Unsure about something? Find the answers to commonly asked questions below.
For more information, contact us by clicking here.
What does all-inclusive mean?
At PONANT, 'all-inclusive' includes the following:
- Accommodation in a stateroom
- Full meal plan
- Open bar: from the moment your step onboard and throughout your cruise, a wide selection of drinks (mineral water, soft drinks, wine, beer, Charles Heidsieck champagne, spirits, coffee and tea) are served on request and at any time of the day. Certain top-shelf premium alcoholic beverages are not included in the open bar.
- Free Wi-Fi internet access 24 hours a day*
- Access to all common areas:
- onboard our sisterships and Ponant Explorers: fitness room, steam room, hair salon, swimming pool (sea water, heated), sun deck with lounges, theater, boutique & leisure area.
- onboard the three-masted Le Ponant: 400m² sun deck, marina, lounge, boutique & leisure area.
Is airfare included in the price of the cruise?
Your international airfare from your home city in Australia is not included in the price of your cruise. For selected cruises where the starting port is not easily accessible, we charter aircraft and transfers from more easily accessible points to ensure the smooth arrival and departure of our passengers. Please refer to each specific itinerary for details on whether a chartered flight is included. With everyone arriving at the same time, this allows us to transfer your baggage effectively, delay the ship's departure in the event of a flight delay & personalise the service provided. For more information, please contact our friendly cruise consultants here.
Are port taxes included in the price of the cruise?
Yes, port taxes are included in your cruise fare.
Do reservations with PONANT include visa applications?
In most cases, you will need to take care of any required visa applications and all the necessary paperwork for visiting certain countries. Some visas are issued and paid for directly onboard - if this is the case, it will be indicated in the description of the cruise (Formalities section) on our website.
Are excursions included in the price of the cruise?
Excursions are not included in the price of the cruise, unless you are joining an expedition cruise. For expedition cruises, most excursions are included. You can view details of inclusions on your cruise's itinerary website page.
Are all meals included in the price of the cruise?
Breakfast, lunch and dinner served onboard is included in the price of the cruise. From the moment you step onboard and throughout your cruise, beverages are served on request and at any time of the day. The open bar offers a wide selection of drinks (mineral water, soft drinks, wine, beer, Charles Heidsieck Champagne, spirits, coffee and tea). Certain top-shelf premium alcoholic beverages are not included in the open bar.
Are spa services included in the price of the cruise?
Access to the steam room and the fitness room is free, except on Le Ponant where these facilities are not available. The spa offers a number of treatments and services which are an extra charge (scrubs, facials, hairdressing and styling, massage). Take a look at our spa menu here.
What champagne is included in the price of the cruise?
Charles Heidsieck champagne is included in the open bar.
Are the rates displayed per person or per stateroom?
The rates displayed on our site are per person, on the basis of a double occupancy. A single supplement applies automatically for people wishing to travel alone. This extra supplement is waived on selected cruises - browse our no single supplement departures here
What is the PONANT Bonus?
The PONANT Bonus is the percentage of saving you make on your cruise from the full brochure rate. This promotional discount, up to 30% off, is higher the earlier you book and decreases according to the availability on the cruise. Find details about the PONANT Bonus here.
Are the rates displayed on the site reflective of the PONANT Bonus rate?
The rates displayed on the site are updated in real time according to the latest level of PONANT Bonus.
I have seen a different rate for the same cruise on other sites, what is the explanation for this?
PONANT is committed to offering exactly the same rates with travel agencies as with its direct customers, including online sales and across international markets. If you find different rates for the same PONANT cruise, please contact us at the following email address: email@example.com
How is the online payment for my cruise processed?
To book your PONANT cruise on our website, you can make your payment using your choice of Visa, Mastercard or American Express. You can also select to pay either a deposit, or the full balance of your account. Online payments are completely secure through the SSL protocol encryption system that protects your information at the time of the transaction.
Where can I find a summary of my orders/cruises?
You can find the summary of your orders and cruises on your account, in the 'My PONANT' tab. Log in to your My PONANT account by clicking here.
How can I find my PONANT Yacht Club membership number?
