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Farther north than ever! PONANT’s Arctic achievement

September 15, 2020 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The position of PONANT, the only French-flagged ocean cruise line, as the global leader of luxury expeditions has been reinforced by the news that its ship Le Boréal has ventured farther north than any other ship in the world.

Navigating towards Russia, Le Boréal, which holds the double certification “Clean Ship” and “Ice Class 1”, crossed Latitude 85° North last week, on the night of 8 September. This made Le Boréal the northernmost ship in the world – an achievement PONANT is particularly proud of!

Sarina Bratton, Chairman Asia Pacific for PONANT, explained: “This was a voyage with a purpose: a fact-finding mission, recording sea and ice conditions – including the thickness and coverage of ice – and monitoring outside temperatures in order to provide invaluable real time data in preparation for the introduction of PONANT’s groundbreaking hybrid electric-LNG (liquified natural gas) polar exploration vessel, Le Commandant-Charcot.”

As a luxury line with the world’s youngest fleet, Ponant has become known for taking travellers in high style to the polar regions, both Arctic and Antarctic – as well as to tropical regions including those in and around Australia.

Polar bears ahoy! ©Studio PONANT. Nathalie Michel

Following it suspension of cruising earlier in the year, PONANT in August announced the coming resumption of luxury expeditions to the Arctic. Arctic destinations include the Bering Strait; Chukotka, one of the most remote parts of the world; Svalbard and its Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve; the Kuril Islands, and the Northeast Passage.

Le Boreal in warmer seas. ©PONANT. Philip Plisson

 Le Commandant-Charcot, currently under construction in Norway, is on schedule for delivery mid-2021. With its Polar Class 2 (PC2) rated hull and twin electric Azipod ABB Azimuth electric propulsors, each driving a five-blade propeller capable of pivoting 360°, Le Commandant-Charcot will be capable of exploring even further, in fact, all the way to the geographic North Pole at 90° north.

To join the fleet next year, Le Commandant Charcot. © STIRLING DESIGN INTERNATIONAL

Meanwhile, as part of PONANT’s continuing preparedness for the opening of borders and
re-commencement of expedition cruising, Le Boréal is currently proceeding along the North East Passage (without guests), positioning to the Russian Far East and the Kamchatka Peninsula in readiness for Bubble Expeditions.

Written by Peter Needham

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