Le Bougainville


Cruise line
Compagnie du Ponant

Current cruise:

Le Bougainville Review and Specifications

Specifications of Le Bougainville

Year built 2019 new ship
Builder VARD shipyards (Tulcea Romania and Soviknes Norway)
Class ice-strengthened cruise ship
Building cost USD 110 million
Owner Groupe Artemis (Financiere Pinault)
Operator Compagnie du Ponant Cruises
Speed 18 kn / 33 kph / 21 mph
Length (LOA) 128 m / 420 ft
Beam (width) 18 m / 59 ft
Gross Tonnage 10000 gt
Passengers 92 - 184
Crew 110
Decks 6
Cabins 92
Decks with cabins 4

Review of Le Bougainville

MS Le Bougainville is one of all four new-design Compagnie du Ponant (CDP) polar expedition cruise ships. Advertised as "expedition yacths", of the same "Explorer-class" are also the ships Le ChamplainLe Kerguelen, and Le Laperouse - all named after the most famous French sea explorers.

Each of the new yachts has max capacity of 184 passengers. All four new Ponant ships from this series were constructed in Singapore and scheduled for delivery between summer 2018 and summer 2019.

History - construction & ownership

Compagnie du Ponant (CDP is a French cruise ship operator. Ponant company was founded by Jean-Emmanuel Sauvé, Philippe Videau, and other officers of the French Merchant Navy in April 1988 and launched the first French cruise ship. CDP currently operates five ships, all of which under the French flag. Compagnie du Ponant is dedicated to soft adventure cruising. Half of its fleet is based in Antarctica from December to March. It offers offbeat itineraries around the whole world, especially in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Asia.

(Ponant) Le Bougainville cruise ship

On March 15, 2016 an agreement was reached with the Norwegian subsidiary of Fincantieri, Vard Holdings Ltd., to build four 184-guest exploration cruise ships outfitted with environmental preservation technology for Ponant. The agreement marked the entrance of Vard into cruise shipbuilding sector.

Each of the new 10,000 GT ships is 128 m (420 ft) long and 18 m (59 ft) at the beam. They carry 110 crew members and have 92 cabins. The first to be launched is Le Laperouse (June 2018), followed by Le Champlain (scheduled for September 2018).

Cruise itinerary program

The new Ponant vessels are planned for high-end expedition voyages in Oceania, South America, Amazon's Orinoco River, Papua New Guinea, Costa Rica and the Indian Ocean. They introduce passengers to regional wildlife and local cultures, with the help of onboard naturalists.

A number of exciting features are on the way to Australian waters onboard the four brand new small ships. One of these four yachts heads directly for Australia upon her launch, debuting in Kimberley region in mid-2018.


Le Bougainville boasts just 92 elegantly designed cabins and suites. The spacious suite accommodations (19-45 m2 / 205-484 ft2) feature large windows, and lounge areas which open onto the outside, offering unique cruising experience.

Dining options - Food & Drinks

As an essential part of the culture of France, gastronomy features pride of place aboard the new ship. Through its 2 restaurants, Le Bougainville invites guests on a journey to epicureanism.

Follows the complete list of Le Bougainville restaurants and food bars.

  • The first dining area, situated on Deck 3, offers a relaxed atmosphere and is able to seat 70. The restaurant serves grilled meats, along with various salads and desserts.
  • To the back of Deck 4, passengers find a 260 m2 (2800 ft2) panoramic restaurant, able to accommodate all passengers in single sitting. Designed in a different way to that on the other Ponant ships, this dining area, opening onto the outside, has a buffet of salads, cheeses and desserts at guests' disposal. The attentive crew provides table service for hot meals.

Entertainment options - Fun & Sport

The exterior of the newest Ponant ships is created by Sterling Design International, with interiors designed by Jean-Philippe Nuel, who plans to give natural "ethnic chic" looks to the newbuilds inspired by earthy materials. Among new features, the 131-meter long ships, all of which are ice-class-certified, boast a retractable marina. 

Sitting 2 to 3 metres below the water level within the hull of the ship, the dark and cavernous Blue Eye lounge offers more than a hint of Bond villain’s lair. Guests are able to observe the underwater world via a couple of giant curved portholes (1.6 m x 3.4 m), in the shape of cetacean eye. Live footage of the surrounding marine life is projected onto digital screens which 'wallpaper' the room.

Sound, transmitted through hydrophones, is captured across a 5-kilometre radius of the cruise ship. The high-tech spot comes with “body listening sofas” which vibrate discreetly in order to promote “corporal resonance”, allowing passengers to experience the ocean rhythms. The underwater projectors, said to be non-intrusive to marine biosphere, also allow observing subaquatic organisms from ship's outside decks and balconies.

Ponant Cruises new ship design

Follows the complete list of Le Bougainville lounges, clubs and other entertainment venues for kids, teens and adults.

  • The Marina (water sports platform; offers mostly swimming; it is used only when Le Bougainville is anchored and the sea is calm)
  • Le Bougainville Atrium (2-deck high open-floor area; features a chandelier with Swarovski crystals)
  • Main Lounge (200 m2 /2153 ft2, with large-size LED screen and floor-ceiling windows; offers early breakfast, specialty teas and coffees, Afternoon Tea complemented with gourmet cookies and fine chocolates; evening entertainment features live performances by resident singer and pianist and an art auction, once per Le Bougainville cruise; the outdoor aft terrace is the only one smoking area on board)
  • Boutique Shop (40 m2 /430 ft2, designer clothing, luxury jewelry, Ponant logo merchandise, special occasion gifts)
  • Theatre (188-seat main show lounge for music and dance shows)
  • Wellness Centre (Spa, Balneo Room, Hammam, Massage Room, Beauty Corner, Hair Salon, Shower Room, Relaxation Room, a spacious terrace)
  • The Fitness (gym room with panoramic windows) 
  • Leisure Area (has a small kids playroom, Photo Gallery and Internet stations)
  • Image & Photo Desk
  • Swimming pool’s sunbathing area (with luxury loungers)
  • Panoramic Lounge & Bar (with an Internet corner, grand piano, Library, “Panoramic Terrace” - served by the Panoramic Bar, it is the ship’s late-night “disco”)
  • Sun Deck (open-air sunbathing area, with bar, luxury loungers, padded chairs, showers, deck games - Shuffleboard, Golf Driving Net, 9-hole Mini-Golf)
  • Zodiacs (inflatable boats).

Le Bougainville wiki

  • The shipbuilder VARD (subsidiary of the Italian company Fincantieri) constructed the vessel (hull and superstructure) at the shipyard in Tulcea Romania. Then it was towed to the VARD shipyard in Soviknes Norway for outfitting.
  • Fun fact is that this Ponant ship has a namesake - the 2015-launched "CMA CGM Bougainville". The vessel is among the world's largest container ships (capacity 17,722 containers) and operated by CMA-CGM Line.