Vard Inks Deal for Expedition Cruise Ship Duo with Ponant

Norwegian shipbuilder Vard Holdings Limited has secured contracts for the design and construction of two luxury expedition cruise vessels for French cruise company Ponant.

The shipbuilder said that the hulls for the new vessels will be built at Vard Tulcea in Romania. Delivery is scheduled from Vard Søviknes in Norway in the first and second quarters of 2020, respectively.

Ponant’s new ships will be identical to their four sister vessels ordered from Vard in 2016. The series of four luxury expedition cruise ships was designed for voyages to tropical destinations and remote ports only accessible to small capacity ships.

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.

The first vessel in the series of six, all of which are to be fitted with a “Blue Eye” multi-sensorial underwater lounge, will be delivered in the second quarter of 2018. It will be 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.

“We deeply appreciate the strong collaboration we have established with the Ponant team, resulting in seven luxury expedition cruise vessels under construction for operations on the world’s seas,” Roy Reite, CEO and Executive Director of Vard, said.

Ponant currently operates a fleet of five vessels, by 2021, the fleet will consist of 12 luxury
expedition cruise vessels.