Category Archives: Ponant Cruises

World First Hybrid Electric LNG Icebreaker

Ponant Reveal New Ship to be named Le Commandant Charcot, a tribute to Captain Jean-Baptiste Charcot

Ponant, the global leader in luxury expeditions and the only French-owned cruise line, has revealed the name of its polar exploration vessel, Le Commandant Charcot. A world first, this hybrid electric icebreaker, powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), has been named after Captain Jean-Baptiste Charcot, as an homage to the man known as “the gentleman of the poles”.

Photo Credit: PONANT – Le Commandant Charcot

A tribute to the famous French polar explorer, Captain Jean-Baptiste Charcot

The new vessel will bear the name of a great French explorer: Le Commandant Charcot. An explorer by vocation with a true passion for sailing, Jean-Baptiste Charcot is an emblematic figure of French polar expeditions. By naming its forthcoming polar exploration vessel after him, PONANT is paying tribute to this “gentleman of the poles”, who was respected by everyone. This choice is even more significant since this new ship will be fitted with the latest technology for minimising environmental impact, as well as a scientific laboratory for conducting operational oceanography missions and research.

Captain Jean-Baptiste Charcot, the gentleman of the poles

Captain Jean-Baptiste Charcot

1867    Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine.

1873    At school, he drew boats on all his exercise books.

1892    For his 25th birthday, he received a small boat as a gift from his father.

1902    He crossed the Arctic Circle and travelled to the Arctic for the first time.

1903    From 1903 to 1905 aboard Le Français and from 1908 to 1910 aboard Le Pourquoi-Pas, he reached the Antarctic regions.

1909    He located Graham Land on navigation charts, dropped anchor near Alexandra Land, and discovered the island that would bear his name.

1920    From 1920 to 1936, his scientific cruises led him from the Hebrides to the east coast of Greenland.

Sustainable development is at the core of the design of the polar exploration vessel

Powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Le Commandant Charcot will be fitted with the latest environmental protection technology:

Advanced “Cleanship” equipment exceeding the requirements imposed by current environmental regulations:

  • Reduction of SO2, NOₓ, CO2 and particle emissions thanks to the use of LNG
  • Zero emissions in hybrid electric mode

Energy management:

  • Energy optimisation system with precise consumption measurement and optimisation of ship sailing methods
  • Energy recovery system
  • Consumption optimisation with latest-generation electric batteries that make it possible to stop the engines for 2 to 3 hours

Water treatment:

    • Advanced waste-water treatment system

Photo Credit: PONANT – Le Commandant Charcot

Pre-bookings can be made from 6 September 2018

Bookings for cruises aboard Le Commandant Charcot will open on 4 April 2019, but pre-bookings may be made from 6 September 2018 to secure a stateroom and the early bird price. A chance to discover the Geographic North Pole (latitude 90 degrees North) or parts of Antarctica, such as the Ross Sea, Charcot Island and Peter  Island, that were inaccessible until now… Passengers booking these itineraries will be in for veritable polar odysseys rather than cruises.

Le Soleal in Pictures by Andrew Sassoli-Walker

Le Soleal in the Solent

Andrew Sassoli-Walker is an amazing photographer and many of us are already aware of the magnificent images he captures during his day to day life around the Solent, through posts he shares on social media. There are also numerous books Andrew has put together which highlight the P and O and Cunard fleets. These are available to buy online here.

I was thrilled when Andrew agreed to join me onboard Le Ponant’s luxury yacht, Le Soleal when she visited Portsmouth earlier this year. We were incredibly lucky with the weather, and Andrew managed to capture some fantastic images of the ship.

To me, what makes these photographs so special is that they are taken by someone who has a true passion and respect for the vessels themselves. This shows through in the character of the images Andrew took on the day.

Le Soleal is more of a private luxury yacht than a cruise ship. She is only 142 metres long and has a guest capacity of 264 passengers.

 

It was hard to believe we were in Portsmouth but easy to imagine life onboard the luxury yacht basking in the Mediterranean Sun.

Ponant is the only French owned cruise line.

Ponant are very happy to allow guests to view the bridge whenever possible.

The casual dining restaurant onboard Le Soleal.

Spectacular all balcony suites onboard Le Soleal.

Luxurious spa treatments available onboard using Sothys range of products.

The onboard cinema.

My personal favourite, the lounge bar with stunning views, comfortable seating and beautiful skylight.

French bread anyone?

As expected, the food, wine and service was impeccable, with food served under a cloche.

More information can be found on my blog post Ponant – Luxury and Expedition Cruises

You can follow Andrew on Instagram.

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Ponant – Luxury and Expedition Cruises

WHY PONANT?

If you love the idea of an adventure or expedition cruise, but want an intimate and luxuriously elegant onboard experience, then you are going to love this.

