PONANT – French style afloat
PONANT perfection at sea
PONANT has made its mark on Australian cruise lovers since opening its Australian office two years ago. The French-flagged company was launched in 1991 with its first yacht – the three-masted Le Ponant carrying just 64 passengers in luxury. Four state-of-the-art sister mega-yachts have been launched since 2011 with the ships built as boutique expedition ships delivering five-star French service and style thanks to partnerships with well-known French companies including Jean Philippe Nuel (interior design), Sothys (beauty salons/spa), Pierre Frey (fabrics), L’Occitane (bathroom products), Palais des Thés (fragrances, Ladurée (sweets and pastries) and Fragonard (perfumes). L’Austral was launched in 2011 and has 132 ocean view staterooms and suites; Le Boréal was introduced in 2010 and carries from 224 to 264 passengers in up to 132 staterooms and suites; Le Soléal joined the fleet in July 2013 and has 132 staterooms and suites catering for between 224 and 264 passengers and Le Lyrial is the newest ship in the fleet, launched in April 2015.
The Finer Things stepped on board Le Soléal in February 2016 to have a look around the ship on its first visit to Australia. Le Soléal joined the fleet in July 2013 and has 132 staterooms and suites catering for between 224 and 264 passengers. The yacht feels like a boutique French hotel with the finest materials used in all facets of the vessel from furnishings to technology; it even has military grade sonar, which allows the vessel to go into places that other cruise ships simply cannot go.
The staterooms are beautiful, the restaurant spectacular and everywhere, French accents just add to the appeal.
PONANT is always looking for more destinations to visit as more people around the world discover the delights of the French company and PONANT passengers become regulars on board.
This year, the company has added some extraordinary voyages including South Africa, Madagascar and the Seychelles Islands for the first time, plus new itineraries in the Pacific, Latin America and Asia. L’Austral will be visiting The Kimberley for the first time in 2017 with 11-day, 10-night itineraries from Darwin to Broome, or round trip from Darwin in July, August and September 2017 – when spectacular humpback whales will be in abundance.