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Vard to Build Another for Coral Expeditions

Photo courtesy of Fincantieri

Posted by Michelle Howard

Fincantieri's subsidiary Vard Holdings Limited (Vard), one of the major global designers and shipbuilders of specialized vessels, signed a contract with the Australian cruise operator Coral Expeditions for the design and construction of a second expedition cruise vessel.

The unit will be named "Coral Geographer", sister ship of "Coral Adventurer" which entered the owner's fleet last April.

As for the first vessel of the class, "Coral Geographer" will be 93.4 meters long, will have a guest accommodation capacity of 120, and will be developed by Vard Design in Norway in close cooperation with the client. The vessel will be built according to the highest standards in terms of comfort and customer care.

Coral Adventurer and Coral Geographer have been tailored to meet growing demand for Coral Expeditions' expedition product in the Australian cruise market. With a focus on intimacy, high quality and the optimal passenger experience, the vessels will allow its passengers to get closer to exotic regional locations in style, comfort and safety. Featuring advanced expedition tender capabilities and accommodation across four decks - ranging from Bridge Deck Balcony Suites, Bridge Deck and Explorer Deck Balcony Staterooms, to Coral Deck Staterooms - the ships environment is both comfortable and functional, allowing for relaxation, socializing, and daily shore expeditions.

Coral Geographer will be delivered in Q4 2020, and is already well advanced in production at Vard Vung Tau shipyard in Vietnam. Following market feedback, she will feature an increased proportion of Bridge Deck Balcony suites - up from two to six suites, each featuring a spacious horizon bath.

Full-service build

VARD CEO and Executive Director Roy Reite is delighted with the outcome of the project, the first ever expedition cruise vessel built entirely at Vard Vung Tau, especially given that its success has led to further collaboration with a valued customer.

"This is an attractive, high quality and effective expedition cruise vessel for a greatly respected regional shipowner and operator," Reite comments. "Coral Expeditions is leading a strong Australian market by virtue of its commitment to delivering outstanding service and routes in first class vessels. Vard Vung Tau has, from the outset, worked to mirror those standards with a project that has seen the team, in association with the owner and our global network, complete every aspect of the build."

"As with the entire portfolio of offshore and specialized passenger vessels the yard has constructed over recent years, this ship was delivered on time, with complete customer satisfaction. That is demonstrated by the commitment from Coral Expeditions to build a new vessel here with the team. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank our staff for their dedication, and Coral Expeditions for its excellent collaboration."

Fulfilling ambition

Vard Vung Tau constructed the Coral Adventurer hull, while also carrying out all outfitting, installation, testing and finalizing. Vard Accommodation delivered the interior. Alongside its own performance capabilities, the ship also boasts two 65 PAX capacity "Xplorer" aluminium tender boats and six heavy duty inflatable boats for special discovery trips. The 1271 dwt ship is designed by Vard Design in Norway with a high focus on environmentally friendly solutions. Alongside its passenger accommodation it offers cabins for up to 42 crew members.

Paul Chacko, Executive Director, Coral Expeditions, comments: "Coral Adventurer replicated the proven layout, look and feel, and expedition tender capabilities of our other three ships but added new amenities such as a passenger elevator, gym and an open galley to enhance the guest experience. The ship features Australian-designed interiors with natural stone and timber. Coral Geographer will continue that style and further build out our bluewater fleet. Our company has been operating expedition cruises for 34 years and we were clear about what we wanted. It was important to choose a shipyard that understood our high ambitions and had the capability, expertise and infrastructure to help us realize them."
Mark Fifield, Group General Manager, says: "We were part of the shipbuilding team from day one, from concept design, to building the ship and getting her ready to sail. Together, we have had a steady course, and we are proud to be sailing this amazing vessel. We thank the VARD team for their professionalism in delivering Coral Adventurer on time and to specification. We look forward to continuing collaboration on Coral Geographer".

Jun 5, 2019


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