Cruises will take place aboard Le Lyrial, Le Champlain, Le Bougainville, Le Dumont d’Urville, Le Bellot and Le Jacques Cartier plus the recently refurbished Paul Gauguin.
Britanny and Corsica
From July to September, six departures from Saint-Malo to Britanny will take place as part of a ‘between wild coasts and lighthouses’ programme, with passengers accompanied on board by a team of naturalists.
From August to October, nine departures favouring ‘wild and authentic’ experiences are planned from Nice, with shore excursions on board Zodiacs scheduled, plus beach trips, hiking and diving with an experienced instructor available for passengers.
The two 8-day itineraries are already set to take place next year, too. The decision comes after similar itineraries were launched last July, with Bellaiche regarding them ‘successful to the point that the company decided to reprise some of them this year, while working to refine and enrich them.’
Some 27 Med cruises between July and November
Ponant vessels will sail the Italian coast, Greece’s Cyclades and the Aegean Sea, on itineraries conceived by the cruise line alongside curators from Paris' Louvre.
Ponant ships will also sail Croatia, with departures from Venice or Athens; a new 12-day cruise between Valletta and Athens starts in early September.
From June to September, nine cruises will depart Reykjavik with one circumnavigating the island as part of a new itinerary; it will depart August 11.
Between Oslo and Bergen, four 8-day cruises to the Norwegian Fjords are scheduled, taking place August 12, 19, 26 and September 2.
Newly renovated Paul Gauguin sailing French Polynesia
Run by Ponant under Paul Gauguin Cruises, the freshly renovated Paul Gauguin will resume sailing French Polynesia from August 28, with a 14-day itinerary that includes calls to Papeete, including the Marquesas, Tuamotu and the Society Islands, Huahiné, Bora Bora and Moorea.
Alleged by Ponant to be the ‘longest continually operating year-round luxury cruise ship in the region,’ Paul Gauguin will then embark on two 8-day cruises followed by a 12-days Cook Islands cruise. .
‘Cutting-edge’ medical facilities on board
‘Last year, we operated some 60 cruises with a very rigorous and proven sanitary Covid-safe protocol, with cutting-edge medical equipment on board,’ remarked Bellaiche.
‘The smaller scale of our ships offers maximum safety. We have even reinforced our “sanitary bubble” concept, with full vaccination mandatory for all passengers over 16 and for our crew.
‘This will have to be effective at least 14 days before departure. A PCR test carried out within 72 hours of boarding is also mandatory.’
Introducing three new ships to the fleet
Ponant has increased its capacity by the addition of three new ships – Le Jacques Cartier, Le Bellot and Le Commandant Charcot – which entered the fleet through 2020 and 2021, providing the potential for more destinations moving forward.
According to the cruise line, bookings are looking strong, with a number of passengers having rebooked cruises following last year’s cancellations.
‘Our clients are really eager to travel again, and trust us. The number of fully vaccinated people is also rising and this helps them with planning their next cruise,’ continued Bellaiche.
‘We remain optimistic. Last year, we welcomed some 3,500 passengers. But it is too early to say anything for 2021.
‘In any case, our Ultra Serenity policy gives them exceptionally flexible booking conditions.'