One of the main reasons some people don’t book cruises is seasickness.
But if a new ship called the “X-Bow” delivers on its promises, that could be a problem of the past.
Ulstein, a Norway-based shipbuilding company, designed the vessel to make the experience at sea easier for people who usually get queasy, while ensuring the overall cruising experience is smoother for everyone on board.
Unlike a traditional ship, which moves up and down as it travels through waves, the X-Bow “pierces” the surf and disperses its energy to the sides of the boat. That means there’s less of a rocking motion, which in turn reduces motion sickness.
It also eliminates the “slam” one feels after hitting a particularly strong wave and thus makes for a smoother, more consistent ride.
The first X-Bow ship to make its appearance on the consumer market is the Greg Mortimer by Aurora Expeditions, which specializes in cruises to Antarctica. Named after one of the first Australians to climb Mount Everest, it leaves from Ushaia, Argentina, on October 31.
While some travelers can get ill simply by stepping on board a boat, the Drake Passage — which is about halfway between South America and Antarctica — is known for being an especially treacherous crossing even for the most seasoned sailors.
That was why Victoria Primrose, head of global marketing, and her team at Aurora were eager to give the new ship a try.
“What we’ve lost is that big Leonardo DiCaprio moment at the front of the ship,” Primrose says to CNN Travel, referring to its unique design. But if the gain is a lot of people scared off of cruising signing up for these new ships in droves, it’s a pretty good trade.”
The different design of the X-Bow also required a rethink of the ship’s interiors as well.
“Because we lost the fore deck we built in what we call ‘winglets’ at the side and on the front so passengers can have exterior views,” Primrose explains. “But then when the ship is stationary we have hydraulic platforms that pock out from the sides and go flat.”
The Greg Mortimer’s maiden voyage is a 12-day itinerary, though Aurora does offer longer itineraries where guests can also visit the Falkland Islands.
Antarctica has strict rules about keeping group sizes small, so the Greg Mortimer only has 122 beds — enough for 100 passengers, the maximum daily limit, and the rest are crew. There is only one restaurant, and crew and passengers dine together, creating a feeling of intimacy on board.