Ponant Mounting Quick Comeback

Le Champlain

“The one thing we all stand out for is true resilience and this industry is built on that,” said Navin Sawhney, CEO of the Americas for Ponant, speaking during a press conference on Tuesday.

In a challenging year, Ponant has helped pave the way for the cruise industry to return to service as it was one of the first brands back into operation at the start of the summer.

According to Herve Bellaiche, executive vice president of sales, Ponant has thus far sailed over 50 cruises and welcomed 3,000 guests since June.

Executives hope to continue ramping up operations as they get the green light from governments around the world for cruise operations in local waters.

Company-owned Paul Gauguin is also back into operation in French Polynesia, where it enjoys a leadership position with a year-round cruise program.

Company executives have reimagined the cruise experience and shore experience, trimming capacity, putting in new protocols and planning for any contingency.

Among the technology onboard, Ponant has COVID-19 PCR tests on its ships, with a result available in 20 minutes.

The company has also taken delivery of two new ships this year as the fifth and sixth Explorer-class newbuilds (Le Bellot and Le Jacques Cartier) joined the company from VARD.

One more ship, Le Commandant Charcot, a 270-guest hybrid icebreaker, joins the Ponant fleet in 2021. Bellaiche said the line’s newbuild program has not been delayed or changed at all due to the pandemic.

Poised for a quick comeback, Sarina Bratton, Ponant’s chairman of Asia-Pacific, said that the ultimate cruise experience, in her opinion, is an expedition voyage on a small-capacity luxury vessel.

A fleet of small luxury French-flagged ships is what Ponant brings to the table, with four 260-guest Boreal-class ships, six 180-gest Explorer-class vessels, a 62-passenger luxury yacht and the upcoming Le Commandant Charcot.


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