Silver Cloud Expedition

What is an Expedition Ship?

Posted By : Alka Subin/ 1081 0

adventure canadaMore and more Canadians are discovering the joys of cruising, on large megaliners, on intimate river cruise ships, and even on traditional sailing vessels.  And there’s another niche which is seeing growing interest, particularly among the 50+ crowd:  expedition ship cruising.  You could say it’s both the latest trend and the last frontier.

What’s an expedition ship?  It’s a small ship (maximum around 175 passengers) dedicated to visiting some of the world’s most inaccessible places. On board, rather than a karaoke club or champagne bar, you’re more likely to find scientists and researchers whose lectures are one of the main attractions. “If their profession ends in ‘ist’ – botanist, archaeologist, marine biologist – chances are you’ll find them on an expedition ship,” says Pat Rochon, Vision Travel’s senior manager of active travel who likens the ships to floating classrooms.

Days are spent explore ashore (or afloat) hiking, kayaking, on board a zodiac or snowshoeing.  Perhaps you hike through a pristine jungle or get up close and personal with a few hundred penguins.

Sample destinations include the polar regions, both north and south, the Amazon or the South Pacific.

Dlx 3D Perspective Oct 2010Not surprisingly, the folks on board are not first time travellers. “You tend to find people from all over the world, North America, Europe, Asia, on board and they’re well-travelled, well-heeled, well-educated and curious people,” says Rochon, who has sailed on expedition ships in both the Arctic and Antarctic.

Once fairly primitive in their amenities, now that they are not purely research vessels the ships are now becoming more comfortable, with the addition of libraries, bars, saunas and hot tubs. “Think of it as adventure by day, comfort at night,” says Rochon.

An expedition ship will take you places no other ship can even get near to…some of the world’s most remote and pristine corners.  No wonder it can be a life-changing trip.

Le Commandant Charcot

Ponant’s Icebreaker now has a name

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 1422 0

Ponant’s newest Icebreaker ship now has a name…..and pre-booking is open!

The newest addition to the PONANT fleet now has a name… That of a doctor enlisted in the army, a double Olympic medallist, a scientific adventurer and a humanitarian with a passionate interest in multicultural encounters!

And just like the explorer himself, Le Commandant Charcot – the very first hybrid icebreaker in the world, is ready to push the boundaries of Arctic and Antarctic sailing and write new chapters in the history of discovery.

Travel to the North Pole. Cross the Arctic Ocean. Explore the far northeast of Greenland… PONANT has created a futuristic voyage with Le Commandant Charcot, the first electric hybrid icebreaker cruise ship powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). Beginning in 2021, this newest member of the PONANT fleet will offer guests the chance to follow in the wake of the great polar explorers in sophisticated surroundings enhanced with luxury amenities never before seen at the very top or bottom of the globe.


A design with sustainable development at its core

Thanks to preliminary exploration, environmental impact studies and protocols developed by PONANT, Le Commandant Charcot’s itineraries are carefully chosen to be entirely safe for, and respectful of, the environment.

Above and beyond offering its passengers the adventure of a lifetime, PONANT’s aim is to raise their awareness of the vulnerability of the Polar environments and turn them into advocates and ambassadors for these regions.


Pre-booking now open
You have the opportunity to pre-book your future Polar odyssey aboard Le Commandant Charcot the first ever hybrid electric, LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) propelled icebreaker!

Le Surville

Le Surville – Arriving 2020

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 0 0

Featuring innovative and environmentally-friendly equipment, elegantly designed staterooms, spacious suites with large windows, and lounge areas that open onto the outside, this new limited-capacity yacht boasting just 92 staterooms and suites will offer you a truly unique cruising experience.

Another ship in a new series that remains true to the Ponant spirit, Le Surville will embody the unique atmosphere that is the cruise line’s hallmark: a subtle blend of refinement, intimacy and comfort.

Aboard this ship that flies the French flag, you will experience the incomparable pleasure of an intimate cruise, with the possibility of exploring an ever-increasing range of destinations in an ethnic-chic ambiance with luxury service.

