PONANT story

    Why PONANT?

    Discover the treasures of the land by sea on board luxurious yachts that are built on an intimate, human scale. French crew, expertise, attentive service, gastronomy: set sail in a five-star environment and enjoy a travel experience that is simultaneously authentic and sophisticated.

    PONANT story

    1986 – The call of the open sea…

    In 1986, Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée, a young French Merchant Navy officer and travel enthusiast, decided to fulfill his dream of showcasing the art of traveling at sea in the finest French tradition—a truly innovative concept.


    1988 – The start of a great adventure

    In 1988, La Compagnie des îles du Ponant was created. Fourteen shareholders, all recent graduates of the French Merchant Navy, set off on a new adventure. The word “Ponant” means “West” in Latin, but was also one of the first itineraries: a cruise in the Ponant Isles.


    1989 – An emblematic three-masted yacht

    The Le Ponant project began in 1989. The company’s eponymous yacht was realized two years later in the shipbuilding yards of Villeneuve-La-Garenne. In May 1991, Le Ponant embarked on its maiden cruise, a voyage that sailed in the wake of Christopher Columbus into the heart of the Caribbean archipelago.


    1998 – The development of the fleet

    La Compagnie des îles du Ponant expanded its fleet with the acquisition of Le Levant in November 1998 and Le Diamant five years later. In 2004, the CMA-CGM Group, one of the global leaders in maritime container transport, became a major shareholder. The company set up its offices in Marseille and changed its name to La Compagnie du Ponant.


    2007 – A new generation of ships

    In 2007, under the influence of the CMA-CGM Group, La Compagnie du Ponant set out in a new direction and started to design a cruise ship that would perfectly combine cutting-edge technology, intimate size and top-of-the-line amenities. Le Boréal was constructed in 2009 at the Italian shipyard Fincantieri. In 2010, this magnificent 132-cabin yacht won the “Best Newcomer of the Year – GOLD” prize awarded by the European Cruiser Association (EUCRAS).


    2011 – A series of four sisterships

    The construction of Le Boréal was followed by the arrival of L'Austral in 2011. Two years later, La Compagnie du Ponant commissioned Le Soléal, the third sistership. In 2014, the company was renamed PONANT in honor of its first ship, the company’s founding element. In April 2015, Le Lyrial would complete this superb series of exceptional yachts sailing under the French flag.


    2015 – A promising future

    In autumn 2015, PONANT joined the ARTÉMIS Group, a Pinault family holding. This partnership enabled the company to sustain its globalization, consolidate its positions in France, Switzerland and Belgium, and thus enter a new phase in its development. Almost 30 years after its creation, PONANT is pursuing the same strategy of innovation and excellence that has enabled its fleet to embody “the French Touch.”

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