Whether it’s a polar, tropical or subtropical expedition, from Antarctica to Papua New Guinea, PONANT gets you up close and personal with unspoilt nature and rich cultures, far from the traditional cruise routes. With nearly 20 years of experience in extreme regions, PONANT is a true Polar Specialist.

Discover our expedition cruises

Luxury Expeditions


PONANT Expedition cruises are the ultimate blend of refined luxury and adventurous exploration, even in the heart of the most remote regions. Our Expedition cruises not only provide a high-end travel experience, but also allow you to go on a voyage of discovery to far-flung corners of the Earth, accompanied by top-quality services and experts on the regions visited.


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Destinations

Marvel at other-worldly landscapes in Antarctica, meet the indigenous Inuit people, dive into the crystal-clear waters of the Seychelles, observe diverse fauna and explore dense jungle in Central America… The smaller size of our ships makes it possible to get to hard-to-reach areas, giving you the chance to discover hidden spots unlike any other.


Discover our destinations around the world

The Expedition Teams

PONANT expedition leaders and naturalist guides are passionate, knowledgeable experts on their destinations, unlocking doors to the pristine areas we visit. During outings on Zodiac® inflatable boats and during onboard lectures and talks, the team will teach you about the unique flora and fauna of the region and explain the traditions and way of life of the locals, so you can get up close and personal with these remote and fascinating regions.

Meet the team

For all lovers of exploration looking for even further enrichment, PONANT and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC have joined forces and combined their expertise to offer the expedition cruise experience with National Geographic experts and photographers onboard..

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Luxury Expeditions

From the coniferous forests of the North to the glaciers of Antarctica, from the banks of the Orinoco River to the idyllic beaches of New Caledonia, from the ancient traditions of the Inuits to the millennium-old cultures of Vanuatu, discover new cultures and remote corners of the Earth on board a modern, luxurious ship.

High-end amenities…

An expedition with PONANT guarantees top quality comfort, despite exploring some of the most remote places on the planet. The comfort of the ship and your cabin, personalised and attentive service, refined gastronomy... we’re proud of the atmosphere we create onboard and strive to always make you feel as though you’re on your own private yacht. In the heart of icy realms or the tranquil archipelagos of Oceania, our luxury amenities will make your expedition voyage an unforgettable experience.

Our expedition cruises

... in the heart of extreme lands

Whether it’s the Polar regions or along the Orinoco, the smaller size of our ships and their shallow draught mean you can get in as close as possible to these hard-to-access areas. This close proximity offers you the opportunity to explore often inaccessible locations and see rare sights. Our teams are trained to be on the lookout for any unexpected surprises and moments that are part and parcel of an expedition cruise, and our flexibility allows us to adapt to these – this is the true meaning of exploration travel.

Zodiac® shore visits and outings

During Expedition voyages, our fleet of Zodiac® inflatable boats make landing ashore in remote, seldom visited destinations safe and enjoyable, and enable guests to get as close as possible to ice, coral reefs, waterfalls and fauna. Designed to accommodate small groups of 10 passengers, they are easy to step on to from the marina platform at the rear of your ship. Our inclusive Zodiac® and shore excursions are unforgettable experiences, whether you’re landing on a deserted beach in the Maluku islands of Indonesia, interacting with remote tribes of Papua New Guinea, or discovering the splendour of Antarctic glaciers.

Our expedition cruises

Experts

Specialists in extreme regions, these passionate and knowledgeable professionals will add a cultural, environmental and historical dimension to your outings and will point out nearby flora and fauna, local cultures and natural phenomena. As recognised professionals, they always make scouting missions in the field before organising safe outings and shore visits for passengers, taking advantage of the opportunities that arise during any expedition. The enrichment doesn’t stop there though, with a series of cultural, scientific or historical presentations back onboard.

To ensure a safe polar expedition, all our captains and crew are trained on glacier navigation.

Meet the expedition team

All-inclusive Expeditions

Once aboard, enjoy the adventure with total peace of mind. Everything is included: Zodiac® outings, shore visits, excursions and lectures, plus parkas and boot hire for polar expeditions.
During some cruises and ports of calls, optional paying excursions are offered to visit sites that can be reached only with local infrastructure.

Our expedition cruises

Destinations

Immerse yourself in Papua New Guinea, explore the untouched Kimberley, discover forgotten islands in the Indian Ocean, be surrounded by glaciers in Antarctica, or be dazzled by the landscapes of Spitsbergen… and these are just a few of the options we offer. Whether you’re attracted to the tropics or the polar regions, our expertise in luxury expedition cruises means you’re in for an unparalleled change of scenery in some of the world’s most isolated regions.

