Compagnie du Ponant Cruises Review

Compagnie du Ponant is a French luxury cruise line that offers a unique and sophisticated cruise experience. With a fleet of 12 ships, Compagnie du Ponant provides guests with a range of itineraries and destinations to choose from, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The ships are designed to navigate the world’s oceans and waterways, providing guests with an intimate and immersive experience. One of the standout features of Compagnie du Ponant ships is their size. The ships are smaller than many ocean-going vessels, with a capacity for between 64 and 264 guests. This allows for a more personalized and intimate experience, with a high staff-to-guest ratio and attentive service. The ships are also designed to navigate narrow waterways and low bridges, allowing guests to explore destinations that larger ships cannot access.

In a Nutshell…

  1. Luxury Small Ship Cruises: Compagnie du Ponant offers exclusive cruises on small luxury ships, combining elegance and personalized service.
  2. Global Destinations: From polar regions to tropical paradises, their itineraries cover diverse destinations worldwide.
  3. Le Commandant Charcot: Their groundbreaking icebreaker ship, Le Commandant Charcot, provides unique Arctic and Antarctic experiences.
  4. Sailboat Cruiseline: Ponant’s fleet includes sailing ships like Le Ponant, adding a touch of classic elegance.
  5. Ponant Explorers: These expedition ships offer intimate voyages with limited staterooms and suites.
  6. Human-Sized Ships: Ponant focuses on environmentally conscious travel, exploring off-the-beaten-track destinations.
  7. Bespoke Services: Tailored onboard services ensure a customized cruise experience.
  8. Inspiring Content: Ponant provides inspiring content to prepare travelers for their next voyage.
  9. Green Initiatives: Certified by Green Globe, Ponant prioritizes sustainable energy and environmental impact reduction.
  10. Iconic Newbuild Ship: Ponant recently unveiled an iconic new ship, continuing their commitment to exceptional voyages

Sailing on Ponant Cruises

Compagnie du Ponant offers unique cruise experiences on intimate ships, sailing to exciting destinations around the globe. Here’s a glimpse into what you can expect:

Distinct Destinations: Compagnie du Ponant voyages travel to a variety of destinations, with a focus on off-the-beaten-path locations and hidden gems. Explore the secluded islands of French Polynesia, navigate the icy waters of Antarctica, or embark on a Mediterranean adventure cruising the Adriatic and Aegean Seas.

Smaller Ship Experience: Compagnie du Ponant’s fleet is known for its smaller vessels, providing a more intimate and personalized atmosphere onboard. This also allows access to smaller ports and hidden coves that may be out of reach for larger ships.

Sophisticated Style: The ships boast a refined elegance, with tasteful décor and comfortable amenities. Expect attentive service and a relaxed ambiance.

Focus on Exploration: Compagnie du Ponant itineraries are designed for discovery. Shore excursions often feature exploration activities, cultural encounters, and visits to natural wonders. Onboard lectures by experts and naturalists further enrich your experience.

Relaxed Pace: The smaller scale and emphasis on exploration create a relaxed onboard environment. You won’t find the high-energy entertainment or crowded spaces often associated with larger cruise lines.

Culinary Delights: Compagnie du Ponant features high-quality dining experiences. Savor delicious meals prepared with fresh ingredients, often reflecting the regional flavors of the destinations you visit.

Comfortable Accommodations: Compagnie du Ponant offers a variety of cabin categories to suit your preferences and budget. Many cabins boast balconies or picture windows for taking in the scenery.

Activities and Entertainment: While onboard entertainment options may be more subtle compared to larger cruise lines, you’ll still find ways to relax and unwind. Lectures, cooking demonstrations, and regional entertainment are often offered. Lounges with board games and comfortable seating provide a place to relax and socialize.

Cruising with Compagnie du Ponant is a great choice for travelers who value exploration, a relaxed atmosphere, and the opportunity to discover unique destinations in style. The smaller ship experience and focus on discovery set Compagnie du Ponant apart from other cruise lines.

Note: Compagnie du Ponant caters primarily to an adult clientele. While some itineraries may be suitable for families, there are no dedicated children’s programs or amenities onboard most ships.

