When Ponant first offered cruise itineraries from New Zealand, I was interested to learn that it offered Antarctica cruises. My initial impression was that Ponant, a luxury French cruise line, would primarily be a cruise line for the warmer Mediterranean waters and the South Pacific. Learning that it was one of the leading "luxury expedition" cruise lines was an eye opener and explains why Ponant is making an additional commitment to its fleet for Expedition cruises.
Ponant has announced an order for a further two ships in the Ponant Explorer series which will consist of a fleet of 12 ships by 2021 for unique travel experiences on all the world’s seas. The company is remaining loyal to its philosophy of sailing to places where others do not venture, offering an ever-richer selection of authentic journeys to exceptional destinations, even the most remote:
- the Amazon
- the Orinoco, or the Scattered Islands
- Papua New Guinea
- The Geographic North Pole and the North-East Passage.
The latest order has been placed for two additional sister-ships, Le Bellot and Le Surville, delivery of which is scheduled for the first and second quarters of 2020. Like the four previous vessels, the construction of these two new ships will be entrusted to Norwegian shipyard Vard, part of Fincantieri Group. Combining moderate size (just 92 staterooms and suites, each with a balcony), refined design, cutting-edge technology and respect for the environment, they will comply with the international CLEANSHIP label (Bureau Veritas).
The six ship Ponant Explorer fleet will be fitted with a world first: the “Blue Eye”. This multi-sensorial underwater lounge, a major innovation, will allow passengers to discover and experience the underwater world via two portholes in the form of a cetaceous eye, looking out on to the sea bed, non-intrusive underwater lighting, and hydrophones integrated into the keel that retransmit the natural symphony of the deep water, as well as Body Listening sofas, offering a unique sensorial listening experience by corporal resonance.