(2:28 p.m. EST) -- Ponant, the parent company of Paul Gauguin Cruises, has signed a contract with Norwegian shipyard Vard to build two new eco-friendly, hybrid-electric ships for the South Pacific-based brand, slated for delivery in 2022.
The vessels, which will bring the number of Paul Gauguin ships to three, will each hold about 230 passengers, and measure about 11,000 gross tons. They will sail in the South Pacific.
Each ship will have enough battery capacity for smokeless operation in ports, and in environmentally senstive areas. They will also be designed to optimize energy consumption, reduce underwater noise and improve waste management. According to Vard, a division of Fincantieri, the ships will qualify for the "Cleanship Super" label, as assigned by Bureau Veritas, an independent certification body.
Though they are being built for Paul Gauguin, the ships will represent an enhancement of the "Ponant Explorers" class of ship that Ponant launched in 2018. Several Explorer-class ships, which are not hybrid vessels, are already sailing for Ponant including Le Laperouse. Another ship, Le Commandant Charcot, a hybrid polar exploration vessel powered with LNG (the first of its kind), will be launched by Ponant in 2021.