Experience a luxurious setting where the accent is on authenticity and passion for travel.

Le Bellot

Le Bellot

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 0 0

Featuring innovative and environmentally-friendly equipment, elegantly designed staterooms, spacious suites with large windows, and lounge areas that open onto the outside, this new limited-capacity yacht boasting just 92 staterooms and suites will offer you a truly unique cruising experience.

As the first ship in a new series that remains true to the Ponant spirit, Le Bellot will embody the unique atmosphere that is the cruise line’s hallmark: a subtle blend of refinement, intimacy and comfort.

Aboard this ship that flies the French flag, you will experience the incomparable pleasure of an intimate cruise, with the possibility of exploring an ever-increasing range of destinations in an ethnic-chic ambiance with luxury service.

Experience a luxurious setting where the accent is on authenticity and passion for travel.


Le Commandant Charcot

Le Commandant Charcot – Arriving 2021

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 0 0


Thanks to the Double Action Principle (Aker Arctic DASTM), Le Commandant Charcot will be able to navigate forwards through compact ice and in reverse through extreme ice conditions.

With its innovative design, Le Commandant Charcot will achieve unrivaled icebreaking performance.

5 reasons to travel to the Antarctic with PONANT

5 reasons to travel to the Antarctic with PONANT

Posted By : cruising/ 1017 0

Discover the treasures of the land by sea on board luxurious yachts that are built on an intimate, human scale. French crew, expertise, attentive service, gastronomy: set sail in a five-star environment and enjoy a travel experience that is simultaneously authentic and sophisticated.  And to experience all this while visiting the ultimate bucket list destination – the Antarctic,  you truly could not ask for a more inspiring adventure.

5 reasons to travel to the Antarctic with PONANT

1) To discover extraordinary landscapes in an incredible setting: glaciers, icebergs, ice floe, mountain ranges.

2) For a unique adventure sailing in the wake of Jean-Baptiste Charcot, Adrien de Gerlache and Sir Ernest Shackleton, great explorers of these uninhabited lands.

3) Outings and shore visits in Zodiac® inflatables with a team of experienced naturalist guides.

4) For encounters with exceptional wildlife: whales, seals, penguins, fur seals, albatrosses, and other seabirds.

5) Included flights selected by PONANT from/to Buenos Aires, transfers, full board, open bar on board, all landings and conferences…


Ponant Expedition Cruises Le Boreal

Ponant: Expedition cruising – avec champagne!

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 1236 0

For some lucky travellers, the world gets larger every day as imaginative cruise lines push the boundaries of itineraries, experiences and style.

And at the forefront of this imaginative way to travel is Ponant.  The leader in luxury expedition cruising was founded 30 years ago as a single sailing ship (but what a ship!) and today boasts five vessels:  the original plus four sleek Explorer class vessels – which Ponant execs nickname “The Ferraris of the Seas” -designed to visit the seven continents in style.

The company is proud of its French roots (Ponant is pronounced the French way) and association with some of the most luxe French brands such as Veuve Cliquot champagne and Yves Saint Laurent.

The number and diversity of Ponant itineraries is mind-boggling:  460 in all to many corners of the world that other, larger ships simply can’t reach. Naturalists, expedition leaders and lecturers all enrich the cruise experience which is definitely targeted to the well-travelled and well-heeled looking for the ultimate in service and care as well as experiences.

70 per cent of Ponant cruisers are European – predominantly from France – with the balance mainly made up of a cosmopolitan combination of Americans, Australians and Canadians.  All, Ponant execs point out, enjoy the quiet luxury and country-club ambience of the ships.

Staterooms of course are luxurious with guests choosing a suite receiving butler service.  It’s also an “all-inclusive” experience with all dining and bar options as well as all but the most expensive wines included in your cruise price. Renowned French chef Alain Ducasse is the culinary consultant.

