Norwegian offshore shipbuilder VARD says it has signed a letter of intent to build four expedition cruise ships for French cruise company Ponant.
The new vessels will be developed by Vard, Ponant and Vard’s parent company, Fincantieri, from a previous series of four luxury vessels delivered by Fincantieri to Ponant between 2010 and 2015.
Vard says the ice-class expedition cruise vessels will be approximately 10,000 gross tons, about 128 meters long, 18 meters wide and will have a cruise speed of 15 knots. Each vessel can accommodate 180 passengers in 92 cabins and a crew of 110.
Delivery is scheduled from VARD in Norway in the period summer 2018 to summer 2019. Vard says all partners have a common intention to enter into contracts in 2Q 2016, subject to several conditions being met, including satisfactory financing.
CEO and Executive Director Mr. Roy Reite commented, “This project is fully in line with our diversification strategy to enter the expedition cruise market, realizing synergies and increased cooperation with our majority owner FINCANTIERI. We look forward to become acquainted with PONANT and their team, and we are honored to have been chosen as the preferred partner in this project.” Roy Reite continues: “Through our long shipbuilding history we have built a broad range of specialized vessels, and we are delighted to be part of developing the new series of luxury expedition cruise vessels for PONANT.”