Luxury expedition line, Ponant has started selling its most expensive suites on its 2021 sailings, particularly on new voyages in the Kimberley and Antarctica.

Ponant’s commercial director Deb Corbett said the line has increased its capacity in the intrepid Western Australian region after receiving feedback from the line’s clients.

“What we are finding is that there is a pent-up demand to travel. And particularly with sailings around the Kimberley as well as voyages to Antarctica, the most expensive suites are booking out quickly,” she said.

“Guests are booking from the top down, and on one Antarctica voyage, a client has spent $175,000 on the Owner’s Suite, which shows that people are itching to get away. They have the expendably income, or they have saved for that big holiday and want to get away.”

Earlier in December, Ponant opened its bookings to 19 voyages for next year, with three new Western Australian itineraries.

“In response to increasing demand for local exploration, we are delighted to announce an extension of our 2021 Kimberley season with the introduction of three new luxury expeditions being available for Australians to explore their own backyard. We are releasing two new departures of Ponant’s top-selling ‘Australia’s Iconic Kimberley’ 10-night itinerary with the third being a newly created 12-night expedition featuring the best of the Kimberley coast and Rowley Shoals,” Ms Corbett said.

“In addition, we are excited to launch three new West Australian coastal luxury expeditions in September and October 2021, visiting the best of the region’s coastal areas and offshore reefs.”

Ms Corbett also said that the line is seeing people switching from other types of cruising and even a few new to cruise clients.

And typically, Ponant’s return customers are booking more intrepid voyages, like sailings to Antarctica through the Ross Sea.

“We’re finding that we are getting new to cruise bookings. There are people have never been on a cruise but want to try something a bit different. But in terms of switchers, we are also seeing an increase in those who book the luxury experiences on big ships, but are now looking for something more bespoke,” she said.

“We are interestingly seeing many people who are typically river cruisers, book these voyages. The luxury experience onboard Ponant provides the same kind of club feel onboard a river ship with the same number of guests.

“But the reality is, they know they can’t do their European river cruise and have decided to push that holiday back into 2022. But they want to go somewhere so we are seeing lots of new bookings, not just guests using their future cruise credit.”