Vard Holding (VARD), the Norwegian subsidiary of Italian ship builder Fincantieri, has signed a letter of intent to design and deliver four luxury expedition cruise vessels for French cruise company Ponant.
The new series of vessels will be designed by Vard, Ponant and Fincantieri and will be modelled on the series of luxury cruise vessels delivered by Fincantieri to Ponant between 2010 and 2015.
The ice-class expedition cruise vessels will approximately measure a length of 128m and will weigh 10,000t.
The vessels will have width of 18m and can achieve a cruise speed of 15k.
They will each have a capacity to accommodate 180 passengers including a crew of 110 members.
The ships will feature 92 cabins with luxury facilities onboard while being aligned with environmental regulations and ensuring safety in its operation.
They are designed to venture into exotic destinations and remote ports which can allow passage to small capacity ships.
Vard CEO and executive director Roy Reite said: "This project is fully in line with our diversification strategy to enter the expedition cruise market, realising synergies and increased cooperation with our majority owner Fincantieri.
"Through our long shipbuilding history we have built a broad range of specialised vessels, and we are delighted to be part of developing the new series of luxury expedition cruise vessels for Ponant."
The vessels are scheduled to be delivered from Vard between 2018 to 2019.
Subject to parameters and a satisfactory financing, the partners are said to have a common subject of interest to enter into this contract in the second quarter of this year.
Last year, Vard Holdings’ subsidiary Seaonics was awarded a contract to deliver equipment for a polar research vessel which was being constructed at the Fincantieri shipyard.