Russia Wants to Develop its Own Fleet of Arctic Cruise Liners

The Russian Arctic ports of Murmansk and Barentsburg could become vital ports for a new series of Russian medium-sized luxury ships aimed for grabbing a share of the booming Arctic expedition tourist market, PortNews reports.

“The expedition cruises, including the Arctic, will become a trend. And we have already seen that this segment shows faster growth than the rest of the cruise market, the tickets are commonly sold out six months ahead of the cruise departures,” said Alexey Rakhmanov, President of United Shipbuilding Corporation, Russia’s largest state-own shipbuilding company.

Rakhmanov was speaking at an Expert Council meeting under the State Duma Committee on Shipbuilding Industry and Marine Engineering.

“The Arctic expedition cruises are promising and significant for our country. I am sure that there will be customers for building vessels for such cruise,” he added.

United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) has now revealed three different designs for ice-classed cruise ships, named Almaz, Vimpler and Iceberg. The projects are currently in an initial phase.

Like several of the new-buildings sailing towards the Arctic in the years ahead, also USC’s ships target the well-paying luxury market with various on-board activities and a fleet of smaller crafts and helicopter for shore landings. Unlike the others, however, the Russian ships will have casinos in hope for boosting the return of investment, according to RT.

With up to 350 passengers, the ships are in the upper-end of expedition cruise ships, but still medium-sized compared with the larger cruise ships sailing north to Svalbard with thousands of passengers. Estimated building costs are up to $300 million each ship.