VARD secures contract for the design and construction of two luxury expedition cruise vessels for PONANT
VARD has announced the contracts for the design and construction of two luxury expedition cruise vessels for French cruise company PONANT.
VARD’s close working relationship with PONANT dates back to the contracts for the construction of a series of four luxury expedition cruise vessels confirmed in 2016. The vessels were designed for voyages to tropical destinations and remote ports only accessible to small capacity ships. The two new vessels will be identical to their four sister vessels.
The ice-class expedition cruise vessels are approximately 10,000 gross tons, about 131 metres long and 18 metres wide. Each vessel can accommodate 180 passengers in 92 staterooms and suites, with a spacious balcony each. The vessels will be arranged with high-class luxury facilities on board, fulfilling the highest demands for environmentally friendly and safe operations. All six PONANT EXPLORERS will be fitted with a “Blue Eye” multi-sensorial underwater lounge, a major innovation, that will allow passengers to discover and experience the underwater world via two portholes in the form of cetaceous eyes, looking out onto the sea bed.
The hulls will be built at Vard Tulcea in Romania. Delivery is scheduled from Vard Søviknes in Norway, in 1Q and 2Q 2020 respectively.
The first vessel in the series of six will be delivered in 2Q 2018, followed by the delivery of the next three vessels in the period from autumn 2018 to summer 2019, and the delivery of the newly contracted vessels in 2020. In addition, VARD will deliver the PONANT expedition cruise icebreaker in 2021, the very first electric hybrid cruise icebreaker powered by LNG and dual fuel propulsion.