Vard to build hybrid LNG cruise vessel for Ponant

A Fincantiery unit, Vard, has signed a contract to design and construct a luxury polar expedition cruise vessel with dual-fuel LNG/battery propulsion for the French cruise company Ponant.

The contract is valued at €270 million ($318.5 million) with the vessel delivery scheduled for the second quarter of 2021, Fincantieri said in a statement.

Vard already has four small-sized luxury expedition cruise vessels for Ponant in its orderbook, which marked the entrance of the Norwegian company in the cruise sector. Between 2010 and 2015 Fincantieri delivered 4 small-sized extra-luxury cruise vessels to Ponant.

The newly ordered electric hybrid expedition vessel with LNG has been developed by Ponant, Stirling Design International, Aker Arctic and Vard.

The vessel is specially designed to take passengers to polar destinations such as the geographic North Pole (90 degrees North Latitude), the Weddell Sea, the Ross Sea and Peter I Island. The unit, classified as Polar Class 2, is the very first electric hybrid cruise vessel with icebreaker characteristics and dual fuel propulsion, featuring high-capacity batteries and LNG storage on board. It will also be equipped with two helicopters in in-house hangars.

The expedition vessel will be about 30,000 gross tons, about 15 meters long, 28 meters wide and will have a cruise speed of 15 knots. The vessel will accommodate 270 passengers in 135 staterooms, in addition to a crew of 180 persons.

The hull will be built at Vard Tulcea in Romania. Delivery is scheduled from Vard Søviknes in Norway, in 2Q 2021.

With this order, the total number of LNG-powered cruise ships launched, under construction or  planned in the world rises to 17.