As they grow in popularity, expedition cruise ships are adding more and more flashy features. First, Crystal introduced a submarine on Crystal Esprit that takes passengers on underwater excursions; then, Scenic announced plans for two helicopters (in addition to a submarine) on Scenic Eclipse, launching in August 2018. Now, there's a new first from French luxury expedition cruise line Ponant — an underwater lounge.
Passengers can kick back with a cocktail — or a glass of the line's signature French Champagne, Veuve Clicquot — and watch marine life swim by in the space, which will be called Blue Eye and feature a bar and a wall of reflecting windows that look out below the surface of the sea.
The cool new lounge, designed in conjunction with a member of the Institut de France, Jacques Rougerie, will debut on each of the line's four new yachts, which will launch over the next two years. It will be located on a lower deck of the ship, and have a speaker that lets guests hear the sounds of the ocean, as well as a couch that vibrates to the rhythm of the waves and an interior design that's inspired by ocean life.
The first two ships (Le Lapérouse and Le Champlain) will debut in summer 2018 with the second set (Le Bougainville and Le Dumont d’Urville) following in summer 2019. The ships will also have an infinity pool, water sports platform, 92 staterooms each (all with their own veranda), and a sun deck.
The French small-ship cruise line is known for sailing to far-reaching destinations such as Antarctica and the Arctic, but will also be sailing to subtropical regions and worldwide with these new ships, from the Amazon to the Seychelles.