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


As the only cruise company sailing under the French flag, 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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Exceptional destinations

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.


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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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Our story

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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Our awards

Thanks to the values ​​we convey and our constant desire to innovate and offer luxurious and virtuous services, we regularly receive a lot of international awards.


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Our commitments


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. Veuve Clicquot champagne, En-K caviar, Ladurée macaroons, Bordier butter, Palais des Thés teas and Lenôtre cakes and sweets 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.

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.

Exceptional destinations

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 17 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.

Exclusive itineraries

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.

Our story

At the beginning there was love of the sea and a passion for travel. The dream of adventure and a taste for sophistication. The desire to travel the world and spread the French way of life around the world. The wish to construct innovative and luxurious ships, with small capacity where others chose to build giants of the sea. PONANT still finds the perfect balance between all of these factors today and shares them with their passengers. Building on years of experience, the company offers luxury cruises on a modern fleet with ships built for an intimate environment.




1986

The call of the open sea…

In 1986, Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée, a young French Merchant Navy officer and travel enthusiast, decided to fulfil his dream by creating an innovative concept: showcasing the art of travelling at sea in the finest French tradition, then called “The French Way of Sea”.



1986

1988




1988

The start of a great adventure

In 1988, La Compagnie des îles du Ponant was created. Fourteen shareholders, recent graduates of the French Merchant Navy aged between 23 and 29, thus set off on the adventure of a lifetime. The name “Ponant” means the West in Latin but was also one of the first itineraries planned: a cruise in the Ponant Isles.





1989

An emblematic three-masted yacht

The Le Ponant project began in 1989. The company’s mythical yacht saw the light of day two years later in the shipbuilding yards of Villeneuve-La-Garenne. In May 1991, Le Ponant cast off and made its maiden cruise. It was a voyage that followed in the wake of Christopher Columbus into the heart of the exotic Caribbean archipelago.


1989

1998




1998

The development of the fleet

The Compagnie des îles du Ponant expanded its fleet with the acquisition of Le Levant in November 1998. Of a size to suit expedition cruises, Le Levant travelled up the Amazon on one of its first commercial cruises.





2002

New shipping routes

The company acquired the Song of Flower. Renamed Le Diamant, this third ship entered service in 2004. Built for adventure and an ice environment, it travelled to Greenland, Spitsbergen and even Antarctica.


2002

2004



2004

International expansion

The CMA-CGM, a world leader in container shipping, became the majority shareholder of the company. The company moved to Marseille and became the Compagnie du Ponant.






2007

A latest-generation ship

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-range amenities. Le Boréal was constructed in 2009 at the Italian shipyard Fincantieri. In 2010, this magnificent 132-stateroom yacht won the “Best Newcomer of the Year – GOLD” prize awarded by the European Cruiser Association (EUCRAS).

2007

2011




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 took delivery of Le Soléal, the third sistership. In 2014, the company was renamed PONANT, after 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 buyout will enable the company to sustain its internationalisation, 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.

2015

2016







2016-2017

Six new next generation shipping yachts

PONANT announced the advent of the PONANT EXPLORERS series: six exceptional yachts specially designed for expeditions, especially tropical voyages. The first two were operational in 2018, the next two will be sailing in summer 2019, and the last two will be operational in 2020.






2017

Further innovation

At the end of the year, PONANT announced the advent of an unprecedented vessel: the world's first hybrid electric polar explorer powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). From 2021 onwards, this ship will sail to the geographic North Pole, cross the Atlantic ocean and discover the extreme north-east of Greenland. As a real pioneer in terms of respect for the environment, this latest member of the PONANT fleet will take its passengers in the footsteps of the greatest explorers, discovering extreme landscapes that have never yet been explored.

2017

2018





2018

Thirty years of success

PONANT is celebrating its 30th birthday. This anniversary year just goes to show the dazzling success of this company and how far they have come.

