French cruise line PONANT Yacht Cruises & Expeditions has opened bookings for its Antarctica 2016-2017 cruises, 18 months prior to the first departure date.
Guests can explore the world’s extreme regions in five-star comfort aboard Le Boréal, Le Soléal and brand new ship Le Lyrial. From November 2016 to February 2017, PONANT is offering four itineraries across 16 departure dates, to experience a genuine polar safari and observe the region’s unique wildlife.
Le Boréal, Le Soléal and Le Lyrial are luxury cruise-yachts with between 122 and 132 staterooms and suites designed for polar expeditions. Passengers are given access to protected sites only accessible to small ships with capacities limited to 200 passengers.
These voyages include Zodiac outings to take passengers as close as possible to nature. The itineraries are flexible leaving the ship to alter its route to follow a humpback whale or visit a penguin colony for instance. It is a unique experience made all the more interesting with on-board polar specialists who will share their passion for the Antarctic lands they have been roaming for years.
The itineraries available include:
- Emblematic Antarctica – Complete immersion in the vast white world of the Antarctica Peninsula, discovering the tabular icebergs and drifting pack ice where fur seals and colonies of penguins live. Departing Ushuaia (Argentina) the ship will embark on a 10-night cruise sailing the Drake passage before visiting Port Lockroy, Pleneau / Port Charcot, Neko / Paradise Bay, The Weddell Sea, and Deception Island / Half Moon in Antarctica. The vessel will cross the Drake passage once more to return to Ushuaia. Prices start from €5,860 (approximately £4,223) per person including transfers between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia.
- The Great Adventure – Exploring the Antarctica Peninsula’s white landscapes with either South Georgia or the Falkland and South Shetland Islands. From Ushuaia (Argentina) the ship will cross the Drake passage to Antarctica, visiting Neko / Paradise Bay, Port Charcot / Port Lockroy, Whilhelmina / Enterprise, Deception Island, The Weddell Sea, and South Shetland Island. The vessel will cross the Drake passage to visit Port Stanley / Volunteer Point (The Falkland Islands) and Saunders / Grave Cove before travelling onwards to Montevideo (Uruguay). Prices for this 15-night cruise start from €5,910 (approximately £4,261) per person including transfers between Ushuaia and Buenos Aires.
- The Great Austral Loop – Highlights of the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctica Peninsula. From Ushuaia (Argentina) the ship will head on a 15-night itinerary to New Island / Grave Cove (Falkland Islands) before sailing onto Salisbury Plain / Fortuna Bay, Grytviken / St Andrews Bay and Gold Harbour (South Georgia). Next will be Weddell Sea, Gerlache Strait/ Enterprise, and Deception Island / Half Moon (Antarctica) before the ship will cruise the Drake passage back to Ushuaia. Prices start from €7,460 (approximately £5,377) per person including transfers between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia.
- Journey in Southern Lands – A brand new itinerary including the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and three of the most isolated islands in the world Tristan da Cunha, a volcanic and mountainous land, Gough Island, home to one of the work’s largest sea bird colonies and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and Nightingale Island, a refuge for many penguin colonies. This 21-night cruise sails from Ushuaia to Cape Town. From Ushuaia (Argentina) the ship will head to New Island / Grave Cove, and Saunders / Volunteer (Falkland Islands) before sailing onto Salisbury / Fortuna, St Andrews / Gryviken, and Gold Harbour / Cooper Bay (South Georgia). Next will be Tristan Da Cunha, Nightingale Island and Gough Island (British Overseas Territories) before sailing onto Cape Town (South Africa) for an overnight stay in port. Prices start from €6,610 (approximately £4,764) per person.
All fares above are per person and include all meals while on-board the ship, Open Bar, 24-hour room service, luggage transfer from pier to the ship and vice versa and evening entertainment and events.
(Photo credit to Sarah Del Ben / PONANT)