In June we told you about the debut of PONANT’s new underwater multi-sensory lounge, Blue Eye, on Le Lapérouse, and now comes the news that the ship, one of four new Explorer class ships currently under construction, is scheduled to be positioned in Australian, Melanesian and New Zealand waters as part of its inaugural season of voyages in 2019, and will now also include Kimberley voyages.
“This will provide Australians and New Zealanders with the opportunity to sail on one of the world’s newest ships featuring the very latest in maritime technology, safety and environmental sensitivity – important considerations for voyages in remote areas such as the Kimberley,” said Monique Ponfoort, PONANT’s Vice President Asia Pacific.
“While the maritime world is boasting ever-larger ships, at PONANT we have deliberately taken the course to build smaller ships to better suit the aspirations of our travelling guests. The ships will still offer all the accoutrements of luxury travel and ammenities – I am thinking the infinity edge pool and sea view spa – however, their compact size, with just 92 staterooms and suites, all with balconies, will allow for the personalised style of service PONANT is known for. Importantly, smaller size provides access to even more remote parts of the world where large ships simply cannot contemplate venturing.
“With 20 years of expedition voyage experience, our purpose-built expedition ships bring the same high operational standards to the Kimberley that we operate in Antarctica – the only ships to do so, and reflective of our position as the world leader in luxury expeditions.”
Nine 10-night Kimberley expedition voyages during May to August 2019 include the must-see highlights, as well as some lesser known destinations and experiences the expedition team have uncovered along this remarkable 13,000km coastline.
The 2019 Expedition Team will again be headed by award-winning photographer and adventurer Mick Fogg, a veteran of over 120 Kimberley expeditions. He will be joined by a group of 12 experienced marine biologists, naturalists and conservationists including Harry Christensen, Sebastian Van Jones, and Sandrine Erwin-Rose.
Larger than 75% of the world’s countries, the Kimberley is a national biodiversity hotspot, listed in the top 3.7% of least impacted marine environments worldwide.
In addition to visiting areas with high concentrations of saltwater crocodiles, the voyages coincide with prime time for observing the largest population of migrating Humpback whales in the world – estimated to be 36,000 individuals or more – and with a compact ship and 10 Zodiacs this is potentially another exciting experience.
“And what will be revealed when the ship’s non-intrusive underwater lights and microphones are turned on?,” asks Monique.
“We are all excited by the prospect of settling into the underwater lounge, Blue Eye, with its world-first underwater glass windows, to see what maritime creatures the world reveals. What lies beneath? This is a Kimberley voyage like no other.”
The 16 page digital brochure featuring the Kimberley season of voyages is available HERE