Ponant Pauses All Operations in Northern Hemisphere Through 2020

(Photo by Studio Ponant + Le Jacques Cartier)

Ponant has paused operations in the northern hemisphere through December 31, 2020. The safety and security of passengers, crew members and the locals of the regions visited remains Ponant’s priority, the cruise line said in an announcement. Travelers on cancelled voyages will receive a credit of 120 percent of the amount paid, which can be applied to a future sailing.

Since July, the small-ship line has safely operated 50-plus sailings from France, Iceland, Croatia and Norway on four ships: Le Bougainville, Le Champlain, Le Jacques-Cartier (delivered a few months ago) and Le Lyrial. In September, our sister publication Travel Agent caught up with Navin Sawhney, Ponant's CEO of the Americas, to get the latest. Ponant partnered with Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire (IHU) of Marseilles, France, on its new health and safety protocols, and Sawhney says “that’s helping make the environment ‘COVID-safe’ as people return to cruising. He added that it’s not just about crafting protocols but practicing and implementing them during actual sailings with guests onboard.

Among its new health and safety protocols, Ponant was requiring all guests and crew members to present a signed doctor’s medical form, complete a health questionnaire and undergo a health check and screening by the ship’s medical staff. Onboard, restaurant layouts were redesigned and will only offer contactless, a la carte dining options; public spaces, such as the fitness room and theater, were capped at 50 percent occupancy.

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Last week, as reported by Travel Agentseven guests and crew aboard SeaDream Yacht Club’s SeaDream I, sailing in the Caribbean, were confirmed to have COVID-19, causing the line to cancel the remainder of its sailings in 2020. It was the first cruise in the Caribbean since the March shutdown. This led to, according to Travel Agent, Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Rep. Doris Matsui urging the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reinstitute its “No Sail Order" for cruise ships from U.S. ports.

This article originally appeared on www.travelagentcentral.com.

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