VLISSINGEN, The Netherlands, Nov. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Due to an increased demand for polar cruises, Oceanwide Expeditions, the leading exploratory Polar cruise company since 1996, has commissioned the building of an innovative 180-passenger vessel. The ship, called the Hondius, will be the strongest ice-strengthened vessel in the Polar regions. It is being built in Croatia by shipbuilder Brodosplit and will be available to customers in 2019.
"We currently sail with our ice-strengthened 116-passenger vessels Plancius and Ortelius, and the Hondius will give us the opportunity to accommodate more travelers, to grow as a company, and to offer new, innovative products in the Polar regions," says Oceanwide Expeditions' CEO, Michel van Gessel. "The name Hondius follows our custom to name our ships for celebrated Dutch-Flemish cartographers who continue to inspire us as we carry on their passion for exploration and discovery." Hondius was specially designed to support and serve Oceanwide's exploratory programs and activity-based shore excursions in the Arctic and Antarctica. It will be rated Polar Class 6, similar to the previous Finnish-Swedish ice-class notation 1A-super. A speedy zodiac embarkation is guaranteed, with two separate gangways and an indoor platform that can be used for outdoor activities such as kayaking. While Hondius is at anchor during passenger excursions, it can drift or remain in position with the support of the bow and stern thrusters. One deck on board is reserved for an observation lounge, with a separate lecture room in order to offer simultaneous or multilingual lectures and presentations. The vessel size will be 107 meters (350 feet) long, with a breadth of 17.6 meters (58 feet). It will be equipped with two main engines for a total of 4,200 kW, generating a speed of 15 knots.