Your PONANT Yacht Club membership number is on the card that was sent to you. If you have lost your card, you can request a replacement by contacting us here.
What is a waiting list and how do I register?
If the cruise that you want to book is sold out, you have the opportunity to register on a waiting list. This allows you to be informed if and when any places become available on your selected cruise. To register on a waiting list, simply go on the cruise page of your choice, click the "complete cruise" button and complete the form.
What is the cancellation policy?
For more information on our cancellation policy, please refer to our General Terms and Conditions here.
* The connection may be slower or even interrupted in certain geographic regions or due to circumstances outside of our control.
Where does my vessel depart from?
On the embarkation day of your cruise, your vessel leaves the port indicated on the first day of your itinerary. A few weeks before your departure, you'll receive your travel documentation with all the necessary information for your cruise, including a reminder of your itinerary and the name of the port of embarkation.
How do I get to the departure location of my cruise?
You can either opt to make your own way to the departure port, or you can take advantage of our services. We can organise selected PONANT charter flights, transfers between the airport and the embarkation/disembarkation port, or pre/post-cruise packages to extend your trip. Please note we cannot book any other airfares that are not our own charter flights.
What time can I embark on the first day of my cruise?
The embarkation schedule is indicated on the first day of your cruise itinerary. A few weeks before departure, you will receive your travel documentation with all the necessary information for your cruise, including the embarkation schedule.
What documents are necessary for boarding?
All passengers must have valid proof of identity and the necessary visas for the destination countries, according to their nationality. Upon your arrival at the ship, the form of identification you used to complete the Information Sheet will be collected by us. It will be kept until the end of the cruise to be presented by the ship officials to the customs authorities at each port. If you need your identity document during a port of call, it will be available for you at reception, provided that you return it once back on board. Most cruise itineraries will require you to bring your passport, please check your cruise information carefully.
How does disembarkation work?
More details of the end-of-cruise disembarkation will be given in the logbook you will receive onboard and at reception. Please ensure to read these details carefully.
Where can I find the times of the ports of call on my cruise?
The times of arrival and departure for each port will be indicated on the day prior in the newsletter you receive each evening. Please note that the ship is unable to wait for latecomers. We thank you in advance for your understanding and for respecting the provided times.
What is the procedure for arrival in port?
At each arrival into a new port, immigration and customs officials will board the ship. As soon as the necessary checks have been done, the passengers and crew will be allowed ashore. In the event of a lack of required infrastructure in certain ports, the ship could anchor offshore. In this case, disembarkation will be done using small boats from the ship, or local launches. Given the limited number of these boats, the disembarkation will be done in groups. Please pay close attention to onboard announcements.
Are the excursions obligatory?
Certain excursions will be offered to you according to the port of call, and are not included in the price of the cruise (unless on an expedition cruise). They are always optional, so you can choose to not reserve a place, or alternatively to even organise your own excursions. Nevertheless, only excursions offered by the cruise will guarantee that you are back on board at the required time.
What is the difficulty level of these excursions? Would they be suitable for an elderly person or a beginner?
We do everything we can to offer excursions that are accessible to the majority of guests. We will specify in the description if an excursion presents a certain level of difficulty (long walks, rugged trails, long journeys etc.). If you have any doubts about the feasibility of participating in an excursion, please do not hesitate to contact one of our cruise consultants.
When can I reserve my excursions?
Pre-registration for the excursions is available until a minimum of 60 days before the beginning of your cruise, and registration is available until 7 days before the beginning of your cruise. To do this, contact your cruise consultant directly, or request to be contacted through the PONANT App. Once your pre-registration has been completed, you will not have to go to the Excursions Office once onboard to confirm. However, payment for pre-registrations is made on board.
If you have not pre-registered before your cruise, you can always reserve once onboard at the Excursions Office (open daily, opening hours can be found in your logbook). However, certain excursions have a limited number of places and a registration deadline, after which it will not be possible for you to reserve or modify these excursions. In this case, please fill in a registration form at the office. The price of the excursion will be added directly to your onboard account.