Next year Ponant will be featuring a host of special interest itineraries they have dubbed the Quintessential Collection. These include a multi-generational family cruise in the Med; a garden-themed tour to France, the UK and – surprise! – Norway; and a World-Affairs themed cruise with special guest lecturer Fareed Zakaria from CNN.

And not resting on its laurels, the company is expanding to 12 ships by 2021 including the world’s first luxury icebreaker which will travel to the geographic North Pole.  Until now, the only consumer option for such an experience has been a rough-and-ready Russian vessel, so it will be welcome news to lucky “world wanderers” that in the near future not only can you be one of the few people in the world to have experienced the top of the world, but you will have done it with a glass of Veuve Cliquot in hand.

The Arctic vs Antarctica: 5 differences between these two frozen lands

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 1631 0

Almost 12,500 miles separate the Arctic from the Antarctic, two “ends of the world” lying at opposite extremes of the planet. Though these regions of the North and South Poles resemble each other, they present very different and unique natural spectacles to the visitor. So if your heart can’t decide between the Arctic and the Antarctic, follow our guide!


1. On solid land or out on the sea?

The primary difference between the Arctic and the Antarctic is a geological one. The Arctic is a sea of ice surrounded by land and located at the highest latitudes of the northern hemisphere. A region with vaguely defined limits, it extends over six countries that border the Arctic Ocean: Canada, the USA (Alaska), Denmark (Greenland), Russia, Norway and Iceland.

Antarctica, by contrast, is an entire continent to itself located in the southern hemisphere and 98 percent covered by an ice cap. There are mountains reaching a maximum of just over 16,000 feet in height to be found there. Though it is home to dozens of scientific bases, Antarctica does not belong to any country.


2. Terrain: long-inhabited or inhospitable?

Numerous populations of native peoples live at the North Pole. The Inuits of North America, the Sami of Northern Europe and the Yakuts at the edge of Siberia have long inhabited this vast territory. Each in their own way, they manage to cope with the wild and extremely harsh natural environment.

Inaccessible prior to the modern era, the South Pole remained untouched by human presence until 1821. Today still, this southern continent does not have any permanent inhabitants, just scientific teams that rotate on a regular basis.

3. Animals: tame and fearless or shy and enigmatic?

‘Arctic’ comes from the Greek word ‘arktos’, meaning ‘bear’ – the northern polar region is the sacred land of the polar bear, one of the largest land predators on the planet. Arctic foxes, caribou/reindeer, snowy owls and musk ox: the Arctic showcases a wonderful range of native fauna, though the animals are shy and fearful in the presence of humans.

In Antarctica, the marine fauna boasts sea lions, whales, seals and elephant seals, amongst other creatures. In addition, there are also around forty species of birds that inhabit the southern polar region. With human contact being both recent and extremely limited, the animals of the South Pole are quite fearless, making them a wonderful spectacle for visiting observers.

4. Cold or very cold?

Temperatures at the North Pole can vary quite significantly, with the thermometers dropping particularly low in February. In Norway and North America, it is not unusual for it to be over 50°F during the warmest months.

In Antarctica, the mercury can easily drop below -67°F, especially in mountainous areas. It was also on the frozen continent that the lowest natural temperature on Earth was recorded: -128.56°F!

5. Icebergs: small or large?

Literally mountains of ice – ‘isberg’ in Swedish and Norwegian –, the icebergs of the North Pole come from parts of the ice sheet that flow down to the sea. They are normally irregular, torn and jagged in shape, and relatively modest in size.

The largest icebergs in the world are found in the South Pole. Veritable mountains of frozen freshwater, they are an almost unbelievable sight to behold. In 2017, an iceberg measuring 2,200 m² in area broke off from an ice shelf in West Antarctica.

Amidst these two immense, frozen and barren landscapes, you quite simply get the sensation of being a tiny molecule standing remote and isolated from the real world. From the North to the South, a fantastical, dreamlike escape awaits you!

Connect with an ILC cruise specialist and plan your Ponant Expedition.



