Luxury Times Two: PONANT Acquires Paul Gauguin

The world of luxury cruises has taken a thrilling turn with an exciting new acquisition. If you are a fan of the renowned French expedition cruise line PONANT, synonymous with sailing into the remote corners of the Polar regions, get ready to expand your bucket list. PONANT recently announced its plan to acquire Paul Gauguin Cruises, a leader in luxury cruises to the South Pacific. The all-inclusive m/s Paul Gauguin is explicitly designed to sail the shallow waters of the South Pacific. From Antartica to Tahiti, this acquisition takes luxurious sailing to new heights.

Credit: PONANT – Nathalie Michel

Similarities run deep between the two companies: fabulous itineraries, local onboard experts, gourmet cuisine, and bespoke amenities. After the acquisition, the two cruise lines will keep their individual management teams.

“We are pleased to welcome PAUL GAUGUIN CRUISES to our PONANT family,” noted Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée, Founder and President of PONANT. “Our guests can now select from a wider range of iconic destinations and become enriched by cultural and expedition cruises of their choice, that travel to the ends of the earth from the most remote ports to more perennial favorites, on our combined fleet of small ships. We share the same core values. The synergy between our operations makes this the perfect collaboration while preserving the unique DNA of both brand experiences.”

Credit:Paul Gauguin Cruises

The goal of the acquisition is to offer guests even more unique, small-ship encounters while continuing to provide authentic experiences and high-quality service.

But, that’s not all, PONANT continues to grow its fleet.

Navin Sawhney, CEO Americas for PONANT, added “PONANT is proud to be at the forefront of small-ship exploration. We are expanding our PONANT fleet to 14 ships by 2021.”

With three restaurants, a luxury spa, and our own watersports marina at your fingertips, as well as an attentive staff of 217, rest assured that your stay aboard The Gauguin is everything you want it to be and more.

So, whether you’re looking to get up close to orcas near the White Continent or dive into authentic Polynesian customs with visits to a local marae, a host of exciting opportunities are on the horizon.

Expand Your Horizons with a Cruise on the Baltic Sea

If you are intrigued by world policy, foreign affairs, and current events, imagine taking a luxury vacation with leading thinkers and policymakers. Now envision sailing to some of the most historical cities in the world with your new friends. All of this is possible with PONANT’s World Affair Cruise. Sail the soon-to-launch luxury EXPLORER yacht, Le Dumont d’Urville in August 2020, for an up-close look through history.

Credit: PONANT

The Baltic cruise begins in Stockholm and sails along historical cities that edge the Baltic Sea. Matching the captivating itinerary is equally fascinating onboard experiences featuring lectures and discussions. You’ll hear from former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO Admiral James Stavridis; former Ambassador to Russia and current President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, William Burns; and journalist and author Robin Wright, staff writer for the New Yorker and author of more than half a dozen award-winning books on international security matters.

Tallin, Estonia Credit: Shuterstock

These dynamic speakers add an abundance of insight into cultural destinations like St. Petersburg, where most of the city is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Journey to other important ports of calls such as Helsinki, brimming with modern architecture and Tallinn in Estonia, one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe. Venture on to Gotland, the largest island in the Baltic Sea where you will explore the medieval town of Visby, once a stronghold of the Hanseatic League.  That is then followed by a private choral performance and reception at the St. Clemens Church Ruin. Before concluding in Copenhagen, you’ll visit Szczecin, the city in Poland that was nearly destroyed during World War II but has since been completely rebuilt.

Credit: PONANT

The excitement of amazing ports extends onboard the fourth ship in PONANT’s new EXPLORER series, Le Dumont d’Urville. The 92 room luxury yacht,  embodies elegance. Blending refinement and comfort, staterooms feature balconies and spacious living accommodations. Lounge areas open to the outside, for a full immersion into your beautiful surroundings.

Le Bougainville, Credit: PONANT

If the August sailing date doesn’t fit into your schedule, PONANT offers another option. Le Bougainville’s World Affairs cruise takes place from October 11 to 18, 2019. This ship travels to the heart of the ancient Greek World.  Fareed Zakaria, CNN Host, and Washington Post columnist; Michael V. Hayden, retired US Air Force general and former Director of the CIA; and Daniel Mendelsohn, internationally best-selling author, and classicist will accompany the cruise for in-depth discussions and personal interactions.

PONANT Takes Delivery of Le Bougainville

Fans of French-owned cruise line PONANT will be thrilled to learn of the fleet’s newest addition.  The luxury expedition leader recently took delivery of the third vessel in its remarkable PONANT EXPLORERS series, Le Bougainville. The official inauguration will take place on June 4.

