Ponant, the French line already sailing in Europe, has now started luxury cruises to the Arctic.

The first ships are on course to Spitsbergen in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, where polar bears outnumber people.  There are also cruises scheduled for the Northeast Passage before sailing onward to Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands in the Russian Arctic.

Ponant will undertake five cruises into the Arctic before September 2020, four of which are running brand new itineraries. Destinations include the Bering Strait; Chukotka, one of the most remote parts of the world; Svalbard and its Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve; the Kuril Islands, and the Northeast Passage.

Looking to the future and offering a little bit of a teaser of what is to come, Ponant has provided four sample itineraries of ‘soon-to-sail’ Arctic voyages when international travel once again becomes an option.

THE BEST OF SPITSBERGEN, Norway – departed 18 July 2020 and 25 July

Longyearbyen to Longyearbyen – Aboard Le Boréal

An exceptional voyage to discover the Far North and the vastness of the Arctic polar region. Discover exceptional fauna and flora, adapted to the polar extremes, including walruses, arctic terns and polar bears, the Lords of the Arctic. Well beyond the Arctic Circle, experience the unique impression of having reached the end of the world.

UNEXPLORED SVALBARD, Norway – departing 30 July and 6 August 2020

Longyearbyen to Longyearbyen – Aboard Le Boréal

A Norwegian archipelago situated beyond the Arctic Circle, the Svalbard Islands open the doors to the Far North to discover a fascinating history, breathtaking landscapes and an exceptional flora and fauna capable of adapting to extreme conditions with temperatures dropping to around -30 °C in winter. A rich ecosystem supports colonies of seabirds, walruses, bears and arctic foxes.

THE NORTHEAST PASSAGE, Norway to the Russian Far East – departing 26 August 2020

Longyearbyen to Anadyr – Aboard Le Boréal – 22 Nights

This is a pure expedition voyage in the wake of Roald Amundsen, one of the greatest polar explorers. Explore the Russian Arctic National Park; the vast polar desert of Severnaya Zemlya; the New Siberian Islands and their exceptional biodiversity; Wrangel Island and its unique ecosystem… Cross the Bering Strait and discover Chukotka, one of the most remote regions on the planet, with an opportunity to visit some villages and meet their inhabitants.

THE RUSSIAN ARCTIC, From Kamchatka to the Kuril Islands – departing 19 September 2020

Anadyr to Tokyo – Aboard Le Boréal – 15 nights

Discover the rarely visited Russian Far East. Visit Chukchi villages to share moments in the daily lives of these Siberian peoples; on the Kamchatka Peninsula, spectacular landscapes are home to brown bears, many species of seabirds and marine mammals, while in the Kuril Islands, in the Sea of Okhotsk, every island is a volcano.

For more, see [email protected].