Ponant orders Arctic LNG cruise vessel

Norway’s Vard Holdings has signed a contract worth €270 million (US$318 million) with French cruise company Ponant for the design and construction of a luxury polar expedition cruise vessel.

Classified as Polar Class 2, the electric/LNG hybrid expedition vessel has been developed by Ponant, Stirling Design International, Aker Arctic and Vard.

The vessel is specially designed to take passengers to polar destinations such as the geographic North Pole, the Weddell Sea, the Ross Sea and Peter I Island.

Featuring a 10-metre draught, the expedition vessel will be about 30,000 gross tonnes, about 140 metres long, 28 metres wide and will have a cruise speed of 15 knots. The vessel will accommodate 270 passengers in 135 staterooms, in addition to a crew of 187 persons.

The subsidiary of Fincantieri said it would be the first electric hybrid cruise vessel with icebreaker characteristics and dual-fuel propulsion, featuring high-capacity batteries and LNG storage on board.

It will also be equipped with two helicopters in in-house hangars.

Delivery is scheduled for the second quarter of 2021.

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