with improved stability in comparison to traditional bow-design vessels. X-BOW vessels are less subject to vertical motions (induced by waves), continuing on course smoothly while maintaining high speeds. The ship's engines use less fuel, which results in reduced air emissions and fuel consumption.
The ship is equipped with maritime industry's latest propulsion and return-to-port systems, as well as dynamic positioning technology. These computer-controlled systems allow automatic maintenance of ship's position via propulsion units (thrusters and propellers). This allows stable floating while maintaining the necessary stability for launching watercraft - and without using anchors.
The newbuild expedition vessel features dedicated outdoor observation areas (including fore-located Observation Deck with two Hydraulic Platforms and two Viewing Platforms), stern marina (watersports platform serving company's sea kayaking, snorkelling and scuba diving programs), a fleet of 20x Zodiacs (large-capacity motorized boats used for passenger transportation - tendering and landings). The aft-located Zodiac loading platform is a new design and allows easier and faster boarding. Sun Deck (top-deck forward) is furnished with premium garden furniture (sofas, armchairs, sun loungers) and used for both relaxation and wildlife viewing. The top-deck bow is the Observation Lounge (served by its own Bar) and midship is the funnel (with four stacks/engine exhaust pipes).
Other facilities include Medical Centre (Infirmary), Change Room (Mudroom), Bar Lounge (lecture theater forward on Deck 5), Dining Room Restaurant, Ship Shop, Lobby area (Reception Desk), Library, Art Room, Wellness Centre (Fitness, Spa, Sauna Room, Treatment Rooms for Massages), Lower Sun Deck (Deck 7 aft, with lifeboats and liferafts), Upper Sun Deck (Deck 8 midship, with sunbathing area and two whirlpool hot tubs).
Four Zodiac Docks (2 on each side, hull access at sea-level) serve as boat launching platforms.
Ocean Albatros staterooms (a total of 93) allow max capacity 186 passengers. Cabins include 68x Balcony, 9x French Balcony and 16x with Porthole Windows. The vessel is served by 100 crew/staff accommodated in 57 crew cabins. Most cabins (80% of all, excepting only Deck 3 cabins with Portholes) are with private, step-out balconies accessible from the living area via sliding, floor-ceiling glass door. Each balcony is furnished with a small table and two deck chairs. 60% of all cabins can be booked with triple occupancy (accommodate a 3rd person on pull-out couch/sofabed).
- Hotel beds (King-size or two twin, size 200 x 160 cm, ample under-bed storage space for suitcases), sleeping couch (sofabed), bedside cabinets, mirrored vanity (writing desk / dressing table) with chair, built-in dressers with drawers, mini-bar / refrigerator, 42-inch flat HDTV (local and satellite reception), phone (onboard communication only), digital clock / alarm, seating area (small table with 1 or 2 armchairs), spacious wardrobe (closet with hangers, drawers, electronic safe), individual climate control, medical emergency button.
- Each stateroom has a private, full-size bathroom with shower / WC, hairdryer, premium bath amenities.
- Suites are in 3 categories - CS-Captain's, JS-Junior and BS-Balcony. These are the largest staterooms, with double-size balconies and offering extra amenities, such as in-room dining service (continental breakfast served on the balcony).
The ship has a total of 20 pairs of connecting rooms (balconied cabins) that can be booked as one "family stateroom" for up to 6 persons. There are no wheelchair-accessible cabins (suitable for passengers with disabilities).
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The chartering agreement between SunStone Ships and Albatros Expeditions was signed on April 12, 2019, by Niels-Erik Lund (SunStone's President and CEO) and Hans Lagerweij (Albatros Travel's President and CEO). Ocean Albatros is the second Infinity-Class (ULSTEIN-designed) vessel chartered by Albatros Expeditions - together with Ocean Victory (chartered for season 2021). The Miami-based company CMI Leisure Management provides ship management services that include staffing, hotel services, housekeeping, onboard food and beverages, purchasing supplies, logistics. CMI Leisure is among world's leading companies providing small-ship management services.
On March 16, 2017, SunStone Ships Inc signed the shipbuilding agreement with the Hong Kong-based company "China Merchants Industry Holdings" (abbrev CMIH) for construction of 4 expedition vessels. SunStone is world's largest (by tonnage) shipowner chartering exclusively expedition vessels to cruise travel companies. Since there is an option for additional 6 sisterships, by this "ULSTEIN CX103" project could be built up to 10 units. The USD 260 million shipbuilding order for the 4 units was signed in June 2017.
The company CMIH is a subsidiary of China Merchants Group (among country's largest groups of companies). Following the contract with SunStone Ships, CMIH signed an agreement with the Norwegian company Ulstein Design (part of Ulstein Group, headquartered in Ulsteinvik Norway) to supply the ship design and equipment package (ULSTEIN COM / Navigation Bridge system, and the integrated automation systems ULSTEIN IAS and ULSTEIN POWER), and also to supervise the shipbuilding works. For the ship's hotel design was contracted the Florida (USA)-based company Tomas Tillberg Design International (specializing in passenger vessel design). The design features Ulstein's patented X-BOW (providing fuel efficiency and significantly improved stability in rough seas). The vessel complies with the 2009-issued SOLAS requirements for "Virtual Anchorage" and "Safe Return to Port" (SRtP) implemented via Dynamic Positioning System (computer-controlled, automatically maintains ship's position) and Zero Speed Stabilizers (roll reduction system).
CMIH also signed an agreement with the Finnish company "IS Makinen Inc" to pre-fabricate the vessels' cabins, wet units and interior public spaces. For this purpose, Makinen established a cabin assembly plant and an interior workshop facility at the shipbuilding yard in China. Project's shipbuilder is CMIH's subsidiary "China Merchants Heavy Industry" (abbrev CMHI, shipyard near Shanghai).
The ship is powered by 4x Wartsila-20 diesel engines (two 6-cylinder plus two 8-cylinder) running on HFO (heavy fuel oil). The 6-cylinder engines are fitted with Wartsila-NOR (exhaust gas cleaning system, NOx gas reducing technology). The contract with Wartsila was signed in November 2017.
Vessel's propulsion system is diesel-electric (twin-screw) and designed by Brunvoll Volda AS (Volda Norway-based company specializing in marine propulsion, positioning and manoeuvring systems). For the ULSTEIN CX103 project, Brunvoll contracted DMC (Damen Marine Components, Hardinxveld Giessendam Holland-based marine eqipment manufacturer) to produce and supply the vessel's two rudders (model Van der Velden ATLANTIC) and two steering gear systems (model Van der Velden COMMANDER).
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