An iceberg at the edge of the Baffin Bay’s sea ice. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
$1,300 Flight Credit Currently Available for Expeditions to Antarctica
The company combines five-star luxury and comfort with some of the finest yachts afloat, a strong commitment to safety for both the guest and the environment through the use of the latest technology, achieving a rating of "Cleanship," the highest level, from Veritas. Ponant’s expeditions take passengers to the northern reaches of the globe in the summer months – Iceland, Spitsbergen, Greenland, Baffin Bay and the North West Passage – and then to the world’s southernmost continent, Antarctica, from November through early March, navigating close to remote areas and wildlife where Zodiacs are used to ferry guests on multiple landings. Each nautical mile along the way, the ships follow the paths of the great explorers and unlock the beauty and history of these regions.
The company’s experienced guides and long-tenured lecturers offer an understanding of the regions and are coupled with sophisticated equipment to enable passengers to get as close as they can to nature’s marvels. Compagnie du Ponant is the only French cruise line to own two, soon to be three, ships designed for polar expeditions to both the Arctic and Antarctic regions.
L’Austral and Le Boréal return to the South Pole during this "southern summer," with nine itineraries running from November through early March. Trips run from 11 to 16 days and start as low as $US7,266 per person, double occupancy. The longer sailings spend a day in the Falkland Islands and three in the South Georgia Islands, where upwards of 250,000 ‘tuxedo-clad’ King penguins greet the visiting adventurers. Landings in Antarctica include Neko, Paradise Bay, Pleneau Island, Cuverville, Deception Island and others. Ponant is currently offering a $1,300 flight credit for its trips to Antarctica. The 2013-2014 season will see three ships in the White Continent as the third sister, Le Soléal, to be launched in 2013 and whose symbolic name combines the words for "the sun" and "that which forges the path," joins in the fun.
Next summer, Le Boréal and Le Soléal ply the waters of the far north. A highlight in that region is the rare opportunity to travel the North West Passage, the historic shipping route that links Europe and Asia. There are 10 itinerary options between July and September with prices starting at $4,116 for an eight-day tour of Iceland on Le Boréal. An eight-day journey to Spitsbergen (home of the world’s largest population of polar bears) aboard Le Boréal, starts at $5,683 (flights included), and a three-week route aboard Le Soléal that starts in Greenland and ends in Russia starts at $15,523, inclusive of flights between Greenland, Russia and Paris.
All of Compagnie du Ponant’s ships welcome passengers on these adventures in the most gracious manner: five-star accommodations include butler service, fine French cuisine, and a complete spa and fitness centre. The smaller size of these ships and their highly technical specifications enable them to provide access to places very few other travellers can reach; it’s that exclusive combination of being able to explore another world in this type of comfort and safety that makes a Compagnie du Ponant voyage so memorable.
Highlights in and on Antarctica include wildlife such as fur seals, elephant seals, penguins, albatrosses, orcas and whales. On the flip side of the world, deep in the Arctic Circle and in the heart of the far North, Ponant guests clad in red jackets might see musk oxen or Arctic foxes in Greenland, reindeer in Chukota, puffin in Iceland, walrus and brown bears in Kamtchatka, or – always the crowd favorite – polar bears in Spitsbergen.
Included in Compagnie du Ponant’s all-inclusive pricing of sailings are all meals, open bar, stocked mini-bar, welcome-aboard cocktail party, 24-hour room service, all entertainment as indicated within the itinerary, gratuities, and port charges and fees. Air, optional excursions and transfers are additional. (Please note that air is included in two of the specials outlined above.)
Established in 1988, Compagnie du Ponant is a member of both La Charte Bleue d’Armateurs de France and IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators). All of Compagnie du Ponant’s ships and cruise itineraries are designed to protect marine wildlife, coastal environments, and local flora and fauna.
For more information, brochures and reservations contact The Cruise People at 1-800-961-5536 or firstname.lastname@example.org.