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The Luxury of Ponant Cruises


“I’m looking for something special – a cruise that will really capture the imagination of New Zealanders”.

“How about Ponant” came the reply. “Their cruise ships have never been to this part of the world and the “L’Austral” will be here at the end of the year”. And so in 2014 my education on the luxury French cruise line Ponant began.

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There is something unquestionably “James Bond-esk” about L’Austral and the other ships in the Ponant fleet. With sleek modern lines and a black hull you can imagine Daniel Craig emerging onto a balcony with a bottle of Dom Perignon ‘53 (chilled to below 38 degrees fahrenheit as Sean Connery reminds us in Goldfinger). And with an “Open Bar” special currently available he could be doing this at any time of the day (as is his want).



French founder Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée had nothing but the best in mind for his guests. With no inside cabins and modern French styling, attention to detail is the cornerstone of this modern fleet (the average age is less than two years). The Director of Sales compared walking on-board to a boutique French hotel, with a lobby that is modern, fresh and new.

Priding themselves on “what we do and how we do it when we get there” you can experience true French cuisine (the chefs on board are French) and the flexibility to dine wherever you wish on board. If you are a frequent visitor to La Cigale Markets, Antoine’s or The French Café this may have already caught your attention.


When you arrive at the next port you may find yourself swimming with the Captain (an experience shared by guests recently) or cruising past larger ships into more exclusive destinations.

Ponant and New Zealand & the South Pacific

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Since first coming to New Zealand in 2014, Ponant ships have visited New Zealand and the South Pacific every year since.  2019 was also the year that Ponant’s newest ship, Le Laperouse joined the fleet.

Ponant and Antarctica

Leading the way in “soft adventure” and expedition cruising the zodiac landings are designed for all travellers to experience. And with the claim that Ponant takes more voyages and guests to Antarctica than any other cruise line, they certainly have the pedigree to support this.

Although 2020 / 2021 for New Zealanders will be rather different, summer cruises generally sell out and choosing the right cruise for you is important. So where to start? Contact us for advice.