The Fleet of Compagnie du Ponant Cruises

Entertainement  on Compagnie du Ponant Cruises

Compagnie du Ponant Cruises is renowned for offering a captivating and diverse entertainment program that enriches the onboard experience for its guests. From live performances to engaging activities, the cruise line ensures that guests are entertained and engaged throughout their voyage.

One of the highlights of the entertainment on Compagnie du Ponant Cruises is the live performances that take place in the ship’s theaters and lounges. The cruise line brings onboard talented artists from around the world, including musicians, singers, dancers, and acrobats, who deliver exceptional shows that are a feast for the senses. Whether it’s a Broadway-style musical, a classical music concert, or a vibrant cultural performance, the entertainment on Compagnie du Ponant Cruises is of the highest caliber, offering guests a truly immersive experience.

In addition to the live performances, the cruise line offers a variety of engaging activities and events that cater to different interests and preferences. Guests can participate in interactive workshops, such as cooking classes, mixology sessions, and art lessons, where they can learn new skills and unleash their creativity. The cruise line also organizes themed parties and celebrations, creating a festive atmosphere on board. From elegant gala nights to lively deck parties, these events allow guests to socialize, dance, and create lasting memories.

Compagnie du Ponant Cruises also recognizes the importance of providing enrichment programs that offer guests opportunities for learning and personal growth. The cruise line invites guest speakers, experts, and lecturers to deliver informative and thought-provoking presentations on various topics, including history, culture, wildlife, and destination highlights. These lectures provide valuable insights and add depth to the guests’ understanding of the regions they are visiting, enhancing their overall cruise experience.

For those seeking relaxation and leisure, Compagnie du Ponant Cruises offers a range of onboard amenities that cater to different interests. Guests can unwind by the pool, indulge in spa treatments, or enjoy a workout in the fitness center. The cruise line also provides access to a library for those who prefer to delve into a good book or engage in quiet contemplation. With such a diverse range of activities and amenities, there is something for everyone on board.

The entertainment on Compagnie du Ponant Cruises is thoughtfully curated to reflect the destinations visited during the itinerary. The cruise line takes pride in showcasing the local culture, traditions, and music of each region, providing guests with an authentic and immersive experience. Whether it’s a flamenco performance in Spain, a traditional folk dance in Greece, or a live jazz band in New Orleans, the entertainment program celebrates the unique flavors of each destination.

The cruise line also pays careful attention to the ambiance and design of its entertainment venues. The theaters and lounges are beautifully designed, with comfortable seating, excellent sightlines, and state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems. This ensures that guests can enjoy the performances and events in a captivating and immersive setting, enhancing their overall enjoyment.

In conclusion, Compagnie du Ponant Cruises offers a comprehensive entertainment program that caters to a variety of interests and preferences. From world-class live performances to engaging activities and enriching lectures, the cruise line ensures that guests are entertained and engaged throughout their voyage. With a focus on quality, diversity, and authenticity, the entertainment on Compagnie du Ponant Cruises adds a vibrant and memorable dimension to the onboard experience.

Compagnie du Ponant Cruises, renowned for its luxurious and intimate sailing experiences, offers a fleet of exquisite ships with cabins that redefine elegance and comfort at sea. From the iconic Le Ponant to the modern Le Champlain, each vessel boasts a unique charm and sophistication that caters to the most discerning travelers seeking a blend of luxury and adventure.

Le Ponant, the iconic three-master sailing ship of Compagnie du Ponant, epitomizes the company’s commitment to sustainable travel while offering an exclusive and luxurious voyage experience. With only 16 elegantly decorated staterooms and suites, this legendary yacht provides guests with a sense of intimacy akin to being on a private yacht. The ship’s design, open common areas, and attention to detail create an ambiance of communion with the elements, allowing passengers to savor every moment of their journey. The Relais & Châteaux label awarded to Le Ponant in 2023 further underscores its exceptional quality and dedication to providing a unique and meaningful travel experience.

