(1:30 p.m. EDT) -- Popular river cruise operator Vantage Cruise Line has revealed plans to expand on its oceangoing offerings, with two new luxury expedition ships that will sail global itineraries.
The company -- part of Vantage Deluxe World Travel, also known for its land tours and small-group cruises in Croatia and Greece -- will take delivery of 170-passenger Ocean Explorer in March 2021. A sister ship, Ocean Odyssey, is slated to launch in 2022.
In its inaugural year, Ocean Explorer will navigate worldwide with 20 itineraries beginning in Asia. It will then sail through Europe and across the Atlantic to North America, before heading down to Central and South America and eventually ending in Antarctica.
Ocean Explorer will feature a patented X-BOW design by Ulstein Design & Solutions, allowing for smoother sailing in rough conditions and deeper exploration into packed ice. The ship is being constructed in China by a company named SunStone, which also has built ships for Australia-based Aurora Expeditions.
"We are thrilled to add this new small ship ocean cruising vessel to our fleet, and to surround our Vantage travelers in ultimate luxury as they explore their dream destinations," said Vantage's founder and owner, Henry R. Lewis. "The Ocean Explorer will be a ship that caters to those who appreciate relaxed casual luxury, but who also enjoy the thrill of exploration and adventure."
Ocean Explorer will have 77 cabins and, in keeping with Vantage's focus on solo passengers, it will feature 15 cabins for single occupancy. Multiple stateroom and suite choices will also be available, including private walk-out balconies and 'TriLuxe' adjoining suites suitable for families and groups.
Vantage says Ocean Explorer will provide a multi-level observation lounge, launching platforms for expedition landing craft, fine dining, spa amenities, a pool, movie screen, nightly lectures, entertainment, an onboard concierge and adventurous guided excursions, such as wildlife viewing, biking, kayaking, and paddle boarding.
Technical features will include state-of-the-art safety technology and an eco-friendly design to reduce emissions into the air and sea, combined with low energy consumption.