Fort Lauderdale, FL— Ponant gave guests a glimpse of one the more innovative details of its new builds this week when it announced the addition of underwater lounges to four of its new yachts.
“It continues to demonstrate how we’re innovating because it’s a way to very respectfully enjoy and understand the ecosystem and the environment you live in,” Ponant’s CEO of Americas Navin Sawhney told TMR at Seatrade. “All our leadership on expedition cruising is based entirely that.”
While the cruise line wouldn’t reveal many details about the lounges, it did say that they would be “multi-sensorial” and the first-of-their-kind at sea.
The lounges will be added to the ships in the new Ponant Explorer series—Le Lapérouse, Le Champlain, Le Bougainville and Le Kerguelen.
Two of the ships are currently under construction. Le Lapérouse continues with the laying of the first block, and the first sheet of steel was cut for Le Champlain in early March. Those ships will hit the water in summer 2018.
The next two ships—Le Bougainville and Le Dumont d’Urville—will arrive in time for summer 2019.
All four ships will measure 430 feet in length, with 92 cabins and suites, and 110 crewmembers. All have the same fine French cuisine and service for which Ponant is known, including an infinity pool and all- balcony staterooms. And all will comply with the international “Cleanship” label for innovative green equipment, including: a dynamic positioning system to avoid dropping anchor in order to protect the sea bed; silent and fuel-efficient electronic propulsion; FarSounder sonar providing 3D vision of the sea bed at different depths; diesel engines that can run on lighter, less-polluting marine diesel oil; wastewater and sewage treatment systems on board; and low-energy bulbs for lighting.
With the additions, Ponant will have eight ships in all, making it the youngest and largest expedition fleet in the world.
For travel agents, Sawhney said, the ships will act as a draw not only for veteran cruisers but also for the new-to-cruise market, because of the unique destinations to which they sail.
“The commission is the price of many average cruises and the client will have an experience they will be so proud to share with others,” he said.
For agents who have yet to sell Ponant, the cruise line provides webinars and training on how to sell an expedition ship on its travel agent website.