Will this new ship design make seasickness a thing of the past?

Oct 31, 2019

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Here’s some good news for anyone who’s ever experienced the grips of seasickness on a cruise (I’m looking at you Bermuda and transatlantic itineraries!): Norwegian shipbuilder Ulstein says its new X-BOW design can make a big difference when sailing in rough waters.

That’s because the design of the X-BOW promises to “[split] the wave energy and [reduce] the slamming impact.”

Related: What to do if your cruise hits rough seas

While any cruiser wishes for smooth sailing, this is especially true for travelers on an expedition cruise. Ulstein hopes its new design could be a game changer for voyages that transit through rough channels, such as the infamous Drake Passage between South America’s Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica.

According to CNN, Aurora Expeditions is the first cruise line to embrace the X-BOW. Its ship, the Greg Mortimer, embarks on its first voyage on Thursday, Oct. 31 from Ushuaia, Argentina. The ship will transit the Drake Passage, and we’ll be eagerly waiting to hear if passengers agree the notoriously turbulent ride is indeed more stable.

Related: Tips for visiting Antarctica before it’s too late

What’s different about the X-BOW ship design? The hull curves backward, leaving more volume at the front of the ship. This means the bow can more easily “slice” through waves, making the ride smoother. Ulstein also claims the design is more energy efficient. Since less fuel is expended to move through the water, the design actually minimizes emissions.

Ulstein’s X-BOW technology isn’t new. In fact, it launched the design in 2005 but, until now, it’s only been used by ships with industrial purposes. For example, one such ship sails the Arctic’s Barents Sea year-round. So, we’ll be following Aurora’s new Greg Mortimer to find out just how different it is to sail on an X-BOW vessel.

If shipbuilder Ulstein has its way, you’ll be seeing more of its ships at a cruise terminal near you in the future.

Feature image courtesy of Aurora Expeditions.

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