Le Ponant

Le Ponant last position

Le Ponant last location was at West Mediterranean (coordinates 44.40159 N / 8.92916 E) cruising en route to GENES. The AIS position was reported 2 years ago.

Current Position

Specifications of Le Ponant

Year built1991  /  Age: 31
Flag state France
BuilderSFCN Shipyard (Villeneuve-la-Garenne, France)
Class3-masted motor sailing ship
Building costUSD 50 million
Speed14 kn / 26 kph / 16 mph
Length (LOA)88 m / 289 ft
Beam (width)11 m / 36 ft
Gross Tonnage1189 gt
Passengers67
Crew32
Passengers-to-space ratio23
Decks4
Cabins32
Decks with cabins2
Last Refurbishment2021
OwnerGroupe Artemis (Financiere Pinault)
OperatorCompagnie du Ponant Cruises

Le Ponant Review

Review of Le Ponant

The 1991-built MS Le Ponant yacht is a tall-sailing cruise ship. The 64-passenger vessel is a luxury sail yacht owned and managed by Ponant Cruises. The 3-masted sailship has a total of 1500 m2 (16150 ft2) of sails and was constructed in France (at SFCN Shipyard in Villeneuve-la-Garenne), targeting predominantly the French source market. The boat also operates in North America (under charter) on mainly expedition-style voyages.

The vessel (IMO number 8914219) is currently France-flagged (MMSI 227186000).

History - construction and ownership

Compagnie du Ponant (CDP) is a French cruise shipping company founded in April 1988 by former French Merchant Navy officers. All Ponant ships are France-flagged. The company specializes in premium adventure cruise travel targeting the French-speaking source market with all-inclusive deals. Most of CDP's fleet is based in Antarctica (December through March). All these mega-yachts offer modern amenities, premium service by highly-trained staff and crew, 5-star hotel amenities onboard. Exotic, offbeat itineraries visit popular travel destinations worldwide, including Caribbean, Baltic, Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, South America, Australia.

Le Ponant yacht cruise ship (Ponant Cruises)

Somali pirate attack April 4, 2008: On this date, Le Ponant sailing only with the crew was attacked by Somali pirates. All people on board were taken hostage. The incident happened in the Gulf of Aden while the yacht was sailing from Seychelles to the Mediterranean. Despite being in pirate hands, Le Ponant was under constant surveillance by the French forces and a Canadian CH-124 helicopter from HMCS Charlottetown. Hopefully, the pirates decided to release the hostages 8 days later after a paid ransom. French helicopters did not abandon the yacht and tracked the pirates to a village. The bandits made an attempt to escape in the desert but a sniper disabled their vehicle and all 6 attackers were captured.

Decks and Cabins

The ship has 4 passenger decks, including a Sundeck, with total 32 staterooms (all outside/with windows but no balconies) in 2 cabins categories - Triple (3 cabins) and Double (29 cabins, with King-size bed).

The boat is served by 32 crew (French) and staff (Filipino).

Le Ponant yacht cruise ship (Ponant Cruises)

Shipboard facilities and amenities

The ship has two restaurants - Karukera Dining Room and the outdoor restaurant Le Diamant (Diamond Room), as well as

The luxury yacht has two bar-lounges - Emeraude Lounge (main entertainment venue/theater) and Saphir Lounge (lecture hall fitted with internet computers).

On Deck 2 are:

  • the Lobby (sized 280 ft2 / 26 m2) with the Reception Desk (24-hour guest relations, shore excursions/tours, purser services)
  • the fore-located Karukera Restaurant (the ship's dining room, sized 925 ft2 / 86 m2) with capacity 64 seats. This is a gastronomic restaurant serving Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Cuisine is traditional French and international. The restaurant has an elegant design and a sophisticated environment.
  • Emeraude Lounge (sized 795 ft2 / 74 m2) has capacity of 64 seats. This is the yacht's main lounge with a dance floor, stage, grand piano, a separate bar area (sized 260 ft2 / 24 m2).
  • Saphir Lounge (sized 260 ft2 / 24 m2) doubles as Lecture Hall and serves Ponant's enrichment program with daily lectures and video presentations related to the current Le Ponant itinerary (destinations, ports of call, shore excursions). The Lounge is equipped with large HDTV, computers, Internet.
  • The aft-located Marina Platform serves watersports activities (glass-bottomed kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, paddle-boarding) and offers direct access to the Zodiacs (large-capacity inflatable boats/RIBs) used for landings, close-to-shore cruising and tendering in destinations without wharves (piers or quays).