Le Champlain, another gem in Compagnie du Ponant’s fleet, exudes a contemporary and airy ambiance that reflects the line’s French heritage. The cabins on Le Champlain are bright, spacious, and tastefully decorated, incorporating touches of luxury and convenience. Fabrics with a tropical, Polynesian feel add a distinct resort-like atmosphere, while light wood features enhance the overall design. All accommodations on Le Champlain come with balconies, air conditioning, twin beds convertible to a king-sized bed, and a range of amenities such as a mini-bar, flat-screen satellite TV, and Wi-Fi. The ship’s Deluxe and Prestige cabins offer a comfortable retreat, while the spacious suites, ranging from 291 to 484 square feet, provide an elevated level of luxury with walk-in closets and butler service in select suites.

Across Compagnie du Ponant’s fleet, cabins are meticulously designed to offer guests a luxurious and comfortable retreat at sea. Standard staterooms feature amenities like air conditioning, luxury bedding, mini-bars, flat-screen TVs, and en-suite bathrooms with premium bath products. The cabins are equipped with 110/220-volt outlets, Wi-Fi, and a range of thoughtful touches to enhance the guest experience. Suites on these ships provide an elevated level of luxury, with spacious living areas, walk-in closets, and additional amenities like bathtubs, separate living and sleeping areas, and expansive balconies that offer stunning views of the sea.

In conclusion, cabins on Compagnie du Ponant Cruises epitomize luxury, elegance, and comfort, offering guests a sanctuary at sea where they can unwind and indulge in the finest amenities. Whether sailing on the iconic Le Ponant or the contemporary Le Champlain, passengers are treated to a voyage of sophistication and relaxation, surrounded by impeccable design, top-notch service, and a commitment to sustainability. Compagnie du Ponant’s cabins are a true reflection of the company’s dedication to providing guests with an unforgettable and luxurious cruising experience that combines French flair with modern comfort.

Best Destinations of Compagnie du Ponant

  1. Le Ponant: This iconic three-masted yacht embarks on voyages to enchanting locales. From the historic streets of Dubrovnik to the sun-kissed beaches of St. Martin, Le Ponant offers intimate journeys for sea lovers. With only 16 cabins and suites, it feels like sailing on a private yacht, redefining luxury yachting.
  2. Sisterships (L’Austral, Le Boréal, Le Soléal, Le Lyrial): These four distinguished ships epitomize French elegance. With 122 to 132 staterooms and suites, they maintain an intimate atmosphere. Decorated in soothing tones, they blend luxury, intimacy, and well-being. Launched between 2010 and 2015, they form part of the youngest fleet at sea, exploring destinations across the globe.
  3. Ponant Explorers (Le Lapérouse, Le Champlain, Le Bougainville, Le Dumont-d’Urville, Le Jacques-Cartier, Le Bellot): Created in 2018, these small-sized ships combine environmental respect, elegant design, and cutting-edge technology. With just 92 staterooms and suites, they bear the names of French explorers who ventured into uncharted territories. Notably, they feature the unique Blue Eye lounge, located below the waterline.
  4. Le Commandant Charcot: The world’s only luxury icebreaker, Le Commandant Charcot, takes travelers to the Arctic Ocean, the very north-east of Greenland, and even the real North Pole. This electric hybrid vessel, powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), offers true polar odysseys with unprecedented luxury. It’s an elegant setting for exploring the northern and southern hemispheres’ remote areas.
  5. Le Paul Gauguin: Specially designed for Polynesian waters, Le Paul Gauguin navigates shallow lagoons and isolated islands. Its shallow draft maximizes stopover time, allowing guests to immerse themselves in South Seas elegance. Recently revamped, this vessel evokes the allure of the tropics.

Loyalty Club at Compagnie du Ponant

As a loyal member of the Compagnie du Ponant Yacht Club, you are entitled to a range of exclusive benefits and discounts that enhance your cruising experience. The loyalty program offers different tiers of benefits based on the number of cruises booked, ensuring that your dedication to the company is rewarded with personalized attention and special privileges both onboard and on land.

