Being built for SunStone Ships in China, the new Ocean Albatros successfully completed its first set of sea trials on Jan. 19.
Scheduled for a Q1 delivery, the purpose-designed expedition vessel is now in final stages of construction at the China Merchants Heavy Industries shipyard in Haimen.
Following the Ocean Odyssey and the Sylvia Earle, the Ocean Albatros is set to become the sixth vessel in SunStone’s Infinity Class.
Created in partnership with Ulstein, the series of 8,000-ton vessels was custom-designed to explore remote and polar destinations.
In addition to ice-resistant hulls, the ships in the class introduced new technologies, including the X-Bow, which is said to improve efficiency and stability, and a system of zero-speed stabilizer, which can keep the vessels stable even while at anchor.
To be operated by Albatros Expeditions under a long-term charter agreement, the Ocean Albatros is set to kick off its inaugural cruise in June.
Replacing the 1985-built Ocean Atlantic, the newbuild will sail for the European expedition brand on a year-round basis, operating in both the Arctic and Antarctica.
For its maiden season, the Ocean Albatros sails in the Northern Hemisphere, offering exploration cruises to Svalbard, Jan Mayen, Greenland, Iceland, the Northwest Passage and more.
After repositioning to Antarctica in November, the 186-guest ship is set to spend the 2023-2024 winter offering expedition cruises to Antarctica Peninsula, the South Shetland Islands, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, the Weddell Sea and more.
Following the Albatros, a seventh Infinity-Class expedition ship is set to enter service in 2025. The recently ordered vessel will be the final in the series.