Pre-sale excursions: for logistical reasons, some excursions should be reserved and paid for before the beginning of your cruise (up to 30 or 60 days before it departs). Once these deadlines have passed and you are onboard, it will unfortunately no longer be possible to take part.
Can I take part in multiple excursions on the same day?
Because of timing conflicts it is only possible to reserve one excursion per day in port. In the event that you would like to take part in a second excursion on the same day, visit the Excursions Office in order check the whether timings would work.
What do the Excursion Packages consist of?
In order to make your choice of excursions a little easier, we've created Excursion Packages for selected cruises. Designed according to the excursions offered on each cruise, the number of excursions in each package can differ. Two or three packages are available, according to the cruise:
- The Essential Pack: a package containing the unmissable excursions on your cruise.
- The Essential+ Pack: a package containing one excursion for each day in port (also includes all in the Essential Pack).
- The Prestige Pack: a package containing one limited-place or pre-sale excursion (also includes all in the Essential+ Pack).
The Excursion Packages are only available during pre-reservation (from 60 to 7 days before your cruise, depending on availability) with payment made onboard.
Once aboard, how does the organisation of the excursions work?
On the day before your excursion, you will receive, in your cabin, a ticket reminding you of the name of the selected excursion as well as the meeting time and place.
On the day of the excursion, please bring this ticket with you as it will be collected at the beginning of the tour.
In order to take part in the tours as a group with your family or friends, please let the Excursion Office know your cabin numbers at the beginning of your cruise.
What is a pre or post-cruise programme?
Pre and post-cruise programmes allow you to to extend your cruise with optional organised programmes. From half-day to multiple day options, discover the region beyond the cruise route through exciting visits, without having to worry about the logistics (meals, hotels, guides etc.)
When can I reserve my pre and post-cruise programmes?
The pre and post-cruise programmes, whether they take place before or after the cruise, should always be reserved before departure. Please discuss options with your cruise consultant or travel agent.
How can I access my cabin?
One (or more) key cards will be provided per cabin. This will allow you to open your cabin or to lock it when you leave. On all ships, you just have to close your door for it to lock behind you. Therefore, be sure not to leave your key card inside when you leave your cabin.
Is there air-conditioning in my cabin?
There is air-conditioning in every cabin. It can be individually adjusted. Your Cabin Officer will be there if you need help setting the desired temperature.
Is there a television in my cabin?
A flat-screen television features in every cabin. Your Cabin Officer will be there if you need help with your TV.
Is there a safe in my cabin?
There is an individual safe in each cabin, where you can secure your valuables. For high value items, we advise you to use the main safe which can be accessed at reception.
What items are available in my stateroom?
From the moment you arrive in your stateroom, PONANT offers a bathrobe, slippers, towels & HERMES toiletries for your comfort.
Do all staterooms offer a view of the sea?
With the exception of Le Ponant, all staterooms on our ships have a private balcony offering a view of the sea. On Le Ponant, only the Marie-Galante staterooms have a porthole.
Are there any interconnecting staterooms? What is the difference between a prestige stateroom and a prestige suite?
Onboard our sisterships (Le Boréal, L’Austral, Le Soléal and Le Lyrial) as well as the PONANT Explorers, there is a door between some prestige staterooms to transform them into prestige suites. On our ship floorplans (available at the end of the brochure as well as on our website under the tab "Our ships"), all prestige staterooms with an arrow across them can be transformed into prestige suites.
For security reasons when at sea, the door is locked in the closed position and cannot be opened by guests. If two prestige staterooms have been purchased as a suite, the door between them is unlocked and cannot be closed. For more information on the layout of our vessels, contact our cruise consultants here.
Can I get stateroom service?
On each of our ships, you can enjoy room service at any hour of the day and night (except at night on Le Ponant). A butler service is also available to passengers:
- on the sisterships: for passengers staying in one of the staterooms on deck 6,
- on the PONANT Explorers: for passengers staying in one of the two large suites located to the rear of deck 5.
Discover our luxury services here.
Can I exchange currency on board?
No, there is no Bureau de Change onboard our ships. We advise that you exchange currency through your bank or at an international airport before boarding.