  1. Major Level:
    • Achieved upon booking the second cruise.
    • Includes the opportunity to join private loyalty cruises, complimentary laundry service aboard, discounts on shore excursions, and free Wi-Fi Internet access onboard .
  2. Admiral Level:
    • Attained when booking the fourth cruise.
    • Offers additional benefits such as complimentary upgrades (subject to availability), extended Wi-Fi access, discounts in the shop and on beverages, as well as a cruise discount upon reservation .
  3. Grand Admiral Level:
    • This level is reached after booking the seventh cruise.
    • Provides further advantages like increased shore excursion discounts, additional cruise discounts, extended Wi-Fi access, greater discounts on beverages and spa treatments, and the flexibility to change your cruise without incurring charges .
  • Discount on Future Bookings: Ranging from 5% to 12.5%, this discount is applicable to port-to-port prices and can be combined with various other discounts and offers .
  • Discount for Onboard Expenses: Offers up to 25% off a wide range of onboard expenses, excluding excursions, and specific premium products .
  • Onboard Credit: Members receive non-exchangeable, non-refundable, and non-transferable onboard credit, valid for all expenses on board, including excursions, with special provisions for children and teenagers .
  • Consecutive Cruises Offers: Members can benefit from special discounts on consecutive cruises, with reductions ranging from 10% to 40% .

The program also features a sponsorship scheme, allowing existing members to sponsor new cruisers and receive significant savings on their next cruise, provided the sponsored person has not previously sailed with Compagnie du Ponant .

Additionally, the Status Match scheme allows members to match their loyalty cards from other cruise lines, enabling them to enjoy equivalent benefits within the Compagnie du Ponant Yacht Club, although a PONANT Yacht Club loyalty card is only issued upon completing the required number of cruises with Compagnie du Ponant .

By being a part of the Compagnie du Ponant Yacht Club, you are guaranteed an elevated and tailored cruising experience, with privileges and benefits that reflect your loyalty and commitment to the renowned cruise line. With a multitude of discounts, exclusive offers, and personal attention, the loyalty program ensures that your voyages with Compagnie du Ponant are enriched with unparalleled experiences and conveniences.

Overall, the Compagnie du Ponant Yacht Club stands as a testament to the company’s dedication to providing its most loyal customers with exceptional services, rewarding their continued patronage with a host of exclusive advantages that elevate the cruising experience to new heights.

History of Compagnie du Ponant

Compagnie du Ponant, a prestigious French cruise line, has a rich history that spans several decades. Founded in 1988 by Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée, Philippe Videau, and other French merchant navy officers, the company has established itself as a pioneer in luxury expedition cruising, offering discerning travelers an unparalleled blend of elegance, adventure, and cultural discovery.

The early years of Compagnie du Ponant were characterized by a vision to create a new standard of luxury cruising that emphasized personalized service, immersive experiences, and a deep respect for the environment. The company’s first ship, the M/S Le Ponant, a graceful three-masted sailing yacht, epitomized this vision and set the stage for the brand’s distinctive approach to expedition cruising. With a focus on intimate voyages to unique destinations, the M/S Le Ponant became a symbol of elegance and adventure, attracting travelers seeking a new and authentic way to explore the world’s most captivating regions.

In 1991, Compagnie du Ponant expanded its fleet with the acquisition of the M/S Le Levant, a sleek and stylish small expedition ship. This marked the beginning of the company’s evolution into a leading player in the luxury expedition cruising market, offering travelers the opportunity to embark on unforgettable journeys to remote and exotic destinations. With a commitment to providing exceptional service, exquisite cuisine, and enriching shore excursions, Compagnie du Ponant quickly garnered a reputation for delivering unparalleled luxury and adventure at sea.

The early 2000s saw further growth and innovation for Compagnie du Ponant, with the introduction of new ships that combined cutting-edge design with a commitment to sustainable and responsible cruising. The arrival of the M/S Le Boréal in 2010 marked a significant milestone for the company, showcasing a new era of expedition cruising characterized by sleek, modern vessels equipped with state-of-the-art amenities and a focus on environmental conservation. This commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly practices has been a core principle for Compagnie du Ponant, reflecting its dedication to preserving the pristine environments visited during its voyages.

In 2015, Compagnie du Ponant achieved another milestone by joining the prestigious portfolio of the world’s leading luxury travel company, the French-based CMA CGM Group. This strategic partnership provided the cruise line with access to enhanced resources and global support, further solidifying its position as a world-renowned leader in luxury expedition cruising. With the backing of the CMA CGM Group, Compagnie du Ponant continued to expand its fleet and elevate its offerings, introducing new ships that combined innovative design, exceptional comfort, and an unwavering commitment to providing guests with unparalleled experiences.

