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Ponant takes delivery of first polar expedition ship

Luxury French cruise line Ponant has taken delivery of its first polar exploration ship, Le Commandant Charcot.

Ponant says the vessel is the ffirst hybrid electric polar exploration ship powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and the result of a six-year partnership between the line and experts including Stirling Design International, Aker Arctic and Vard, a subsidiary of Fincantieri.

The 13th ship in Ponant’s fleet was handed over at the Vard shipyard in Norway on July 29 during a flag exchange ceremony.

Le Commandant Charcot features 123 staterooms and will deal with 100% of its waste on board.

The Polar Class PC2 ship will be fitted with facilities and equipment for research, providing “a platform for observation, research and analysis to study water, air, ice and biodiversity in extreme polar regions”.

The 245-guest vessel will also offer citizen science, expert lectures, kayaking, hovercraft rides, hiking and ice fishing.

The ship will sail some of the world’s most remote regions including the North Pole, Northeast Greenland National Park, a circumnavigation of the Svalbard archipelago, the Bellingshausen Sea, the Weddell Sea and the Larsen Ice Shelf.

Chief executive Hervé Gastinel said: “Delivery of Le Commandant Charcot is both a culmination and the beginning of a new kind of odyssey for the company.

“The construction of this prototype ship demanded extremely high standards in terms of quality. I am proud of the work that our teams have accomplished.

“We are welcoming into our fleet a ship that will offer so much more than just a voyage of exploration, but rather a truly inspiring and fascinating discovery of a still little-known polar world.”

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