VARD, a major designer and shipbuilders of specialised vessels, delivered its third expedition cruise vessel for PONANT – ‘Le Bougainville’ on 5th April.
The luxury 131 m long, 184 pax vessel, is the third in the series designed and built by VARD, following the delivery of ‘Le Laperouse’ in June, 2018 and ‘Le Champlain’ in October.
Vard Søviknes is now working on a fourth sister ship, ‘Le Dumont-d’Urville’, scheduled for delivery to PONANT in June of this year.
Designed to be intimate, with just 92 state rooms and suites, all of which boast balconies or private terraces, the ships balance environmental care with modern design and passenger-centric innovation.
As with all the vessels in this series, she is fitted with a ‘Blue Eye’. This multi-sensorial underwater lounge will allow guests to discover and experience the underwater world via two portholes in the form of a cetaceous eye looking out onto the sea bed, non-intrusive underwater lighting, and hydrophones integrated into the keel re-transmitting the sounds of the deep water, as well as body listening sofas, offering a unique sensorial listening experience by corporal resonance.
VARD’s Executive Director Cruise, Mauro Leboffe, commented: “These tailor-made vessels are specially developed for PONANT. They marry sleek design with technological innovations and a mission to both delight customers and care for the environments they sail through. From a design and build perspective they give VARD the opportunity to create high-end, creative and challenging projects that we are immensely proud of, just like the fact to once again deliver a vessel of this series on schedule.
“PONANT is an ambitious customer with a bold vision and we’re delighted to be such an integral part of their current fleet expansion programme. We’re now looking forward to completing the next exciting vessel, supported by the Fincantieri network and empowered by our hugely skilled and dedicated staff here in VARD,” he said.
“A dream, firm beliefs, energy and boldness were what created PONANT. It is by drawing on those roots and our expertise that PONANT is preparing today to meet the challenges of tomorrow, to surprise and delight our guests. I wanted the ships in the PONANT EXPLORERS series to embody the very best in expedition cruise. ‘Le Bougainville’ is the incarnation of that,” said Jean Emmanuel Sauvée, PONANT’s CEO and co-founder.
The shipbuilding project was defined by close co-operation throughout the VARD and Fincantieri network and also with PONANT. ‘Le Bougainville’s’ hull was built at Vard Tulcea in Romania, before being towed to Vard Søviknes in Norway for equipping and final outfitting.
In addition, Vard Electro conducted equipment and electrical system installation work, while Vard Design in co-operation with Sterling Design, developed and designed the vessel.