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Fred. Olsen Cruises

Fred. Olsen jumps on explorer bandwagon

The Norwegian-owned, UK-based cruise firm reveals plans to build new exploration ships.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has revealed a plan to build a series of exploration vessels, joining other lines and startups eager to meet the growing demand for more versatile and more adventurous voyages.

The first of the new ships could be delivered to the Norwegian-owned, UK-based line within the next couple of years, its chairman hopes.

Fred Olsen Junior, chairman of the company and the sixth generation in the Norwegian family that runs it, confirmed to TTG that the line was currently developing a design for a 600-passenger vessel.

“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”.

The company will use the upcoming Seatrade 2018 conference in Fort Lauderdale to speak with shipbuilders, he said.

“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.”

The company, originally founded in Hvitsten in 1848 and which currently operates four cruise ships built between 1972 and 1993, was searching for another ship last year but failed to find one.

Inflatables on the fjords
Olsen was speaking during a media launch for its 2019-20 Worldwide program, which emphasised the line’s intention to offer more exploration-type cruising, introducing excursions on Rigid Inflatable Boats in destinations such as the Norwegian fjords and the Canary Islands.

Two fibreglass bottomed boats capable of carrying 12 passengers will be installed on the ship Boudicca during a dry dock in Hamburg next month with more to follow across the fleet in the near future.

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