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  • Ponant-sunset.jpg - Ponant will take you to exotic ports around the world on its yacht-style luxury ships.
  • Ponant-maldives5.jpg - Vist the gorgeous Maldives, off the coast of Africa, as part of a Ponant yacht cruise.
  • Ponant-stateroom.jpg - A stateroom on Le Ponant, part of the Ponant fleet of yachts cruising the seas.
  • le-ponant-in-maldives.jpg - The small masted luxury cruise ship Le Ponant sailing in the Maldives at sunset.
  • Ponant-in-Greenland.jpg - L'Austral and Le Boreal are among the luxury expedition ships from Ponant that visit Greenland.
  • Ponant-dining.jpg -  Dine on French fusion cuisine, such as carpaccio of yellow fin tuna or pan-fried filet steak and finish your meal with panna cotta with red berry fruits on your Ponant sailing.
  • Ponant-Yacht-Cruise-poolside.jpg - Relax poolside as your Ponant ship slips into small bays and secluded coves.
  • le-boreal-Aitcho-Islands.jpg - Le Boreal sails past the Aitcho Islands in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica.
  • Ponant-Lyrial2.jpg - It's all about comfort, style, and relaxation in the staterooms on Ponant's Le Lyrial.
  • Ponant-Lyrial.jpg - Take in the sweeping views on Ponant's luxury ship Le Lyrial.
  • le-soleal-in-venice.jpg - Ponant's Le Soleal cruises into Venice.
  • le-lyrial-meditation.jpg - Find your perfect state of bliss on a luxury cruise aboard Ponant's Le Lyrial.
  • Ponant-maldives2.jpg - Sail Le Ponant through the Mediterranean or the Caribbean.
  • Ponant-Soleal-cove.jpg - Relax in the lounge of Le Soleal. The Ponant ship sails the world from Easter Island to Copenhagen to Tahiti.
  • Ponant-general2.jpg - An aerial view of Le Ponant. Enjoy an intimate getaway on the three-masted luxury ship.
  • Ponant-Soleal-cabin.jpg - Your cabin on the Ponant luxury ship Le Soleal is your home away from home.
  • Ponant-Boreal-relax.jpg - Take in the exotic passing landscapes on Le Boreal, a Ponant luxury ship.
  • Ponant-Lyrial-lounge.jpg - Socialize in the main lounge of Ponant's luxury ship Le Lyrial.
  • Ponant-Lyrial-suite.jpg - Relax in the comfort of your suite on Le Lyrial, a Ponant luxury ship.
  • Ponant-Lyrial-cabin.jpg - Your cabin on Ponant's Le Lyrial is light and airy, and designed for comfort and style.
  • Ponant-Lyrial-snack.jpg - Enjoy good conversation and a light snack the lounge of Le Lyrial on your Ponant sailing.
  • Ponant-Lyrial-wine.jpg - The sommelier on Ponant's Le Lyrial can offer suggestions for the perfect wine to accompany your meals.
  • Ponant-Lyrial-chef.jpg - The head chef can assist with menu choices during your luxury cruise on Ponant's Le Lyrial.
  • Le-Boreal-pool.jpg - The pool aboard the luxury expedition ship Le Boreal.
  • Le-Soleal-reception.jpg - The classy reception area of the Ponant luxury ship Le Soleal.
  • Ponant-Le-Soleal-exterior.jpg - Ponant's luxury expedition ship Le Soleal docked in port.
  • le-lyrial-dining.jpg - Dine in style on French dishes, cheeses and desserts on Ponant's luxury ship Le Lyrial.
  • le-boreal-in-antarctica.jpg - The Ponant luxury expedition ship Le Boreal in Antarctica.
  • Ponant-Pacific.jpg - Take in scenic waterfalls in the Pacific from the deck of a Ponant yacht.
  • Ponant-Observatory-lounge.jpg - Spend an afternoon in the Observatory Lounge on your Ponant sailing.
  • Ponant-Yacht.jpg - Le Ponant, carrying only 64 passengers, sets sail for ports of call around the world.
  • Ponant-Yacht2.jpg - Ponant can drop anchor in small bays, such as Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska, to give you a closeup view of wildlife.
  • Ponant-Katmail-bear.jpg - A bear, spotted on a Ponant cruise, takes a dip on a warm day in Alaska's Katmai National Park.
  • Ponant-glacier.jpg - See the glaciers of Alaska from a whole new perspective on a Ponant cruise.
  • Ponant-Antarctica2.png - Experience the raw beauty of Antarctica on a Ponant expedition cruise.
  • Ponant-BoraBora.png - Dive into the clear waters of Bora Bora in the South Seas on your Ponant luxury cruise.
  • Ponant-crew-service.png - Experience attentive service on your cruise aboard Ponant's Le Soleal.
  • Ponant-Leboreal-stateroom.jpg - After a day exploring the Caribbean, Scandinavia or Antartica, relax in style in your stateroom on Ponant's luxury expedition ship Le Boreal.
  • Ponant-Laustral-deck-port.jpg - Enjoy scenic ports from the deck of a Ponant Yacht. Book a cruise on L'Austral today.
  • Ponant-Leboreal-deck-chair.jpg - Enjoy deck time on Le Boreal, a Ponant Yacht Cruise.
