PONANT, the global leader in luxury expeditions and the only French-owned cruise line, and Relais & Châteaux, a beacon of excellence in hospitality and gastronomy, have come together to create all-new culinary cruise experiences for 2020. Each hosted by a Relais & Châteaux Chef, three itineraries in Europe, Africa, and Asia are currently on sale and available to book, with more to follow in 2021.

Philippe Gombert, President of Relais & Châteaux says, “Through this partnership, we are delighted to offer a unique stay and the best cuisine to our guests at sea. PONANT’s ships boast exceptional accommodation making every cruise an unforgettable experience.” He adds “More than just a sense of excellence, we share fundamental values including ethics, commitment and authenticity, which are reflected in the respect of local cultures and heritage, and the protection of the environment. We believe in ethical cuisine. The ocean must now be considered as one of our planet’s most precious ecosystems.”

“Showcasing French excellence on the seven seas… This philosophy, which has driven PONANT for 30 years, finds its full meaning in the exclusive partnership that we have developed with Relais & Châteaux. Our shared values in the protection of the environment, a thrive for excellence in service and gastronomy, the concept of ‘boutique hotel’ that echoes the intimate size of our ships… we have a lot in common enabling us to provide our guests with a unique and refined experience,” says Jean Emmanuel Sauvée, President and co-founder of PONANT.

Three Exceptional Gourmet Cruises
Hosted by the Relais & Châteaux chefs on board PONANT EXPLORER ships, the journeys will include two gala dinners featuring two new signature dishes that the respective Chef has created for the occasion. The acclaimed chefs will also host culinary demonstrations, cooking classes, and lectures for guests throughout the journey. Depending on the ports of call, guests can also join the Chef for market tours to meet local producers.

Treasures of Brittany
On September 20, 2020, the two Michelin-star Relais & Châteaux’s Chef Mathieu Guibert (Chef of the restaurant Anne de Bretagne, la Plaines-sur-Mer) will be onboard Le Jacques Cartier for an eight-day/ seven-night cruise along the Breton coastline. This French-focused itinerary will reveal historic port cities and wild Atlantic coasts. Among the most beautiful sites of the Breton region are the Ponant Islands, the Gulf of Morbihan and Port-Navalo as well as Houat, Hoëdic, Ouessant, and Belle-Île-en-Mer.

From Saint-Malo to Nantes | 8 days / 7 nights | Aboard Le Jacques-Cartier
Departing September 20, 2020
Prices start from approximately $5,560, based on double occupancy.

Canary Islands & Cape Verde
Guests will set sail from Portugal to Senegal for a nine day, 10-night itinerary aboard Le Dumont-d’Urville with Relais & Châteaux’s Chef Federico López Arcay (Chef at A Quinta da Auga, Santiago de Compostela). Ports of call include the historic city of Funchal, Madeira, the island of eternal spring; the Canary Islands with stops in Tenerife and Gran Canaria; and Cape Verde’s Mindelo, the cultural cradle, and Santiago, the archipelago’s most inhabited island.

From Lisbon to Dakar | 11 days / 10 nights | Aboard du Dumont-D’Urville
Departing October 11, 2020
Prices start from approximately $5,380, based on double occupancy.
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China and Vietnam
Guests will embark on Le Lapérouse in the Chinese megalopolis of Shanghai for an eleven-day/10-night cruise that will journey all the way to Halong Bay. An exceptional cruise during which passengers will discover the UNESCO World Heritage sites of the Yandang Mountains, Gulangyu, and Bay of Ha Long as well as the wander the shopping malls and street markets of Hong Kong.

From Shanghai to Haiphong | 11 days / 10 nights | Aboard Le Lapérouse
Departing October 28, 2020
Prices start from $5,620, based on double occupancy.
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Created 30 years ago by a dozen officers from the French Merchant Navy, PONANT has made the bold move of proposing a new style of cruising, under the French flag, through a unique conception of sea travel. Accessing exceptional territories aboard yachts combining refined design with an intimate atmosphere, on which the art of living, discretion, attentive service and excellent cuisine take pride of place: such is the promise of a unique and authentic PONANT voyage.
Not only does PONANT take its profession and its commitment to promoting sustainable tourism seriously, it also wanted to further its efforts by creating, in 2018, a Foundation whose goal is to preserve the oceans and the polar regions and to encourage exchanges between peoples.

Relais & Châteaux, established in 1954, is an association of 580 unique hotels and restaurants throughout the world, owned and operated by independent entrepreneurs – most often families – who are passionate about their craft and deeply committed to forging warm, lasting relationships with their guests.
Established on five continents, from the Napa Valley vineyards to Provence to the beaches of the Indian Ocean, Relais & Châteaux invites people across the globe to savour delicious journeys, to discover the inimitable art de vivre engrained in each local culture and to share an incomparable, unforgettable experience.
Relais & Châteaux members protect and promote the wealth and diversity of the world’s culinary and hospitality traditions, to ensure they continue to thrive. They are equally dedicated to preserving local heritage and the environment, as articulated in the association’s Vision presented to UNESCO in November 2014.