Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and French cruise line Ponant have signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) for the design and construction of two new-generation luxury expedition cruise vessels.
Worth about EUR 300 million (USD 3.32 million), the MoA also envisages an option for one further sister ship.
The new units, due for delivery both in 2022, will represent an evolution of the Ponant Explorer class vessels. They would be operated in the South Pacific areas for the Paul Gauguin Cruises brand along with the cruise ship Paul Gauguin that was acquired recently by Ponant.
The 11,000 GT ships would be built by VARD group’s production network.
The contract would be finalized once technical and financial conditions are met, Fincantieri noted.
Ponant has ordered four ships from Fincatieri in the past while Fincantieri’s Norwegian subsidiary VARD designed and delivered four units of the Ponant Explorers class. Another two are scheduled for delivery in 2020. VARD will also deliver Le Commandant Charcot, the first hybrid electric polar exploration vessel powered with LNG, to Ponant in 2021.
“We are delighted to continue our historic collaboration with Fincantieri. This agreement for two additional ships allows us to develop Paul Gauguin brand acquired a few weeks ago,” Jean Emmanuel Sauvée, CEO of Ponant, commented.
“For the first time in the world of cruising, these two new vessels will cut their engines and cease all emissions each day during each stop, for nearly ten hours per day. Small-capacity ships at the cutting edge of technology and environmental preservation: this project fully matches our philosophy of sustainable tourism”.