Germany’s Mv Werften has signed a letter of intent with Finnish engineering company Foreship to design and build a series of Polar-class luxury expedition vessels.

The deal also covers parts of the basic design, as well as design, purchasing and production assistance of the new Endeavor class luxury expedition yachts.

Once completed, the 20,000 gross tonnage (GT) cruise vessels will be operated by luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises.

"We are excited to build a series of the world's first purpose-built expedition yachts, with PC6 polar-class designation."

Scheduled to be built at Mv Werften’s Stralsund shipyard, the production of the vessels will begin by late next year, with deliveries planned from the first quarter of 2019.

Mv Werften managing director Jarmo Laakso said: “We are excited to build a series of the world's first purpose-built expedition yachts, with PC6 polar-class designation.

“Our own staff at all sites and other subcontractors have already been fully involved in this project.

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“Foreship has proven to be a strong and reliable cooperation partner in numerous similar large-scale projects and will be a valued support in addition to our own workforce.”

Designed to operate mainly in Arctic and Antarctic regions, the vessels will be around 160m long and 23m wide.

With the capacity to accommodate up to 200 passengers in 100 suites, the vessels will also cruise in tropical regions when travelling between the poles.

Featuring a 340m length and a 45m width, the 201,000GT Global Class vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2020.

Mv Werften currently has three shipyards in the German cities of Wismar, Rostock and Stralsund.