Ocean Victory

Specifications of Ocean Victory

Year built2020 new ship
BuilderCMIH-China Merchants Heavy Industry (Haimen shipyard, Jiangsu China)
ClassINFINITY ULSTEIN CX103 (ice-strengthened expedition ship)
Building costUSD 65 million
OwnerSunStone Ships Inc
OperatorVictory Cruise Lines, Albatros Expeditions
Speed16 kn / 30 kph / 18 mph
Length (LOA)104 m / 341 ft
Beam (width)18 m / 59 ft
Gross Tonnage7400 gt
Passengers146 - 200
Decks with cabins4
Sister-shipsGreg Mortimer, Sylvia Earle, Ocean Explorer, Ocean Odyssey, Ocean Albatros
Christened bytba
AQSC-American Queen Steamboat Company Coronavirus update

Ocean Victory Review

Review of Ocean Victory

MS Ocean Victory cruise ship is an ice-strengthened (polar class 1A / PC6) expedition vessel scheduled for delivery in September 2020. The boat is owned by SunStone Ships (USA) and operated under charter by Victory Cruise Line USA (brand owned by AQSC/American Queen Steamboat Company) and also by Albatros Expeditions (Copenhagen Denmark-based company specializing in Arctic and Antarctic cruisetours, subsidiary and brand owned by Albatross Travel Group Ltd). Albatros Expeditions itineraries are in Arctic Europe (Svalbard Norway, Faroe Islands, Scotland), Arctic Canada (with Greenland-Iceland), Antarctica (with Patagonia/Chilean Fjords and SGSSI-South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands).

Ship technology

Ocean Victory is the second in a series of ten "Ulstein CX103" design (Infinity-Class) expedition vessels, with sisterships Greg Mortimer (2019-Aug), Ocean Explorer (2021-Jan), Sylvia Earle (2021-Sept), Ocean Odyssey (2022-Feb), Ocean Discoverer (2023-March), Ocean Albatros (2022-Oct) 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.

MS Ocean Victory cruise ship

In November 2018, AQSC signed an agreement for purchasing the brand "Victory Cruise Line", as well as its chartered (from Sunstone Ships) vessels. Victory Cruise Line has a separate fleet and management and operates as a subsidiary company of AQSC. AQSC's Victory Cruise Line cooperated with the US-based shipowner SunStone Ships Inc to construct a custom-designed vessel for expedition-type voyages in polar regions, providing industry's best adventure travel vacation experiences and modern amenities.

With the highest for passenger vessel ice-class 1A (Polar Class 6 / PC6), MS Ocean Victory 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.

MS Ocean Victory cruise ship

The ship is equipped with the latest propulsion and return-to-port systems. It also has top-notch dynamic positioning technology - computer-controlled systems allowing automatic maintenance of the vessel's position through its own propulsion units (thrusters and propellers). This allows stable floating while maintaining the necessary stability for launching watercraft - and without using anchors.


Starting operations for Victory Cruise Lines, Ocean Victory's itinerary program 2021 (May through September) includes a total of 20 cruises in Alaska (USA) and British Columbia (Canada). Itineraries lengths range between 7-day to 10-day. Unique travel experiences on all these voyages are the Zodiac boat landings and shoreside cruising and kayaking for up-close scenery and wildlife viewing (bears, whales, seabirds). Ship's resident scientific staff (including marine biologists and naturalists) lead all expeditions and also provide educational onboard lectures.

Ocean Victory's cruises to Alaska and BC Canada were opened for booking in July 2019. With this ship, the cruise company introduced two new itineraries (themed as "Discover Beyond Alaska Expedition Adventure Cruise" - 10-night Vancouver BC to Sitka AK, and the reverse 11-night Sitka to Vancouver. Their bookings were opened in October 2019. Both voyages feature cruising the Inside Passage, Misty Fjords (Tongass Forest), Ketchikan AK (Revillagigedo Island), Metlakatla Annette Island (Long House visit, group dancing performance), Petersburg AK (Mitkof Island), Kupreanof Island (hiking), Tracy Arm Fjord, Endicott Arm Fjord, Sawyer Glacier (or Dawes Glacier, both with Zodiac boating), Wrangell AK (Anan Creek bear watching, Stikine River jet boating, charter fishing), Sitka AK (hiking, seakayaking, fishing).

