Dutch-built for the ‘high-end’ expedition cruise market, <i>Silver Origin</i> (credit: Silversea Cruises).Dutch-built for the ‘high-end’ expedition cruise market, Silver Origin (credit: Silversea Cruises).

Tailored in design and engineering to provide luxury cruising in the Galapagos Islands, the 110-metre Silver Origin was delivered on 3 June by Shipyard De Hoop, writes David Tinsley.

The project represents a further stage in Dutch shipbuilding’s return to cruiseship construction, whereby De Hoop’s handover of a similar vessel in 2019 came 46 years after the industry’s previous seagoing cruise vessel completion.

The diesel-electric Silver Origin blends the requisite agility, seakeeping and self-reliance for archipelago navigation and exploration with the onboard standards demanded by the ‘high-end’ passenger market. Conformity to heightened environmental expectations extends beyond the new raft of international requirements to the Galapagos National Park Directorate Regulations, whereby specific low-impact features have been applied.

Built in accordance with the latest probabilistic damage stability edicts, the vessel incorporates 51 all-suite cabins laid out over two decks, accommodating a maximum 102 passengers, supported by a crew complement of 87.

The power supply for the twin propellers, two bow thrusters and other consumers derives from four Caterpillar C32 diesel generator sets of 994kW each. The engines are equipped with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology, meeting IMO Tier III criteria regarding NOx emissions. Propulsive effect is achieved by the pair of azimuthing, rudder propellers supplied by the Finnish company Steerprop, individually rated for 1,450kW. Each of the Veth tunnel thrusters in the bow has an output of 400kW.

The configuration provides for both a 12-knot cruising speed and the manoeuvring and position holding qualities demanded of an expedition-type cruise vessel. As it is anticipated that Silver Origin will be stationary in bays or off islands for 66% of her operational time, much thought went into the design and selection of equipment, so as to allow the ship to perform efficiently under dynamic positioning (DP).

Combined with a zero-speed stabiliser system, the DP arrangements choose a heading to minimise heave and roll motions in the interests of passenger comfort and crew habitability. In accordance with the objective of a high redundancy factor, and so as to meet specific Lloyd’s Register class requirements, the power and propulsion plant is duplicated and housed in two separate engine rooms.

The nature of the power and propulsion system in conjunction with the hull configuration is claimed to result in a 15% improvement in fuel efficiency relative to a more conventional design, abetted by a 25% reduction in hull resistance. The flared bow and integrated bulb contribute to lessened resistance in waves during transits and to energy saving when staying in position offshore.

The process of minimising noise and vibrations has seen the adoption of flexible mounts for machinery and equipment, floating floors, and anti-vibration panels in walls and ceilings. Practical implementation was backed by theoretical frequency analysis of the ship and interiors, and has led to Comfort Class 1 being included in the array of notations.

De Hoop delivered the 5,700gt Celebrity Flora in 2019 for deployment in the Galapagos under Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Cruises brand. An order for a second ship, Silver Origin, was assigned to Silversea Cruises when Royal Caribbean became the majority (67%) shareholder in the company. Silversea plans to introduce its new ship into the cruise schedule on August 22.


Length overall


Length bp


Breadth, moulded


Depth, to main deck


Draught, design


Passenger capacity


Propulsion system


Main generator engines

4 x 994kW

Rudder propellers

2 x 1,450kW

Bow thrusters

2 x 400kW

Speed, maximum


Speed, cruise




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