30 Anniversary

    30 Anniversary

    celebrates its
    30th anniversary!

    30 years ago, on 1 April 1988, planning for our first sailing yacht, Le Ponant was taking shape.
    Over the years, many magnificent journeys have been made and the path taken has been exhilarating.

    From Antarctica to the Kimberley, Disko Bay to the magical Aldabra atoll and from the Panama Canal to distant shores of New Zealand…
    A few of many exceptional locations our guests are taken every day.

    Today, on our Anniversary, let us look back together on some memories from these unforgettable years!

    30 years of adventures

    • 1988
      The company Compagnie des Îles du Ponant
      is created by 14 sailors
    • 1989
      Le Ponant is built
      at the Villeneuve-La-Garenne shipyards
    • 1991
      Launch of Le Ponant
      & first cruise to the Caribbean
    • 1998
      Acquisition of Le Levant
    • 2003
      Reflagging of Le Diamant,
      which henceforth flies the French flag
    • 2004
      CMA-CGM becomes a major shareholder
      of the company, which is renamed
      Compagnie du Ponant
    • 2006
      The company moves to Marseille,
      its new home port
    • 2010
      Launch of Le Boréal,
      a mega yacht boasting 132 staterooms
    • 2011
      L’Austral joins the fleet
    • 2012
      Compagnie du Ponant is acquired
      by the investment fund Bridgepoint
    • 2013
      Le Soléal is built at
      the Italian Fincantieri shipyards
    • 2014
      The company is renamed PONANT
    • 2015
      Le Lyrial sets sail
      & PONANT joins the Artemis group
    • 2016
      PONANT announces the launch
      of the PONANT EXPLORERS sisterships
    • 2017
      Project for an LNG-powered
      hybrid electric icebreaker cruise ship
    • 2018
      Le Lapérouse and Le Champlain join the fleet
      & PONANT celebrates its 30th anniversary!
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    30 years of PONANT moments

    For 30 years, PONANT cruises have been offering wonderful getaways. Sailing onboard our ships means experiencing exceptional moments very close to nature, in the heart of untouched landscapes and locations combining dreams and immersive experiences. It means discovering other cultures, traditions and sharing meaningful experiences with tribes from the other side of the world. It means experiencing the magic of a PONANT moment…


    30 years of shared moments

    Every day, our guests take us all around the world by sharing with us the most beautiful moments they experienced on board.

    My most beautiful moment was opening my curtains in my stateroom at 3 o’clock in the morning and seeing these magnificent pink-purple icebergs after two days at sea sailing the Drake Passage. It was breathtaking, sublime, magical, exceptional! I have only one wish and that is to return there as soon as possible. It was the trip of a lifetime and you, PONANT, were a huge part of that MAGIC!

    Dominique H.

    It was fabulous! It was the most beautiful cruise I have ever been lucky enough to take.

    Christiane H.

    We took a cruise on Le Lyrial this year, what can we say: fabulous!!!

    Catherine B.

    Le Ponant is a beautiful yacht with thirty-two staterooms and ideal for the itinerary with so much stunning scenery.


    I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time and it was a privilege to experience this expedition!

    John L.

    Have you travelled with PONANT in the last 30 years?
    It’s your turn to share your most beautiful memories!


    30 years… 30 reasons to choose PONANT

    Reason N°

    The only French cruise company:

    Today, PONANT is the only French cruise company – and one of the most rigorous in the world in terms of safety. Onboard, the French language takes pride of place with French commanders and officers and a predominantly French-speaking crew. Announcements and presentations are in both French and English.

    The world leader in polar cruises:

    With 20 years of experience in both the Arctic and the Antarctic, today PONANT is the world leader in polar cruises and the only French shipowner with 4 ships that are state-of-the-art in terms of safety and Ice C1 certified, meeting very specific international standards. More generally, PONANT is now known as the World Leader in luxury Expeditions.

    The most modern fleet in the world:

    With its 4 high-tech ships introduced between 2010 and 2015, PONANT boasts the most modern fleet in the world. The company will also have 7 new ships by 2021: the PONANT Explorers, especially designed for luxury expeditions and equipped with an underwater lounge, as well as an LNG-powered hybrid electric “icebreaker”, a first in the world of cruises.

    Exceptional destinations:

    Mooring in the heart of the Mediterranean's hidden coves, sailing between the majestic Antarctic glaciers, expeditions to the fringes of the remote territories of Alaska, or coastal navigation in the Caribbean Sea: we take our guests on a journey of discovery to the most stunning places on earth.

    An expedition team consisting of passionate experts & renowned scientists:

    The teams onboard our Expedition cruises are made up of experts renowned for the accuracy and reliability of their knowledge of extreme and remote environments. Identifying destinations and making preparations in advance, leading our guests and speaking to them throughout the cruises, our expedition leaders are committed to sharing their knowledge and wonder.

    Unique itineraries:

    With more than 400 cruises per year, 150 countries, 500 ports, 150 itineraries of which 20 to 30% are renewed each year, as well as countless visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, experts at PONANT plan exceptional trips that are carefully crafted.

    Unusual ports of call:

    Our mythical, original, and less travelled ports of call, sometimes even in the heart of wild and remote areas, guarantee that our guests enjoy cruises of a unique nature.

    A broad choice of programmes:

    During most of our stopovers on classical cruises (excursions are included for expedition cruises), we give our guests the opportunity to enhance their trip with a broad range of excursions in small groups. Chosen by our experts for the interesting cities, monuments, or natural sites to explore, these excursions are available by pre-booking 2 months before departure.

    Small-capacity ships:

    With only 32 to 132 staterooms, the small capacity of our ships creates a very distinct intimate atmosphere that we carefully maintain to stay true to our philosophy. Their small size and highly technical nature also help us reach the most hidden ports, contrary to the immense scale of our competitors.

