PONANT, the only French cruise ship owner and world leader in luxury expeditions, is continuing with the construction of its series of four new sister ship yachts, the PONANT EXPLORERS, with the laying of the keels of the third and fourth yachts of the series: Le Bougainville and Le Dumont-d’Urville programmed for 2019.The leader and pioneer of expeditions in polar regions, PONANT is developing its unique conception of luxury expedition cruises with the arrival of the PONANT EXPLORERS, four new sister ship yachts specially designed for expeditions in polar and tropical regions.With delivery of the first two yachts, Le Lapérouse and Le Champlain, scheduled for summer 2018, construction of the last two ships – programmed for June 2019 – started last week with the laying of the keels of Le Bougainville and Le Dumont-d’Urville in the presence of PONANT’s Hugues Decamus, Newbuilding Chief Engineer, in one of the shipyards of Vard, the Norwegian subsidiary of Fincantieri.A new generation of ships sailing under the French flag, fitted with the latest technologies, IC (Ice Class) certified, the PONANT EXPLORERS boast cutting-edge “Cleanship” equipment in compliance with the most recent environmental regulations. Combining moderate size (131 metres in length and just 92 cabins and suites), design and technology, they are built to be able to drop anchor in the most inaccessible sites, where other ships do not venture. In this way, they can offer an ever-wider range of destinations, notably in tropical and sub-tropical regions (Costa Rica, the Amazon, the Maldives, Papua New Guinea, the Orinoco, the Bissagos Islands).The four yachts of the PONANT EXPLORERS series will also be fitted with a world exclusive multi-sensorial underwater lounge, called Blue Eye. Located within the hull beneath the water line, it will allow passengers to see, hear and feel the underwater world. This exclusive concept, a veritable technological achievement, has been designed in collaboration with the architect Jacques Rougerie.