We all dream of cruising to amazing remote locations, to take in the scenery and enjoy the serenity that comes with being far removed from the pressures of the modern world.
From the ice and snow of the polar regions to the warmth and sunshine of the Pacific or the Caribbean, from the formerly forbidden lands of Russia and the Baltic to the welcoming embrace of the Mediterranean, from the raw beauty of Australia's Kimberley to the rain forests of the Amazon, from the vast plains of Africa to the jungles of Asia, it is a big world out there, just waiting to be explored.
If you don't have the time, the boat or the experience to take yourself there in your own yacht, here is the perfect alternative – boutique cruising.
Below we look at the 10 most amazing locations available on our planet, and tell you about all the incredible sights you will see there. Discover all these luxury cruises on Ponant’s website. Click on the links for more information on all the different luxury cruises available and the places they will take you.
© Studio Ponant – Lorraine Turci
The White Continent is one of the most unspoiled places on earth. Generally seen only by scientists, you have the rare opportunity to enjoy the splendour of this remote outpost which has been visited by humankind for only 200 years.
Listen to the sound of icebergs breaking from the shelf as the elements take their toll, before the whole landscape becomes eerily quiet again. Gaze up at vast snowy mountains and wonder at the amazing colour of the icy sea.
Watch fur seals, sea leopards, sea elephants, orcas and humpback whales hunting in the deep blue waters, laugh at the ungainly antics of a large variety of penguins and watch the majestic albatross soaring overhead.
There are four different Antarctica cruise options, all leaving from Buenos Aires.
© Studio Ponant – Lorraine Turci
Like it's polar opposite, the Antarctic, the northern polar regions offer magnificent scenery and unique wildlife which are accessible only during the long days of summer.
Follow in the footsteps of the great explorers, searching for the North West Passage. Visit Iceland, Greenland or the northern reaches of Norway and Russia, discover the volcanoes of the Aleutian Passage, the stark beauty of Alaska or meet Inuit people and enjoy their culture.
Aboard one of the ship's zodiak dinghies, in the company of experienced wildlife guides, keep your eyes open for polar and grizzly bears, humpback whales, narwhals and walruses, reindeer, Arctic foxes and amazing bird life such as Arctic terns and bald eagles.
Get in touch with nature at it's most natural. There are 10 options to choose from, with details available here.
© Studio Ponant
The Middle Sea was the starting point for many of the world's great explorers, sent out by Kings and Emperors of the great classic civilisations.
On Ponant cruises you can discover the classic buildings of Rome and Greece, visit the seafaring museums of Spain and Portugal, roam the ruins of Malta and discover the fascinating history of the Croatian coast. Enjoy the best of Mediterranean cuisine, go offshore into the Atlantic to the Canary Islands or immerse yourself in the culture of Vienna or Provence. Visit the many islands such as Sardinia, Corsica and Sicily or the legendary deep blue waters of Greece.
These picture postcard cruises are so popular they are often fully booked, so check out the options here and make your selection early.
© Studio Ponant – Nick Rains
The Kimberley region in Australia's North West is a cruising wonderland of rugged gorges, amazing waterfalls, crystal clear ocean and a unique biodiversity.
Whether you are watching whales migrating along the coast, sharks attacking bait balls, sea birds hunting for food, crocodiles sunning themselves in the mangrove forests or dolphins frolicking in the surf, the marine life will astound you.
Starting from the pearl diving centre of Broome, cruises explore the coastline while from the comfort of our ship's zodiac dinghies, you can tour inland rivers and gaze in wonder at the horizontal waterfall caused by the massive tides of the area.
There are many different options, so check out now which Kimberley cruise would most suit you.
© Studio Ponant – Margot Sib
This is the Asian century and Ponant offers you the chance to not only visit the great cities and bustling shopping precincts the vast continent has to offer but to “get off the beaten track” and explore the culture and the flora and fauna of this amazing and captivating area.
Discover the ancient history of Japan, isolated from the rest of world for so many centuries. Visit Vietnam, with its beautiful beaches and listen to the chatter of monkeys and birds in the rain forest jungles. Cruise the archipelagos of the Philippines, Solomon Islands, Papua and Moluccas and meet the beautiful people who will make you so welcome.
