French cruise line Ponant surprised us all last week with the news of a huge expansion that will see their fleet double in size. They're not just building one new ship, nor two, nor even three, but FOUR brand new luxury expedition yachts, with the first vessel to be delivered in 2018.
The new yachts will be in keeping with Ponant's small ship philosophy, each with just 92 staterooms and a crew of 110, and all four will be Ice Class rated and equipped with the latest technology. Jean-Philippe Nuel will reprise his role as interior designer, and the combination of understated French chic and natural materials will be familiar to those who have travelled with Ponant before.
A new itinerary concept will see Ponant's voyages split into three categories: White Expeditions will focus on the polar regions, while Blue Expeditions will explore the islands of the Pacific and Green Expeditions will travel to tropical destinations including Costa Rica, Papua New Guinea, the Indian Ocean and the Orinoco river. The emphasis will be on bringing guests closer to each destination's unique flora and fauna, with zodiac landings and onboard naturalists, as well as immersive cultural experiences in remote locations.