Our visit to Ponant’s Le Boreal emphasised one of the great benefits of sailing with Ponant – we joined at Tower Bridge on the Thames in London. This is a compact ship which therefore has access to places that many other vessels do not.
When one of the propositions of the Ponant cruise line is luxury exploration you can see how this can make a great difference. Ponant are proud of their carefully planned itineraries and the quality of their guides and lecturers, covering little known ports as well as those famous locations inaccessible to other ships.
There 132 staterooms on board Le Boreal – which Ponant describe as built to have the feel of a mega-yacht. Each stateroom is well appointed and with sea views – all except 8 have a balcony: ideal for ensuring you see the maximum when voyaging on a signature polar expedition in the Arctic or Antarctic for example.
Ponant’s itineraries across their small yet young fleet of ships include the polar regions as a particular speciality, but also a changing range of tropical and sub-tropical destinations, including the archipelagos of Oceania, as well as South America, Asia, South Africa, the Baltic region, and the Mediterranean.
Expeditions aboard one of the Ponant sisterships would be intimate voyages in comfort, refinement, and with an emphasis on discovery – with these ships able to take you away from the standard maritime routes with more potential to explore remote ancient cultures and get closer to areas of natural beauty. Zodiac boats are available for getting closer to ice, scenery, and with potential to see more of the local wildlife – and these excursions would be included.
Four of Ponant’s five yachts are sisterships, with L’Austral, Le Soleal, and Le Lyrial all practically identical to Le Boreal in size and facilities (Le Lyrial has fewer staterooms to add a few more exclusive suites).
Facilities include the Main Lounge and Panoramic Lounge and Terrace, together with The Library. There are two restaurants – the Gastronomic Restaurant and the more informal Grill Restaurant reaching out onto the Sun Deck.
A intimate Theatre will no doubt promote a convivial atmosphere for the regular shows and performances, as well as being used for briefings and lectures.
As we toured Le Boreal, we noted that from the gym there was a superb view of Tower Bridge which helped reinforce the quality of the facilities and likelihood of this Luxury sailing proposition to be able to deliver extraordinary experiences. Imagine looking out from your treadmill in the polar regions!
None of the facilities are on the scale of most of the cruise ships we see, but there is a quality to everything in this ‘compact with space’ approach. Remember this ship is serving fewer than 300 guests.
Ponant has equipped the 4 sisterships with green efficient equipment, and they all bear the international “clean ship” label.
The style of Ponant aboard all its current 5 vessels is clearly French. The ships sail under the French flag and incorporate French design, approach to service, cuisine, and wine! (There are soon to be 9 Ponant Yachts when 4 new state of the art Ponant Explorers are added, which will incorporate innovative features such as underwater lounges!).
Every thing on board is included, except premium blends and brands of drink which are available at a supplement, and spa treatments.
To find out more about Ponant voyages, where Le Boreal and the sisterships are sailing, or the new itineraries for the new Ponant Explorers call Sarah & Bjarne at GoCruise or contact us via gocruise.co.uk/sarah-and-bjarne.