Construction of the first new expedition yacht for the French cruise line Ponant started on 03 January 2017, when the first sheet of steel was cut. Le Lapérouse is the first in a series of four Ponant Explorer Yachts.
The first two ships, Le Lapérouse and Le Champlain will launch in 2018, whilst Le Bougainville and Le Kerguelen will enter service in 2019. Each of the four ships will carry 110 crew members and around 200 passengers.
The four ships will have an overall length of 127 metres. Their unique size will allow them to cruise to places larger ships cannot. All passenger accommodation on board the ships will offer spacious balconies, including four 42 square metre suites.
At the stern the ships will feature an infinity pool and mouldable marina, with three different uses; a sundeck whilst cruising, an immersed connector port for disembarkation or a sea level platform for water sports, such as water-skiing or kayaking.
Ponant is the only cruise line which operates flying the French flag.