  • Ponant-Leboreal-deck.jpg - Take in panoramic views of charming European port cities from the deck of Le Boreal, a Ponant yacht.
  • Ponant-HaLongBay.jpg - Hạ Long Bay, in northeast Vietnam, is known for its emerald waters and towering limestone islands topped by rainforests.
  • Ponant-Victoria-Island.jpg - Victoria Island (Ile Victoria) is an island in the Canadian Arctic, the perfect spot to view the Northern Lights from the deck of a Ponant yacht. 
  • Ponant-Venice.jpg - Sail on Le Lyrial to take in the romantic ports of the Adriatic Sea, including Venice.
  • Ponant-Alaska-bay.jpg - Share the bays of Alaska with a variety of watercraft. Le Boreal offers expedition cruises to Nome, Savoonga, St. George, Katmai and other scenic locations.
  • Ponant-al-fresco.jpg - Al fresco dining is always an option on a Ponant yacht cruise.
  • Ponant-LePonant-sail.jpg - Experience the most scenic ports of France and the Caribbean on Le Ponant.
  • Ponant-LeBoreal-stateroom1.jpg - Relax in your plush, modern stateroom on Ponant's Le Boreal.
  • Ponant-LeBoreal-stateroom2.jpg - Enjoy the comfort of your stateroom after a day of show excursions on Ponant's Le Boreal.
  • Ponant-LeBoreal-Theater.jpg - The Theater on Le Boreal features informational sessions as well as music.
  • Ponant-LeBoreal-deck-champagne.jpg - Sip fine Champagne on deck with fellow shipmates as you leave port on deck on your Ponant cruise.
  • Ponant-LeLyrial-deck-sunset.jpg - Watch the sun go down over a glass of Champagne on the deck of Le Lyrial, a Ponant yacht.
  • Ponant-couple.png - Enjoy a leisurely breakfast on Le Ponant.
  • Ponant-LeSoleal-library.jpg - Spend time in the Library on Ponant's Le Soleal for some quiet reading.
  • Ponant-LeSoleal-lounge.jpg - The lounge on Le Soleal is a meeting place for passengers traveling to French Polynesia and Easter Island.
  • Ponant-LeSoleal-stateroom1.jpg -  Book a stateroom on Le Soleal for quiet luxury on a Ponant expedition cruise.
  • Ponant-LeBoreal-sea.jpg - Sail off into the sunset on Le Boreal, a Ponant yacht.
  • Ponant-Sydney.jpg - A Ponant ship approaches Sydney Harbor, one of many ports of call in Australia.
  • Ponant-tropical-fish.png - Snorkel and scuba dive to see tropical fish up close as part of your Ponant cruise experience.
  • Ponant-whale-fin.png - See nature in a whole new way on a Ponant luxury expedition cruise when you set sail on Le Boreal from Ushuaia, Argentina, to Antarctica.
  • Ponant-Bellot-polar.jpg - Cruise the Bellot Strait of Canada for closeup views of polar bears.
  • Ponant-Bellot-polar2.jpg - Ponant can take you to the inlets and bays of Canada to see polar bears in their native habitat.
  • Ponant-Bellot-polar3.jpg - Watch the locals take a dip on a Ponant cruise through Northern Canada.
  • Ponant-cruise-life.jpg - Enjoy a good book + cool drink + sunshine on deck on your Ponant cruise.
  • Ponant-whale.jpg - A humpback whale breaches the surface, seen on a Ponant cruise.
  • Ponant-champagne1.jpg -
  • Ponant-maldives4.jpg - Sail the Mediterranean or Caribbean on Le Ponant.
  • Ponant-maldives6.jpg - The three-masted sailing ship Le Ponant at twilight: cruising as it was meant to be.
  • Ponant-maldives8.jpg - Take a dream cruise on Le Ponant for a small-ship yacht experience.
  • Ponant-maldives9.jpg - Le Ponant, with just 64 passengers, sails to exotic ports of call the world over.
  • Ponant-under-sails.jpg - Set sail for the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands on a Ponant Yacht Cruise.
  • Ponant-without-sails.jpg - Drop anchor in a secluded bay and relax on the three-masted Le Ponant sailing ship.
  • Ponant-general.jpg - An aerial view of the sleek, petite luxury sailing ship Le Ponant.
  • Ponant-lounge.jpg - Relax and meet new friends in the lounge aboard Le Ponant as you sail to exotic locales.
  • Ponant-lounge2.jpg - Kick back with a cocktail in the lounge of Le Ponant during your luxury ship sailing.
  • Ponant-Yacht-Cruise-Croatia.jpg - Visit Dubrovnik, Croatia on a Ponant Yacht Cruise & Expedition.
  • Ponant-Boreal-cabin.jpg - Revel in comfort and luxury in your luxury cabin during your vacation on Ponant's Le Boreal.
  • Ponant-Austral-cabin.jpg - After a day of shore excursions you'll enjoy relaxing in your luxury cabin on Ponant's L'Austral.
  • Ponant-Austral-suite.jpg - Enjoy breakfast in bed in your suite when entering a new port on Ponant's L'Austral.
  • Ponant-Austral-lounge.jpg - Relax and meet new friends in the lounge on L'Austral, a luxury ship from Ponant.

