Ponant has revealed that each of its four new Ponant Explorer ships, launching in summer 2018 and 2019, will include Blue Eye, the industry’s first underwater lounge aboard a cruise ship.
The underwater multi-sensory lounge is located beneath the water line, and offers guests a chance to view and hear what’s happening in the waters around the ship. Designed by Jacques Rougerie, who specializes in underwater habitats, the space will have two glass portholes shaped like eyes of a whale looking out to the marine world. Digital screens will adorn the walls projecting images filmed live by three underwater cameras to capture what the windows don’t give access to.
The lounge will also include a sound system, developed by Michel Redolfi, a composer and sound design expert. The sounds of the sea across a three-mile radius will be transmitted into the lounge through hydrophones.
As the final “sensory experience” of the lounge, “Body Listening Sofas” will discreetly vibrate in unison with the streaming aquatic acoustics to assist in guest relaxation.
The first two Explorer ships to hit the waters will be Le Lapérouse and Le Champlain, with the two more in summer 2019 being Le Bougainville and Le Dumont-d'Urville. Each vessel has just 92 cabins. The inaugural journey aboard Le Lapérouse will follow in the footsteps of the Vikings around Iceland in June 2018, while Le Champlain’s first voyage will take guests from the Amalfi Coast to Malta in September 2018.
Approximately 60 itineraries will be offered next summer, including a new oenology-focused sailing to Northern Europe discovering vineyards in Europe, and a voyage in partnership with Christie’s between Vancouver and San Diego dedicated to exploring the world of art.