Ponant delays two new cruise ships from Vard

French cruise company Ponant has confirmed reports that it has postponed the delivery of new ships on order because of a “period of uncertainty”.

Ponant said that it was delaying two new builds ordered from Vard, a subsidiary of Fincantieri. Ponant ordered the ships at the end of 2019 as part of a plan to expand the operations of the newly acquired Paul Gauguin Cruises.

Ponant’s Chief Sales, Marketing and Communications Officer Hervé Bellaïche said that “in this period of uncertainty, with additional capacity arriving in the market, we decided to postpone this project. Our focus is the very promising commercial success of Le Commandant Charcot and the two ships delivered since 2020, Le Bellot (IMO 9852418) and Le Jacques-Cartier (IMO 9852420).”

Ponant’s December 2019 contract with Fincantieri is valued at about $338m for the delivery of two new-generation luxury expedition cruise ships an evolution of the previous Explorer class that Vard built for Ponant. They had been due for delivery in 2022. Ponant had an option for a third ship. Each of the cruise ships was to be 11,000 gt, with a capacity of about 230 passengers.

The plan was to supply the ships with the most extensive battery package currently available, giving the vessels the ability to operate from battery power at anchor, in ports, and environmentally sensitive areas.

Paul Gauguin cruises, which began in 1998, was acquired by Ponant during the summer of 2019.

2020-built, Wallis Futuna Islands-flagged, 9,988 gt Le Bellot is entered with Steamship Mutual (European syndicate) on behalf of SNC Sedna Bail.

2020-built, Wallis Futuna Islands-flagged, 9,988 gt Le Jacques Cartier is entered with Steamship Mutual (European Syndicate) on behalf of SNC Encelade Bail.