The PC2 Polar Class hull was designed with Aker Arctic to combine forward sailing modes through compact ice and reverse sailing in extreme ice conditions
Charting a new frontier in cruising, Ponant ordered a luxury icebreaker with an electric hybrid system powered by liquefied natural gas, from Fincantieri's Vard. The contract price is approximately €270m.
The 270-passenger, 30,000gt ship is scheduled for delivery in second quarter 2021.
It is the first electric hybrid cruise vessel with icebreaker characteristics and dual fuel propulsion, featuring high-capacity batteries and LNG storage on board.
It will have three restaurants, spa and wellness facilities, 16 Zodiacs and two helicopters.
The North Pole, Arctic and northern Greenland and Antarctica's Ross and Weddell seas will all be accessible on Ponant's new ship.
The PC2 Polar Class hull was designed with Aker Arctic to combine forward sailing modes through compact ice and reverse sailing in extreme ice conditions. Wärtsilä will provide the dual-fuel diesel engines while GTT will supply an innovative LNG storage technology with optimized capacity of 4,500 cubic meters. ABB is supplying the Azipods.
Stirling Design International created the overall design.
'The combined expertise of the companies involved in the project has resulted in this pioneering cruise vessel for the polar regions,' said Reko-Antti Suojanen, CEO, Aker Arctic.
The hull will be built at Vard Tulcea in Romania, with completion at Vard Søviknes in Norway. The ship will be registered in France, and Bureau Veritas is the classification society.
'This is a testament to Ponant's growth, and just before Christmas we're going to the North Pole—though in a few years—with this clean icebreaker, in addition to offering more than 300 other itineraries with all our ships that are coming,' Edie Rodriquez, Ponant Americas brand chairman and corporate special adviser, told Seatrade Cruise News.
The ship, she added, shows Ponant founder Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée's great passion and the commitment of the owners, Artemis Group—owners of luxury brands like Gucci, Chateau Latour, Bottega Veneta and many others—to the luxury cruise sector.
Travel partners are 'very, very excited' about the ability to offer more itineraries to clients, Rodriguez said.
'You couldn't get to the North Pole before unless you wanted to go on an old Russian icebreaker.'