Plying the sea-lane less travelled is a hallmark of Ponant yacht cruises and expeditions. This, the only French-flagged luxury cruise line, has a fleet of five boutique vessels. On board Ponant ships, style meets substance and, as you might expect, fine cuisine is an integral part of the experience. In spring 2015,cruises begin on the 244-passenger Le Lyrial which has a slightly smaller capacity than her sister ships: the 264-passenger L'Austral, Le Boréal, and Le Soléal. With just 64 passengers, life aboard the three-masted sailing vessel Le Ponant is akin to being on a luxurious tall ship.
With ice-hardened hulls, Ponant ships offer specialist polar itineraries. Le Soléal sails three comprehensive itineraries in Antarctica. L'Austral sails to Alaska and the Aleutian Islands as well as Siberia and the Kodiak Peninsula. Le Boréal and Le Soléal head to Spitzbergen, Iceland, Greenland, the Baffin Sea, the North West Passage, Kamchatka and the remote Kuril Archipelago. L'Austral will visit Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand as well as Japan, China and the Philippines.
All ships in the fleet will undertake European cruises in summer months, with Le Ponant specialising in warm-weather sailing in the Mediterranean; while in winter months this sailing ship cruises the Caribbean. This luxury expedition cruise line has also introduced a new programme of well-crafted sailings to South and Central America aboard Le Boréal, L'Austral and Le Lyrial that visit Panama, the Chilean fjords, Andes, Patagonia and Brazil, as well as the Amazon and Orinoco rivers.