Philippe Videau, one of the founders of French cruise operator Compagnie du Ponant, is launching a new expedition cruise venture with a ship acquired from Silversea Cruises.

Exploris, a Nantes-registered company formed by Videau, has bought the 6,200-gt expedition cruise ship Silver Explorer (built 1989) for an undisclosed sum from the Royal Caribbean luxury cruise subsidiary, according to widespread reports in French media.

The fact the Exploris was said to be five years in the making suggests it was not just a case of Videau opportunistically jumping back in the cruise game.