On Deck 3 are the forward Navigation Bridge/Wheelhouse (with the adjacent Captain's Suite and officers quarters) and the aft Le Diamant Restaurant (sized 1250 ft2 / 116 m2, capacity 64 seats). Le Diamant is an outdoor/open-air panoramic dining venue serving Breakfast and buffet-style Lunch.

On Deck 4 are the Observatory (indoor observation lounge) and the sundeck (sunbathing area with loungers). The sundeck area is also used for outdoor exercises (including Aerobics, Yoga, meditation classes) and for deck parties.

Itineraries

MS Le Ponant itinerary program is based on top-luxury Mediterranean voyages visiting islands and (mainly) smaller ports on the French Riviera, the Italian Riviera, Dalmatian Coast, Greece and the Greek Isles.

Due to scheduled drydocking followed by the Coronavirus crisis, the yacht was paused for ~2,5 years (November 2019 through June 2022). In mid-December 2021, Ponant Cruises announced that from June 2022, Le Ponant will be deployed in the Aegean-Eastern Mediterranean Sea for itineraries visiting ports in Greece and Croatia. Season 2022 featured 3 new itineraries and a total of 20 departures.

For winter 2022-2023 season (November 22nd thru February 20th), Le Ponant was deployed in Seychelles and scheduled for a total of 11x roundtrips leaving from homeport Victoria (Mahe Island). Rates started from USD 10890 (EUR 9865) per person with double occupancy.

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Le Ponant Wiki

Le Ponant yacht is a 3-masted, commercially operated luxury cruise yacht, also available for private charters. Her passengers tend to be European (mostly French), though charter cruises through North American operators appeal to English-speaking crowd (the USA and Canada).

Le Ponant cruise ship offers intimate onboard spaces with a convivial atmosphere. Reflecting the vessel's luxury rates, service on board is superior and highly personalized. The yacht boasts a vast Sun Deck area from which guests can observe its 1500 sq.meters of sails. There is a platform above sea level for water sports.

Le Ponant yacht refurbishment 2020 review

In the period November 2019 - April 2020, the cruise ship entered drydock for an extensive refurbishment. The 6-month long drydocking project (USD 25 million) was conducted by San Giorgio del Porto SpA (shipyard in Port Genoa Italy).

For the 2019-2020 project were employed ~200 people.

The vessel was previously drydock-refurbished in 2011.

Cuba cruise itineraries 2017-2018

Compagnie du Ponant in 2017 and 2018 will offer cruises to Cuba in the period of January through April (2017 and 2018). Operated by the Le Ponant yacht, the Cuban itineraries are themed "People-to-People Cultural Exchange". Le Ponant yacht cruises to Cuba leaving from Miami Florida, with ports of call Havana and Santiago de Cuba.

(NEW) Solidsail ship technology by Silenseas

In early-March 2018, STX France revealed a carbon-free cruise vessel design (named Silenseas) using wind as the main power source. The new wind-power technology was trialed on the yacht Le Ponant, on which one of the existing sails was replaced and the new technology tested.

STX France's project was something never done before. The carbon-free sailship design is an alternative to the popular hybrid powered vessels. Hydrogen and fuel cells are still expensive, plus hydrogen is not available in most ports.

The technology uses the company's patented "Solidsail" concept. The sails (total size up to 1200 m2 / 12900 ft2) are mounted on masts but without any ropes or cables. The STX France design has 3 masts and 3 rigs, with masts rotating in order to adapt the sails to the wind. The new design also includes the latest hybrid propulsion technologies, combining wind with LNG, and potentially batteries, solar panels, and fuel cells.

new sailing cruise ship design (STX France Silenseas)

The sailing ship can reach speeds of 12 knots (14 mph / 22 kph) under sail in 15 knots (17 mph / 28 kph) winds. In winds 15+ knots, the vessel's propellers will be used, acting as a turbine that draws power from the sails. On Caribbean Sea routes, the new technology could reduce propulsion energy by 60%.

 

STX France's Solidsail-ship design was developed for 3 vessel sizes, the biggest being 15,000 GT tons vessel with LOA length 190 m (620 ft) and 150 passenger staterooms. The French shipbuilding company started research in sail propulsion in 2009, Silenseas has technology patents (2009 and 2017) for the new sail. The unit is made from fiberglass, carbon and epoxy-resin panels.

Solidsail system debuted on October 31, 2018, on the yacht Le Ponant. The new Solid Sail (sized over 300 m2) was constructed at Chantiers de l’Atlantique (Saint-Nazaire) and installed in Marseille. As the three-masted Le Ponant departed from France to Cape Verde Islands, then embarked on Transatlantic crossing to Cuba, testing the new sail for 1 year.

Similar is the concept of Peace Boat's new vessel Ecoship (built by Arctech Helsinki Shipyard in Helsinki, Finland).

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