How are my onboard expenses handled?
An account will be opened for you when you first board the ship for any expenses you make whilst on board: for example, purchases at the boutique, premium drinks at the bar, using the laundry service, or for excursions.
You're invited to leave your card details at reception. The bill, along with the receipt of your card payment, will be left in your cabin the day before disembarkation. As the onboard accounts are closed on the day before disembarkation, any further payment after 10 pm on this day will have to be made in cash. This also applies to those who have reserved two or more consecutive cruises.
What is the onboard currency?
The currency on board is the Euro, but the US Dollar is also accepted.
What methods of payment are accepted on board?
Credit cards (Visa, Mastercard and American Express), cash and personal cheques (in EUR and USD only) are accepted.
What leisure activities are there on board?
On board our fleet, you will find games consoles (Wii™ and PS4) and a wide choice of books and board games. The library (except on Le Ponant) is also equipped with Wi-Fi connected computers. On the lower deck there is a photography area and the cabins on all ships are equipped with Video on Demand.
Can I practice a sport activity on board?
In order to maintain your fitness, and following the program of stopovers in your itinerary, mild fitness sessions will be offered to you during your cruise. If navigation and weather permit, guests can take a dip in the swimming pool on our sisterships and our PONANT Explorers, or directly in the clear waters off the side of your vessel. Some stopovers will allow you to participate in fee-based activities such as tennis, golf and scuba diving (remember to bring your licenses, handicap cards or dive logs). Finally, all our ships have a fitness room, with the exception of Le Ponant. See the details of equipment offered here.
Are any activities organised on board?
Informative presentations may be organised during the day. A varied and entertaining programme of cultural and fun activities is on offer every evening.
What are the relaxation areas on board?
For your comfort, PONANT offers various relaxation areas on board: on Le Ponant, you can enjoy a sun deck with chairs, bars, lounges, leisure spaces and a boutique. On our other ships, you can enjoy lounges, a spa with massage rooms and a steam room, hair salon, fitness room, swimming pool, theatre and boutique. Discover all the relaxation areas onboard our ships here.
What are the spa fees?
Discover the all of the services offered and their fees here.
Can I make an appointment at the spa before my departure?
We advise all our passengers to book their benefits at the spa after they are settled on board. It is not possible to make a reservation before your departure.
Is the swimming pool heated?
Our ships Le Boreal, Le Soléal, L'Austral, Le Lyrial offer an outdoor swimming pool. The water is heated sea water.
Where can I find a floorplan of the vessel?
Floorplans of our ships are available on our website, in the sub-section "The Decks" under the menu option "Our ships". You can also find the layout of each vessel in our downloadable brochures here.
Is it possible to visit one of your ships?
To enquire about visiting our ships, please fill in the contact form here.
Is there a dress code onboard the ships?
We advise our passengers to wear casual and elegant outfits to suit their activities onboard, and more formal attire for the Captain's Dinner.
What clothes do I need to bring on an expedition cruise?
On an expedition cruise, be sure to bring practical clothes as well as comfortable shoes suitable for travelling in Zodiacs and disembarking on beaches or muddy areas. On tropical expeditions be sure to bring a hat, sunglasses and long sleeved tops/full length pants. For cruises in the Arctic and Antarctic, you will be given a polar parka in your size and suitable boots will be available for use when ashore.
How do meals work?
Breakfast is a buffet that can be eaten at the restaurant or requested in your cabin. Lunch is also a buffet, and a French-style à la carte dinner will be served in the evening. Room service is available 24/7 (except on Le Ponant).
Can I have a snack outside of meal times?
Yes, outside the opening hours of the restaurant, tea and small pastries will be on offer. More details will be given in the newsletter provided each evening in your cabin.
What is the open bar?
From embarkation and throughout the cruise, unlimited complimentary drinks* are served. We call this the open bar. This also applies to drinks from the minibar and those served by room service. Click here to find out more.
* Excluding some top-shelf premium alcoholic beverages
What menu is offered on board?
