French luxury cruise company Ponant will add two new expedition cruise vessels for its recently acquired South Pacific division, Paul Gaugin Cruises, after inking a deal with shipbuilder Fincantieri.
The Memorandum of Agreement, valued at about €300 million, includes firm orders for two next-generation ships to be delivered in 2022, with the possibility of a third sister-ship.
Additional ships for the Paul Gaugin Cruises’ fleet were foreshadowed by Ponant’s VP Asia Pacific, Monique Ponfoort in August, who told LATTE “we are indeed considering expanding our fleet in this region”.
Each of the new 11,000-gross-tonne ships will accommodate about 230 passengers, a slightly larger capacity to Ponant’s 188-passenger EXPLORER fleet, and about 100 guests less that its current m/s Paul Gaugin.
Fincantieri and its subsidiaries have delivered four of the EXPLORER class ships already; Le Lapérouse, Le Champlin, Le Bougainville and Le Dumont-d’Urville; with Le Jacques Cartier and Le Bellot expected to be handed over next year.
“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 and consolidates our position as the world leader of luxury expedition cruise,” said Jean Emmanuel Sauvée, CEO of PONANT.
As a point of difference for the ships and as a new eco-friendly move, Sauvée said both vessels will cut their engines and cease all emissions each day at port calls for nearly 10 hours at every port of call. They will also feature the most extensive battery package application in the market.
“Small-capacity ships at the cutting edge of technology and environmental preservation: this project fully matches our philosophy of sustainable tourism,” Sauvée added.
Finalisation of the Memorandum of Agreement is subject to the fulfilment of technical and financial conditions.