History first: two PONANT vessels cross Northwest Passage

By ,   September 21, 2015 ,   Cruise Industry

The world leader and only French line in Polar cruising, Compagnie du Ponant completed a first in navigation history: two of its sister-ships, Le Soléal and Le Boréal, crossed the Northwest Passage from Greenland to Siberia.

In 2013 PONANT achieved a first for France. The company now pulls off a world first with two ships crossing the Northwest Passage 3 days apart on the legendary explorers’ route via Bellot Strait. The achievement is the culmination of over 15 years’ cruise experience in the Antarctic and Arctic regions.

According to Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée, line's Chief Executive Officer, that crossing under the French flag, was "unique in international maritime history”. 

Captains Patrick Marchesseau and Etienne Garcia on Le Soleal and Le Boreal ensured their guests were able to take advantage of a special experience aboard the two luxury yachts. Specifically designed to operate in extreme regions, each of the two features 132 staterooms and suites. Both ships boast the international “CLEANSHIP” label for innovative green equipments. 

Along the trip through shifting glaciers and narrow channels, Le Soléal and Le Boreal explored historic landmarks, such as Beechey Island famed for Franklin expedition, Gjoa Haven where over a century ago Amundsen anchored his ship, and Cape Bathurst. The PONANT duo saw hundreds of belugas, nearly 60 bears and 500 narwhals. Meeting French adventurer Charles Hedrich, the first to cross Northwest Passage in a rowing boat, sailing solo, was another highlight for travelers. 

From sharing the daily activities of the crew to regular outings in Zodiacs and free access to the Bridge, everything onboard PONANT yachts has been thought of aiming to provide close to nature experience and thrills of exploration.