Asia is a complex but captivating experience, so check out your options here.
Pacific and Oceania Cruises
©Studio Ponant – Mick Fogg
Before the arrival of great European explorers such as James Cook, the Polynesian people had migrated around the vast Pacific Ocean using their own clever navigational techniques. Now you can follow in their footsteps and discover the unique beauty of the sun-drenched islands such as Hawaii and Tahiti, the massive stone sculptures of Easter Island and the unique culture of “the happiest country on earth”, Vanuatu.
Alternatively, you can cruise the coasts of Australia and New Zealand, going ashore to swim in clear blue water, enjoy fresh seafood straight from the ocean, wonder at the colours of the Great Barrier Reef, land on live volcanic islands and find out more about the culture of the first peoples of these amazing lands.
And, if isolation is your “thing”, you can even head into the Southern Ocean and discover the amazing wildlife on the rugged and remote Macquarie, Auckland, Bounty and Campbell Islands, after first cruising New Zealand's Fjordland.
There is no shortage of options in the vast and intriguing Pacific – discover now luxury cruises from Australia.
Northern Europe Cruises
© Studio Ponant – Lea Paulin
Long denied to Westerners, the beauty of the Baltic is now open for all to see. Latvia, Estonia and the former Russian capital of St Petersburg are steeped in charm and ancient history which they are now proud to share.
Or perhaps another seafaring race takes your fancy? You can discover the homelands of the Vikings and wonder at the steep cliffs and amazing waterfalls of the Fjords as you cruise Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Or explore the seafaring history of the Celts when touring the remote coastal outcrops of Scotland and Ireland.
Then again, perhaps the cuisine and wines of France appeal? Ponant offers a Gastronomy, Vineyards and Grand Cruz cruise from Lisbon to Portsmouth and you can also take in the sights of London, perhaps the world's most famous city.
Check out your Northern European options here.
Latin American Cruises
© Studio Ponant
Discovered and colonised by the Spanish and Portuguese explorers and Conquistadors, South America exudes an irresistible charm. It is a continent of vast contrasts, with a million different places to visit and things to see.
From the snow-capped mountains of Patagonia and the Chilean Fjords, where Joshua Slocum sailed alone on his journey around the world, to the rainforests of the Amazon and Orinico rivers, there is spectacular scenery and amazing bird and animal life on all sides. You can also enjoy the simplicity of life in Cuba or travel through the magnificent Panama Canal, and explore Mayan ruins and marvel at this lost civilisation.
Spend time in the Sea of Cortez and the Gulf of California to experience the ocean at its finest, and go ashore to discover local cuisine and tradition dating back long before the arrival of the Europeans.
Check out your Latin American cruise options here.
Eastern Russian Cruises
© Studio Ponant – Nick Rains
Eastern Russia is still essentially an unexplored paradise. Over the millennia, earthquakes, volcanoes and the unrelenting pounding of the sea have shaped a harsh yet beautiful landscape that is the home to incredible wildlife.
You can cruise the Bering Sea between Russia and Alaska and discover the magnificent volcanoes of the Aleutian Islands which form the famed “ring of fire”. In partnership with National Geographic, you can also explore the Sea of Okhotsk and enjoy the antics of the huge groups of sea lions while listening to the calls of the sea birds circling above.
Going ashore with our trained guides, you may also see a brown bear fishing for salmon on the Kamchatka peninsula which also features acid lakes and steaming geysers fed by 200 volcanoes.
Which of the three Eastern Russian cruises will you choose? Click here for details.
© Studio Ponant
Home of sunken Spanish galleons, the ruins of pirate cities, relics of lost civilisations and a laid-back modern lifestyle, the Caribbean offers cruisers the best of all worlds.
Lie back and listen to some beach reggae, dive in crystal clear water, sip a rum punch…
Whether your aim is a relaxing holiday in the sun or an exploration of the tropical islands and nearby Central American forests, there is something for everyone in the 10 cruises that Ponant offers. To check out the one that suits you, click here for more details.