Original Blog post can be found here 

PONANT, the World Leader of Luxury Expeditions, Announces Plans to Grow its Total Fleet to 12 ships by 2021

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 941 0

Celebrating 30 Years as a Leader in Small-Ship Cruising


(March 6, 2018) PONANT, the leader in expedition cruising and the only cruise line carrying the French flag, announced today the launch of two additional vessels which will expand its fleet to 12 ships with 2,000 crew members and 460 departures by 2021. In an age when oversized ships are the norm, PONANT has made a strategic decision throughout its history to focus on small-ship cruising with all the intimacy and authenticity that it allows.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2018, PONANT specializes in destinations around the world that are inaccessible to larger ships such as Antarctica, the Arctic, Alaska, the Amazon, the Orinoco, Kimberley, Papua New Guinea, and even the roof of the world at the Geographic North Pole and the North-East Passage.

PONANT’s expansion includes construction of the fifth and sixth vessels in the innovative EXPLORERS series. The new yacht-like ships, to be called Le Bellot and Le Surville, will launch in 2020 with sleek design, state-of-the-art ship technology and respect for the environment – they will comply with the international CLEANSHIP label (Bureau Veritas). Each ship will have 92 cabins that are elegantly appointed with warm and contemporary design and balconies overlooking the sea. In addition, each ship will feature four suites with bay windows and terraces to take advantage of extraordinary views.

They will join sister EXPLORERS ships Le Lapérouse, Le Champlain, Le Bougainville and Le Dumont d’Urville, launching in 2018 and 2019. Like the four already ordered, construction of these two additional ships will be entrusted to Norwegian shipyard Vard, part of Fincantieri Group. PONANT also recently announced that it will launch the first electric hybrid cruise icebreaker with luxury appointments in 2021, yet another pioneering development in polar exploration.

These six EXPLORER ships will all offer the world’s first multi-sensory underwater lounge called “Blue Eye,” allowing passengers to discover and experience the underwater world via two portholes in the shape of a cetaceous eye, looking out into the marine world. There will be non-intrusive underwater lighting, and hydrophones integrated into the keel that retransmit the natural symphony of the deep water, as well as body listening sofas, which will discreetly vibrate in unison with the streaming aquatic acoustics.

Established in 1988 by Jean Emmanuel Sauvée and a dozen officers from the French Merchant Navy, PONANT is leading the way with a new style of luxury cruising through a unique conception of sea travel which combines exceptional itineraries and luxury hotel services, aboard luxurious smaller-scale ships.

Ponant Explorers: Construction of Le Laperouse enters the home straight

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 855 0

January 2018 – The first ship in the PONANT EXPLORERS series, La Laperouse, has just arrived in Norway, where her construction will continue in the VARD shipyard.

Transferred by rail, then lowered into the water by synchrolife on 18 December 2017 in Rumania, Le Laperouse, the new expedition ship from PONANT, has just reached the Norwegian shipyard of Vard, a subsidiary of the Fincantieri group, where her construction will be complete. The ship was towed by BB Troll, and sailed through the Mediterranean, passing Gibraltar, the Bay of Biscay and crossing the English Channel to reach Norway and the Vard shipyard.

Le Laperouse will be the first of the four expedition ships, the PONANT EXPLORERS, to be operational, in June, followed by Le Champlain, set for delivery in autumn 2018. Le Bougainville and Le Dumont-d’Urville will be operational in 2019.

Combining a moderate size (131 meters in length and 92 staterooms), design, technology and respect for the environment (Cleanship label, Bureau Veritas), the PONANT EXPLORERS have been designed to reach the most inaccessible sites, where others do not go. The ships will offer an even wider selection of destinations, notably including brand-new itineraries in tropical and sub-tropical regions. These sisterships will all boast the exclusive concept of a multi-sensorial underwater lounge, known as Blue Eye, designed in collaboration with the architect Jacque Rougerie. This world first will allow passengers to see, hear and feel the underwater world.