PONANT‘s small expedition ship Le Lapérouse arrived into Darwin, Northern Territory, yesterday following a 2-year pandemic stand-by in Noumea, New Caledonia.
With operations resuming 28 April 2022, the monumental moment comes as Le Lapérouse anticipates setting sail for PONANT’s highly anticipated Kimberley 2022 season, operating between Darwin and Broome.
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Sarina Bratton AM Chairman for PONANT Asia Pacific, met with Captain Xavier Rutten in Darwin on Monday 25 April to welcome the ship, a few days before the inaugural sailing of the almost sold-out 2022 Kimberley expedition season.
“We celebrate the restart of cruising in Australia, and specifically expedition cruising in the northwest region of Australia.
“I am personally thrilled that PONANT’s Le Lapérouse will be the first international ship to return to operations in Australia and the first international expedition ship to commence the 2022 Kimberley season,” Bratton said.
“Not only is this an emotional moment for thousands of Australians whose travel dreams were put on hold since 2020, it is a major milestone in terms of economic benefits to the north-west indigenous communities who work with us to showcase the beauty of the Kimberley region and whose income relies on the international expedition sector. Our suppliers, port authorities, food and beverage providers, hoteliers and last but not least, our supportive network of travel agents and trade partners are also excited with our company restarting Kimberley operations. It has been a long two years of inactivity in Australia for our suppliers, our travel partners, and for our company,” she said.
Le Lapérouse will be accompanied in late-May in the Kimberley by small luxury expedition ship Le Soléal, PONANT’s second expedition vessel showcasing the Kimberley across multiple departures of its popular 10-night ‘Australia’s Iconic Kimberley’ luxury expedition itinerary between April and September. Due to high demand, PONANT has recently released two new sailings available for booking, departing on 28 May and 7 June onboard Le Soléal.
PONANT’s Le Lapérouse and Le Soléal are modern, purpose-built, small expedition ships offering a unique experience at sea, with unparalleled comfort and luxury for exploring the region.
Embarking on a 10-night expedition from Darwin to Broome, Le Lapérouse sets sail on 28 April and will offer guests the chance to explore beautiful landscapes of the Kimberley, from the Hunter River exploring the mangrove forests to discovering King George River and the Twin Falls alongside PONANT’s renowned team of expedition and destination experts.
PONANT has had 10 of its 13 small ships operating in various regions around the world over the past year. As with each jurisdiction, PONANT have worked closely with the Health Departments of the Northern Territory and Western Australia to establish a set of Health Protocols that match the requirements of these Governments. Safety and the wellbeing of guests is PONANT’s priority.