With the start of Le Commandant Charcot’s inaugural season, PONANT is the first operator to resume luxury expeditions to the White Continent.
PONANT’s 2021-22 season comprises 14 different itineraries and 33 sailings scheduled from now to March 2022. In addition to Le Commandant Charcot, the company’s four sister ships Le Lyrial, L’Austral, Le Boréal and Le Soléal will also be sailing south.
PONANT recently organised the world’s first international rescue exercise in a remote polar zone.
It was conducted during a trial voyage to the North Pole aboard polar exploration vessel, Le Commandant Charcot.
PONANT has released sales for the 2023 Kimberley Expedition season.
Offering multiple departures between April and October 2023, the 10-night ‘Australia’s Iconic Kimberley’ itinerary journeys between Broome and Darwin. It showcases the landscapes of the Kimberley on board PONANT’s Le Lapérouse or Le Soléal, both of which will be sailing throughout the season.
PONANT has released its documentary ‘Beyond the Polar Circle’ with newly appointed brand ambassador Andrew Daddo showcasing his experience sailing on board PONANT’s Le Boréal to Antarctica.
Available via PONANT’s website, the 45-minute feature takes viewers on a journey south, embarking on a 16-day polar expedition voyage between South America and the Antarctic Peninsula.
PONANT has unveiled a new range of voyages for the Antarctic season including two new itineraries from and to New Zealand. These are aboard the first LNG-powered hybrid electric luxury polar exploration vessel, Le Commandant Charcot.
Guests can access new activities from citizen science to kayaking, hiking or snowshoeing, to polar diving without a wetsuit and polar swimming in a drysuit. More than 20 naturalist-guides will be supervising the activities and taking guests to meet an array of wildlife during Zodiac and hovercraft outings.
PONANT has released a new brochure for Australia and New Zealand, focused on Luxury Expeditions for 2022 and 2023, offering destinations from the polar cap to the outback.
The brochure highlights local markets’ most in demand itineraries including Australia’s Kimberley, East Coast and Tasmania, as well as New Zealand’s Sub Antarctic Islands, Papua New Guinea and Melanesia.
PONANT is about to commence its 2021 season of small ship cruising in the Mediterranean and the French coastline, along with expeditions exploring Iceland.
‘While in Australia and New Zealand our ongoing discussions continue with governments, hopeful of border openings for small ships to provide much needed - and wanted - domestic cruising, Europe is well underway with its restart for the summer period,’ says Sarina Bratton, PONANT chairman Asia Pacific.
A leading proponent of expedition cruising says he is already hearing from cruise lines that the PONANT debacle this week may put them off visiting New Zealand in the future.
Aaron Russ, general manager Wild Earth Travel, says the PONANT cancellation had the feel of ‘pure politics’ and that contrary to some claims Immigration New Zealand was fully consulted while the cruise line went through the protracted and drawn out process of gaining health clearance and maritime exemption to operate here.
PONANT has 'regretfully advised' that its small expedition ship Le Lapérouse has been forced to cancel her season of seven fully booked expedition voyages in New Zealand for New Zealanders.
The full statement from PONANT reads:
'The New Zealand Department of Immigration has declined to approve visas for 61 of the ship’s 90 crew. Visas were issued for 29 technical crew however INZ was not prepared to issue visas to the 61 hotel staff.
Travel trade and tourism operators were last night clinging to at least some hope that PONANT’s domestic cruising season around New Zealand will take shape in one form or another.
Yesterday the cruise line was continuing to talk to Immigration NZ after its shock last minute decision to prevent Le Laperouse from coming to New Zealand – despite having the green light from the Ministry of Health. At the time of going to press it was believed a final decision would be made today.