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“A dream, firm beliefs, energy and boldness were what created PONANT. It is by drawing on those roots and our expertise that PONANT is preparing today to meet the challenges of tomorrow, to surprise and delight our guests. I wanted the ships in the PONANT EXPLORERS series to embody the very best in expedition cruise. Le Bougainville is the incarnation of that,” said Jean Emmanuel Sauvée, CEO and co-founder of PONANT.

Credit: PONANT

You can expect many revolutionary additions onboard Le Bougainville, including the world’s first “Blue Eye” lounge. Discover the underwater world via two portholes looking out on to the sea bed. The lounge also features underwater lighting, hydrophones to transmit the natural symphony of the deep water, and body-listening sofas that offer a unique sensorial listening experience by corporal resonance. The ship’s main restaurant offers panoramic views and opens to the outside.

Be one of the first to set sail on Le Bourgainville to amazing itineraries like Athens to Istanbul; Barcelona to Lisbon; and Valletta to Valletta.

A Journey Through Japan

With its exquisite gardens, traditional dance performance and culture rich roots, the multifaceted world of Japan draws millions of visitors each year. What could be better than exploring this mesmerizing country than doing so from one location with access to noted experts who add depth and insight into the sights along the way? If immersing yourself in Japanese culture is on your bucket list, you are going to want to explore PONANT’s newest sailing scheduled for May 30-June 7, 2020.

Part of the Quintessential Collection, a series of themed cruises, “An Immersion in Japanese Culture” departs from Osaka and ends in Maizuru, stopping in Hiroshima, Okayama, and other amazing ports including Busan, South Korea. The nine days/eight-night cruise aboard the five stars Le Soleal offers an up-close look of not only modern-day Japan but also reflection into cherished traditions.

Credit: PONANT

From sharing in the elegance of a private tea making ceremony to a cooking demonstration on how to cut and plate deadly puffer fish, there is no shortage of adventure. Three noted experts: Timon Screech, author and professor of History and Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London; Holly H Shimizu, former executive director of the U.S. Botanic Garden; and Osama Shimizu an expert in contemporary Japanese gardens are on board sharing insight on exciting destinations. You’ll dive deep into the history and culture of the Shinto Holy Place and the beautiful Yuushien Garden in Sakaiminato.

Credit: PONANT

When not immersing yourself in Japanese culture, enjoy the distinctive Le Soleal Ship. Bespoke European craftsmanship offers some of the most elegant surroundings at sea. Calming colors of natural wood with a white and grey color scheme resonate with relaxation. Gastronomic adventures await at the ships French-inspired restaurant, where you will delight in exquisitely prepared chef creations paired with the finest wines. For a truly customized experience, stay in one of the suites, where your personal butler is at your service day and night.

Credit: PONANT

If you love the idea of sailing to uncharted areas, stay tuned. In 2021 PONANT will launch Le Commandant Charcot, the first electric hybrid cruise ship with luxury appointments and the first ship to reach the true geographic North Pole.

Ponant Announces Inauguration of Newest Ship Le Lapérouse

Ponant, a leader in luxury expeditions, has inaugurated its newest vessel, Le Lapérouse. As the first in the line of six new Ponant Explorer ships, the launch of Le Lapérouse also marks the first ship in the industry to feature the Blue Eye – a multi-sensorial underwater lounge. Following her successful maiden voyage out of Reykjavik, Le Lapérouse will continue sailing year-round through Northern Europe, The Mediterranean, Asia, and the Pacific and Oceania with fares beginning at $3,990 based on double occupancy.

Marking a new generation expedition ships, Le Lapérouse comprises 92 staterooms and suites each with their own private balcony or terrace. Life onboard is more akin to a chartered yacht experience with two intimate dining options, a library filled with books and board games, and a wellbeing center offering treatments from Parisian beauty brand Sothys.

In addition to the innovative design throughout Le Lapérouse, the ships crown jewel is undoubtedly the Blue Eye. The first of its kind, the underwater lounge was created by architect Jacques Rougerie in an effort to “let guests become modern-day explorers, following in the wake of Jules Verne, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and the great adventurers.”

Visually, the lounge is evocative of cetaceans and jellyfish with rounded furniture directed toward two large, eye-shaped portholes looking out into the subaquatic world. For a more in-depth look at the surrounding marine life, Ponant also created three non-intrusive underwater cameras that project images of the ocean’s seabed and photo-luminescent organisms onto digital screens integrated into the Blue Eye’s design. Ponant also enlisted contemporary music composer and sound design expert Michel Redolfi to develop hydrophones that transmit the natural symphony of the sea into the lounge. For a true multi-sensory experience, Body Listening Sofas were also installed, each discreetly vibrating in unison with the sounds of the ocean to create an underwater encounter guests can see, hear, and feel.

