Tourists explore the oceans on everything from fishing boats to luxury liners, but what if your next cruise was not on the seas but in them?
Aquatic tourism has a new watershed moment with the launch of the DeepView 24, a state-of-the-art submersible designed to ferry civilian passengers deep into the ocean blue without compromising on comfort.
The machine comes courtesy of Triton, a Florida-based submersible company that hit headlines last year for its recording-breaking submarine, counter-intuitively named Limiting Factor, which became the first vehicle to reach the deepest point of all five oceans.
The DeepView 24 has a very different goal – to corner the luxury sub-aquatic tourism market. With panoramic, tubular windows illuminated by LED lamps, passengers will silently descend more than 100 metres below sea level, in a 50-foot long, air-conditioned interior large enough to stand up in.
Tipping the scales at a hefty 55,000kg and rocking a 14 hour battery life, the sub is the first of several in the DeepView series, and passed a series of sea trials at a Triton facility in Barcelona in March.
The first completed model has already been delivered to Vinpearl Resorts in Vietnam, and was set to start ticketed dives beneath the seas surrounding Hon Tre Island in Nha Trang from December 2020. Given the coronavirus-related travel restrictions, this date may be pushed back into 2021.
The submarine is modular, and six seat sections can be added or removed to accommodate anywhere between six and 66 guests, while the large access hatch has been designed for use by passengers with limited mobility.
Interest in 'sub-sea tourism' has grown exponentially in recent years, thanks in part to hit nature programmes such as Blue Planet II, and the DeepView sub glides through its ocean home without issuing a single pollutant.
If you want to buy a submarine of your own, we're afraid there's a one-year waiting list. And a price tag of USD $7.7 million.