True North Enters Service

Thursday, March 17, 2005
Latest Austal Cruise Yacht for adventure tourism market Following successful sea trials, Austal’s latest cruise yacht, the 36 passenger “True North” has been handed over to its owner and operator, North Star Cruises Australia. Several high-profile promotional events for local media were held whilst the vessel was in Fremantle, including a visit from rock music legend, Sting. North Star Cruises Australia Director, Craig Howson commented “True North appears to have captured the imagination of the luxury adventure cruise market. We are thrilled with the early response of both passengers and industry alike. We are particularly thrilled with the current level of enquiry and everyone at North Star is looking forward to a very successful year”. The winner of multiple tourism awards, North Star Cruises Australia is the longest established charter cruise operator originally covering the vast wilderness of the far north of Western Australia. The arrival of this new vessel, with increased range and facilities, will now see the schedule expanded with a 7-night, 8-day cruise in the waters of Papua New Guinea and an “Over the Top” cruise linking Darwin and Cairns / Great Barrier Reef to the legendary diving and adventure-tourism cruises provided in the Kimberley and Rowley Shoals. “This repeat order is testimony to Austal’s ability to develop custom design solutions within budget guidelines and always deliver a high quality, reliable product that is able to attract discerning passengers for the operator” said Austal Sales Manager, Mark Stothard. With seven similar deliveries to its credit Austal is the established leader in adventure-tourism and live-aboard diving vessels for private and commercial owners. All of this experience and expertise has been utilised in the creation of “True North” which is replacing the 34-metre vessel of the same name delivered by Austal in 1999. So successful was that 30 passenger vessel in achieving excellent sales in the luxury cruise sector, it prompted its owners to make the new “True North” larger and even more luxurious to meet customer demand. Features onboard which reflect this focus include; All passenger accommodation staterooms and cabins have en-suites. 10 out of the 18 double staterooms and cabins have king size beds, seven have standard size single beds and only one cabin has bunks. All stateroom and cabins have slimline LCD television screens and DVD players with connection inputs for passenger digital cameras. 12 staterooms and cabins have full size windows. All staterooms and passenger cabins have telephones with a capability to phone anywhere in the world whilst at sea as well as alongside. This telephone system is fully computerised with a hotel style passenger billing system. On the main deck there is a dedicated passenger dining room with seating for 40 passengers, together with a galley that is comprehensively equipped to efficiently provide five-star, fully plated meals for the entire passenger complement in a single sitting. The main lounge, located on the upper deck can comfortably seat 50 people and is served by a fully equipped bar. The lounge is complete with twin 46-inch plasma screens, full audio/visual facilities and also features a passenger Internet station. A forward observation lounge provides a more subdued area for relaxation. The upper deck aft alfresco area is larger than on the previous vessel and is served by the bar adjoining the internal lounge bar. This area has its own audio system and connects with the internal main lounge by way of a four-leaf concertina glass door, thus providing a number of lounge/bar configuration options. The walk in cool room, freezer and store is more than double the size of the previous vessel and includes both cool room wine cellaring and ambient temperature wine cellaring. Reflecting Austal’s experience in designing and building this type of vessel these areas were specifically located to provide a sound buffer between the engine room and lower passenger accommodation. As a result, noise levels throughout “True North” are significantly lower than those on the previous vessel. Because the new vessel will operate on a 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week basis for 11 months of the year, improved accommodation and other facilities have been provided for the 18 crew. This includes much larger cabins, more spacious toilet / bathroom facilities and a laundry that is five times the size of the previous vessel and which is fully insulated and air conditioned. External features include a helicopter-landing pad capable of taking a Bell 407. The heli-deck has a full perimeter fold down handrail system that allows the helicopter to operate from a clean deck as well as providing a very large safe area for guests when the helicopter is not operating. “True North” carries a fleet of six tenders used primarily for passenger excursions. The tenders are launched using two dedicated hydraulic deck cranes, notably the starboard side crane is equipped with its own emergency power system to allow the launching of one of the tenders as a rescue boat. Top deck external walkways, upper deck alfresco area external stairways and the swim platform are laid with marine decking in keeping with the luxurious finish of the vessel. At 50 metres in length, “True North” has been skilfully designed to accommodate all of the above facilities and improvements giving passengers “big boat” atmosphere and ride comfort whilst retaining the ability to explore the highly regarded secluded, difficult to access locations that have helped establish the North Star Cruises Australia experience as one of the world’s most sought after cruising experiences.
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