Oceanwide Expeditions reports that it has officially begun construction on the new Hondius cruise ship.
A keel-laying ceremony involving the principal engineers and owners typically accompanies this event, which in the earlier days of shipbuilding involved the laying of the central timber (keel) of the vessel. The distances of all parties involved in the Hondius build, however, made the full extent of this ritual impractical, Oceanwide said.
Even so, a partial ceremony was held that featured local Croatian dancers and a formal announcement of construction. Preceding the task of keel laying was the assembly of section blocks and welding of the rudder horn, stern block, and stern tube, through which the shaft runs that will power the propeller – and the 176 passengers Hondius will hold – into a number of polar adventures.
The Hondius is a new polar cruise ship from Oceanwide Expeditions that is slated to set sail in 2019. Designed specifically to support and serve Oceanwide’s exploratory and land-based excursions, the new ship will be rated Polar Class 6, 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 will have an observation lounge with a separate lecture room.