Exploring the Antarctic coast captured by Ragnar Axelsson

Seeking a novel escape? Immerse yourself in a world of wonder with Ponant’s polar expeditions

Across the past year, there’s been burgeoning interest in two striking holiday spots that sit in stark contrast to Europe’s ever-beckoning shores. Here, travellers are offered a vacation far more intrepid and eye-opening than a summer jaunt spent sipping margaritas on Ibiza’s picturesque white sand beaches. We’re talking, of course, about the two, snow and ice-covered Poles located at the Southernmost and Northernmost points of the globe, fast-becoming the most desirable destinations to vacation. 

Leopard seal in the Ross Sea, captured by Ian Dawson

As winter settles in, so too does the impetus to plan our next escape, and we’ve got our sights firmly set on the intimate luxury and exceptional itineraries of Ponant’s luxurious small ship polar expeditions. The elevated French cruising company was founded by a group of professional sailors in 1988 and has been perfecting the art of sea exploration ever since. With 25 years spent visiting the polar regions of our planet, their industry leading captains and destination experts have carved out bespoke itineraries to immerse guests in the wonders of these great white lands, each offering a true exploration experience like no other. The 14-fleet company specialises in small vessel cruising, with capacity up to 264 guests, offers unmatched access to both the Antarctic and the Arctic Seas.

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Left: Free-flowing French Champagne captured by Violette Vauchelle. Right: The elusive polar bears of the Arctic captured by Ian Dawson
Sauna with a view

Ponant’s ships are yacht-like in style, which, when combined with quiet, comfortable spaces, hospitality excellence, and luxurious offerings encompassing spas and salons, entertainment areas, shopping and more (not to mention a 24/7 open bar including free flowing French Champagne), makes for an experience akin to sailing on a private yacht of your very own. When it comes to the voyages themselves, few do it better than Ponant. With exceptional itineraries that offer insight into the authentic beauty of the world — featuring visits to iconic ports, and exotic destinations off the beaten path.

HIKING THE ANTARCTIC COAST captured by Olivier Blaud
Left: One of the Zodiacs visiting ashore. Right: Antarctica’s Adélie penguin

Ponant’s luxury polar expeditions include daily excursions led by expert guides, both on Zodiacs over water or visiting ashore. Opportunities for kayaking, hiking and wildlife encounters abound — from meeting Antarctica’s majestic penguins, to the elusive polar bear of the Arctic, while Ponant’s small ship fleet allows access into the farthest flung areas of the Poles, and as such, offers opportunities to visit rare ports of call — including Shackleton’s Hut in Antarctica (a place fewer than 1000 people have visited).

When exploring Antarctica with Ponant you’ll have the opportunity to hike snow-covered landscapes, visit research stations, and immerse yourself in informative lectures covering everything from wildlife to environmental protection, while in the Arctic, sail past volcanic islands, black sandy beaches, and rugged cliffs, as you delve into the traditions and customs of the Sami people of Norway, and marvel at the geological wonders of Iceland.

For intrepid explorers, Ponant’s expertly designed polar Grand Voyages combine multiple itineraries, so travellers can delve deeper into these remote regions and experience the ultimate adventure. From soaking up the beauty of the towering glaciers and rugged coastlines of the Antarctic Peninsula, to sailing through the fjords of Spitsbergen, these combined itineraries offer an expert-led and comprehensive exploration of the polar regions, allowing guests to venture further and linger longer in these extraordinary environments. 

Le Soléal exploring Neko Harbour, Antarctic Peninsula captured by Olivier Blaud

Thanks to Ponant, these wondrous regions are now more accessible than ever. For a limited time, Ponant is offering a flight credit up to $2,500 per person* on a selection of Antarctica and Arctic 2025/26 luxury expedition itineraries. And for those wanting to stay longer, take advantage of 10% savings on second and subsequent itineraries when you book a Ponant Polar Grand Voyage*. Conditions Apply.

Need To Know

When to Visit: The best time to visit the Arctic is April to September and for Antarctica November to March, when wildlife is most active with long sunny days.

What to Pack: A comprehensive list of requirements is supplied by the specialists at Ponant. Comfort is key with winter trousers and waterproof over trousers a must. A Ponant polar water-resistant parka is offered to each adult guest for all departures with an Expedition programme. And remember to pack binoculars and a great camera for wildlife viewing.

*See au.ponant.com for terms and conditions or call 0800 767 018 to take advantage of exclusive polar savings today. For more information email [email protected] or talk to your preferred travel agent today.


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