In Travel

The Mega Yacht Steering Us Towards Sustainable Cruising

Cruising and sustainability are two words not often associated with each other. As ships get larger, so too does their carbon footprint. But, if an upcoming ship from SeaDream Yacht Club is any indication, we could be at the dawn of a new era of sustainable cruising.

Launching in September 2021, the new SeaDream Innovation will be a 500-foot mega-yacht equipped with state-of-the-art energy-saving technology including batteries that will allow the ship to cruise silently through wildlife spotting areas for up to three hours.

When the mega yacht embarks on its inaugural voyage, an epic 70-day journey from London to Ushuaia in Argentina, it will become the third ship from the Norwegian small ship cruise operator – and cruise fans are already salivating at the features.

Pontoons for diving off the ship, a private seaplane, and outdoor beds where you can dream under the stars; the ship is poised to bring a new level of luxury, service and sustainability to the expedition cruise world. Plus, a visit to our southern waters could be on the cards.

Based out of Oslo, SeaDream Yacht Club is proof big things do come in small packages.

With just two ships in the current fleet, the SeaDream I and II, the experience is often described as sailing aboard your own private yacht. Five-star service, all-inclusive dining and drinks, and a go-with-the-flow attitude are all part of the signature experience.

Though their mantra ‘No clocks, no crowds, no lines, no stress’ could easily be dismissed as marketing hyperbole, all signs suggest it’s actually pretty accurate. SeaDream were named among the world’s top five small ship cruise lines by Conde Nast Traveler in 2018.

Despite the international attention, SeaDream are not yet a household name in Australia… but that could all change with the launch of Innovation and arrival of ‘global yachting’.

Though SeaDream I and II currently chase the sun, alternating their time between the sun-kissed Mediterranean and the azure waters of the Caribbean, SeaDream will be venturing to new destinations such as the Arctic, Antarctic and even Australia.

A passion project for Norwegian entrepreneur and owner Atle Brynestad, ‘global yachting’ is about transferring the feeling and intimacy of yachting to regions it wouldn’t normally visit.

After founding and serving as Chairman for five-star cruise line Seabourn for over a decade, Brynestad launched SeaDream Yacht Club back in 2001 with a lofty goal of combining the luxury and refinement of small ship cruising with the feeling of your own private yacht.

With the Innovation, he’s aiming to expand that brief into the expedition cruise world.

“SeaDream Innovation has been a dream of mine for many years,” Brynestad says. “This project has been driven by passion and desire to sharing my vision of luxury cruising with travellers worldwide.”

“I think the ability to visit very different regions, whether a tropical destination or the polar regions, all while in the comfort of a luxury mega-yacht, is a very exciting prospect.

Though the 220-passenger Innovation will be almost double the capacity of the current SeaDream I and II, Brynestad says it will still offer the same signature onboard experience.

“Our guests will be introduced to the new benchmark for luxury travel. More importantly, it means leading the way in sustainable travel. We are proud to have designed a yacht of the future that is the most sustainable ship being built today that will sail to all seven continents.”

Under construction in Romania, the purpose-built vessel will be equipped eco-friendly features such as a hybrid propulsion with an approx. 4MWh battery system. In addition to silent cruising, the battery will also act as a “spinning reserve” for the system, helping to decrease fuel consumption of the diesel generators via “peak shaving” capability.

An extensive waste heat recovery system will power air-conditioning, pool and freshwater systems, as well as aid in electricity generation via an innovative Organic Rankine Cycle system generating up to 150kW of electricity for the yacht’s network.

Other ship highlights include an open-air restaurant spanning three decks, three marinas that can be operated simultaneously, a seaplane, helicopter, and an onboard marine laboratory where guests can delve further to each of the regions visited.

Jannicke Daae Rognstad, Vice President for SeaDream Yacht Club, says while larger ships can feel a bit like an amusement park at times, SeaDream is all about freedom and choice.

“We want it to feel like it’s your own ship,” Rognstad says. “We’re not telling you what’s luxury is for you, you are telling us. I think that’s the big difference.”

SeaDream Innovation

Innovation’s home port will be Longyearbyen in Norway – gateway to the icy wilderness of Svalbard Archipelago. After spending time among the ice floes and islands of the frozen north, the ship will then set off to explore other destinations.

“As a Norwegian ship in the Svalbard archipelago, we believe we can offer an experience guests won’t find anywhere else. The itineraries, the way they’re structured, and even being able to jump in the sea in the Arctic in a safe environment, it’s going to be absolutely incredible.”

A nod to the Norwegian love of sitting outdoors in any weather, guests will be able to sit outside under a heated ceiling with a glass of champagne to witness polar bears from the ship. Or, they can climb into zodiacs to get a closer look.

Though SeaDream Innovation’s launch is a while off, it could be a sign of things to come.

(All images: SeaDream / supplied) 

Published 24 October, 2019