A spat e of superyachts
Australian cruise and tour specialist Scenic created a worldwide sensation when founder Glen Moroney announced the construction of Scenic Eclipse, the company’s super-luxury polar expedition yacht earlier this year. Last month rivals Crystal and Ponant both announced their own newbuilds meaning there will be plenty of choice for passengers keen to experience this sumptuous style of exploration. First cab off the ranks was Crystal Cruises, which has also recently announced expansion into river cruising, luxury yachting and even air touring with the purchase of its own aircraft to operate Crystal Luxury Air. Crystal’s new expedition “megayacht,” named Crystal Endeavour in honour of the vessel sailed by British explorer James Cook, will carry 200 passengers and is scheduled for delivery in August 2018. Complete with a full complement of “toys,” Endeavour will feature two helicopters and two seven-person submarines along with jet skis and zodiacs. Not to be outdone, within 24 hours Ponant also announced a major fleet expansion which will see it add four new expedition vessels, effectively doubling its complement of luxury exploration ships alongside its sailing yacht Le Ponant.
The new Ponant vessels will carry 184 passengers with a crew of 110, with a full Ice Class ranking. The fleet expansion will also see Ponant differentiate its offering with White, Blue and Green expeditions.
The White portfolio will continue expeditions in the polar regions; Blue expeditions will focus on explorations of Oceania; while Green expeditions will take passengers to South America, Papua New Guinea and the Indian Ocean.