HomeAll Cruise LinesA Steel Cutting and Keel Laying For Expedition Ships March 18, 2018This weekend saw the keel laying of the new Lindblad ship and the steel cutting for SunStone’s new ship.At an event in CRIST shipyard in Gdynia, Poland, the yard placed the bottom block of what will become the National Geographic Endurance. This will their first blue water newbuild being handled by Norway’s Ulstein Group. The yard in Poland is probably doing the assembly of the large blocks and then she can be towed to Ulsteinvik for fitting out. I’ll keep an eye on this as they haven’t announced the full newbuilding program yet. Lindblad also released this new render.Meanwhile in China, the steel cutting ceremony was held for SunStones new expedition ship. The event was held at China Merchants Heavy Industry yard in Haimen, China.SunStone will own it and charter it out to Aurora Expeditions. She’ll be named Greg Mortimer. China has very little experience building cruise ships so this newbuild will be closely watched.Like the Lindblad ship, the Greg Mortimer is also an Ulstein design and features their patented X-Bow. Ulstein actually have six different ship types already designed ranging from 318ft and 120 pax to 606ft and 800 pax. These “kit ships” can be quite practical for owners looking to break into newbuilds but don’t want to spend on the R&D.The National Geographic Endurance will be a CX104 design and the Greg Mortimer will be a CX103 design.