Norwegian shipbuilder and ship designer Vard Holdings Limited (VARD) has confirmed that contracts for the construction of four luxury expedition cruise vessels for French cruise company Ponant have become effective.
In March this year, the two companies signed a Letter of Intent that was subject to several conditions including satisfactory financing.
At the end of June, the duo entered into shipbuilding contracts that have now become effective.
The confirmation of the contracts marks the company’s official entry into the cruise shipbuilding sector. Until now, the shipbuilder’s main focus was designing and construction of offshore and specialized vessels.
The ice-class expedition cruise vessels will be 131 meters long and 18 meters wide. With a cruise speed of 15 knots, the ships will have a gross tonnage of 10,000 tons. In addition, each vessel will be able to accommodate 180 passengers and 110 crew.
The hulls will be built at Vard Tulcea in Romania. The first cruise ship is expected to be delivered in summer 2018 and the last in summer 2019, from Vard Søviknes in Norway.
VARD, a subsidiary of Fincantieri, owns and operates ten shipbuilding facilities including five in Norway, two in Romania, two in Brazil, and one in Vietnam.
Ponant, part of Artemis Group, is headquartered in Marseille, France. The company currently operates a fleet of five vessels.