Luxury French Line Ponant’s first ship in its Explorers series, Le Laperouse, has just completed her first sea trials in Norway, taking her one step closer to Australia where she will cruise the Kimberley region next year.

“These sea trials are a real success for the company. Remarkable nautical performances, technical excellence, a high standard of comfort, everything is in place for Ponant Explorers series to be a real triumph,’’ says Jean Emmanual Sauvee, CEO of Ponant.

Le Laperouse’s maiden voyage will depart from Iceland in June. She will then cruise to the Mediterranean before heading for Asia and Australia for her first season of expedition voyages to New Zealand’s Sub-Antarctic Islands in February next year. Following this, Le Laperouse will cruise to Melanesia and Australia’s Kimberley region from May to August next year.

Meanwhile, construction of the other five expedition vessels is well underway.

Le Champlain is in her final stages of construction before she embarks on her inaugural cruise in Honfleur, France on 25 October.

The construction of Le Bougainville and Le Dumont d’Urville will be completed in 2019. Building of Le Bellot and Le Surville has just begun with delivery scheduled for 2020.