Ponant: Discover ooh-la-la French ambience aboard a super-yacht

There are only a handful of cruise lines that are all about luxurious, intimate high-end ocean cruising in the style of a super-yacht. Ponant is at the very top of the list. Its five boutique-size, high-tech ships are not widely known to American audiences, but they're a superb choice for a memorable voyage of a lifetime.

The only French cruise line, Ponant is headquartered in Marseille, France. And while its ships maintain a French flair, they have an increasingly international complexion, with expedition-style, eco-friendly sailings to far-flung corners of the globe. Ponant has gained a reputation for sophistication, charm and convivial service. Its French-inspired cuisine is among the best at sea, and its accommodations are somewhat smallish but classy.

The fleet's original ship, Le Ponant (32 staterooms), is a small three-masted sailing ship. Ponant has launched four nearly identical luxury sister ships in recent years: Le Boréal in 2010, L'Austral in 2011, Le Soleal in 2013 and Le Lyrial in 2015. All four state-of-the-art ships have 132 cabins, 95% of them with balconies), two restaurants, three lounges, a library/card room, Internet nook, spa and fitness center. Onboard announcements are made in both English and French. 

The company is owned by Bridgepoint, a European private equity company. 

Who will enjoy sailing on Ponant

Ponant ships attract a diverse, affluent set of passengers, generally age 50 and up, who are looking for a high-end, French-flavored small-ship experience with off-the-beaten-track itineraries. The ships tend to attract passengers from France, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium in addition to Americans and Australians, though full-ship charters tend to attract mostly North Americans. Children are welcome, and a few children's activities are available (such as a Wii gaming console), but don't expect to see a lot of kids on a Ponant ship. 

Where the Ponant fleet sails

Ponant ships traverse the globe on wide-ranging itineraries, calling on ports that are inaccessible to larger vessels. Ponant ships sail to:

  • Northern Europe, Scandinavia, the Baltic, Greenland and Iceland
  • Mediterranean region, including Spain, Portugal, Corsica, Italy, Croatia, Aegean, Adriatic and Black Sea
  • Red Sea and Persian Gulf
  • Indian Ocean, including the Maldives
  • South Pacific, French Polynesia
  • Asia
  • South and Central America
  • Antarctica

Upcoming ships

In March 2016 Ponant ordered four new 184-passenger expedition ships. Set to debut in 2018 and 2019, they'll have 92 cabins and be Ice Class rated for polar expeditions.

Ratings & awards

Cruiseable           

Best Mid-Sized Ship Ocean Cruise Line, Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards (2016)

About Ratings & awards

Highlights and what impressed us

  • The cuisine! French cheeses, French desserts, French wines.
  • Chic French ambience, relaxed atmosphere, gorgeous decor
  • Intriguing, wide-ranging itineraries around the world.

Fast facts

5 Ships
1988 Founded
Boutique Style
Marseille, France HQ

Overheard

“With distinctively French flair, the cruise company strikes an
appealing balance between destination choice and price point on luxuriously refurbished modern sailing vessels that feature French gastronomy, elegant styling, and unique voyages with all-inclusive packages. Travel is privileged yet unpretentious aboard a small majestic three-masted sailing yacht or larger megayacht.”

Fodor's

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