Small ship expedition cruises provides the opportunity explore remote regions and, through shore excursions and onboard experts, to have an immersive and educational experience. Subject to Australian government approval, luxury French Cruise Line Ponant, with its “soft-expedition” style ships is scheduled to return to Australia’s Kimberley Region in 2022.
Why Visit Australia’s Kimberley Region?
Like many soft-expedition cruise destinations that focus on wildlife and unique natural phenomena (such as Alaska), the Kimberley Region offers visitors different experiences depending on the time of year. Covering an area that is two thirds the size of France, the Kimberley Region it is most commonly explored by air or sea. The following clip with onboard expert Mick Fogg provides highlights of this remote and unspoiled region:
For New Zealand travellers, the Kimberley Region is relatively close to home and part of the Trans-Tasman Travel Bubble.
The Best Time of Year to Visit the Kimberley Region
The Kimberley cruise season runs from April to September, and like Alaska, different aspects of the region will be on show at different times of the season. Ponant is scheduled to offers itineraries through the 2022 season, with the itinerary featured in this article focussed on the start of the season (see more below).
During April and May, guests are more likely to see turtles, dugongs (a cousin of the manatee), dolphins, waterfalls and greener landscapes. Later in the season, crocodiles, humpback whales and migratory birds become more common and the light becomes crisp and clear for photography and the landscape becomes drier.
Why Choose Ponant?
In previous articles on expedition cruising we discussed the advantages of small ship, soft-expedition style cruising, and this is exactly why Ponant’s expedition fleet appeals for the Kimberley Region (Le Laparouse and Le Soleal are scheduled to operate there in 2022). Smaller ships have the ability to venture where larger ships cannot, and the use of zodiacs takes guests even further into this remote landscape.
Ponant’s expedition pedigree also means that the onboard experience for guests looking to learn more about the Kimberley Region, its history and wildlife will not be dissapointed. Talks by onboard experts and a dedicated expedition crew all contribute to a culture of exploration.
Sample Kimberley Itinerary
Ponant offers a range of itineraries between Broome and Darwin that take in the Kimberley region. For the start of the 2022 Kimberley season, there is a 10 night itinerary from Broome on 29 March 2022 that finishes in Darwin on 8 April 2022, with ports of call including:
- Lacepede Islands
- Collier Bay
- Careening Bay
- Hunter River
- Swift Bay
- Vansittart Bay
- King George River
Fine Travel can provide you with full details of the itinerary, current discounts and bonus offers (see more below) and expected activities at each port of call and incorporate your connecting flights into a single itinerary. At the time of writing this itinerary starts from A$10,060*pp twin share.
Ponant’s Covid-19 Health Response
We’ve recently written about Ponant’s onboard health and safety response in this article. At the time of writing Ponant is still waiting for confirmation from the Australian government to operate in Australian waters in 2022.
Ponant’s Special Offers and New Client Bonuses
Ponant operates a unique discount system which provides guests with certainty that they are getting the best available price at the time. Discounts are tiered based on how many stateroom and suites have been sold. When an itinerary is released, the biggest discount is available (30%) which rewards those who commit early and pay a deposit. As more cabins sell, the available discount reduces in 5% increments until the final remaining cabins are available at full price.
For clients who have never cruised with Ponant, there is also an A$400pp new client discount.