The vessel was welcomed in an official ceremony held at the new port. Dominique Mas, the French ambassador to Seychelles, called the arrival of Le Bellot a big day for both countries.
Strict health guidelines were put in place, including that all travellers are fully vaccinated while the ships are only allowed to carry a max of 300 guests.
For the next few weeks, Ponant's Le Bellot will be sailing around some of Seychelles' inner islands.
Le Bellot is the 5th ship of the Ponant Explorers class. Each member of the class was allocated the name of a popular French explorer. Le Bellot is named after Joseph Rene Bellot, a naval officer and Arctic explorer.
Prior to the COVID crisis, cruise ships were a US$45 billion global industry, carrying 20M passengers per year, with a loyal fan base. Port Victoria recorded a total of 39 cruise calls during the 2019-2020 cruise season, with 63,442 passengers.
The last ship to call before the season was forced to close was Le Bougainville, also operated by the Ponant group, on March 11, 2020.