French cruise line Ponant is to name its four new expedition yachts after famous French explorers.
Le Lapérouse, which will launch in June 2018, is named after naval officer Jean François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse. Le Champlain will be named in honour of cartographer and navigator Samuel Champlain when she debuts in September 2018. Meanwhile, Le Bougainville takes her name from admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville and Le Kerguelen counts her namesake as naval officer and explorer Yves-Joseph de Kerguelen-Trémarec. The second two vessels will begin service in summer 2019.
According to Ponant, the names ‘reflect Ponant’s loyalty to the French flag’ and also pay tribute to the line’s ‘expertise in luxury expeditions and its legitimacy as world leader’.
All four newbuilds will be built by Vard, the Norwegian subsidiary of Italian shipbuilding group Fincantieri and feature an exterior designed by Sterling Design International, the 128m, ice-class ships will be equipped with the latest environmental preservation and operational technologies so they can be manoeuvred easily and reach sites that are inaccessible to larger vessels.
Interiors will be designed by Jean-Philippe Nuel, who will create an ‘ethnic chic universe’ inspired by driftwood, natural materials and colours that reflect the spirit of ‘sophisticated, yet authentic adventure’. Each vessel will feature 92 staterooms and be staffed by a 110-strong crew.
Ponant will develop new Blue Expeditions and Green Expedition categories to enable guests on the four vessels to get as close as possible to local cultures, nature and wildlife during excursions with naturalists. Blue Expeditions will focus on exploring Oceania, while Green Expeditions will take passengers to South America’s best preserved sites, the Orinoco River in Amazonia, Costa Rica, Papua New Guinea, or the Indian Ocean.
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