The Birth of Hondius: a Story in Pictures

by Oceanwide Expeditions Blog

As of the summer of 2019, our new polar vessel, m/v Hondius, will be cruising the crystalline waters of the polar regions, delivering dozens of wildlife-loving and adventure-seeking passengers to the most iconic locations in the Arctic and Antarctica. Until then, however, this advanced new vessel-to-be is little more than an assortment of steel plates and inscrutable machinery scattered around a cavernous Croatian shipyard.

Barco: El Hondius

The founding formations of a polar vessel

As of the summer of 2019, our new polar vessel, m/v Hondius, will be cruising the crystalline waters of the polar regions, delivering dozens of wildlife-loving and adventure-seeking passengers to the most iconic locations in the Arctic and Antarctica.

Until then, however, this advanced new vessel-to-be is little more than an assortment of steel plates and inscrutable machinery scattered around a cavernous Croatian shipyard. In fact, at this point it would be hard to imagine a functioning ship emerging out of all that mess, much less one of the world’s first Polar Class 6 cruise vessels.

But very soon it will, and if you look hard enough at the following pictures – which represent the first three months of Hondius’s development – you can almost see the completed ship peeking out at you, promising a future filled with some of the most unforgettable experiences to be found.

November: cutting and assembling section blocks

One of the basic units of a ship is its section blocks, comprising the vessel’s essential framework. Before these blocks are assembled, the ship is little more than engineering sketches on a drafting table – which don’t float nearly as well through pack ice.

December: laying the keel and start-day celebrations

The laying of the keel is considered the first official day of a ship’s construction and is usually marked by a celebration, much like a birthday. For Hondius, this event was December 11. So mark your calendars, RSVP before Halloween, and remember: Everyone loves cake.  

January: arrival of the main engines, generators, and pumps

The two engines arrived in late January, along with the generators and pumps. These twin diesel units make up the beating heart of Hondius, delivering a combined 4,100 kw of propulsion power, enabling the ship to reach speeds up to 15 knots, and generally keeping the whole show on the road. Because tow trucks are scarce in the polar regions.

February: remaining machinery, blocks, and future launch

The rest of the machinery (propeller, shafting, gearbox, boiler, and hotel/restaurant/galley equipment) will be delivered in February. Section blocks will continue to be outfitted, painted, and assembled until the safety launch, which will occur between May and June, 2018. If you want to see more of the vessel that will set the new standard in polar expeditions, check out the ship brochure, deck plan, and other details at our dedicated Hondius page.

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