Manager of passenger ships across the globe, SunStone Ships specialises in commercial and representative management of expedition cruise ships in remote locations.
SunStone Ships was formed after splitting from International Shipping Partners (ISP) in 2012, taking over the commercial management of passenger ships; today, it is representative and commercial manager for ten passenger ships. Nine of these vessels are in the expedition cruise market - passenger ships with capacities of between 60 and 250 passengers, operating in remote areas of the world.
SunStone represents the investors in these vessels, and is responsible for all the buying, selling and chartering of the fleet. The company handles the commercial management of any passenger vessel, but specialises in the expedition cruise market, being a niche in which few management companies operate. With a fleet of ten vessels in this market, SunStone is the largest tonnage provider to the travel industry within the expedition market.
The nine vessels operate in remote areas of the world such as the Antarctic, Arctic Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Spitzbergen and Franz Josef Land, and in warm-water areas such as South America, South Pacific, Micronesia and Polynesia.
SunStone has a close working relationship with Cruise Management International (CMI), one of the leading passenger-ship managers in the world, which has the technical management of most of the SunStone fleet. The company also works with CMI Leisure (previously ISP Leisure), a hotel management company in Miami, Florida, responsible for hotel operations on several vessels in the SunStone fleet. CMI and CMI Leisure each have more than 25 years' history and expertise in the passenger-ship management industry.
In addition to acquiring secondhand vessels on behalf of investors, SunStone has been developing a new-building programme for the past several years. This is a 150-200-passenger expedition cruise vessel with an ice class of 1A, meeting all the new SOLAS regulations - including safe return to port - and incorporating a number of new features. Between 35 and 40 expedition vessels exist in this segment worldwide, and the average age is in excess of 25 years, so new builds are seriously needed for this niche.
Several of the SunStone vessels went through major upgrades in 2016, including Ocean Diamond, on which one of the cabin decks was completely renovated, and Sea Spirit, on which the restaurant and main lounge were upgraded. In 2017, all cabins on Sea Spirit will undergo complete renovation, while Sea Adventurer will be re-engined with new main and auxiliary engines, propellers, automation systems, and so on.
Recent commercial transactions for SunStone have included the extension of the charter of Ocean Endeavour to Quark Expedition and a new long-term contract for Sea Adventurer with the same company. Saint Laurent has been renamed Victory I and is on a long-term charter to Victory Cruise Lines.
Ocean Atlantic is available for charter and it is the intention that during early 2017, the vessel will be completely upgraded and renovated into an expedition cruise vessel. Sea Discoverer, the sister ship to Victory I, is also available for sale or charter.
Detailed information about the SunStone fleet, the vessels available for sale or charter and the company's new-building programme is available on its website.