A French crew, expertise, attentive service, fine dining and more. Within a fully 5 star setting, we take you to discover exceptional destinations while offering you a travel experience that is both authentic and high end.
Travelling the French way
PONANT is an exponent for the French way of life across every sea on the globe. On board, this is translated through exceptional services, a multilingual crew and bringing French know-how to the fore.
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From secluded ports to secret seas, from forgotten beaches to remote lands, our experts choose itineraries that take you away from major tourist routes so you can enjoy unique cruises and shorelines that few have seen before.
Ships on a human scale
Thanks to our small capacity ships, we can dock in private ports and offer stopovers in preserved locations. On board, the limited number of passengers means that everybody can enjoy special moments and feel as though they are on a private yacht.
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Founded in 1988, PONANT is now the benchmark for a new style of luxury cruises. This enables us to look to the future with confidence and to carry out large-scale projects such as building new ships, technical and technological innovations, new itineraries and unique partnerships, etc.
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PONANT aims at becoming a world reference in the field of sustainable development in the cruising industry. The environment and ethics are among our main concerns, both in the regions we visit and in our relationships within the company and with our partners.
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Travelling the French way
As the only French cruise company, PONANT is an ambassador of the “French Touch” around the world. With French crew, discreet service, refined cuisine and partners with excellent track records, we do our utmost to maintain our unique cruising philosophy.
The great art of French fine dining
Our dining menu is created in partnership with Ducasse Conseil, chef Alain Ducasse's high-end catering company. Our chefs are all French and create elegant and sophisticated menus every day based on fine food and quality products.
We have therefore associated ourselves with prestigious partners, who are themselves internationally recognised for their expertise. Champagne, Kaviari caviar, Pierre Hermé Paris macaroons, Bordier butter and Palais des Thés teas are all on the menu during our dinners, gala cocktails and gourmet breaks. Taillevent, famous for their food and wine pairings, have also shown their signature know-how with their selection of wine by the glass.
The availability of selected products such as Bordier butter and cheese, Kaviari caviar, pata negra, foie gras and Pierre Hermé macaroons cannot be guaranteed on late-season departures to Antarctica (from late January/early February). In addition, products originating directly from France are banned in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Philippines). The supply of French products in these areas therefore depends on local sourcing possibilities. In Australia and New Zealand, the fish menu includes stonefish, sole, tuna, salmon and red mullet.
Design and the art of living
Because French luxury is recognized and appreciated around the world, we have appealed to partners whose search for excellence matches our own travel philosophy. Our ships are designed for a warmer, closer experience, so that you can bask in a cosy atmosphere comparable to a private yacht. The interior design is by the talented architect Jean-Philippe Nuel, who is internationally recognised. The fabric by Pierre Frey, the room fragrance by Fragonard, and the bathroom collections for the cabins by Hermès all contribute to an atmosphere where sophistication is the order of the day.
In the spa, the personal care products from Sothy’s™ are designed for moments of sheer well-being. Our hair salon boasts a team of hairdressers who can offer you personalised advice and use a range of products from Kérastase et L’Oréal Professionnel.
Introducing the world to the French touch
The "French touch" is first and foremost established by the presence of French naval officers on board and a French and English-speaking crew. Both professional and attentive, our ships' teams ensure that you are comfortable throughout your cruise. Because French elegance is always about the little details, you will find all our services are 5-star, just like the best French hotels and restaurants.
While French standards throughout the world are synonymous with a certain understated elegance, it is also reflected in our expertise. The exceptional guests present on certain itineraries promote the best of French culture. They include "Chevaliers des arts et des lettres" (a French title of distinction in art and literature), decorated members of the French Legion of Honour, academics, members of the greatest universities, as well as researchers and scientists, and all of them are ambassadors of our unique French culture across every sea on the globe.
Legendary stopovers, secret ports, isolated archipelagos and more. From the sunny shores of the Mediterranean to the mysterious coasts of Asia, from the lush banks of the Amazon river to the majestic Antarctic glaciers, we take you to exceptional destinations, which only a few very lucky people have the chance to explore.
Faithful to our sustainable development policy, we are respectful of the lands we visit and the people who live there. Our team of experts travels the world conducting scouting and environmental impact studies and meeting local communities. We ensure that our presence does not disrupt ecosystems or indigenous peoples.
