* Subject to availability.
• Outings and shore visits in Zodiac® inflatables with your naturalist guides.
• Hiking opportunity.
• Sailing in Spitsbergen’s fjords and towards the ice floe.
• Landscapes: ice floes, jagged mountains, icebergs, ice caps, steep-sided valleys, sheer cliffs, huge glaciers.
• Wildlife: polar bears, Arctic foxes, Svalbard reindeer, Arctic terns, walruses, whales, puffins.
Staterooms & Suites
There are no staterooms available for booking. Please contact our cruise advisors.
In May 2011, l'Austral joined PONANT's fleet. This superb mega-yacht with 132 staterooms is the result of the expertise of the Italian Fincantieri shipyard and French sophistication, as interpreted by designer Jean-Philippe Nuel. L'Austral remains faithful to our philosophy - to create a unique atmosphere, a subtle blend of luxury, intimacy and well-being.
A sleek silhouette softened by elegantly smooth contours and large, arched windows opening up to the sea and the light: so many features come together to give L’Austral her distinctive shape. Precious materials, discreet elegance and a perfect balance between chic and casual, combine to make you feel as if you are on your own private yacht. A design blending tradition and innovation, where a nautical mood has been subtly recreated. A welcoming atmosphere of relaxed sophistication revolves around shades of grey, taupe, white and ivory enlivened by touches of cinnamon, caramel and tan.. So many personal touches create the spirit of a “private yacht.”
You will encounter unique itineraries, calls inaccessible to large ships, chic and elegant yacht-like ambiance, refined and personalized service as well as gastronomic cuisine.
Port of call & excursions
TromsoEmbarkation 24/05/2019 from 18H00 to 19H00 . Departure 24/05/2019 at 23H00 .
In the north of the Arctic circle you’ll discover Tromsø, a secluded town located in the county of Troms. Norwegians call it the “Paris of the north”. You’ll soon see why when you discover its extensive neoclassical architectural heritage. A stunning example is the Arctic cathedral, a major monument whose stylistic purity echoes the outline of the mountains surrounding the town.
25 May 2019 – At seaArrival 25/05/2019. Departure 25/05/2019.
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
26 May 2019 – Sailing by Bjornoya (Bear Island)Arrival 26/05/2019. Departure 26/05/2019.
Halfway between Norway and Spitsbergen, you will sail not far from the coastlines of Bjørnøya, the southernmost island of Svalbard. From your ship, observe this isolated piece of land discovered in 1596 by the Dutch navigator Willem Barents, then looking for the Northwest Passage. Following a tough fight between a polar bear and the members of the expedition, he dubbed the place Bear Island. Regularly covered by a thick layer of fog, Bjørnøya shelters a meteorological station built in 1923, which is still in operation. Declared a nature reserve in 2002, the island is above all home to an enormous colony of sea birds: skuas, guillemots, puffins, Tridactyl gulls, petrels, gulls and little auks all coexist here.
27 May 2019 – Gnalodden, SpitsbergenArrival 27/05/2019. Departure 27/05/2019.
The Gnålodden Cliff culminates at over 700 metres high and is home to over a thousand species of sea birds. Tridactyl gulls, northern fulmars and thick-billed murres are lords and masters in this often deafening commotion, particularly during the nesting season. Polar bears and Arctic foxes also frequent the site, a delight for lovers of the animal kingdom. The “bird cliff”, as it is known, is surrounded at its foot by very rich vegetation, unfurling its carpet of moss across a décor of wild tundra. During your visit, stop at the former hunter’s cabin, which was also used as a satellite station during the 1930s.
27 May 2019 – Horn glacier, SpitsbergenArrival 27/05/2019. Departure 27/05/2019.
Nestling between millennial glaciers and carved mountains, and considered to be “the crown of Arctic Norway”, Spitsbergen is a place that never sees the night. Your ship will take you closer to this fascinating archipelago and, more particularly, the Hornsund fjord. Considered to be Svalbard’s southernmost fjord, it is especially reputed to be its most stunning: at the end of its vast bay, 8 great glaciers slowly make their way down to the sea before giving way to the many icebergs elegantly drifting along its cold and mysterious waters.
28 May 2019 – GasbergkilenArrival 28/05/2019. Departure 28/05/2019.
With its oasis-like appearance, this site can be quite a surprise. It is home to one of the largest bird cliffs on the west coast of Spitsbergen, much to the delight of photographers and nature lovers. The damp climate as well as the guano, accumulating on the ground for thousands of years, explain the presence of very green and rich vegetation composed, among other things, of mosses and rock foils. On land, it is possible to come across an Arctic fox searching for food. But you will have even greater delight if you look skywards in Gåsbergkilen. Very popular with thick-billed murres and Tridactyl gulls, the superb bird cliff is also home to razorbills, barnacle geese and pink-footed geese.