Our chefs and their team share their passion for French culinary traditions with our passengers, enriched with the local produce and techniques of the countries visited. Our menus are constantly revised according to the destination and the route chosen. On our ships, two restaurants await for your dining experience, the gourmet restaurant and the grill restaurant. Learn more about the onboard gastronomy here.
Do dinners vary on long or consecutive cruises?
Our chefs and their teams offer a varied menu every day. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style and feature a wide range of sweet and savoury dishes, as well as bread baked daily by our onboard French baker.
Here is what one of our passengers had to say: “There is so much choice between the two restaurants and the menu that you will always find something different as well as new recipes.”
Do I need a medical certificate to join a cruise?
A medical form is requested to be completed for Antarctic cruises, in the sub-Antarctic regions, traversing the Northwest Passage and for all remote trips.
Are vaccines necessary to go on a cruise?
When you visit certain destinations, vaccines may be recommended. Once you have made your reservation, we'll send you all the important information so that you can begin your cruise with peace of mind. We recommend that you speak to your doctor before you travel as they will have access to the latest information. If you would like to know more about a destination, please consult your country's government travel advice website.
Is there a doctor onboard?
A doctor is available onboard to passengers on all our ships:
- The schedules of consultation are listed each day in the logbook (emergency consultation 24/7).
- The sisterships and PONANT Explorers also have a hospital for any small surgery.
- During the excursions, the passengers are accompanied by a doctor or nurse.
- There is a fee for consultations onboard . The price may vary according to the time and place of the consultation (hospital or staterooms). You must also pay for medications.
- The doctor onboard is not authorised to distribute sick leaves and prescriptions. Only accounts and invoices are provided which may be used by the passenger to obtain a refund from their travel/health insurance if their policy allows.
Do I have to pay for medical consultations on board?
There is a charge for medical consultations undertaken by the doctor or nurse on board. The price can vary according to the time and place of the consultation (hospital or cabin). Any medication must also be paid for by the passenger. If using medications on a regular basis make sure to bring adequate supplies for the duration of your cruise.
Should I inform PONANT if I have any specific medical conditions or need special accommodations?
If you need any special accommodations made for your medical condition, please inform your cruise consultant when you book your cruise and it will be noted on the information sheet before departure. The onboard crew will also be informed. Always keep your medication with you for the duration of the cruise.
I suffer from seasickness, can I still come on the cruise?
Our ships (except Le Ponant) have stabilisers equipped with dynamic fins which adapt to the movements of the ship. This system allows the ship to anticipate and compensate for the sea waves to achieve greater stability. Passengers suffering from seasickness will see their symptoms reduced or completely alleviated and we hope you will be pleasantly surprised at how comfortable you'll feel throughout your journey. However, we recommend that you bring travel sickness medication with you for peace of mind.
Are the PONANT ships adapted to suit those with reduced mobility?
Our sisterships and PONANT Explorers were designed for people with reduced mobility in mind:
- Specially designed cabins;
- Access ramps allowing easy movement in communal areas;
- Posters, signage and cabin numbers are translated into Braille.
Despite these arrangements, each passenger should be able to be independent or travel with a close family member or friend who can give them whatever assistance they require during their trip.
If a person is not deemed suitably fit for safe travel, the company reserves the right to refuse their embarkation. Disembarkation in difficult places or in a Zodiac® is subject to the approval of the Captain, who will always have the safety and wellbeing of the passenger in mind.
Are electrical outlets available in the common areas?
Electrical outlets are available in the common areas.
What services are offered onboard?
Onboard our vessels you can enjoy the following services:
- Reception desk open 24/7 on our sisterships & PONANT Explorers, and 7:00AM to 11:00PM on Le Ponant
- Customer Service Office
- Excursions Office
- Breakfast in your stateroom
- Butler service reserved for our passengers travelling in Deck 6 suites on the sisterships and the two large rear suites on Deck 5 of the PONANT Explorers
- Stateroom service (free & available 24/7)
- Wake-up service
- Fitness room (aboard the sisterships only)
- Photography/video service
- Postal service
What languages are spoken on board?
The crew are bilingual in French and English. All signage and announcements made are in French and English. On certain cruises, crew members also speak other languages.
