Ponant will continue to broaden its horizons in 2020 with the addition of two new ships, a new partnership and 50 new itineraries through destinations in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Here’s what’s planned:
The Ponant Explorers fleet will total six ships with the launch of Le Bellot in April 2020 and Le Jacques Cartier in July 2020. Both vessels will have the innovative Blue Eye lounge located eight feet beneath the water line. The industry-first, multi-sensory space will allow guests to experience the subaquatic world through sight, sound and feel.
Further along, Ponant will also launch Le Commandant Charcot in May 2021. As the first luxury hybrid polar vessel, it will be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas and electric battery. The ship will be able to reach the true North Pole at 90 degrees latitude.
Earlier this year, Ponant announced a new partnership with the Musée du Louvre to bring Paris to the sea with two new sailings in the Adriatic and Persian Gulf departing in August and November 2020, respectively. In collaboration with Ponant, onboard programming will be designed with curators and department directors from the Louvre for guests to discover the ancient lands that have inspired the museum’s collections.
Ponant will have a new eight-day itinerary from Alaska to British Columbia. On the July 22, 2020 departure, Le Soléal will travel along the Tracy Arm Fjord, amidst cliffs that rise more than 3,000 feet on either side. Travelers will then explore smaller inlets on the coast where guests can see humpback whales, cascading waterfalls and neon blue glaciers.
The cruise line will have eight ships exploring Europe’s coastline on more than 15 new itineraries. Among the highlights is a nine-night, music-themed cruise in September 2020 that will cover the cultural heritage of Northern Europe accompanied by chamber musicians performing an all-Beethoven repertoire. The sailing coincides with a worldwide celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday. New Mediterranean sailings will include trips between Athens and Venice and voyages through the Aegean Sea.
Le Jacques Cartier—one of the line’s newest vessels—will debut five Asia sailings in fall and winter 2020. The ship, which has the industry-first Blue Eye lounge, is set to travel through the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman on an eight-night journey that makes stops in Muscat, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha, among other smaller ports like Sur, Khasab and Sir Bani Yas. Meanwhile a new itinerary on Le Lapérouse will depart from Mumbai on December 28, 2020 and continue south to the atolls in the Maldives before concluding in Sri Lanka.
Guests will also be able to visit the Seychelles as Le Bougainville and its underwater lounge embark on a selection of new expeditions in the region beginning in December 2019. The ship will make a new call each day. In addition to exploring UNESCO World Heritage sites, there will be opportunities to spot wildlife, like the indigenous Aldabra tortoises, weighing up to 550 pounds.
In 2020, Ponant will continue to offer a series of themed cruises with onboard speakers and tailored shore excursions that dive into the history of the destinations. Each of the six different itineraries will touch on a different topic with highlights including a birding trip through Costa Rica, a culinary sailing that circumnavigates Sicily and a voyage through the Baltic Sea with leading policy makers, including former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO Admiral James Stavridis.