Norwegian shipbuilder Vard has confirmed that it has secured a contract for the design and construction of a luxury polar expedition cruise vessel for French-based Ponant valued at around NOK2.7 bill.
The unique electric hybrid cruise icebreaker with LNG propulsion is the result of co-operation between Ponant, Stirling Design International, Aker Arctic and Vard.
She has been specifically designed to take passengers to Polar destinations, such as the true geographic North Pole (90 deg North Latitude), the Weddell Sea, the Ross Sea and Peter I Island.
The Polar Class 2 cruise ship will be the first electric hybrid cruise icebreaker with dual fuel propulsion, featuring high-capacity batteries and LNG storage on board. It will also be equipped with two helicopters housed in on board hangars.
She will be about 30,000 gt, about 150 m long, 28 m wide, and will have a cruising speed of 15 knots in open water. The vessel will accommodate 270 pax in 135 staterooms, in addition to a crew of 180.
Roy Reite, Vard CEO and Executive Director, commented: “This is a really exciting project for us, and we look forward to building the Ponant icebreaker for Polar expedition voyages. Vard has a deep experience in icebreaking technology; over generations we have built several highly advanced vessels developed for operations in Polar areas. It is a pleasure to continue the excellent co-operation we have with Ponant, Stirling Design International and Aker Arctic.”
The hull will be built at Vard Tulcea in Romania and the vessel will be outfitted at Søviknes in Norway for delivery in 2Q21.
In addition to the Ponant icebreaker, Vard currently has four luxury expedition cruise vessels under construction for Ponant. The first vessel in the series will be delivered in 2Q18, followed by the delivery of the next three vessels from autumn 2018 to summer 2019.