The Netherlands-based Oceanwide Expeditions has commissioned the construction of a new polar cruise vessel, Hondius, in order to meet growing tourism demand in the Polar regions.

Hondius is currently being built by Brodosplit in Croatia, and is expected to enter service by 2019.

The 350ft-long, 58ft-wide ship will feature two main engines, as well as cabins and suites accommodating up to 180 passengers.

Hondius will also include two separate gangways and an indoor platform that can be used for outdoor activities,  such as kayaking.

One of its decks will feature an observation lounge with a separate lecture room in order to facilitate lectures and presentations.

Oceanwide Expeditions CEO Michel van Gessel said: “We currently sail with our ice-strengthened 116-passenger vessels Plancius and Ortelius, and the Hondius will give us the opportunity to accommodate more travellers, to grow as a company, and to offer new, innovative products in the Polar regions.

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"Hondius will give us the opportunity to accommodate more travellers, to grow as a company, and to offer new, innovative products in the Polar regions."

“The name Hondius follows our custom to name our ships for celebrated Dutch-Flemish cartographers who continue to inspire us as we carry on their passion for exploration and discovery.”

The company noted that Hondius will comply with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) requirements, in particular concerning the safety of life at sea (SOLAS) and prevention of pollution from ships (MARPOL) for passenger vessels.

In addition, existing requirements and restrictions in the Polar regions will be followed while building the vessel. 

Formed in 1996, Oceanwide Expeditions currently owns and manages four polar expedition cruises to the Arctic and Antarctica.

Image: Oceanwide's new advanced Polar vessel Hondius. Photo: courtesy of Oceanwide Expeditions.