Alaska 2021 itineraries

Victory Cruise Line's Ocean Victory Alaskan program for 2021 includes the following voyages:

  • 12-day from Vancouver BC to Sitka AK, departure dates (2021) May 21, June 11, July 2, July 23, August 13, September 3. The itinerary visits Inside Passage Alaska, Fiordland BC (Kynoch Inlet), Ketchikan AK, Misty Fjords NP, Wrangell AK, Baranof Island (Baranof Wilderness Lodge), Petersburg AK (/LeConte Glacier), Tracey Arm Fjord (Sawyer Glacier), Kake AK. Fares started from ~USD 4200 pp.
  • 13-day from Sitka to Vancouver, departure dates (2021) May 31, June 21, July 12, August 2, August 23, September 13. The itinerary visits Kake AK, Endicott Arm Fjord (Dawes Glacier) Tracey Arm Fjord (Sawyer Glacier), Petersburg AK (/LeConte Glacier), Baranof Island, Misty Fjords NP, Ketchikan, Fiordland BC (Kynoch Inlet), Inside Passage BC. Fares started from USD5000 pp.
  • 12-day from Vancouver to Seattle WA, departure September 24 (2021). The special itinerary visits mainland British Colombia (Princess Louisa Inlet), Vancouver Island (BC Canada), Copeland Island, Cormorant Island (Alert Bay BC, U’Mista Cultural Center), Cortes Island, Von Donop Inlet (Háthayim Marine Provincial Park), Redonda Islands, Pender Harbour, Nanaimo BC, Salt Spring Island (Ganges BC), Victoria BC. Fares started from USD 4200 pp, inclusive of pre-cruise Vancouver hotel overnight.

On each Alaskan voyage, Ocean Victory provides a team of 19 tour guides for the shore excursions and also to conduct onboard lectures for the passengers.

Shipboard facilities

The newbuild expedition vessel features dedicated outdoor observation areas (including fore-located Observation Deck with two Hydraulic Platforms and two Viewing Platforms/Bridge Wings), 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. On the top-deck bow is the Observation Lounge (served by its own Bar) and midship is the funnel (with four stacks/engine exhaust pipes).

MS Ocean Victory cruise ship

Other facilities include Medical Centre (Infirmary), Change Room (Mudroom), Bar Lounge (lecture theater forward on Deck 5), Dining Room Restaurant, Buffet Restaurant, Ship Shop, Lobby area (Reception Desk), Library, Piano Bar, 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 swimming pool (infinity), pool bar, two whirlpool hot tubs, alfresco dining area).

Four Zodiac Docks (2 on each side, hull access at sea-level) serve as boat launching platforms.

When chartered by Albatros Expeditions, Ocean Victory provides some exclusive amenities via company's partnerships with brands like Gerard Bertrand (organic wines from southern France, wine tasting menus) and Julius Meinl (organic coffees and teas). Albatros also introduces Polar Spa (providing exotic treatments and massages), all-inclusive Suite cabins (with dedicated butler service, complimentary minibar, free laundry and pressing, in-cabin dining / daily served Canapes, Espresso machine / Julius Meinl, unlimited specialty restaurant access).


Ocean Victory 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's porthole cabins) are with a private, step-out balcony 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 a 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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Ocean Victory is the first Infinity-Class (ULSTEIN-designed) vessel chartered by Albatros Expeditions - followed by Ocean Albatros (chartered for Antarctic season 2022-2023). The ship-chartering agreement includes a deal with the Miami-based CMI Leisure Management. Company's ship management services include staffing, hotel services, housekeeping, onboard food and beverages, purchasing supplies, logistics. CMI Leisure is among the 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 the world's largest (by tonnage) shipowner chartering exclusively expedition vessels to cruise travel companies. Since there is an option for an additional 6 sisterships, by this "ULSTEIN CX103" project could be built up to 10 units. The USD 260 million shipbuilding order for the 4 boats was signed in June 2017.

Vessel's keel-laying ceremony was held on September 19, 2019, at CMIH's Haimen Shipyard. The launch (float out from drydock) was on March 16, 2020. On the same day started the construction of the sistership Sylvia Earle.

The company CMIH is a subsidiary of China Merchants Group (among the 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 the subsidiary company "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.

MS Ocean Victory's charter contract with Aurora Expeditions was signed on June 6, 2018. In October 2018 was announced that the vessel will be also chartered by Victory Cruise Line (a subsidiary of American Queen Steamboat Company). There were rumours about Poseidon Expeditions also considering a charter deal for the new boat.


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 equipment 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).

In mid-November 2018, the shipowner AQSC (American Queen Steamboat Company) announced an agreement to acquire the brand "Victory Cruise Line", that includes purchasing its two chartered (Sunstone Ships-owned) vessels Victory I (built 2001) and Victory II (built 2004). To AQSC fleet was also added the newbuild Ocean Victory - Sunstone-owned and operated under a charter. All the 3 vessels stay in a separate fleet - under the "Victory Cruise Line" brand. Transaction terms (and price) were not disclosed. The announcement was officially made by the company's CEO John Waggoner. The acquisition deal was closed in mid-January 2019.

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