The premium French brand Ponant Cruises recently announced that it had 8 ships back sailing, with 4 of them offering itineraries within France. These include L’Austral (from Marseille), Le Bougainville (from Bordeaux), Le Dumont D’Urville (from Le Havre-Paris) and Le Lyrial (7-roundtrips from Villefranche-sur-Mer/Nice).
Ponant will restart Kimberley voyages withd Le Laperouse once state border closures in Western Australia and the Northern Territory are lifted.
Le Laperouse and Le Soleal are fully crewed and for the last 4 months waiting to sail once borders reopen. The peak Kimberley season is between April-September but the cruise season could be extended.
Ponant introduced a string of health and safety protocols before embarkation and while onboard including social distancing with daily monitoring. It is compulsory for passengers to wear face masks on Zodiacs and in public areas. Restaurants do not serve buffets offering only table service. There is also be reduced capacity at the ship’s entertainment venues.
If necessary, the company will cut back on guest numbers but most of its vessels can only accommodate up to 260 travellers or fewer anyway.