Norwegian Coastal Voyage's newest ship -- the 12,700-ton, 272-passenger Fram -- moved a step closer to completion with its floating out. This major ceremony, in which the ship's dry dock becomes flooded to determine if the steel welding of its hull is clean and the vessel can actually float, is the most significant event in the building process. The ship is being built at Fincantieri's shipyard in Trieste, Italy.
Fram is slated for launch on May 19 in Oslo and will be christened by Crown Princess Mette Marit of Norway.
Fram, which gets its name from a legendary wooden ship used by Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen in the late 1800's on a three-year Greenland expedition, will be the 14th ship to join Norwegian Coastal Voyage's fleet. NCV's ships typically cruise the Norwegian fjords along with more exotic locales, ranging from Greenland to the Antarctic.
Fram's exterior was specifically designed to brave the Arctic cold, but interior amenities for this expedition-oriented vessel include a fitness room, sauna and two Jacuzzis. A restaurant, Internet cafe, two bars, conference rooms and a library filled with books on the polar region round out the public spaces.
Fram is expected to be delivered on April 20, 2007. The ship will be part of the fleet's Expedition Cruises program and will spend the summer sailing three different Greenland itineraries (through November), before undertaking a 66-night pole-to-pole cruise to Antarctica and South America. Once there, the ship will sail 13-night itineraries from Chile to Antarctica.