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Pictured left to right outside the new store are: Paul Hardwick, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Director of Retail; Emma Bailey, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents; Tutti Taylor, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents; Councillor Candy Vaughan, Mayor of Eastbourne; Trevor Ridler, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Business Development Manager; and Shirley Waters, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents..

Watch the underwater world go by onboard Ponant’s Le Dumont D'Urville

Imagine being able to board a cruise ship with famous London landmarks as your backdrop! When Suzanne and Louise from our Ipswich branch visited Ponant’s ship Le Dumont D'Urville, she was docked alongside iconic battleship HMS Belfast on the River Thames, with the majestic Shard standing just behind.

Once onboard, Le Dumont D'Urville has a light, airy modern interior, which Louise loved, “As soon as I boarded, I felt relaxed, it has a very calming effect.”  

Accommodating only 184 passengers the ship is comparatively small yet feels very spacious across its 5 decks. Whist onboard guests can enjoy the theatre, panoramic lounge, hair salon, fitness room, swimming pool and spa, featuring floor to ceiling windows in the sauna. “We saw all cabin grades, and all have balconies.” says Louise, “Cabins are decorated beautifully and very light. The Prestige suites are lovely, and the Privilege suites are particularly spacious.” The interior is beautifully designed with simple elegance, decorated in neutral tones with dashes of colour.

Le Dumont D’Urville belongs to a new generation of Explorer ships created in 2018, fitted with innovative equipment and designed to be environmentally friendly. Ponant are fully committed to a more responsible and sustainable form of tourism through its PONANT Blue Horizon programme - reducing waste and emissions and being respectful of the ecosystems and communities travelled through. The embracing of the world at large is echoed throughout the ship, not only with each suite having its only balcony, but also in lounges that are largely open to the exterior, an outdoor swimming pool and a hydraulic platform from which you can swim or enjoy various water sports.

The jewel in the crown of this ethos is also Suzanne’s personal favourite, “The highlight for me was the underwater viewing room called the Blue Eye, located right at the bottom of the ship, which played relaxing music and allows the guests to see under the sea.” This unique multi-sensory lounge is the first of its kind in the world, located in the hull below the waterline.

Ponant offer All-Inclusive cruises, so all food and drinks are included excepting some premium alcoholic drinks. “We were lucky enough to be treated to lunch onboard and my chicken caesar salad, followed by the lamb, was absolutely delicious,” explains Louise. Ponant’s excursion programme includes unmissable sites, cultural visits, nature and adventure, or culinary discovery. And, as you sip a cocktail overlooking the sea, wi-fi is also included for keeping in touch and sending those stunning pictures back home.

“I would recommend this cruise line to guests looking for a more intimate, luxurious cruise” says Suzanne, and Louise agrees, “The onboard service is excellent. The decor of the ship is beautiful and fresh. Le Dumont D'Urville is an Explorer ship so features some unique and very interesting itineraries, blending luxury with exploration.”

Ponant is a French company, operating since 1988, and onboard La Vie truly is Belle. The small capacity ships and limited number of passengers mean its never been easier to imagine that you are on your own private yacht.

You can find Suzanne and Louise at our Ipswich branch.