The X-BOW® experience

Published


The X-BOW® makes a huge difference in sea behaviour. The X-BOW® splits the wave energy and reduces the slamming impact. Successfully proven in more than 100 ships, the hull shape is about to become a game changer for expedition cruising.

The X-BOW® was introduced by the ship design company Ulstein in 2005, and has been developed to make sea operations safer, more comfortable and more enjoyable for everyone on board, regardless of where the vessel is heading. The first X-BOW vessels were offshore vessels, working in some of the world’s roughest waters.

'Greg Mortimer' in Antarctica, photo by Franz Wusits.
'Greg Mortimer' in Antarctica, photo by Franz Wusits.

Now, the first cruise players are integrating the X-BOW® design on expedition ships. Although cruise vessels generally do not seek out adverse conditions, there is not much to be done if the weather turns bad. Even cruise vessels must sometimes endure rough conditions on their way to isolated and unspoilt areas.

Such as the first expedition cruise vessel which, on her way from South Africa to Ushuaia in Argentina ran into a storm:

'In big seas I kept waiting for the slamming - it never came'
Captain, 'Greg Mortimer' expedition cruise vessel

A smooth ride

An X-BOW vessel is curved backwards with more volume in the fore ship. The bow slices the waves, to continue its smooth course. And because it uses less fuel to get through the waves, it also minimises emissions.

As the bow cuts through the waves instead of having the waves crushing at the hull, sea spray is reduced on deck. In safe conditions, the passengers can linger about on the observation decks, enjoying the surroundings, and taking photos with an excellent view down on the bow tip.

A safe ride

The X-BOW® has been tested in most weather conditions and in some of the harshest areas of the world. One of the X-BOW® vessels travelled the Northern Sea Route, the entire route lying in Arctic waters north of Russia. Another met a tropical hurricane and went straight through it, keeping speed up. A third is permanently positioned, year-round, in the Arctic waters of the Barents sea. The ship's main purpose is to give immediate assistance to offshore platforms in emergency situations. The crews on X-BOW® vessels report of less wave-induced head-on movements and no slamming.

"Less shaking, it also means less vibration, less noise and less splashing"
Arnkjell Brandal, first Master of 'Bourbon Orca'

Higher transit speed

The vessel can keep up speed while keeping up comfort. The passengers will experience shorter time spent in open sea and waves, with softer motions and reduced vibrations. This will increase their opportunities for getting the most of their time on-board, attending lectures and entertainment, filming and photographing, taking part in fitness activities, enjoy fine dining and all other activities on board the vessel.

The 'National Geographic Endurance' on sea trial in the fjords of Norway.
The 'National Geographic Endurance' on sea trial in the fjords of Norway.

Reduced environmental impact

When designing a ship or developing a product, we keep in mind their life cycle environmental impact. Any product will have an impact when being produced, when being in use, and when taken out of use. We take on the responsibility to deliver long-lasting ships that are more energy efficient and that can be powered by renewable energy sources or by low-carbon solutions. We constantly work to implement new environmental standards and safety regulations in new vessels to reduce the overall impact. The X-BOW® is an important part of reducing environmental footprint. The soft entry in waves means that the vessel needs less fuel, and thus produces less emissions.

We support the UN’s sustainable development goals to help protect the planet, and we report annually of our activities in the ten principles of the UN Global Compact.

Ready to go!

The first X-BOW® cruise vessel started to operate in 2019, and more are underway. Now, wouldn’t that be something?

Download our free e-book - Keys for successful exploration cruise developments

Tick this box if you want to sign up to our occasional newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Please contact us for more information

Lars Ståle Skoge, commercial director at Ulstein Design & Solutions AS
Lars Ståle Skoge

Commercial director

Tel: +47 915 81 226

lars.skoge@ulstein.com