Knut E. Hansen unveils design for expedition cruise ship

SEPTEMBER 4, 2015 — One of the reasons why President Barack Obama wants to accelerate acquisition of increased Coast Guard icebreaker capacity (see earlier story) is that climate change and receding ice is prompting an increasing interest in Arctic tourism.

This is confirmed by discussions that Helsingør, Denmark, headquartered naval architecture firm Knud E. Hansen A/S has had with clients. It says shipowners have a genuine interest in investing in smaller, specialized expedition cruise ships 

The firm has now unveiled a design for a 300 passenger expedition ship for worldwide operation, including Arctic and Antarctic regions, for itineraries up to 21 days.

The hull of the Hansen expedition vessel is Ice Class 1A strengthened and has a double hull in way of all hull machinery and service spaces.

The design integrates state of the art green technologies related to propulsion and hotel services. The vessel has all facilities required to ensure that environmentally sensitive areas remain untainted.

The ship is specifically designed to operate safely in heavy seas and high winds as well as narrow passages and small ports. There are three main fire zones and the vessel exceeds safe-return-to-port requirements.

All public facilities are concentrated on two decks, including an observation lounge with 360 degree views. Above the observation lounge a heli-deck is arranged. A unique feature of the ship is a glass aircraft hanger. The ship's helicopter can be lowered by lift into this fire and explosion proof glass enclosure in the middle of the observation lounge, making for a fascinating showpiece.

Passengers can also enjoy stunning panoramas from two Jacuzzis on the top deck, primarily heated by solar energy.

The vessel has 150 standard passenger cabins arranged on three decks and crew accommodation on two lower decks.

All passenger cabins have outside views and the cabins on the bridge deck all have balconies.A number of the standard cabins can be transformed into suites for special luxurious voyages.For increased passenger comfort active stabiliser fins are also fitted.

For short passenger excursions, a large sea garage and retractable overhead davit is arranged at the transom for easy launching and retrieval of up to 15 Zodiac type boats and jet-skis. A tender boarding station for the watercraft is arranged close to the waterline at the after ship. The tender station includes a lobby, disinfection area and expedition store. The tender station is connected with the passenger accommodation by both elevator and stairway.

An ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) with camera equipment is installed for observation of the underwater environment up to 3,000 meters below the sea, such as coral reefs and aquatic sea-life. The high definition video images can be displayed throughout the vessel on the big-screens in the passenger lounges and also cabins via the ships integrated video system.

The propulsion and exceptional maneuverability is provided by two Azipod units and two bow thrusters.

The diesel-electric power plant includes four medium-speed diesel generators in two separate engine rooms. The engines can be specified for Tier 3 NOx emission levels without exhaust gas treatment.

Solar cells help offset the vessel’s electrical load and space is reserved for battery systems to provide true emission free and silent sailing for extra sensitive areas.

Engine heat recovery systems provide all of the vessel's heating requirements and innovative HVAC systems reduce energy consumption.

Advanced LED lighting and smart control systems contribute further to the overall low electrical load of the vessel.

The green philosophy is also reflected by use of a combination of highly insulated windows and outside window walls combined with latest solar power technology.


  • Length overall 139.40 m
  • Length between perpendiculars 120.20 m
  • Breadth molded 20.50 m
  • Depth molded 7.00 m
  • Scantling draft 5.50 m
  • Design draft 4.80 m
  • Installed power 4 x 2,800 kWe
  • Service speed 18.0 kn
  • Range at 85% MCR 7,500 nm



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