French luxury cruise line Ponant has announced plans to almost double its fleet with four new expedition ships.
The company, which was purchased by Artemis, the holding company of the billionaire Pinault family, has signed a letter of intent for the order of four vessels from Vard, the Norwegian subsidiary of the Italian Fincantieri.
The first of the ships is scheduled for 2018.
Each will have an exterior designed by Sterling Design International and will be equipped with the latest environmental preservation technology.
They will be 128m in length with 92 staterooms, have a crew of 110, and be Ice Class rated for polar expeditions.
French designer Jean-Philippe Nuel has again been given the task of designing the interiors. The line said his remit is to create an “ethnic chic universe inspired by driftwood, natural materials and colours, reflecting the spirit of sophisticated yet authentic adventure in the image of the destinations proposed.”
The vessels will join the Le Ponant, Le Boréal, L’Austral, Le Soléal and Le Lyrial.