Ponant has officially taken delivery of its newest cruise ship, Le Dumont-d’Urville. The ship, which is the ninth in Ponant’s fleet and the fourth in the luxury cruise line’s Explorer series, departed Søvik, Norway, for Bergen on its inaugural voyage.
All four of the Explorer series ships have been delivered over the past 12 months, Ponant CEO Jean Emmanuel Sauvée said in a written statement. The line’s fleet expansion will allow it to broaden its destination offerings, and booking levels have been high.
The new ship has 92 rooms and suites, along with the Explorer series’ “Blue Eye” underwater lounge. That space, which is slung below the ship, allows guests to experience the underwater world through two giant windows meant to resemble the eyes of a whale looking out to the seabed. Non-intrusive underwater spotlights provide lighting, while hydrophones built into the ship’s keel capture the sounds of the sea. The area is furnished with “Body Listening” sofas that vibrate in unison with the sounds.
The new ship’s inaugural season will kick off August 7 with an eight-night sailing called the Historic Cities of the Baltic Sea. From there, the ship will continue to the French coasts and the Mediterranean with stops in Honfleur, Lisbon and Dakar.
Next up for Ponant is the debut of Le Bellot, which is scheduled to launch in April 2020. After that, Le Jacques-Cartier will sail in July 2020 and Le Commandant-Charcot in May 2021.