A year or more behind schedule, Crystal Cruises announced the July 2021 maiden voyage for its new luxury expedition cruise ship, the Crystal Endeavor. The delivery of the ship is a critical step for Genting’s financially troubled shipyard MV Werften, which required government loans to complete this cruise ship and is seeking further support from Germany to continue its operations.
MV Werften floated out of the new expedition cruise ship in December 2019 and was working to complete the vessel for a summer 2020 introduction. The shipyard, however, suspended operations in March 2020 blaming the impact of COVID-19 on its workforce, vendors, and suppliers. The yard only resumed work in October 2020 after a $228 million bridge loan was provided by Germany’s Federal Economic Stabilization Fund. Under the agreement, the funds were to be used to complete the Crystal Endeavor and continue work on the first of two large cruise ships under construction for Genting’s Dream Cruises.
The Crystal Endeavor sailed on her sea trials at the beginning of March 2021. She is a 20,200 gross ton ship designed to offer luxury expedition cruising under a new sub-brand called Crystal Expedition Cruises. The company is promoting her as “the most spacious, fastest and most powerful expedition ship in the industry, with a Polar Class 6 (PC6) classification that enables her to sail in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.”
She accommodates just 200 passengers with an equal number of crew and one of the highest passenger space ratios available. The ship’s propulsion system includes two Azipod D units and a diesel-electric power plant designed specifically for ice-going vessels to help them operate at optimum efficiency while providing 13,020 kW of installed power. The ship is also outfitted with dynamic positioning capabilities, enabling the vessel to remain in one place utilizing GPS and its thrusters, rather than dropping anchor. Also, the ship will deploy state-of-the-art underwater sonar technology, providing real-time 3D images of the terrain and activity along the ship’s route up to 1,000 meters ahead of the vessel and to a depth of up to 50 meters, with a mapping range up to eight times the water’s depth. Such vision will enable the captain and bridge officers to detect potential hazards and sea life far in advance to navigate appropriately.
Other technologies that will be deployed as part of the passenger expedition experience include a gimbal camera system on the ship’s mast that can be zoomed in for closer views of wildlife and other points of interest in real-time. The views will be streamed directly on the TVs throughout the ship. Ocean Robotics also supplied an ROV that roams to depths of nearly 2,000 feet, capturing data and imagery that will also be broadcast across the ship. Drone footage will also be captured, offering birds-eye views of the surrounding regions.
“The design and building caliber of Crystal Endeavor is outstanding,” says Captain Thomas Larsen, who will command the ship. “Contracted for a max speed of 19.7 knots, she delivered an actual max speed of 20.5 knots during the sea trial, exceeding all performance expectations and standards with little to no vibration even during ‘crash stop’ tests.”
Crystal Endeavor’s maiden voyage is scheduled for July 17, 2021 sailing round trip from Reykjavík, Iceland on cruises around the island into the Arctic Circle. Crystal announced that the ship will operate five 10-night sailings from Iceland.
As the Crystal Endeavor prepares for her delivery, MV Werften however continues to additional funds from the German government to continue its operations. Under the latest plan, the company will reduce its workforce by 40 percent, or 1,200 people, and will require between $350 and $500 million from the German federal government in a bailout to continue the construction of the two large Genting cruise ships. The rescue package is still being debated by the federal government with the hope of completing it this month. In the interim, the local government is working to release $50 million to ensure that work continues in the near term at the yard. Currently, the workforce remains on reduced hours.
The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of News2Sea.
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