Today, Compagnie du Ponant continues to captivate travelers with its exceptional voyages to some of the world’s most remote and awe-inspiring destinations. From the icy landscapes of Antarctica to the pristine shores of the Seychelles, the company’s fleet of luxurious expedition ships offers guests the opportunity to explore the world with sophistication, style, and a deep appreciation for cultural and natural wonders. With a legacy built on elegance, innovation, and a passion for authentic exploration, Compagnie du Ponant remains a trailblazer in the luxury expedition cruising industry, inviting travelers to embark on extraordinary journeys that redefine the art of adventure at sea.


The cabins on Compagnie du Ponant ships are elegant and well-appointed, with modern amenities and luxurious decor. The cabins feature comfortable beds, private bathrooms, and air conditioning, as well as flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi access. Many cabins also feature private balconies, providing guests with stunning views of the passing scenery. The ships also feature a range of public spaces, including lounges, bars, and restaurants, providing guests with plenty of space to relax and socialize.

The dining experience on Compagnie du Ponant ships is exceptional, with a focus on French cuisine and fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The ships feature a range of dining options, from casual buffets to formal, multi-course meals. The menus are designed to showcase the flavors and ingredients of the destinations the ship visits, providing guests with a unique culinary experience. The ships also offer a range of beverages, including fine wines, Champagne, and spirits, as well as soft drinks and coffee.

The entertainment options on Compagnie du Ponant ships are varied and engaging, with a range of live music and theater performances, as well as enrichment lectures and cultural demonstrations. The ships also offer a range of activities and excursions, providing guests with the opportunity to explore the destinations they visit in depth. The ship’s expert guides and local experts lead excursions, providing guests with a unique insight into the history, culture, and traditions of the destinations they visit.

The ships’ staff is attentive and professional, ensuring that every guest is well taken care of and has a memorable experience onboard. The staff is multilingual, providing guests with assistance in their native language. The ship’s crew is also knowledgeable and experienced, providing guests with a safe and comfortable journey.

Compagnie du Ponant ships offer a range of itineraries and destinations, from the Mediterranean to the Arctic, and from the Amazon to the South Pacific. The ships’ smaller size allows them to navigate narrow waterways and low bridges, providing guests with access to destinations that larger ships cannot reach. The ships’ itineraries are designed to showcase the best of each destination, with a focus on cultural and historical landmarks, as well as natural wonders.

One of the standout features of Compagnie du Ponant is its commitment to sustainability and responsible tourism. The ships are designed to minimize their environmental impact, with advanced waste management systems and energy-efficient engines. The ships also support local communities, sourcing food and supplies from local producers and providing employment opportunities for local residents.

In conclusion, Compagnie du Ponant ships offer a unique and sophisticated cruise experience that combines intimacy and immersion with luxury and comfort. The ships’ smaller size allows for a more personalized and intimate experience, with a high staff-to-guest ratio and attentive service. The cabins are elegant and well-appointed, while the dining options are exceptional, with a focus on French cuisine and fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The entertainment options are varied and engaging, while the excursions and activities provide guests with the opportunity to explore the destinations they visit in depth. The ships’ staff is attentive and professional, ensuring that every guest has a memorable experience onboard. Whether you are a seasoned traveler or a first-time cruiser, Compagnie du Ponant ships are sure to exceed your expectations. With a commitment to sustainability and responsible tourism, Compagnie du Ponant is a cruise line that you can feel good about supporting.

– Article by Contributing Author Silvester Thomson

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N.B. – The information on this review has been compiled by contributing author and Cruise Expert Silvester Thomson for and is provided “as is” for the convenience of online readers. The Sources come from personal opinions, online research on official and unofficial websites, and in some cases with the help of AI generated content. It should not be taken as fact, as it can be mistaken or altered by future ship modifications from the cruise line done after review. does not and cannot verify all information and should not be taken as granted fact. All readers must take measures to find reliable facts by their travel agent or from the official page of the cruise line to verify any doubts.

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