Ocean Diamond Review and Specifications
Specifications of Ocean Diamond
|Year built||1974 / Age : 46|
|Flag state||Wallis and Futuna|
|Builder||KMV (Kristiansand Mekaniske Verksted) Kristiansand, Norway|
|Class||ice-strengthened expedition ship|
|Owner||SunStone Ships Inc|
|Operator||Quark Expeditions, Albatros Travel, Iceland ProCruises|
|Speed||16 kn / 30 kph / 18 mph|
|Length (LOA)||124 m / 407 ft|
|Beam (width)||16 m / 52 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||8282 gt|
|Passengers||113 - 251|
|Decks with cabins||5|
|Former names||Le Diamant, Song of Flower, Explorer Starship, Femhil, Begonia|
Review of Ocean Diamond
MV Ocean Diamond cruise ship is owned by the Copenhagen-based Albatros Travel company, that specializes in polar expedition cruises and tours. Quark Expeditions (USA-based polar cruise travel company) operates the vessel under a charter. The list of other Albatros Travel-owned ships also includes Ocean Adventurer, Ocean Atlantic, Ocean Endeavour, Sea Endurance.
This expedition vessel accommodates a maximum of 189 passengers and features an ice-strengthened hull and two stabilizers, making it ideal for polar travel vacations.
History - construction & ownership
The ship's previous owner - Compagnie du Ponant - sold it in late 2011 to investors. In November 2012, it was contracted by Quark Expeditions for charter operations under the name "Ocean Diamond". The travel company Quark Expeditions (established 1991) specializes in polar expedition cruises to the Antarctica and Arctic aboard purpose-built vessels. Quark Expeditions became part of the UK-based TUI Travel PLC Group of Companies on May 1, 2007.
Being one of the most eco-friendly and fastest cruise ships in Antarctica, Ocean Diamond is also one of the most comfortable ones. The 101 elegantly furnished cabins and suites all feature exterior views. There are also expansive common spaces, a spacious restaurant and club lounge.
The boat offers a wealth of adventure options, plus onboard interactions with photography instructors (dedicated photography enrichment program), yoga classes, aromatherapy treatments and massage therapy (wellness program). Zodiac cruising and landings, snowshoeing and hiking tours ashore are included in cruise fares, while kayaking is optional. After a day of exploration, guests can relax and browse DVDs or books in the well-stocked polar library.
The vessel's draft is only 16 ft (4,9 m) allowing access to remote islands and unique coastal destinations. The ship is powered by two WICHMANN marine diesel engines (total power output 7375 HP). The hull is ice class 1D. The ship has all 2 lifeboats, which are fully enclosed. Ship-to-shore communications are via Inmarsat Capsat Fleet 77 (satellite phone and Internet).
In addition to the lifeboats, MS Ocean Diamond carries a tender on davits (a crane-like device used for raising, and lowering the boats) located across the stern. The cruise ship also serves the "Expert in Residence" program, letting polar researchers, scientists, historians and other experts to undertake field work out of the ship. Passengers are allowed to assist. All landings include expedition jackets and rubber boots on loan.
Ocean Diamond cruises in Antarctica (Antarctic Peninsula region). itineraries also visit the wildlife paradise of South Georgia Island and the remote Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas). Antarctica departures are out of Ushuaia (Argentina) and fly-cruise deals are offered from Buenos Aires.
In the summer, the ship operates on European itineraries (cruises in Iceland) with roundtrip departures from Reykjavik. These seasonal ship charters are since 2015 and by the local tour brand Iceland ProCruises (run by the Iceland ProTravel agency). In 2018 was introduced a new 7-day cruise itinerary program targeting the USA-Canada market. Most itineraries are 9-days and longer and visit port destinations in Iceland and Greenland.
Quark cruise deals
Quark Expeditions cruise deals are inclusive of:
- 1-night pre-cruise hotel stay, group transfers (airport-hotel on the day prior departure, and hotel-ship on embarkation day)
- onboard accommodation (daily housekeeping service)
- all onboard meals (breakfasts, lunches, dinners) - know that the ship's galley/kitchen can't prepare kosher meals
- all Zodiac landings (daily, weather permitting) and Zodiac transfers and cruising (daily)
- media presentations by Expedition Team members and special guest lecturers
- waterproof expedition boots (onshore landings)
- complimentary Quark Expeditions logoed parka
- lifejackets and immersion suits
- complimentary coffee, tea and cocoa (24 / 7)
- hairdryer and bathrobe (in all cabins)
- pre-departure materials (including maps)
- all service taxes and port fees
- all onboard luggage handling
- emergency evacuation (medevac) insurance to a max benefit USD 100,000 pp
- Fly-cruise deals are inclusive of complimentary house wines (by the glass), beers and spirits on the ship, also of all gratuities (staff and crew) and all domestic flights (prior to embarkation).
- Shipboard laundry and Ironing services are available at additional cost.
- Ship-to-shore communications are via Inmarsat Capsat Fleet 77 (satellite phone and Internet) and cost extra.
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In February 2018, the company Iceland ProCruises announced its ship charter contract with the Ocean Diamond vessel to be extended through 2022. Iceland ProCruises charters MS Ocean Diamond since 2014, and its bookings have a steady annual increase of ~20%.
- Season 2018 started with 3 Around Iceland (full island circumnavigation) itineraries fully booked by February 20. Due to growing demand, the cruise line extended season 2018 by 1 month (starting in April instead of May). Iceland ProCruises also have plans to time-charter a second vessel, to be operated on a reverse to Ocean Dimond cruise route around Iceland (themed "Iceland Circumnavigation").
- In July 2018, together with Ocean Diamond, Iceland ProCruises also chartered MS Ocean Endeavour.
In 2021, Quark Expeditions has planned two "Antarctic eclipse voyages" during which our Moon will completely block the Sun to produce the solar corona phenomenon. The Earth's total solar eclipses happen approx every 400 years.
- The Antarctic solar eclipse will occur on December 4, 2021, in Weddell Sea. Quark's "Antarctic Solar Eclipse 2021" voyages are offered on 2 ships - World Explorer (17-day itinerary, November 26 - December 12) and Ocean Diamond (20-day itinerary, November 25 - December 14). Prices start from USD 17,000 pp.
- Both cruises will feature as special guests Fred Espenak (US astrophysicist), Babak Amin Tafreshi (National Geographic photographer) and David Baron (author of the book "American Eclipse" themed on the solar eclipse that occurred on July 29, 1878).
Ocean Diamond Itineraries
The below listed Ocean Diamond cruise prices on itineraries are only indicative and Per Person (in US dollars, based on double occupancy). These are the cheapest Quark Expeditions fares on the ship’s lowest category cabins available for booking. Cruise fares typically change with departure dates approaching, last minute deals, discounts, promotions, independent travel agency offers.
|Date||Cruise Name||Departure Port||Price from|
|2020 Dec 19||21 days, round-trip 22 Night Epic Antarctica Crossing the Circle via Falklands and South Georgia Cruise and Land Tour||Ushuaia|
|2021 Jan 09||12 days, round-trip 13 Night Crossing the Antarctic Circle Southern Expedition Cruise and Land Tour||Ushuaia||$23386|
|2021 Jan 21||18 days, round-trip 19 Night Falklands South Georgia and Antarctica Explorers and Kings Cruise and Land Tour||Ushuaia||$33132|
|2021 Feb 26||12 days, round-trip 13 Night Crossing the Antarctic Circle Southern Expedition Cruise and Land Tour||Ushuaia|
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