Ships designed on a human scale
In keeping with our desire to offer you exceptional voyages in luxurious onboard surroundings, we have deliberately designed our ships to be of small capacity. Far removed from the race to be ever bigger and huger, our ships are sized on a human scale to enable them to access uniquely out-of-the-ordinary and little visited ports of call. This ensures cruises with an air of exclusivity for our passengers and an attentive and personalised service for all.
Just like a private yacht
Our fleet is made up exclusively of small-sized ships designed to accommodate a limited number of passengers:
- Our legendary sailing ship the Le Ponant is equipped with 16 cabins.
- The new yachts of the PONANT EXPLORERS* series feature 92 cabins.
- The L’Austral, the Le Boréal and the Le Soléal each have 132 cabins and the Le Lyrial 122.
- The Le Commandant-Charcot is equipped with 135 cabins.
By combining these kinds of capacities with sleek, refined design, our ships enable us to maintain maxium levels of passenger privacy and offer a 5-star personalised service onboard.
*The Le Lapérouse, the Le Champlain, the Le Bougainville, the Le Dumont-D’Urville, the Le Jacques-Cartier and the Le Bellot.
A modern fleet
Our ships are equipped with the very latest technologies, thus guaranteeing the safety and security of our passengers and limiting our impact on the environment. A sonar detection system designed to prevent collisions with icebergs and reefs, a low-energy and low heat generating lighting system (LED and fibre optic based), a dynamic positioning system enabling (when necessary) the ship to be kept in a static position without the need to drop the anchor, thus respecting and preserving the seabed… This innovative equipment is central to the design of our ships.
Thanks to their reduced size, our ships are able to stop at quiet little harbours and access remote, out-of-the-way places. Because our passengers are looking for unique kinds of travel experiences, we offer them the possibility of cruising into port in exceptional comfort and luxury and accessing little-visited sites.
World leader in luxury expeditions and France's only cruise ship owner, PONANT was founded by a group of professional sailors in 1988 and has been perfecting the art of exploration since its inception. The company is today setting the standard for a new kind of more sustainable travel through a unique sea travel concept combining exceptional itineraries with luxury hotel style services on board intimately sized ships.
The call of the open sea…
From the start, PONANT’s founders stand out by focusing on innovation and progress, choosing the French flag and reinventing responsible sea travel: the environment, safety and security are at the heart of what is still today the company's heritage.
The start of a great adventure
Committed from the beginning to a more sustainable tourism, for its first ship the company goes down the sailing route when it inaugurates Le Ponant, a majestic three-mast yacht with 32 cabins.
The development of the fleet
The company joins CMA CGM, moves to Marseille and becomes COMPAGNIE DU PONANT.
It sets about designing “the ideal cruise ship”, with just 132 staterooms and equipped with the latest technology.
Six new next generation shipping yachts
PONANT is acquired by Artémis, holding company of the Pinault family, to continue the company’s development while remaining true to its environmental commitments in the same spirit of innovation and excellence. PONANT also announces its order for the PONANT EXPLORERS series: six yachts with 92 staterooms and suites designed for expeditions.
Setting up of the PONANT Foundation
The company sets up the PONANT Foundation which provides support to a number of projects focused on research and raising awareness. The Foundation continues its commitment to protect the oceans and poles, and develop cultural contacts with indigenous peoples.
Palmes du Tourisme Durable Award
PONANT is the first company to ban the use of heavy fuel oil in favour of Low Sulphur Marine Gasoil (LS MGO). A decision recognised in 2020 by the annual Palmes du Tourisme Durable with an award in the ‘Travel’ category.
PONANT acquires PAUL GAUGUIN Cruises, which has specialised in the South Pacific region for nearly 20 years, to offer a wider range of and destinations.
Le Commandant Charcot
PONANT announces a new phase in its development with the arrival of Hervé Gastinel who succeeds Jean Emmanuel Sauvée as company CEO. The company affirms its reputation as a pioneer in the sustainable tourism field and launches Le Commandant Charcot, PONANT's first polar exploration ship, equipped with a hybrid electric Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) propulsion system. She is the very first French vessel to reach the Geographic North Pole (90,00,000°), on September 6th, 2021.
Development of an environmentally friendly yacht concept
True to its pioneering spirit, PONANT is continuing to explore technological options for making tourism more sustainable. The R&D team is working on the concept of an eco-designed cruise ship that will have no impact on the environment when sailing and navigating.
PONANT is regularly awarded for the quality of its services and its unique cruising concept. Below are French and international prizes won by our company.