Photography by Nick Rains
PONANT is set to take luxury expeditions at sea to another level in 2023 announcing the planned arrival to Australian waters of the company’s iconic 32 guest, three-masted sailing yacht Le Ponant for the 2023 Kimberley season.
Born out of a desire to create a more exclusive and unique experience for guests to journey through their own remote and ancient Kimberley landscapes in luxury, the Le Ponant sailing experience has been meticulously crafted in an extensive and exclusive partnership with Australia’s prestigious Paspaley Group.
Commencing operations in April 2023, PONANT will once again push the boundaries of expedition travel with new bespoke itineraries, showcasing the immense beauty of the Kimberley onboard the 32-passenger luxury sailing yacht.
Led by PONANT’s world-renowned expedition and destination experts, guests will be able to experience a breathtaking sailing environment as well as shore landings on their state-of-the-art Zodiac boats.
To add to the unique experience, an exclusive and private scenic flight onboard one of Paspaley’s vintage Grumman Mallard flying boats will take guests from or to their embarkation point, as well as private access to Paspaley’s pearl operations in Kuri Bay.
“It is exciting to be partnering with the Paspaley Group in creating and delivering a new concept of luxury sailing expeditions in Australia’s north-west,” Ponant Chairman Asia Pacific, Sarina Bratton AM, said.
Le Ponant will join the company’s two other small luxury expedition ships Le Lapérouse and Le Soléal, already present in the region, having restarted post-pandemic Kimberley operations in April 2022.
“This unique experience will see the third ship of the Ponant fleet to be based in the Asia-Pacific region, showcasing Australia, promoting sustainability at sea and creating compelling travel experiences in barefoot luxury,” Sarina said.
Tailored by expedition leaders and naturalist guides over a raft of new itineraries, Ponant’s expertise and signature travel visions onboard Le Ponant highlight the unique mix of adventure, sustainability and refined French-inspired service and hospitality.
Mick Fogg, Director of Expeditions and Destination Development, Asia-Pacific, said the Kimberley luxury sailings have been crafted to be fully flexible itineraries.
“We have created these very special sailings with flexible itineraries, allowing us to design the best possible experience for guests,” he said.
“Taking into account the time of year and enormous tides the region is famous for, each voyage will offer a combination of iconic locations and hidden gems, showcasing the remarkable beauty of this magnificent coastline.”
The newly refurbished Le Ponant has been transformed to offer guests a truly unique travel experience.
Having been entirely renovated with a sleek, sophisticated design by Jean-Philippe Nuel Studio, the result is an intimate setting with only 16 staterooms for a maximum of 32 guests.
The yacht offers an invitation to sail and experience the wonders of the world on a journey that combines voyage and eco-responsibility.
Le Ponant, the company’s historic yacht, has been reflecting PONANT’s ongoing commitment to responsible tourism since its beginning.
Now fitted with the latest technical innovations, the ambition to reduce Le Ponant’s emissions is more relevant than ever.
Every element has been thoroughly thought through with meticulous attention to detail and a strong emphasis on tailoring the experience to the destination and focusing on local heritage. Everything has been designed with environmental and cultural protection in mind.
The new itineraries onboard Le Ponant will be available for booking later in May 2022, along with a selection of pre and post land arrangements including El Questro, Berkeley River Lodge and Broome accommodation.
These will be combined with seven to 14-night luxury sailing experiences from April to October 2023 in the Northern and Southern Kimberley regions.