Cruise firm orders ‘luxury icebreaker’

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Norwegian shipbuilder to build cruise ship for Ponant

As the trend for expedition cruises continues to develop, the French company Ponant has announced it has ordered a luxury ‘ice breaking’ cruise ship from the Norwegian shipbuilder Vard.

The LNG-powered newbuild will be 150 metres long with capacity for up to 270 passengers, Cruise Industry News reports, with a delivery date of 2021.

Ponant says the 30,000-ton vessel will also have battery power and will be deployed to discover the more “extreme” north-eastern parts of Greenland.

Vard puts the contract price for the ship at around $324 million. The hull will be built at Vard Tulcea in Romania and final delivery is scheduled from Vard Søviknes in Norway in the second quarter of 2021.

Meanwhile, Ponant takes delivery of two new ships in 2018, Le Lapérouse and Le Champlain, also built by Vard, with capacity for 180 passengers. Another two follow in 2019.

Mishap in Greenland
Ponant hit the headlines last year when one of its inflatable boats sank in Greenland with 23 cruise passengers on board, but with no injury or loss of life. The company currently has four Boreal-class luxury expedition vessels built between 2009 and 2013.

Expedition cruise makes up less than 1% of the global cruise market but is growing fast and represents more brands than any other segment of the cruise industry.

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