May I bring one or more children on board?
Children under three years of age cannot embark our ships. Children under six years of age cannot embark our ships for Polar cxpedition cruises. For all Expedition cruises, children must be fully independent during all the outside activities organised and during disembarkation in rubber boats, be tall enough to sit on the inflatable sides of the boats, and old enough to understand, and immediately respond to the orders given by the persons in charge. As a result, childrens' participation in any activity in an inflatable boat shall be subject to the agreement of the Captain and of the Expedition Leader, depending on the sea conditions, and the difficulty of disembarking at each location visited. The ships do not carry parkas in childrens' sizes. Parents must arrange to bring a suitable parka for children.
I am travelling alone, will I feel integrated with the other passengers? Is there a good atmosphere?
Onboard, each space has been designed to accommodate each type of passenger. There are spots to get away from it all in privacy, and other places where you can socialise with other passengers.
Here is what one passenger had to say:
"I have been on a cruise once with other people, and once, recently, by myself in Patagonia. I can assure you that they were largely as good as each other. The atmosphere is very pleasant, from the Captain and his crew, to the very attentive staff, and finally the other passengers who were all very friendly. All sorts of activities were on offer where you could alternate learning or cultural sessions with rest times if you wanted to. Personally, I never got bored. It doesn't matter whether you're male or female, I would go for it. It's an adventure where you'll make some amazing memories". Single guest, member of the PONANT community.
Join the community.
Are animals allowed onboard?
For reasons related to hygiene and safety, animals are not allowed onboard.
Are onboard power sockets European?
Yes, the 220 volt 50 hertz alternating current is distributed by sockets meeting European standards. Onboard power is 200 volt AC (European standard) and 110 volt AC (North American standard). For safety reasons, hair irons and clothes irons cannot be used in cabins. Please note that on Le Ponant, 110 volt AC is only available in cabin bathrooms.
Are power adapters provided?
Adapters are provided on board, they are available at the reception office of our ships.
Is smoking allowed on board?
Closed spaces such as the lounges, the dining room, the cabins and the reception are non-smoking areas. We invite you to smoke in designated outdoor parts of the ship.
Are tips obligatory?
Tipping the staff is customary on cruise ships but is completely at your discretion. An anonymous envelope is left in your cabin at the end of your cruise. You can leave it at reception in the box provided. This sum is generally in the range of €10-12 per day per passenger. It is then divided between the members of the crew.
Is there a laundry service on the ships?
Yes, your Cabin Officer will be able to take care of your laundry**. The washing and ironing of your clothes will take between 24 and 48 hours. Only ironing** can be delivered on the same day. As dry-cleaning is not possible on the ship, please only give us clothes that can be washed in water.
** These services incur an extra charge that will be added to your onboard account
Is it possible to make purchases on board?
Gifts and souvenirs can be bought on board at our boutique. Please note that the law does not allow us to open the boutique whilst we are docked at a port of call.
Can I send letters during my cruise?
You may leave letters and postcards at reception and they will be posted for you. Please write your cabin number where you would normally place the stamp. The postage fee will be added to your account.
Is a telephone service available on board?
A satellite telephone system is available for contacting anyone, anywhere in the world. The cost of the call is added to your onboard account (€6/minute). Calls that you receive can be transferred directly to your cabin or to any other communal area on the ship. To receive or send faxes, please see reception.
Is internet access available on board?
Free Wi-Fi internet access is available on all our ships, in both the cabins and the communal areas. One or several computers are available in the common areas. Please note that the Wi-Fi connection may be slower or even interrupted in certain geographic regions or due to circumstances outside of our control.
I no longer wish to receive emails from PONANT, how do I request to be removed from your mailing list?
If you no longer want to receive electronic communication from PONANT, please click on the unsubscribe link located at the bottom of one of the emails that has been sent to you.
How can I contact PONANT?
How can I change the language of the site?
The site is accessible in English, French and German. If you want to change the language, you simply select FR, EN, or DE by clicking on the button located at the top right of your screen and next to the button to sign up for our newsletter.