A luxury cruise onboard these French-style Ponant ships, combines chic with casual to provide a je ne sais quoi more familiar to that of a private yacht.  With one staff member for every two guests, you will find yourself being welcomed onboard by name. The personalised service continues throughout your cruise, as the staff will remember your food and drink preferences from day one.

(Image credit: PONANT)

The intimate ships are small with the largest having just 132 staterooms. Interior decor for four of the ships is contemporary with a nautical feel.

In the evenings there is entertainment which includes parties outside on the top deck.  Music is provided by a DJ who plays Mediterranean club style music.

On selected sailings during the summer, children of the ages 4 and over are catered for with a small kids club, and children onboard tend to be well mannered and well behaved.

Destinations and Themed Cruises

Thanks to a reinforced hull, Le Boréal, L’Austral, Le Soléal and Le Lyrial have been awarded Ice 1C certification. This gives the ships access to polar regions that are not readily available to most cruise ships.

For details on Ponant’s Polar Cruises click here

Due to their size, not only are these ships able to reach every corner of the globe, but they can get much closer to the most stunning scenery.

(Image credit: PONANT)

Destinations for 2017 include The Arctic, Northern Europe and The Baltic, Asia, Oceania, Mediterranean, Canada and North America. 38 destinations include visits to Unesco World Heritage Sites.

Fleet

The four sister ships Le Boréal, L’Austral, Le Soléal and Le Lyrial are joined by the cruise lines flagship Le Ponant. With only 32 staterooms, this sailing ship is a truly exquisite experience.

Le Laperouse is the first of four new expedition ships for Ponant. Designed to be able to explore deeper than other vessels, the ships also feature an underwater lounge for a unique multi-sensorial experience.

(Image credit: PONANT)

In 2018 the fleet will be expanded with two of its four new explorer ships, Le Laperouse and Le Champlain with two to follow in 2019. These incredible ships will be smaller then their four predecessors and combine the sleek, contemporary design of the current fleet, with new environmentally-friendly equipment. New features also include a modular marina platform and infinity pool.

Accommodation

Onboard accommodation comprises 2 berth Deluxe and Prestige staterooms, 3 berth Superior staterooms, 2 berth Deluxe suites and 4 berth Prestige suites. The top suite is the Owners Suite which has the capacity for two guests.

PRESTIGE SUITE (Image credit: PONANT)

All rooms are equipped with:

PRESTIGE STATEROOM (Image credit: PONANT)

Individual Air Conditioning

  • King Size or Twin Beds
  • Shower (and Bath in Owners Suite)
  • French bath products
  • Mini Bar and 24 hr room service
  • Flatscreen
  • Satellite TV and video on demand
  • Desk with stationary, Internet access wifi
  • Ipod players
  • Safe, Hairdryer and Bathrobes
  • Satellite direct line telephone

OWNERS SUITE (Image credit: PONANT)

Onboard Facilities

An onboard theatre provides a venue for talks and lectures as well as shows, musical performances and film screenings. The fitness room with state of the art gym equipment, will ensure your workout regime doesn’t get disrupted whilst you are busy travelling the world.

(Image credit: PONANT)

Of course no luxury cruise ship would be complete without a spa to pamper and indulge. The well-being centres onboard Ponant ships provide an extensive range of treatments using only the best French Sothys products.

TREATMENTS IN THE WELL-BEING CENTRE IN ASSOCIATION WITH SOTHYS Paris . (Image credit: PONANT)

Luxury lounge areas decorated in soft nautical tones and sumptuous seating, allows you to relax during your cruise and take in the incredible views.

(Image credit: PONANT)

Dining

The ships offer two restaurants onboard. The Grill Restaurant on deck 6 has an open air dining area. The relaxed buffet restaurant serves a variety of delicious cuisine for guests looking for a faster meal service.

GRILL RESTAURANT (Image credit: PONANT)

On deck 2 is the gastronomic restaurant. Here you will experience the sophisticated elegance of traditional French service and cuisine, combining the best of the local flavours and fine wines.

GASTRONOMIC RESTAURANT (Image credit: PONANT)

An extensive complimentary room service menu is available 24 hours a day.

Environmental Commitment

Ponant are members of Charge Bleue d’Amateurs de France and IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators). They actively support Le Cercle Polaire and donate 10 Euros to Fablab every time a guest opts to receive electronic documents rather than paper copies.

The four sister ships use electric propulsion systems which are quiet and economical. The engines use less polluting Marine Diesel Oil which has earned them “Clean Ship” status.

(Image credit: PONANT)

In summary, Ponant’s French refinement combined with expedition and adventure cruising, makes this a firm favourite on my bucket list.

For More Information

Go to ponant.com for further details.