A spat e of su­pery­achts

Travel Bulletin - - CRUISE REPORT -

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.

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