Luxury expedition cruise line Ponant heads to the Kimberley coast for the first time this year and already three of its four cruises are sold out.
Bookings for next year’s Kimberley cruises from Darwin to Broome are also selling fast, says Sarina Bratton Ponant chairman Australasia.
“We have a few cabins left on our Kimberley cruise this year which leaves Darwin on September 3,’’ she said. “Mostly Australians have booked on this year’s Kimberley cruise but next year we are seeing more French and Americans joining the cruise.”
The Kimberley cruise is particularly popular among well-heeled Australian couples in their late 50s and early 60s.
What sets Ponant apart from the rest is that L’Austral is the only ship to offer staterooms with balconies. The ship is also equipped with the latest technological and environmental capabilities not seen on other older lines.
L’Austral has a swimming pool on board which would be a welcome relief to its 264 guests as they are unable to swim in the sea in the Kimberley because of crocodiles.
The cruise will travel to popular spots like King George Falls, Mitchell Falls, Montgomery Reef and the Horizontal Falls.
“Like all expeditions, we will be governed by mother nature and the massive tidal ranges. The region has also experienced exceptional rainfall which will mean we will be able to see dramatic waterfalls.’’
Despite the popularity of the Kimberley destination, Ms Bratton does not believe there would be overcrowding in the region.
“There is very little inventory available and most vessels that ply the rugged Kimberley coast are small ships.’’ she said.