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Most Ponant ships expected to sail this summer, from France, Iceland, Arctic

PHOTO: PONANT CRUISE Le Boréal (foreground).jpg
Le Boréal, foreground, is scheduled to sail to Spitsbergen, the Northeast Passage and the Russian Arctic
While Ponant still awaits approval to sail five different itineraries along the French coasts, Le Bellot is planned to operate from Iceland and Le Boréal in the Arctic.

Green light from France is expected

Even though it's taking time for the OK from France, Hervé Bellaiche, chief sales and marketing officer for Ponant, has no doubt the coastal cruises on six vessels will start July 11. 'For two weeks, now, we have been taking firm reservations, not only pre-bookings,' he said.

Most are from French, Belgian and Swiss travelers.

Heading north

The 184-passenger Le Bellot, delivered at the end of March, is to operate its inaugural season with weekly cruises around Iceland, departing July 13, 20 and 27 and Aug. 5, 12, 19 and 26. On Sept. 2, a 10-day cruise back to Bergen, Norway, is to include the Faroe Islands.

The 264-passenger Le Boréal, which left Marseille yesterday and is heading to Reykjavik, is set to cruise up to Spitsbergen July 18-25 and July 25-Aug. 1. Departures for a new eight-day itinerary are scheduled on Aug. 1 and Aug. 8, with a 14-day cruise on Aug. 15.

For these cruises, too, Bellaiche said Ponant awaits the OK to start in July.

The ship is then to sail the Northeast Passage and the Russian Arctic between the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Kuril Islands (Anadyr, Russia-Tokyo) from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4.