In July and October, PONANT will be receiving and inaugurating Le Lapérouse and Le Champlain, the first vessels in the PONANT EXPLORERS series. They are celebrated for their sleek racer lines, their streamlined and luxurious design and their techological innovations, but also for their Blue Eye, a multisensory underwater salon. The company is continuing its action to support sustainable tourism with the creation of the PONANT Foundation. Its objective is to raise awareness and support research and projects aiming at preserving the ocean, the poles and indigenous peoples.



2018

The PONANT Foundation

The company is continuing its action to support sustainable tourism with the creation of the PONANT Foundation. Its objective is to raise awareness and support research and projects aiming at preserving the ocean, the poles and indigenous peoples.

2018

2019





2019

The family expands

PONANT is taking possession of two new vessels in the PONANT EXPLORERS series: Le Bougainville, in April, and Le Dumont-D'Urville, in June. Le Bellot and Le Jacques Cartier will follow in 2020.



2019

PONANT acquires PAUL GAUGUIN CRUISES

PONANT welcomes PAUL GAUGUIN CRUISES, the renowned specialist in sailings to exotic ports in French Polynesia and the South Pacific, in its family.

2019

Awards

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.

"TIME MAGAZINE's 100 Greatest Places 2018" Award
Le Lapérouse has been chosen as one of the best establishments to stay in by TIME MAGAZINE
“Best Cruise Line Expedition”
Awarded by Luxury Travel Magazine’s “2018 Gold List Awards”
“N. 1 position in Tall Ship category” and N. 2 position in “Expedition Luxury Ship”
Awarded at the "Signature Luxury Travel & Style Cruise Awards" in 2018
"Cruise - Overall-Small Cruise Ship for Cruise Lines"
Awarded at the 2017 MAGELLAN AWARDS GOLD
"Cruise - Overall-Eco-Friendly Green Cruise Ship for Cruise Lines"
Awarded at the 2017 MAGELLAN AWARDS GOLD
"Cruise - Expeditions-Itinerary for Cruise Lines"
Awarded at the 2017 MAGELLAN AWARDS SILVER
Winner in the category “Product Innovation”
Awarded at the DEUTSCHER KREUZFAHRTPREIS 2018
"Best Cruise Company"
Awarded at the "Victoires du Tourisme" awards in 2015, 2016 and 2017
"N. 1 position in both the Luxury Expedition category and the Tall Ships categories"
Awarded at the "Signature Luxury Travel & Style Cruise Awards"in 2017
"Trophée de la Charte Bleue"
Awarded by the professional organization of the Armateurs de France in 2016
"Best Luxury Cruise Line"
Nominated in Virtuoso Awards 2016 category
"Travel weekly’s GOLD and SILVER MAGELLAN AWARDS in 2016"
Awarded at the MAGELLAN AWARDS by Travel Weekly
"Star Specialist Cruise Company"
Finalist at the Travel Bulletin Star Awards 2016
"No.1 for Service"
Awarded by Conde Nast Traveller UK in the Small ships category
"Travel & Leisure’s Recognition in World’s Best Awards 2016"
Awarded by Travel + Leisure
"French Excellence Award Winner"
"Best for Luxury"
Awarded at "Cruise Critic Editors’ Picks Awards"
"National Geographic Traveler 50 Tours of a Lifetime"
Awarded for the North West Passage 2014 cruise by "National Geographic Traveler"
"Outstanding Culinary Cruise Line"
Awarded at "Saveur Culinary Travel Awards"
"N° 1 cruise line"
Awarded by the French travel agents during a satisfaction survey carried out by Invescomm in partnership with Tour Hebdo"Best Stateroom" in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
"Personality of the Year"
Awarded to Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée at the "Seatrade Insider Cruise Awards"
"Best Stateroom"
Awarded by L’Officiel Voyage for the Prestige Suite of Le Soléal
"Unifa Contract"
Awarded by "La Ligne Roset Contract" for the furniture on Le Soléal made with Jean-Philippe Nuel
"The Deutscher Kreuzfahrtpreis"
Awarded by "Deutscher Kreuzfahrtpreis 2011"
"Best Newcomer of the Year", Gold Medal
Awarded by the European Cruise Line Association for the Le Boréal ship