Ponant has signed a letter of intent for the order of four ships from VARD, the Norwegian subsidiary of Fincantieri.

The order is the first step in a project to expand the company’s fleet since it was bought by ARTEMIS, holding company of the Pinault family, in 2015, according to a prepared statement.

The agreement was managed by Barry Rogliano Salles and the first of four ships will be delivered in 2018.

According to the release, Ponant has again opted for small-capacity, intimate ships. The four newcomers will be 128m (approx 429ft) in length with 92 staterooms, and have a crew of 110. Ice Class ranked and equipped with the latest technologies, these small luxury expedition ships will be easy to manoeuvre and able to reach sites that larger vessels cannot access, said Ponant.

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