When the new Hondius joins the Oceanwide Expeditions fleet in the summer of 2019 she will be the first registered Polar Class 6 cruise ship in the world.
“Due to our growth and the need for greater passenger capacity, the only logical next step for us was a completely new ship combining all the great aspects of our older vessels into one,” said COO Mark van der Hulst in an interview with Cruise Industry News for the 2018 Expedition Market Report.
“Starting with charter vessels, Oceanwide Expeditions has been operating in the polar regions for more than 25 years. By 2008 we were already looking into building a new ship, but back then it was the peak time for shipyards. There weren’t any building slots available.”
There’s no typical passenger for Oceanwide. Couples, single travelers, and groups come from all over the world to see the polar regions.
“Recently I did a trip on one of our vessels and counted more than 27 nationalities. It was a great voyage and, with so many nationalities onboard, there was always something to talk and learn about,” van der Hulst explained. “People are interested not only in the polar regions but also in each other.”
Passengers don’t seem to have a favorite ship as they all offer unique experiences. The Ortelius, for example, has a helicopter platform which allows guests to experience places which might otherwise be inaccessible.
Being Polar Class 6, the Hondius will, of course, have minimum environmental impact which can be important to cruisers, especially in polar regions.
The Hondius won’t replace any of the current vessels and will offer a wider range of interactive workshops covering topics such as navigation, astronomy, botany, cooking, and cocktail mixing, as well as presentations on polar whales, land mammals, and bird life.
As the expedition market continues to grow, ports are getting busier. “It’s not only the ports that are busy,” said van der Hulst, “but the whole chain: airports, hotels, and so forth. Even so, expedition vessels are still on the smaller side, so the available passenger capacity compared to the number of interested passengers is still a healthy ratio for us. But with more and more ships on the market, pricing might become impacted in the future.”
Excerpt from the 2018 Expedition Market Report.
About the Expedition Market Report:
The 2018 Cruise Industry News Expedition Market Report presents a complete 127-page overview of the entire expedition market, including capacity projections through 2027, and profiles of 30+ major players, with exclusive interviews and insight, along with trends, original data, operational coverage and much more. Original reporting, analysis and research.