It is not often travellers get to experience unparalleled luxury in remote panoramas. To us, that unique combination is something French luxury brand Ponant has mastered over the years. Where else will you find haute cuisine and menus designed by Michelin-starred chefs serves in remote wilderness with sightings of Polar Bears, penguin colonies, or whales, and icebergs.
We’ve been on several voyages on Ponant vessels, including an unforgettable voyage to Antarctica, but today we wanted to talk about another memorable and educational voyage – to the Arctic North. Ponant offers various itineraries in the Arctic North that go to Svalbard Islands, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean; Greeland; and the Thule region in Canada (more on that below)
Packing for an Arctic Voyage
It’s a truly tricky to pack for an Arctic Voyage because you need to pack everything from thermal leggings and tops to black-tie outfits and medicines. Fortunately for you, we have a detailed packing list for winter cruises right here – treat it as a checklist and it will make sure you are absolutely well prepared for your voyage 🙂
Just in case you forget something, there is a small shop onboard with clothing items and accessories. However we would recommend double-checking your packing before departing on your Arctic voyage -, especially medicines, toiletries, and tech equipment.
Ponant’s L’Austral – Rooms, Dining, and layout
Embarking on a cruise aboard Ponant’s ship L’Austral promises an unparalleled experience of luxury, sophistication, and world-class amenities. Think of it as a journey that redefines modern cruising.
Dining options on L’Austral: A Gastronomic Adventure at Sea
Dining is truly the highlight of Ponant voyages and L’Austral takes dining to new heights with its exceptional culinary offerings. The ship boasts multiple dining venues, each promising a unique gastronomic journey. The main restaurant usually has a buffet style setting, with menus that change each day – expect everything from gourmet French delicacies to pizzas and a large salad bar.
Dinner is usually a more intimate and exclusive experience as L’Austral has a specialty restaurant that offers sit-down dinners with carefully curated menus. Expect premium ingredients and exquisite presentation and truly exception wine lists.
But that’s not all. The main lounge offers live entertainment, cocktails, and panoramic views, making it an ideal space to unwind after a day of exploration. The outdoor bar, situated on deck, offers refreshing drinks, allowing guests to savour panoramas while socialising with fellow travellers. My favourite part is the view from the swimming pool, next the bar, on L’Austral. Elegance and sophistication are the two words we would use to sum up the dining opportunities on board!
Rooms on L’Austral
The staterooms and suites on L’Austral exemplify luxury and comfort – think plush furnishings, neutral colour palettes, bedside lights and luxurious yet refillable Diptyque toiletries, refillable glass water bottles that ensure a restful and responsible holiday. Beds are comfortable and we slept like babies most days at sea. Most cabins are equipped with balconies (a must for this part of the world!). And offer butler service to all guests – room service is free, 24 hours a day. The room service menu has a range of salads and comfort food such as burgers and sandwiches, which can be delivered to your cabin free of charge, anytime of the day.A true luxury at sea!
But if you want even more space, the suites offer additional space by way of a living area and storage. These are ideal if you’re travelling with family or for a special occasion such as a honeymoon.
Spa & gym facilities on L’Austral
You can spend all your time staring at panoramas, but you must take out some time to exercise to those views at the gym. And if you’re in no mood to exercise on holiday, then do book yourself a relaxing treatment at the onboard spa on L’Austral. From rejuvenating massages to invigorating Sothys facials to Kerastase hair treatments, the spa’s skilled therapists pamper guests with personalised therapies. Nothing comes close to the unique combination of soothing aromas, and ocean views – the ideal environment for unwinding and recharging.
What to expect from Svalbard and the Arctic North
Ponant offers several itineraries, ranging from 1 week to 3 weeks in the Arctic North. These go to some stunning places such as the Northernmost town in the world, the remote villages of Greenland and Canada’s Arctic North. However if you are short on time, there is one we would highly recommend, it is the one week itinerary to Svalbard that offers all the highlights of the Arctic North in just a week!
As most of these areas are well and truly remote and the weather unpredictable, it is hard to know what exactly to expect on a day. However here are some highlights visitors can expect
- Polar Bears: Whichever itinerary you pick you are bound to have polar bear sightings in the Arctic North. Let me tell you – there is truly nothing that comes close to observing these amazing creatures in their natural habitat
- Northern Lights: If you choose a winter voyage, then you will be able to see the incredible Aurora Borealis, not just on the ports but from your ship too. Goosebumps are bound to follow
- Sailing and kayaking between ice floes and icebergs in remote areas is truly an experience like no other. The fjords are so beautiful that it almost seems like you are in a picture postcard or a film!
- You will experience what life looks like in some of the northernmost villages in the world
- From Beluga Whales and Orcas to Seals and Humpback Whales, you can expect some amazing sightings each day – it was this that left us completely awestruck!
- From puffins to sea gulls to skuas, you will see dozens of gorgeous birds in Svalbard and the Arctic North
I hope this gave you a great idea of what to expect on Ponant’s L’Austral. This voyage was truly one that we won’t forget in a lifetime. If you’re looking for unparalleled luxury in some of the most remote areas of the world, this voyage is the one for you!
Want to book an Arctic Expedition on Ponant? We have a lot of unmissable offers right now – do check them out before booking your trip
Imagine seeing the Northern Lights from Ponant’s L’Austral during winter time