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PONANT and Paul Gauguin Cruises resumed operations in July with ships setting sail from Iceland, Dalmatian Coast, the Arctic, France and French Polynesia.

The 2020 voyages include the inaugural sailings for the final two PONANT EXPLORER vessels, Le Bellot and Le Jacques Cartier. The fleet of smaller-sized ships are capable of reaching remote sites where other vessels are not permitted.

Le Bellot, the fifth PONANT EXPLORER ship, will circumnavigate Iceland on a new 8-day, 7-night itinerary departing from Reykjavik. The new ship has just 92 cabins, and its first sailing departed on July 13 with four further departures available through August.

Highlights of the tour include visiting Snæfellsjökull National Park overlooking the Snæfel volcano, the isolated region of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve where passengers can disembark for a guided hike and explore the diverse landscapes of the East Fjords. Passengers will also cross the Arctic Circle and encounter polar wildlife such as whales, orcas, seals and Atlantic puffins.

The sailing starts at $4,890 per person and includes flights from Paris-Reykjavik and Bergen-Paris along with transfers to and from the ship. The August sailings are scheduled for Aug. 5, 12, 19 and 26.

PONANT resumed its expedition cruises to the Arctic on July 11 with four new itineraries, including its inaugural crossing of the Northeast Passage. The 23-day expedition cruise on Le Boreal will depart from Longyearbyen, Norway on Sept. 28 and will trace the maritime corridor along Siberia’s northern coast.

Ports of call include the Northern Territories, a polar desert that was identified and mapped at the beginning of the 19th century; and Wrangel Island Reserve, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is home to the polar bear and holds traces of the last mammoths in the world.

The sailing starts from $15,310 per person, including flights from Paris-Longbearbyen and Anadyr-Paris as well as transfers to and from the ship.

Paul Gauguin, now part of the PONANT family, resumed sailings for local residents of French Polynesia on July 18 and opened to international travelers on July 29.

Three new itineraries are available to explore French Polynesia including a 10-night sailing to the Society Islands, the most visited archipelago in the region.

Highlights include scuba diving in the UNESCO biosphere reserve of Fakarava, and a visit to Rangiroa, the largest atoll in Polynesia. On the Tuamotu, Marquesas and Company Islands sailing, the ship will travel to the brand’s namesake island and home to Paul Gauguin’s gravesite.

Prior to its return to the seas, PONANT announced extensive new hygiene protocols devised in collaboration with the IHU (Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire) Méditerranée Infection of Marseilles, one of the world’s leading centers in the field of infectious diseases. The cruise line’s COVID-Safety Protocol manifesto has been developed and is available online here.

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