PONANT is celebrating 35 years in 2023, revealing a new global media campaign that carries the tagline of “Nature is our guide”. The promotion was previewed to Australian media last week in Sydney by Hervé Gastinel, CEO of PONANT — who also revealed further details about the next vessel in the French luxury expedition cruise line’s fleet, Ship 14.
‘Nature is our guide’ is a campaign focused around PONANT’s Corporate Social Responsibility policy, embodied through four key players: a Captain, a Naturalist Guide, a Scientist, and a Guest.
Gastinel said the promotion “is a strong commitment that gives a voice to our guests, our employees, our captains, our scientists onboard, our naturalists, expedition leaders, our engineers.”
The people of PONANT all share the same ambition to make travel a unique experience of discovery, understanding and meaning, with nature as a guide, he added.
Those fronting the campaign include: Captain Etienne Garcia who reached the North Pole aboard the first LNG-powered hybrid electric polar exploration vessel; Sandrine, a naturalist, and expedition leader accompanied passengers across to Macquarie Island to educate them on penguin species; Maria, a naturalist, who shares her passion for tropical marine life in Las Islas de la Bahía archipelago in Honduras; and Mick who returned to Indonesia, to connect with local communities in his mission to craft sustainable and inclusive expedition itineraries.
From its foundation 35 years ago, PONANT has never ceased to innovate in an ongoing quest to offer exceptional voyages and promote better environmental practices. Reducing emissions remains a major challenge for the coming years, which is why PONANT targets to equip its entire fleet with shore power by 2026.
“Nature is our guide is not just a campaign, it’s a commitment to sustainability and responsible tourism as being core values that guide everything we do.
“We believe travel has the power to transform individuals and communities. It is our responsibility to ensure this transformation is positive and lasting both for people and the planet,” Gastinel added.
On the subject of people and planet, Gastinel also spoke of PONANT’s one-of-a-kind, LNG-powered icebreaker, Le Commandant Charcot.
“I think, with that product, PONANT is really demonstrating how far we can go. Based on our own 35 years’ experience of exploring poles and polar regions, we’ve brought something really different from what other companies can offer,” he said.
In addition to game-changing itineraries that explore parts of the world few get to see, Gastinel highlighted another unique example for Charcot will be a voyage on the St Lawerence River and the mouth of that waterway in Canada in winter 2024/25, “where no other ship usually goes.”
“We’ll be on our own in that region,” Gastinel said of the wintertime sailing.
Other drawcards to PONANT and Charcot will be the Polar Raid overland itineraries in Greenland. The two-day immersive experience recounts how an early explorer may have lived on the ice.
“This [ship] is opening new doors of exploration and expedition.”
“The goal of Charcot is about science, with the vessel open to scientists all year-round. In 2022, PONANT dedicated around 2 million Euro to scientific research missions, hosted 29 missions for 60 scientists onboard – one on every departure in 2022 and 2023, and now into 2024,” Gastinel boasted.
Laboratories and their scientists have used Le Commandant Charcot as a vehicle to study subjects including biology, physics, chemistry, oceanography, glaciology, navigation, atmosphere and plastic pollution.
“This is a huge contribution and we welcome laboratories from all over the world. This is a growing part of our business now. Hosting those missions and expanding the scientific contribution of our fleet.”
“These is real demand from scientists to explore those remote regions — being able to measure, analysis and collect data in real-time,” he concluded.