New hybrid tour boats have been delivered to operators in France and the Norwegian Arctic while across the Atlantic, new passenger catamarans will soon begin sailing in North Carolina’s famed Hatteras Inlet estuary and in Alaska. Meanwhile, a well-known cruise operator has expanded its fleet with the acquisition of a massive ship with luxurious amenities and improved safety features.
Fast sightseeing boat handed over to Hurtigruten Svalbard
Marell Boats of Sweden has delivered a new high-speed tour boat to Norway-based Arctic tour company Hurtigruten Svalbard.
Kvitbjørn (“Polar Bear”) is powered by a Volvo Penta hybrid-electric propulsion system that delivers a maximum speed of 30 knots, a cruising speed of 24 knots, and a range of 500 nautical miles. The propulsion is also capable of low-speed, silent cruising in electric-only mode.
The vessel arrived in Svalbard in April 2022 and has since embarked on its maiden commercial voyage from Longyearbyen. All operational trips will be three to four hours in duration.
North Carolina welcomes new Ocracoke Island ferry
US Watercraft has completed construction of Ocracoke Express, a new passenger ferry ordered by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
The 92-foot (28-metre), aluminium catamaran will be operated between Hatteras and Silver Lake Harbor. The main deck cabin has 96 passenger seats while another 26 passengers can be accommodate on the upper deck.
Other features include wheelchair tie-downs, 16 bicycle racks, and a concession area.
US Watercraft took over construction of the ferry midway through the project after the original builder ceased operations.
Ocracoke Express‘ christening is set for Monday, May 16.
Viking takes delivery of 930-guest luxury liner
Viking Cruises has taken delivery of Viking Mars, a new luxury cruise ship built by Italy’s Fincantieri.
The Scandinavian-inspired vessel features 465 all-veranda staterooms that can accommodate a total of 930 passengers. Other facilities include an infinity pool at the stern, numerous al fresco restaurants, a spa, and a sauna.
Viking Mars was built in compliance to Safe Return to Port requirements.
French inland tour operator adds two hybrid boats to fleet
Spanish boatbuilder Aister has delivered two new hybrid boats to the Department of Charente in south-western France.
The aluminium vessels will be operated in the Charente River within the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. Each measures 20 metres long and has capacity for 69 passengers plus two bicycles.
The boats can reach maximum speeds of 10 knots on diesel power and six knots on electric power. Sailings can last up to five hours when operating in electric mode.
The vessels are notable for their appearance, which Aister said was inspired by the historic barges that were used to transport liquor in those same waters.
New catamaran tour boat to serve Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park
A Washington State boat builder has handed over a new aluminium catamaran vessel to Alaska tour operator Major Marine Tours.
Designed by New Zealand-based naval architects Teknicraft, Skana is a hydrofoil-assisted catamaran capable of transporting 150 passengers on sightseeing excursions around Kenai Fjords National Park. Power for the vessel is provided by four Scania DI16 082 engines driving Hamilton HM422 waterjets.
Skana is a sister vessel of Spirit of Matushka, which was delivered in the spring of 2021
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