28 May 2019 – Recherchefjorden, SpitsbergenArrival 28/05/2019. Departure 28/05/2019.
During your cruise, set off to discover Recherchefjorden, located to the south of Bellsund. You will land on a beach that is home to several cabins dating from the era of the Northern Exploration Company (NEC). This company was founded in 1910 by Ernest Mansfield, a man who hoped to benefit from mineral exploration. The gold and coal rushes lasted ten years and came to nothing. These houses, a boat, some barrels and a winch are the last remnants of the a bygone era in Spitsbergen. Not far from there, a plateau of tundra covered in purple campion awaits you, regularly frequented by reindeer and Arctic foxes.
29 May 2019 – Magdalenefjorden (Magdalena Bay), SpitsbergenArrival 29/05/2019. Departure 29/05/2019.
Nestling in north western Spitsbergen, Magdalena Bay is one of Svalbard’s unmissable sites. In a spectacular landscape of snow-topped Alpine mountains, deep fjords, beaches and majestic glaciers, it offers multiple opportunities for wonderment. We will not be surprised to observe whales, walruses, seals, common eiders, terns, polar bears and Arctic foxes there. The site of Gravneset, located in Magdalenafjorden, is home to the remnants of a former whaling station used during the 17th century, as well as the graves of many sailors buried here up until the end of the 18th century. Not far from here, the Gully Glacier offers a magnificent view, a delight for photographers.
29 May 2019 – Ytre Norskoya, SvalbardArrival 29/05/2019. Departure 29/05/2019.
At first sight, the small island of Ytre Norskøya seems to be a sterile and arid land. But once you are ashore, you will be welcomed by a thick carpet of golden moss, dotted with pygmy buttercups, Svalbard poppies and lichen. On the beach are the remains of the ovens that were used to melt whale blubber, precious evidence of the history of the whalers who came and set up in this area as of the 17th century. Another trace of the past: the presence of one of the largest cemeteries in Svalbard, with no fewer than 165 tombs. The Ytre Norskøya cliff is home to many sea birds, including little auks, barnacle geese, Atlantic puffins and thick-billed murres.
30 May 2019 – Sailing ice floes along GreenlandArrival 30/05/2019. Departure 30/05/2019.
The north-east of Greenland is renowned for being home to one of the oldest and thickest layers of ice on the planet. Aboard your ship, you will have the unique opportunity of sailing to the heart of this icy wilderness, many thousands of years old, and will notably travel along the coast of the North-East Greenland National Park, recognised as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. From your ship you will also discover Scoresby Sund, the largest fjord in the world. In this pure and preserved world, you will see abundant wildlife in a landscape of tundra and ice, a real delight for the eyes and for photographers.
31 May 2019 – 14th July Glacier, SpitsbergenArrival 31/05/2019. Departure 31/05/2019.
At the entrance to Cross Bay, between tundra, plutonic rocks and mountains covered with a surprising endemic flora, set off to discover the 14th July Glacier. It was thus named by Prince Albert I of Monaco, following an expedition that he led there at the beginning of the 20th century. The glacier’s surroundings are frequented by numerous birds (Tridactyl gulls, thick-billed murres, barnacle geese, common eiders, Atlantic puffins…), as well as Arctic foxes and reindeer. As you arrive in front of the glacier, admire the impressive wall of ice and the reflection of the cliffs in the water. It is quite common to see a section of ice come loose, or a bearded seal lounging on an iceberg.
31 May 2019 – Ny-Alesund, SpitsbergenArrival 31/05/2019. Departure 31/05/2019.
During your cruise, discover Ny-Ålesund, a former mining town that has been transformed into a scientific base. Founded in 1916, this small town was the departure point for many Arctic expeditions, including those of the famous explorer Roald Amundsen. Don't miss a visit to the museum and its famous post office, considered to be the most northerly in the world!
1 June 2019 – Alkhornet, SpitsbergenArrival 01/06/2019. Departure 01/06/2019.
At the northern entrance of Isfjorden, there is a small paradise for bird lovers: the Alkhornet Cliff. It is home to a very rich avifauna, made up of thousands of birds frolicking in a joyous tumult: gulls, guillemots, pink-footed geese, terns, seagulls, puffins, Arctic skuas… The Alkhornet Cliff, easily recognisable by its rhinoceros-horn shape, is also frequented by reindeer, which are not overly timid. Attracted by the tundra that covers the foot of the mountain, they come to graze in peace in a verdant setting covered with grass and moss. With a little luck, you will perhaps have the opportunity to see some seals and Arctic foxes, who are also regular visitors.
1 June 2019 – Nordenskiöld Glacier, SpitsbergenArrival 01/06/2019. Departure 01/06/2019.
Situated deep inside Isfjorden, the Nordenskiöld Glacier is one of the very beautiful discoveries of your cruise. Its front of ice, nearly 5 km wide, is one of the most spectacular in the Svalbard Archipelago. 30 metres high, the glacier, like a gigantic frozen statue whose sections of ice sometimes come spectacularly loose, is impressive. The polar bear, the king of the Arctic, will perhaps make an appearance in these parts, which are also frequented by reindeer and seals.
Longyearbyen, SpitsbergenDisembarkation 02/06/2019 at 07H00 .
Longyearbyen is the capital of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, located on Svalbard’s main island, and is the northernmost territorial capital on the planet. With winter temperatures dropping to below 40°C, the landscapes of this mining town are simply breathtaking. The glaciers, the mountains stretching as far as the eye can see and the untouched nature, make you feel like you’re in completely unexplored territory.