Polar Expeditions voyages

As the leader in expeditions to polar regions and with over 20 years’ experience in these unique destinations, PONANT takes you on the adventure of a lifetime, with the professional focus and responsible approach that is part of our DNA.

In the Antarctic, set out to discover the icy expanses and magnificent fauna of the White Continent: humpback whales, seals, penguins... In the Arctic regions, fjords, glaciers, icebergs that reflect the hues of the sky and varied wildlife await: polar bears, Arctic foxes, walruses, orcas, whales... plus the special moments of interaction with Inuit people.

Our polar expeditions

Tropical Expedition cruises

A tropical Expedition voyage is more focussed on cultural encounters. Sailing to remote and seldom visited destinations allows you to discover the ancient customs of many tribes and ethnic groups that continue their rituals on the land of their forefathers.

Whether it’s the Papuan, Polynesian or Māori people, you’ll learn about and gain an appreciation for their tradition and cultures. During village visits, take the time to interact with these warm and friendly people, promising rewarding encounters and priceless memories. Plus, who could forget disembarking on idyllic white sand beaches with crystal clear waters and coral reefs far from the hustle and bustle of the modern world.

Our tropical expeditions

Explore further

Alaska, the Bijagos islands, Antarctica, Seychelles ... PONANT and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC have joined forces to offer exceptional expedition cruises with NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC experts onboard – for those with a real thirst for knowledge.

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Expedition team

Nicolas Dubreuil and Mick Fogg are internationally renowned for their deep and detailed knowledge of extreme environments. By conducting preliminary exploratory trips and preparing meticulously for each itinerary, providing expert supervision, and leading discussions and informal chats with guests during a cruise, our Expedition Leaders turn PONANT guests into true ambassadors of the destinations visited.

Nicolas DUBREUIL

Polar & Tropical Expedition Expert

Since his first expedition at the age of 18, Nicolas has been spending more than 8 months of each year near the poles. From Alaska to South Georgia, via Nunavut, Spitsbergen, Siberia, Iceland, the Antarctic Peninsula and Greenland, he accompanies and guides expeditions for athletes, scientists, film crews, and the mobility impaired. Nicolas Dubreuil has been a PONANT expedition leader, guide and ethnologist for 12 years.

Specialty: polar expedition tropical expedition ethnologist

Interview with Nicolas Dubreuil in Escales Magazine:

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Mick FOGG

Expedition leader

In 2012, Mick was appointed first Ambassador of Orangutan Foundation International as a reward for his conservation work in Indonesia. He has led over 300 expeditions through the Asia-Pacific region, sharing his passion for these territories with guests. As an award-winning wildlife photographer and adventurer, Mick Fogg has spent the past 17 years leading expeditions to some of the world’s most remote and spectacular destinations, from the Sub Antarctic Islands to South East Asia.

Specialty: tropical expedition photographer

John Frick

Expedition leader

John’s wanderlust made itself known during his undergraduate studies and has since led him to live in Alaska, work in Nepal as a Peace Corps Volunteer and lead hundreds of expeditions. His voyages have taken him to many far-flung areas of the globe including Africa, Alaska, South America, the Canadian Arctic, Greenland, India and the South Pacific. He looks forward to sharing with you his enthusiasm for the wonders of the natural world, in particular for the White Continent.

Specialty: polar expedition

Florence KUYPER

Expedition leader

Born in the Netherlands, Florence discovered Antarctica in 2004, and she returns there every year. When she is not on board our ships, she works on sailing vessels in the Arctic and Antarctica. During the 2012/2013 season, she has been the Port Lockroy’s base head chief, an emblematic British base in Antarctica. On board PONANT ships, Florence will share with you her passion for polar regions and penguins.

Specialty: polar expedition bird specialist

Interview with Florence Kuyper in Escales Magazine :

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Mark "Harry" Christensen

Naturalist

Harry is a Marine Biologist by trade, with extensive experience in educating people about the biodiversity of Indo-Pacific Coral Reefs. For over 25 years he has worked within the Tourism Industry providing educational programs to visitors in Melanesia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Borneo, South Pacific, South East Asia and Kimberley regions. Harry has extensive experience in the Kimberley region, where he has worked as a guide and as an Expedition Leader for several seasons.

Specialty: tropical expedition

Mark Watson

Naturalist

Mark has worked as a naturalist and field guide for more than 20 years, mostly in the remote wilderness regions of Tasmania, the Kimberley and South-East Asia regions. He secured a traineeship as a ranger on the one-million-acre wilderness park known as El Questro, cruising the many spectacular gorges in search of rare birds, plants and crocodiles. He is passionate about all aspects of the old-world tropics, from the biodiversity of the coral triangle to the rainforests that are home to a plethora of endemic bird species and primates.

