"At a time of difficulty in the cruise industry, I am pleased to announce on Bastille Day that PONANT, the world leader in luxury expeditions continues to invest in the future with confidence, pursuing our growth strategy exampled by the launch of Le Bellot in March this year, and now the delivery of Le Jacques Cartier, the latest ship to join our modern fleet" announced Sarina Bratton, PONANT Chairman, Asia Pacific.
The sixth and final PONANT EXPLORER concludes the collection of latest-generation ships flying the French flag and built in just 24 months.
On 10 July, PONANT took delivery of Le Jacques Cartier. The first of the EXPLORER series, Le Lapérouse, only left the Vard shipyard in June 2018 and barely 24 months later the last vessel in the series is setting sail, a remarkable achievement.
“The delivery of Le Jacques Cartier is a success. It marks the completion of the PONANT EXPLORERS series, which has revolutionised the concept of ocean voyages. These six vessels combining cutting-edge technology and respect for the environment are the symbol of a new generation of ships flying the French flag,” declared Jean Emmanuel Sauvée, CEO of PONANT.
Combining a lesser capacity with just 92 staterooms and suites, all with a balcony or private terrace, state-of-the-art technology, respect for the environment and sleek design, Le Jacques Cartier is made for luxurious expeditions. As with all the PONANT EXPLORER ships, it is fitted with a world first, the “Blue Eye”. This multi-sensory underwater lounge allows guests to discover and experience the subaquatic universe. Two portholes, shaped like the eyes of a cetacean, look out into the marine world. Its non-intrusive underwater projectors, hydrophones integrated into the keel retransmitting the natural symphony of the ocean depths, and the Body Listening sofas offer a unique opportunity to listen to and experience the surrounding maritime environment.
With 12 ships in its fleet, PONANT is maintaining its development trajectory and will shortly welcome Le Commandant Charcot, its luxury polar exploration vessel, a hybrid electric ship powered by Liquefied Natural Gas scheduled for 2021.
Sail with Confidence
The small size of PONANT’s vessels, the medical infrastructure and teams on board and its protocols ensured that there were no cases of Covid-19 contamination in the PONANT fleet. To prepare for the resumption of its activity, the company is collaborating with the IHU (Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire) Méditerranée Infection of Marseilles, one of the world's leading centres in the field of infectious diseases, as well as with the Battalion of Marine Firemen of Marseilles and Bureau Veritas, a world leader in testing, inspection and certification (TIC).
PONANT’s reinforced health protocol is based on health standards that exceed international regulations. It relies on the provision and maintenance of a “Covid-Safe” area around its ships, a hermetic sanitary bubble, thanks to the rollout of three layers of shields: stringent on-board access conditions, rigorous sanitary protocols throughout the cruise as well as daily checks (guests, equipment, ships). It includes the implementation of a health check for 100% of the people on board (guests and crew members) and filtering and disinfection at boarding in a guest circuit that has been entirely redesigned for before, during and after the cruise. In addition, upon arrival at the airport in Iceland, all passengers must take a PCR serology test (device set up by the authorities) and obtain a negative result to obtain access to the vessel.
To undertake regular tests on board, PONANT has been equipped by the biotech company C4Diagnostics, which is behind the development of a comprehensive and rapid Covid-19 detection solution in confined and difficult-to-access environments. Thanks to a portable system based on PCR-LAMP technology, enabling tests to be carried out in situ and to obtain results in 20 minutes, each PONANT ship has the capacity to independently detect the virus in humans and in the environment. The performance of this technology developed and produced in France is equivalent to the RT-PCR* reference technique. *With validation from CIBU (the Biological Emergency Response Cell at the Institut Pasteur) for the Rapid Detection of Coronavirus pathogens for humans on 02/06/2020.
Moreover, PONANT had already been investing for many years to set up high-level hospitals aboard the ships in its fleet, made up of a state-of-the-art medical infrastructure (radiology, biology and even resuscitation devices, etc.) that goes beyond all current touristic standards. An expert medical team made up of at least one doctor and a nurse, available around the clock, are present in these hospitals.
For more detail contact Mondo on 0800 110 108.
Image: Courtesy of Ponant.submitted by -- Tony Terrill
Viking has announced it is expanding its destination-focused travel experiences with the launch of new expedition voyages. Viking Expeditions will begin sailing in January 2022 with its first vessel, Viking Octantis, embarking on voyages to Antarctica and North America’s Great Lakes. A second expedition vessel, Viking Polaris, will debut in August 2022, sailing to Antarctica and the Arctic.
Viking’s arrival to the Great Lakes will bring the newest and most modern vessels ever to explore this region of North America, visiting the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as the Canadian province of Ontario.
As part of an exclusive preview, past Viking guests have been able to book select Viking Expeditions polar itineraries since 9 October 2019. From 16 January 2020, all expedition voyages – including the new Great Lakes itineraries – are available to the Australian and New Zealand public for booking.
“We invented the concept of modern river cruising when we launched in 1997; then we reinvented ocean cruises and became the ‘World’s Best Ocean Cruise Line’ in our first year of operation, as well as every year since then. Now, in creating ‘the thinking person’s expedition,’ we are perfecting polar expedition cruising, and we will usher in a new era of comfortable exploration in the heart of North America,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking.
