Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning 2022

6 2 PL ANNER PERSPECTI VE Since it was formed by graduates of the French Merchant Navy in 1988, Ponant has focused on building a fleet of smallcapacity, luxury ships to allow it to call at unique ports and destinations across the world. Ponant’s fleet has sailed to every continent, offering traditional cruises in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, as well as voyages to the remote polar regions. The cruise line is looking to explore further than ever before with the launch of its new ship, Le Commandant Charcot. Built by Vard, the polar exploration vessel is rated as Polar Class 2, meaning that she is able to cut through ice floes up to seven feet deep and sail to some of the most rarely visited locations in the world. Stephen Winter, international sales director for Ponant, was one of those onboard as the ship embarked on a trial sailing to the North Pole in September 2021. “I was privileged to be onboard the first French ship to reach the North Pole,” he says. “It was a wonderful moment and a matter of real pride for all involved. We imagined designing a ship with such capacity six years ago and we were not even sure if it was possible. To see it come to fruition was very satisfying, particularly because she is also one of the cleanest ships ever built. Ponant has always tried to take its guests to places that other cruise lines do not go, and this new vessel only enhances the opportunities for discovery.” Winter is eager for guests to get a chance to sail on the innovative new ship and return to destinations that have been impossible to visit during the pandemic. “I am quite excited that our guests will also be able to go to the North Pole with her next summer, along with trips to Ponant is set to take guests to some of the world’s most remote locations after launching its innovative new expedition ship Le Commandant Charcot. Stephen Winter tells Alex Smith more Breaking the boundaries of exploration