What’s New for Ponant’s Luxury Expedition Fleet for 2019
Luxury expedition cruise line Ponant is set to broaden its horizons in 2019 with the addition of two new ships and nearly 40 new itineraries across the fleet. From March through December, the line’s ships will chart new courses through North America, Africa, Europe, Caribbean, the Arctic and more.
The Ponant Explorers fleet will double this year with the addition of Le Bougainville and Le Dumont-d’Urville. Making their maiden voyages through the Baltic and Mediterranean, both ships will feature the innovative Blue Eye lounge, the industry-first, multi-sensory space that allows guests to experience the subaquatic world through sight, sound and feel.
New Ships: Le Bougainville will set sail on April 15, 2019 with an all-new seven-night Mediterranean Islands sailing. After leaving Nice, the 92-stateroom ship will travel to Bonifacio before stops in the Amalfi Coast, Sicily, Crete, Nafplion and finally Athens. Other ports of call include Istanbul, Barcelona and Lisbon.
Le Dumont-d’Urville will make her debut on Aug. 7, 2019 with an eight-night sailing called the Historic Cities of the Baltic Sea. The ship will continue throughout the region with stops in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Honfleur, Dakar and Lisbon.
North America: Le Champlain, one of the line’s newest ships, will make two North American sailings in fall 2019. The ship, which features the Blue Eye lounge, is set to travel through the Great Lakes on two 10-night journeys that will span both the U.S. and Canada.
Departing Québec on Sept. 12, Le Champlain will travel along the Saint Lawrence River, across the Thousand Islands archipelago, and into Toronto for its first port of call. The journey then continues through each of the Great Lakes, passing Niagara Falls and Flowerpot Island before ending in Milwaukee on the shores of Lake Michigan. The ship will then make the return journey on Oct. 6.
Middle East & Africa: Ponant has unveiled nine new itineraries along the African coastline for 2019 with highlights including Egypt, Israel, The Canary Islands and the ancient landmarks of the Red Sea. In December, Ponant will offer two opportunities to experience The Essential Seychelles. The eight-night sailings will explore the archipelago’s inner islands where guests can see the Aldara giant tortoises, vast coral reefs, and the unique sea coconuts of the Vallée de Mai nature reserve.
Europe: A new 11-night sailing from Dublin to Tromso is on the docket for Ponant’s ships in Europe. Guests on the cruise will discover the varied wildlife of the North Atlantic while also visiting the Norwegian fjords and the former Viking trading post of Kirkwall. In warmer waters, new Mediterranean sailings will include sailings between Naples and Venice, an Eternal Aegean trip between Valletta, Malta, and Istanbul, and an Athens to Antalya cruise along the turquoise coast.
Central America: Ponant guests will be able to see the Caribbean on Le Champlain on a selection of new sailings throughout the region. Cruising through the warm waters they will be able to view surrounding aquatic life as the ship makes stops including Belize and UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Blue Hole, Guatemala for Tikal, and the Yucatan peninsula, home to ancient Mayan civilizations.
The Arctic: As a leader in luxury expedition cruising, Ponant will host two new Arctic sailings—The Greenland of Great Explorers and the Magnificent Volcanoes of the Aleutian Islands in the Western Arctic. During the former cruise, guests will visit the world’s largest fjord and sail through the blue icebergs of Narsaq while the latter sailing offers an encounter with some of the world’s most active volcanoes as well as Alaska’s famous old-growth forest.
Beginning in May 2019, Ponant will host a new series of themed cruises that feature onboard speakers and tailored shore excursions that embrace local cultures and dive deeper into the history of the destinations. Each of the seven different itineraries will touch on a different topic with highlights including a gardens trip through the British Isles; a culinary sailing that circumnavigates Sicily; a family-friendly itinerary that explores the origins of the Olympics in ancient Greece; and a sailing through Japan that looks at the history of World War II.