Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has revealed its intention to build a series of "exploration" vessels – the first of which its chairman hopes could be delivered within “the next couple of years”.
Fred Olsen Junior said the line was currently developing a design for a 600-passenger ship, confirming to TTG that he saw the vessel as the first in a new class with further ships to follow.
“We have to commit more than just one ship – there’s no point building just one, that’s a waste of time. So you need a series,” he said, adding: “We are focused on it, we are working on it”.
Olsen Jnr said the line would look to use the upcoming Seatrade 2018 conference in Fort Lauderdale to speak with shipbuilders.
“If this works [exploration-style cruising] is definitely a good home for us as we also know that if we want to be in the business we need to renew the fleet and find the right marketplace for it," he said.
“The shipyards are quite full at the moment but we are working on a specification for a ship. It’s the timing issue of getting the right slot for the right price.”
Olsen Jnr said the line had looked to acquire another ship last year but had not found a suitable vessel.
He was speaking during a media launch for its 2019-20 Worldwide programme which, emphasising the line’s intention to offer more exploration-type cruising, introduces excursions on Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) in destinations such as the Norwegian fjords and Canary Islands.
Two fibreglass bottomed boats, capable of carrying 12 passengers, will be installed onboard Boudicca during the ship‘s dry dock in Hamburg next month with two more to follow on Black Watch with a view to introducing more across the fleet in the near future.