Specialty: tropical expedition bird specialist

Delphine AURÈS

Expedition leader

Deeply passionate about the sea and travelling in general, Delphine has been sailing the world’s oceans for the past 20 years. Her interest in remote islands and small communities has down many different paths: biologist for the IPF (Institut Polaire Français), freelance journalist, writer and presenter of a series of TV documentaries and dog-sledding guide in Spitsbergen. Onboard PONANT ships, Delphine will share her passion for polar regions and the natural world with you.

Specialty: polar expedition

Interview with Delphine Aurès in Escales Magazine :

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Sandrine Erwin-Rose

Expedition leader Assistant

Her first childhood memories are of leafing through her father’s Jacques Cousteau books and snorkelling looking for marine creatures. Born by the shores of the Mediterranean, Sandrine Erwin-Rose has always shown curiosity for wildlife. She went on to study zoology and marine biology at James Cook University in Australia. During her studies and whilst working as a research assistant she explored some of the most diverse environments: the tropical rainforests rich in biodiversity, the arid deserts ruled by her beloved reptiles and the colourful world of coral reefs.

Specialty: tropical expedition

PONANT and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, the ultimate combination

From 2019, PONANT and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC will come together, bringing the spirited adventure traveller a unique opportunity to embark on a selection of new expedition cruises to some of the most intriguing and remote destinations on the planet. Together we’ll take you further than ever before.

Here we have two highly respected global companies working together to inspire our guests to live curiously, explore our planet and become global ambassadors for sustainability.

Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée & Gary E. Knell

Discover NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC cruises

A passion for exploration

PONANT and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC have collaborated on this selection of cruises based on our common values, with travelling as a way of understanding the world that surrounds us being a central tenet. This is at the heart of everything we do.

Travel has been part of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’s DNA ever since one January evening in 1888 when 33 explorers, scientists, academics and patrons gathered to found “a society for the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge.”

Since the first issue NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’s iconic magazine, the writing, then photography and followed by video, digital, and social media in more recent years, have transported people to places they’d never considered. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC captures the world’s far-flung corners and brings them into the homes of their audience.

Unique itineraries

Sail turquoise waters on an idyllic cruise through the beautiful islands of the Seychelles or discover wild landscapes while following in the footsteps of the gold prospectors in Alaska. Oceania, Asia, the Atlantic and Northern Europe complete the list of world regions included in this wide range of unique itineraries to a variety of exotic destinations offering a multitude of new things to see and unforgettable experiences.

Travel with fascinating and passionate experts

Leading experts will be on board every cruise to share their knowledge and passion for the destinations.

The PONANT expedition team

Your expedition team have been selected for their knowledge and expertise to enhance your experience both on board and onshore, providing valuable insight into the culture, history and wildlife of the region. Accompanying you throughout your voyage, they are ideal companions for your journey of discovery.

A NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC expert

Writers, archaeologists, adventurers, anthropologists or field researchers: the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC experts will not only share their knowledge and passion for the destinations we visit, but will also offer a global perspective showing you how they are linked to the human journey, the changing planet and wildlife, and how we also have an effect.

A NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC photographer

A NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC photographer is also onboard, on hand to advise and teach you techniques how to get the perfect shot. Being able to share their skills while the subject of your photograph is right there in front of you means you’ll be able to capture perfect photographs of the incredible sights you’ll see.

Ensuring responsible tourism

Experts are there to enrich the expedition with fascinating presentations. They will also be available onboard and ashore for more informal discussions, such as during mealtimes, to create a guest experience unlike any other. Documentaries, magazines, books and other items will be available on board to fully immerse you in the world of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC.

Promoting research

For over 130 years, the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY has funded groundbreaking scientists and explorers, sharing their findings with the world. They sponsored Hiram Bingham as he brought Machu Picchu to the world stage; documented Robert Ballard’s quest to find The Titanic and supported Jane Goodall’s lifelong study of chimpanzees. Today, the Society awards more than 575 grants a year to scientists, educators, innovators and storytellers around the world.

Joining the fight against plastic pollution

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC is working every day to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the world’s oceans. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’s organisation-wide effort includes a major research and scientific initiative; a consumer education and engagement campaign; corporate sustainability commitments; and a program of innovative partnerships with like-minded corporations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from all over the world.

PONANT and sustainable tourism

We go above and beyond environmental regulations, using research and innovation to help us minimise our impact on the delicate environments we visit. Thanks to our efforts, every one of our ships has been awarded the international Clean Ship label, which certifies that we have reduced our environmental impact.

We are members of the IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators) and AECO (Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators). Both organizations impose strict rules on tourism in the poles.

We are also passionate about working with local people, respecting their traditions and environment.