Ponant, a subsidiary of Artemis Group (holding company of the Pinault family), and the parent company of Paul Gauguin Cruises has announced a two ship order from Italian shipyard Fincantieri.
The two new luxury expedition cruise vessels will be built by VARD group, a subsidiary of Fincantieri, and will be smaller than the eponymous Paul Gauguin, a currently the only ship in the Paul Gauguin Cruises fleet.
At just 11,000 tons each, with a capacity for 230 guests (around 100 less than Paul Gauguin) the ship will offer an even more intimate, yacht-like cruise experience in the South Pacific, where Paul Gauguin Cruises operates.
The deal is worth around $330-million, but includes an option for a third identical ship. The first two vessels are expected to be delivered by 2022, according to Ponant.
Fincantieri said the ships would represent an evolution of the Ponant Explorer class of vessels, which saw two vessel deliveries in 2018, two more this year, and two scheduled for next year.
Ponant, meanwhile, said in a release that the new deal was an attempt by the line to make itself the market leader in luxury expedition cruising.
“We are delighted to continue our historic collaboration with Fincantieri,” said Jean Emmanuel Sauvée, CEO of Ponant. “This agreement for two additional ships allows us to develop Paul Gauguin brand acquired a few weeks ago and consolidates our position as the world leader of luxury expedition cruises.”
For dedicated Paul Gauguin Cruises fans and regular passengers, who appreciate the cruise line for its pioneering environmental sustainability initiatives, the purchase by Ponant had created some fears of slippage when it came to efforts to protect the environment.
Sauvée, however, said that the new ships will be even more sustainably-focused.
“For the first time in the world of cruising, these two new vessels will cut their engines and cease all emissions each day during each stop, for nearly ten hours per day,” he said. “Small-capacity ships at the cutting edge of technology and environmental preservation: this project fully matches our philosophy of sustainable tourism.”
The CEO of Fincantieri, Giuseppe Bono, added: “We cannot but welcome with great pleasure the acknowledgement of the partnership with a ship owner like Ponant for this new-generation project, strongly inspired by environmental protection, which takes us to 13 units for them.
“The strengthening of the commercial relations with our clients, as well as the consolidation of the production network of the Group and of the synergies we develop within it, are the best possible feedbacks highlighting the success of our strategies.”