This New Cruise Ship Can Sail Through 8-foot-thick Ice, All the Way to the North Pole
Considered a specialist in luxury expedition sailings to the Arctic and Antarctica, Ponant cruise line is making significant additions to its fleet, with four new explorer yachts and the world’s first-ever luxury electric hybrid “Icebreaker” ship.
Scheduled to launch in 2021, the Ponant Icebreaker will be able to easily navigate frozen waters, with a specially designed hull capable of cutting through eight-foot-thick ice floes.
This indomitable vessel will be the first of its kind to carry passengers to the true North Pole (at 90 degrees north latitude). Itineraries will also call on inaccessible Antarctic sites like the Weddell Sea, Charcot, and the Peter I Islands.
The 135-cabin Icebreaker will be equipped with 16 zodiacs and two helicopters, and an experienced expedition leader, like Nicholas Dubreuil (an adventurer who has traveled across the poles by kayak, sleigh, and skis) will accompany every sailing.
Ponant’s Icebreaker will also be one of the most environmentally friendly ships sailing the seas. Powered by electricity and liquefied natural gas, the Icebreaker is expected to produce almost no emissions.
Fortunately, travelers don’t have to wait until 2021 to experience Ponant’s new extreme vessels. On the Explorer ships, which will launch as early as 2018, guests can unwind after a day of sightseeing in the world’s first-ever underwater lounges, called Blue Eyes.
Featuring giant portholes shaped like whale eyes, these ultra-modern lounges — conceived by French architect Jacques Rougerie (a specialist in underwater habitats) — also have blue mood lighting, curved seating, and decorative lines that echo the movement and shape of native marine life.
The first Explorer ships, Le Lapérouse and Le Champlain, will debut in the summer of 2018. Le Lapérouse’s inaugural sailing will take intrepid travelers around the entire island of Iceland.