Following months of engagement with New Zealand’s Ministry of Health, PONANT, the world leader of luxury expeditions has received conditional approval for their small luxury expedition vessel, Le Lapérouse, to recommence operations exclusively in New Zealand waters, for New Zealanders from February 2021.
PONANT and sister company Paul Gauguin Cruises, collectively have operated over 60 expeditions and cruises over the past six months with eight of their 11 small ships operational in France, Iceland, the Arctic, Russia, Corsica, Sardinia and French Polynesia. No other tourism company has had their Health and Sanitary protocols so robustly tested by multiple jurisdictions.
Sarina Bratton, Chairman Asia Pacific for PONANT broke the news.
"Our excitement is two-fold. Firstly, to have the opportunity and privilege to offer ‘Bubble Expeditions’ for Kiwis, enabling exploration of some of the most remote and inaccessible parts of that country, so rich in natural beauty and extraordinary wildlife. And secondly, to support our partners and deliver economic benefit to New Zealand."
"Kiwi travel agents, tour operators, ground operators, airlines, port authorities, food and beverage suppliers, technical suppliers, fuel suppliers, service and waste suppliers all benefit from our small ship operation."
"Whilst presently in Australia we cannot travel internationally, I am so pleased that PONANT is once again able to offer Kiwis local expeditions to visit remote and often difficult to get to parts of New Zealand. PONANT’s relaxed, refined and French-inspired style complements this extraordinary experience."
This is an important step forward and it takes us closer to the time when borders re-open and cruising resumes in Australia - and to when we will be able to confirm the return of PONANT's luxury expedition small ships.