Australian-based Coral Expeditions has signed a contract for one, possibly two, expeditions ships with VARD.
Newly developed by Vard Design in Norway in close co-operation with the Coral Expeditions, the vessel was specially designed for small ship expedition cruises to remote destinations in the Asia/Pacific region.
The vessel will be of VARD 6 01 design, with a length of 93.5 m and a beam of 17.2 m and will be able to accommodate 120 pax.
True to Coral Expeditions’ business model, the ship’s design will be geared for daily shore expeditions, lectures and briefings, with high standards of comfort and care. Delivery is scheduled from Vard Vung Tau in Vietnam in the first quarter of 2019.
CEO and Executive Director, Roy Reite said, “I would like to welcome Coral Expeditions to VARD. We are honoured to be chosen as the preferred designer and shipbuilder for their new expedition cruise vessel. VARD’s highly experienced shipbuilders and our specialised subsidiaries in Norway and abroad look forward to working together with Coral’s team.”
In existence for 34 years, Coral Expeditions started with environmentally-sensitive cruises on the Great Barrier Reef. Since then, the fleet has grown to three Australian-flagged ships, including two oceangoing catamarans, ‘Coral Expeditions I’ and ‘Coral Expeditions II’, plus the flagship, the 63 m ‘Coral Discoverer’.
Headquartered in Cairns, the company offers expedition cruises to largely unseen parts of the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, the Kimberley region, Cape York and Arnhem Land, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, the Islands of the South Pacific, Tasmania, and Southeast Asia.
The new ship will feature several of Coral Expeditions’ key features:
– Two ‘Xplorer’ tenders mounted on hydraulic platforms that allow all guests to embark and disembark for shore excursions without steps, queues or waiting.
– A natural light-filled lecture lounge equipped with modern technology for daily presentations and briefings by expedition experts.
– Facilities on board to host scientific research missions and local exhibitors.
– Spacious communal areas, including a dining room, which seats all guests.
– All outside-facing cabins with en-suite bathrooms; over half have private balconies.
– Open bridge policy and guest observation lounge overlooking the bridge.
– Multiple indoor and outdoor bars.