Sun sets over the icy seas of Greenland.
Photo courtesy of Greenland Tourism

Long-time readers of this blog will know I’m hugely fascinated by Arctic and Antarctic travel.  A cruise to these regions is one of the most completely unique, life-altering voyages a person can take, if only because it represents such a departure from what most people would consider to be ‘normal.’  Indeed, I’ve profiled some of the amazing offerings from lines like Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Quark Expeditions and Silversea’s remarkable Prince Albert II.

So when I cracked open my copy of the new Summer 2011 brochure from Compagnie du Ponant, my jaw hit the floor.  Not only is their fleet deployment remarkable in the variety of both itineraries and destinations, they offer some fantastic cruises to far-flung destinations.

Though the French company still remains largely unknown to the average North American traveler, their public awareness is slowly but steadily growing.  And that’s a good thing.  Their sleek, modern yacht-like ships are almost a cross between a European river cruise vessel and an upscale yacht (think of Avalon Waterways meeting Silversea or The Yachts of Seabourn.)

 The popular tourist destination of Illulissat, Greenland.
Photo courtesy of Greenland Tourism

So where can you sail with Compagnie du Ponant?  Here’s one of my personal favorite itineraries:

 Departing August 11, 2011 aboard Le Boreal from Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, this 13-day itinerary takes guests to some of the most remote parts of Greenland and Canada’s arctic territory, Nunavut.

August 11 – Kangerlussaq, Greenland – depart 5:00pm. 
August 12 – Illulissat, Greenland
August 13 – Illulissat, Greenland
August 14 – Eqi Glacer / Base Paul Emile Victor
August 15 – Sailing the Upernavik Fjords
August 16 – Sailing Melville Bay
August 17 – Savissivik, Greenland
August 18 – Pond Inlet, Nunavut, Canada
August 19 – North Arm Fjord, Nunavut, Canada
August 20 – Isabella Bay, Nunavut, Canada
August 21 – Kivitoo and Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut, Canada
August 22 – At Sea
August 23 – Kangerlussaq, Greenland – arrive 5:00am.

 An Illulissat church, overlooking the sea and ice.
Photo courtesy of Greenland Tourism

Pricing for this fascinating voyage starts at $7,870 US per person and includes complimentary mineral water and coffee, as well as complimentary wine served with all meals.  The brochure price includes roundtrip airfares and transfers for guests from Paris – while this may seem unhelpful to North Americans, it is far easier (and far less expensive) to book a flight from North America to Paris than it is to attempt airfare to Kangerlussaq on your own – in many cases this involves a multi-flight layover in London or Reykjavik, then backtracking via one of the very few scheduled flights to Greenland, or the purchase of private charter air. 

Trust us – take the included air from Paris. 

For more information, visit the Compagnie du Ponant website.

Curious about Le Boreal?  Hop on over to Bart de Boer’s ShipParade website where he has a fantastic tour of this unique vessel.


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