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World’s First LNG-Fuelled Exploration Cruise Ship Delivered

Le Commandant Charot (copyright Ponant)
World’s First LNG-Fuelled Exploration Cruise Ship Delivered

French cruise liner Ponant and Norwegian shipyard VARD have confirmed the delivery of the world’s first hybrid exploration cruise ship capable of operating on liquified natural gas.

The 30,000 tonne Le Commandant Charcot, the 13th ship of Ponant’s fleet, was delivered earlier this month after six years of groundbreaking design.

The vessel is classified as Polar Class 2, designed to sail in some of the most demand areas of the globe, including the geographic North Pole.

Because of the environmentally sensitive nature of its destinations, the vessel also is equipped to handle all waste onboard.

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

“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.”

The 492-foot long vessel can accommodate 245 passengers and a crew of 235 in 135 staterooms. Outfitted as an exploration cruise ship, the company promotes her as “a platform for observation, research, and analysis to study water, air, ice and biodiversity in extreme polar regions.”

Passengers will have the opportunity to participate in scientific programs and lectures, while activities will include kayaking, hovercraft rides, hiking, and ice fishing.

Passenger facilities include an indoor swimming pool, conservatory, panoramic restaurant, outdoor restaurant, main lounge, and an observation lounge.

What it Means for Cruises?

Most of the major cruise companies are investing considerable resources in LNG with the aim of reducing the industry’s dependance on petroleum.

The success of Le Commandant Charcot will be viewed with great interest.

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Fionn Davenport is the editor-in-chief of the ITTN group, including ITTN and ITTN Ireland. He's one of Ireland's best-known travel journalists and writers, with nearly 30 years' experience writing guidebooks for Lonely Planet and others.

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