“Our guests are curious explorers. They want to continue travelling with us to familiar and iconic destinations, but they would also like to travel further. We began as Viking River Cruises; then we evolved into Viking Cruises with the addition of ocean cruises; today we stand singularly as Viking, offering destination-focused voyages on more than 20 rivers and five oceans, visiting 403 ports in 95 countries and on all seven continents.”
To develop the new expedition voyages, Viking has partnered with some of the world’s most prestigious scientific institutions. The lead partner is the University of Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute. This relationship is underpinned by a major Viking endowment for scientific research into the polar regions, The Viking Chair of Polar Marine Geoscience, a Cambridge University full professorship based at the Scott Polar Research Institute, as well as a sponsorship fund supporting the Institute’s graduate students. As part of this endowment, the Institute’s scientists will undertake fieldwork on board Viking expedition vessels and join voyages to share their expertise with guests. Viking has also partnered with The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a globally recognized bird research facility, whose ornithologists will regularly be on board the expedition ships, providing guest advice and interaction. Additionally, Viking has partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), whose scientists will join expeditions in the Great Lakes to conduct research focused on changes in the region’s weather, climate and ecosystems. NOAA scientists may also offer lectures about the Great Lakes’ unique environment to Viking guests during these voyages.
About Viking Expedition Ships
The new Polar Class 6 Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris will host 378 guests in 189 staterooms; both ships are currently under construction and will be delivered in Norway by Fincantieri’s VARD. Designed by the same experienced nautical architects and engineers that designed Viking ocean ships, the ships are optimally sized and built for expeditions – small enough to navigate remote polar regions and the St. Lawrence River, while large enough to provide superior handling and stability in the roughest seas.
Straight bows, longer hulls and state-of-the-art fin stabilizers will allow the ships to glide over the waves for the calmest possible journey; ice-strengthened Polar Class 6 hulls will provide the safest way to explore and U-tank stabilizers will significantly decrease rolling by up to 50 percent when the ships are stationary.
Guests will recognise the distinctly Viking experience from the moment they set foot on board. Customised to navigate the planet’s most remote environments, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris will offer the same comfort as Viking’s ocean and river ships. The ships will feature public spaces that are familiar to Viking’s ocean cruise guests but that have been reimagined, as well as new public spaces created specifically for expeditions. Modern Scandinavian design will feature throughout, with elegant touches, intimate spaces and attention to detail, including panoramic views from any location on the ship.
Guests can choose from six stateroom categories that range from 222 sq. ft to 1,223 sq. ft: Nordic Balcony, Deluxe Nordic Balcony, Nordic Penthouse, Nordic Junior Suite, Explorer Suite and Owner’s Suite. All staterooms feature a Nordic Balcony, as well as a king-size bed and large bathroom with spacious glass-enclosed shower, heated bathroom floor and anti-fog mirror. Every stateroom is also equipped with a unique floor-to-ceiling drying closet that circulates warm air to dry and store clothing and expedition gear.
Details of Viking’s plans were unveiled by Chairman Hagen during a celebratory launch event in Beverly Hills, California. Hagen announced that famed adventurers and educators Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft will be honoured as ceremonial godmothers to Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, respectively. Arnesen, a native Norwegian, became the first woman in the world to ski solo and unsupported to the South Pole in 1994. Bancroft is the first woman to successfully finish a number of arduous expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. Arnesen and Bancroft also became the first women to ski across Antarctica in 2001. Together they co-founded Bancroft Arnesen Explore / Access Water, an initiative that aims to engage and empower more than 60 million minds to create a sustainable tomorrow. Arnesen will also periodically serve as a member of the Viking Expedition Team.
This announcement is the most recent development as Viking continues to increase its award-winning presence in the travel industry. In the last eight years alone, the company has introduced more than 60 new river cruise ships and six ocean cruise ships to become the largest small ship cruise line with a current fleet of 79 river and ocean vessels around the world. In 2020, Viking will launch seven new river ships. Six more ocean sister ships are on order, with options for four additional ships. These options could bring Viking’s total ocean fleet to 16 ships by 2027.
2022-2023 Viking Expedition Inaugural Voyages
Book before 31 March 2020 and save up to $2,000 per couple with Viking’s Inaugural Offer on 2022 & 2023 Viking Expedition itineraries. Conditions apply. For additional information, contact your local Mondo Travel Specialist on 0800 110 108 or email email@example.com.
Source: Viking Cruisessubmitted by -- Tony Terrill
Uniworld has announced that it will set sail in South America for the first time with two new itineraries throughout the Peruvian Amazon aboard the Aria Amazon, set to debut in September 2020. The new itineraries include the 15-day Peruvian Amazon & Machu Picchu Exploration that starts off with a land portion in Lima staying at a 5-star hotel, followed by the seven-night cruise through the Amazon rainforest, and ends in the heartland of the Inca Empire with trips to the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, and Cusco; and the 11-day Peruvian Rivers & Rainforest Discovery that takes guests to explore the colourful capital of Lima, immerse in the pristine Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve and sail through the Amazon River roundtrip from Iquitos.
For more details or to book one of these fantastic Amazon cruises please contact your local Mondo Travel Specialist on 0800 110 108.submitted by -- Tony Terrill