The information below is current but subject to change at any time without advance notice from government authorities. Please consult your respective government agencies for visa and health information.
Passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the completion of your trip. Passport must contain at least two completely clear, blank, unused visa pages for each visa required, not including any amendment pages. Visa pages with stains or ink from other pages in the passport are not usable. Guests who deviate from the scheduled embarkation or disembarkation port should research the foreign entry requirements for the port country. Due to government regulations, regrettably, Ponant will have to deny boarding to any guest who fails to obtain the appropriate travel documentation for this trip.
Warning about the use of drones: the use of drones aboard PONANT ships, whether they are sailing at sea, at a port of call or anchored, is strictly forbidden. The use of drones on land in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is also strictly forbidden by international polar regulations. In other regions, it may be possible to use drones on land if permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities of each country and each region travelled through, as well as a pilot’s licence that should be obtained from your home country. Passengers are responsible for obtaining these permits; they should be able to present them at all times. Passengers who do not obtain these authorisations expose themselves to the risk of legal proceedings.
Discover the unique concept of PONANT polar expedition cruises: explore the world’s extreme regions while enjoying luxurious comfort and service.
A luxury expedition voyage
Choosing a PONANT expedition cruise means choosing a state of mind: the alliance of elegance and authenticity, of exploration and comfort, of adventure and refinement… The comfort of your ship and your stateroom, personalised and attentive service, refined gastronomy: a very special atmosphere that we take great care to maintain. In the heart of the ice floes of the Arctic and the Antarctic, our luxurious services will ensure that your expedition cruise is an unforgettable experience.
PONANT, polar specialists
With almost 20 years of experience in the extreme regions, PONANT, the world’s number 1 polar cruise company, is a real polar specialist. PONANT will take you to the most remote regions in total safety: our Captains and crew are professionals, specially trained to sail in icy waters. Our latest-generation fleet has the most modern technology to guarantee both your safety and respect for the regions visited. The size of our ships means we can get as close as possible to areas that are difficult to reach, offering a privileged access to preserved sites. Our flexibility enables us to adapt to the surprises inherent to these expedition itineraries.
Professional expedition teams, varied activities
After scouting missions in the field, our Expedition Leaders and their teams of naturalist guides design exceptional itineraries in the polar regions. During the cruise, they organise daily outings and shore visits in Zodiac® dinghies and hikes on land so as to get as close as possible to nature and wild fauna. In the Arctic and in Alaska, the close relationships that our teams have been able to build with the local communities will enable you to understand the life of these peoples of the Far North, and to share it for a few hours. On board, the naturalist guides will share their knowledge during various conferences on fauna, the history of the great explorations, geology and climatology…
Expeditions programs include activities such as Zodiac® outings (sometimes with "wet landing"), moderate walks to more active hikes. All this accompanied by your expedition team of naturalist guides. Certain zodiac® outings will not allow for landings just cruising. Landings will depend on weather conditions, position of ice and winds and the state of the sea. These can force a change of plans at any time.
Travelling to polar/isolated regions is an exhilarating experience. The raw beauty and untouched wilderness offer an unusual chance to experience a place where there is little evidence of human presence. Inevitably, there are some consequences that come with such remoteness: please remember that you are far from modern hospitals with full medical facilities, thus evacuation is highly expensive. Without the necessary medical coverage, all expenses will have to be immediately paid from with your personal funds. We urge you to subscribe a full coverage insurance, choose your insurance company very carefully and be extremely vigilant and ensure your insurance is fully comprehensive.
Taking into consideration the unusual and exceptional character of expedition itineraries, the calls shown are an indication only. The final route will be confirmed by the Captain and Expedition Leader, who will take into account the touristic quality of the sites and above all, the safety of the passengers. Their decision will be subject to that of local authorities and/or the expert pilots present on board during the navigation in polar and /or isolated zones.
- Water-resistant parka offered on board (for adults only) on Expedition cruises where the stamp “Parka gift” appears
- Half calf rubber boots with non-slip soles, which will allow you to land in 20 cm of cold water, keeping your feet dry for walks and visits on steep paths. You can also bring water-resistant hiking boots. A boots rental will be offered onboard (for adults only) on Expedition cruises where the stamp “Boots offered” appears
- Comfortable pants: classic Winter pants, warm cotton tracksuit
- Water-resistant windbreaker over pants - COMPULSORY
- Winter pants with water-resistant over pants is the ideal combination: water-resistance and comfort suitability of pants are essential
- Pullover, sweat-shirt or fleece jacket
- Thermal sweater
- Fleece muffler and fleece cap or thermal beanie covering ears (avoid scarfs which do not stand still)
- Water-resistant and supple gloves
- Polarized sunglasses with high UV filter
- Walking sticks (highly recommended)
Feel free to visit the PONANT online shop which offers a selection of equipment and accessories adapted to our destinations at the following address: https://boutique.ponant.com
Benefits of the PONANT shop:
- expert advice to gear up
- a selection of technical equipment and accessories approved by our naturalists
- Duty Free prices
- delivery directly on board