In total, Ponant has announced plans to expand its fleet to 12 ships with 2,000 crew members and 460 departures by 2021. The next two ships to be added to the Ponant EXPLORER series will be Le Bellot and Le Surville in 2020, joining sister EXPLORER ships Le Laperouse, Le Champlain, Le Bougainville and Le Dumont d’Urville, launching throughout 2018 and 2019. Looking further ahead, Ponant will once again revolutionize the cruise industry with the launch of the first electric hybrid cruise icebreaker in 2021. Utilizing an innovative “clean” technology, the ship will travel to never-before explored polar destinations such as the true geographic North Pole.


Ponant Announces New Art, Culinary, Culture, History Theme Cruises as Part of “Quintessential Collection”

PONANT, a leader in luxury polar expeditions and the only cruise line carrying the French flag, has announced the “Quintessential Collection,” a series of themed cruises designed to inspire travelers in destinations. Launching May 2019, the sailings include speakers and performances aboard the ship, and excursions ashore that embrace the local culture and theme.

Among the offerings are:

Green and Gentle Lands: Exploring Gardens and Historic Sites, May 14-22, 2019: Guest speaker, Holly Shimizu, retired Executive Director of the United States Botanic Garden and internationally recognized horticulturist for more than four decades will lead discussions onboard while sailing to the British Isles, Belgium, and Norway. Guests will enjoy special access at Kew Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site home to more than 40,000 plants; Chelsea Physic Garden, London’s oldest botanical garden founded in 1621; and the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, for a gala luncheon hosted by the grounds’ director.

Sicilian Food and Wine Experience (pictured above), June 28-July 6, 2019: Embark on a circumnavigation of Sicily joined by guest lecturer, Mary Taylor Simeti, travel and food writer for The New York Times and the Financial Times, who has lived in the region for more than five decades. Meander through the outdoor markets and enjoy the street food of Palmero, famous for its specialties including focaccia; and see ancient Greek Temples from 3600-2500 BC. Guests will enjoy dishes paired with wines carefully chosen by Wine Spectator – all under the guidance of local wine ambassador and educator, Marco Scapagnini.

Treasures of the Mediterranean World: A Family Learning Adventure, July 15-22, 2019: While traveling from Rome to Athens, Kathleen M. Lynch, Professor of Classics at the University of Cincinnati and Greek archaeology/mythology expert; and Jason Weiser, host of “Myths & Legends” podcast will lead discussions designed for all generations about the region’s history, literature and culture. Flexible cabins are available to accommodate families, and activities including photo workshops and a mock Olympics competition on the original grounds are also on offer as part of the Young Explorers children’s program.

A Musical Odyssey in the Mediterranean, September 18-27, 2019: Explore Greece’s landmark sites along the Aegean, Ionian, and Tyrrhenian Seas. Visit Delphi, an archaeological and UNESCO World Heritage Site; and see the third-century Ancient Theater in Taormina aboard the new Le Bougainville. Michael Parloff, former principal flutist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for more than 30 years will lead a series of private recitals from world-class musicians, including flutist Jasmine Choi, cellist Nicholas Canellakis, and pianist and composer, Michael Brown.

World War II History – From Hong Kong to Japan’s Inland Sea, September 27-October 10, 2019: Follow in the footsteps of American General Douglas MacArthur, who sailed from China to Japan to accept the Japanese surrender at the conclusion of the war. Walk along Okinawa’s beaches; hike the snow-capped Mount Fuji; and see the “floating” torii gate as part of the Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima. James Bradley, expert World War II historian and son of John Bradley, who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, will lead discussions onboard.

World Affairs Cruise – Origins of Greek Civilizations, October 9-18. 2019: Travel into the heart of the ancient Greek world with ports of call in Athens, to roam the ruins of the Acropolis and Parthenon; and Crete, home to the earliest recorded civilization in Europe. The voyage will be accompanied by Fareed Zakaria, CNN host and Washington Post columnist; Michael V. Hayden, retired US Air Force general and former Director of the CIA; and Daniel Mendelsohn, internationally best-selling author and columnist for Harper’s.


Ponant Announces New Electric Hybrid Icebreaker

PONANT, a leader in luxury polar expeditions and the only French cruise line, has confirmed the order for the first electric hybrid icebreaker, propelled by Liquefied Natural Gas. A very first in the cruising world. Following a public tender PONANT reached a decision to appoint VARD, FINCANTIERI’s Norwegian subsidiary, to build the new ship with delivery scheduled for 2021.

With just 135 staterooms and luxury service, PONANT’s new ship will be “Clean Ship certified and environmentally friendly”. The ship will take passengers to never explored polar destinations, such as the true geographic North Pole (90 degrees North Latitude), the Weddell Sea, the Ross Sea and Peter I Island.

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