Ponant orders ship for Australia/NZ

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as reported in:

Le Soleal delivered last month will have twin in 2015

 by Louise Goldsbury, editor

Compagnie du Ponant is planning a new luxury vessel expected to sail in local waters in 2015-16.

AFTER years of hinting about it, the French cruise line appears to have finally committed to a summer season down under.

According to the Fincantieri shipyard, Ponant has signed the contract to build a 264-passenger sister ship to Le Soleal, which debuted last month.

In a news release issued overnight, Fincantieri said the 11,000 GRT small ship will cruise in Alaska during its summer season and then in Australia and New Zealand.

Ponant has previously included ports in Queensland and Northern Territory on a handful of itineraries, but this would be the first season based in the region.

The unnamed luxury ship is set to have 132 oceanview cabins and suites, and 95% with a balcony.

Ponant is renowned for its sophisticated design, attentive service and fine dining, with destinations including smaller ports in destinations such as the Arctic, Antarctica, Europe, Asia and the Americas.

More details about the local program will be revealed soon.

Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono said the new order and continuing relationship with Ponant indicated that luxury cruising was a “very promising business segment”.

“This encouraging achievement, coming shortly after other new orders, has been realised in a still difficult market and has been possible also thanks to the greater cohesion achieved within the company that bodes well for the necessary improvement in efficiency and competitiveness,” he said.

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