Norwegian company Vard, a global designer and shipbuilder of specialized vessels, has secured a contract for the design and construction of one luxury polar expedition cruise vessel for French cruise company Ponant. The contract value is approximately NOK 2.7 billion (approx. USD 323 million). Aker Arctic and Stirling Design International will also collaborate on the development of this unique icebreaker.
The vessel is specially designed to take passengers to polar destinations such as the true geographic North Pole (90 degrees North Latitude), the Weddell Sea, the Ross Sea and Peter I Island. The Polar Class 2 icebreaker will fulfil the highest standards for environmentally friendly and safe operations. It is the very first electric hybrid cruise icebreaker with dual-fuel propulsion, featuring high-capacity batteries and LNG storage on board. It will also be equipped with two helicopters in in-house hangars.
The Ponant icebreaker will be approximately 30,000 gross tons, about 150 meters long, 28 meters wide, and will have a cruise speed of 15 knots in open water. The vessel can accommodate 270 passengers in 135 staterooms, in addition to a crew of 180 persons.
Mr. Roy Reite, CEO and Executive Director of Vard, commented: “This is a really exciting project for us, and we look forward to building the Ponant icebreaker for polar expedition voyages. Vard has a deep experience in icebreaking technology; over generations we have built several highly advanced vessels developed for operations in polar areas.”
The hull will be built at Vard Tulcea in Romania. Delivery is scheduled from Vard Søviknes in Norway, in 2Q 2021.
Ponant, a subsidiary of Artemis Group and headquartered in Marseille, France, has established itself as the reference for a new style of luxury cruises with its unique concept of sea travel, combining exceptional itineraries and five-star facilities aboard small capacity ships. It is the only French-flag cruise line.