    Luxury expedition cruises:

    When you choose a PONANT Expedition cruise, you are choosing a state of mind: a blend of elegance and immersive experiences, exploration and total comfort, adventure and refinement. From the Antarctic to Papua New Guinea, PONANT helps you explore unspoiled natural surroundings and ancient cultures, far from well-travelled sea routes.

    Meetings with peoples from the other side of the world:

    From the Far North to New Guinea, our cruises introduce you to tribes and ethnic groups that keep the lifestyle and beliefs of their ancestors alive. Accompanied by our guides, our guests experience special moments of sharing among these Inuit or aboriginal communities.

    A luxury universe and the highest comfort:

    Art of living, service, gastronomy, entertainment, spa... Our cruises are designed to be a delightful getaway filled with calm and serenity. Even in the harshest regions, you will find the exceptional conditions of comfort and service that are our trademark.

    High-end gastronomy:

    Carefully selected wines, a refined service, irresistible dishes made with locally bought fresh produce when the destination allows it: every day, explore the delicacies of an exquisitely set table and high-end cuisine prepared by talented chefs.

    Prestigious French partners:

    Veuve Clicquot champagnes, Ducasse Conseil, En-K de Caviar, Fragonard perfumes, toiletries by Hermès, macaroons by Maison Ladurée, Beurre Bordier, and the Palais des Thés: our partners, carefully chosen, share our strive for excellence à la française.

    Comprehensive service:

    At PONANT, everything is included in our services: stateroom accommodation, all meals and snacks, tea, coffee, carefully selected wines served during meals, 24/7 room service, entertainment, and Open Bar including in your cabin. Once onboard, enjoy your cruise with complete peace of mind!

    Exceptional speakers:

    Chef Guillaume Brahimi, Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, Stéphane Bern, Olivier de Kersauson, Luc Ferry, Eric Emmanuel Schmitt, Frédéric Mitterrand, Alain Duault, and Yves Coppens: leading Chefs, artists, scientists, and writers regularly do us the honour of joining us on board to talk to our guests during fascinating conferences or culinary demonstrations.

    A stylish design:

    Our ships are designed to open to the outside as much as possible, allowing our guests to enjoy fabulous views onto the sea. Onboard, a refined choice of high-quality materials in discreet colours and with soothing tones of taupe, grey, white, and natural wood gives our ships a unique style, both modern and warm, combining comfort, intimacy, and well-being.

    Satisfied customers:

    Commitment to high quality and our customers' satisfaction are at the heart of our concerns. An impressive 95% of our guests would recommend us to their friends and family!

    A company awarded regularly:

    Regularly awarded for the quality of its services and its unique cruise design, PONANT is recognised every year as one of the best cruise companies in the world.

    The first ships with an underwater lounge:

    The 6 ships in the new Ponant Explorers series are the first in the world to be equipped with an underwater lounge, called the Blue Eye, located within the hull below the waterline. Open to all guests, this lounge is an opportunity to discover and experience the subaquatic world, notably through two windows shaped like the eye of a cetacean.

    A hybrid ship to discover the North Pole:

    From 2021, the latest addition to PONANT's fleet, an LNG-powered hybrid electric icebreaker, will make it possible to reach the true North Pole in an elegant setting with luxurious ammenities and services never offered before.

    The possibility to charter the entire ship for private use:

    Aside from our “Individual cruises” offer, we give individuals and businesses the opportunity to join existing cruises in groups or to hire the entire ship for any type of private cruise. Whether you are organising a seminar, an evening event, or a wedding party, our ships are an original location to get together, discuss, and share.

    Luxury Culture and Relaxation cruises:

    Discover a unique cruise philosophy, offering travellers the chance to discover or rediscover iconic destinations. Between traditional villages and ports of call with a rich historical heritage, our guests enjoy rewarding experiences and authentic encounters in the company of our expert guides and speakers.

    Themed cruises:

    Music, wine tasting and gastronomy, art and literature, golf: PONANT offers a wide range of themed cruises to combine passions and the love for travelling through itineraries to destinations all around the world.

    Respect for the environment:

    Particularly committed to protecting the environment, PONANT makes every effort to limit its impact on the planet. With a firm determination to be a leader in this area, every day we pursue a strong ecology policy: using green equipment, “Clean Ship” certified ships, membership of the Blue Charter of the Armateurs de France, training guests in good practices, and more.

    Ships with waterviews from all cabins:

    The staterooms of our ships all have sea views and boast a balcony with outside furniture so that you can feel like you are onboard your own private yacht.

    A mythical yacht:

    For 30 years, our traditionally French superb sailboat has been seducing travellers with its intimate and friendly atmosphere. With only 32 staterooms, Le Ponant allows you you to sail in small groups, among true lovers of the sea and sailing.

    Loyalty rewarded as early as the 2nd booked cruise:

    Being a returning customer of PONANT cruises means being able to prolong this rare moment over time. As soon as you book your 2nd cruise, you become part of the PONANT Yacht Club and you can enjoy special attention, exclusive offers both aboard and on land, advanced notification of new voyage releases and the best dedicated offers.

    Cruise and flight packages:

    In the case of certain destinations that are less accessible by regular airlines, we organise private flights that offer a more direct connection all the while ensuring that you receive a high-quality service.

    Extensions and trips before & after the cruise:

    The glaciers of Patagonia, Machu Picchu, the Grand Canyon, safari in South Africa... So many stunning locations that might make you wish to explore further. Our teams at PONANT can extend your trip and relieve you of any organisational tasks thanks to our extensions and trips before & after the cruise.

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