The Norwegian subsidiary of Fincantieri, Vard Holdings Ltd., will build four 184-guest exploration cruise ships outfitted with environmental preservation technology for Ponant. The agreement marks the entrance of Vard into cruise shipbuilding sector.
Each of the 10,000 GT ships will be 128 m (420 ft) long and 18 m (59 ft) at the beam. They will carry 110 crew members and have 92 cabins. The exterior will be created by Sterling Design International, with interiors designed by Jean-Philippe Nuel, who plans to give natural "ethnic chic" looks to the newbuilds inspired by earthy materials. The delivery dates are scheduled from 2018 summer to 2019 summer.
The new Ponant vessels are planned for high-end expedition voyages in Oceania, South America, Amazon's Orinoco River, Papua New Guinea, Costa Rica and the Indian Ocean. They will introduce passengers to regional wildlife and local cultures, with the help of onboard naturalists.
'The agreement announced today (March 15, Tuesday) is of the utmost importance for the entire Fincantieri group,' according to CEO Giuseppe Bono. 'Our shipyards dedicated to the construction of cruise ships, in fact, would not have been able to accept these new vessels for several years, given the current workload. Thanks to the synergies developed with Vard we have been, instead, able to meet the needs of Ponant, with which we have a longstanding partnership.'
The growth in capacity for Ponant comes under new ownership by Artemis, holding company of billionaire Pinault family.