2021 is looking to be a massive year for Kimberley cruising so the arrival of new ship in the region is timely. French expedition specialists Ponant continue to re-invent the experience of small ship cruising by combining small ship adventure with comfort and style.
The fifth luxury expedition cruise ship in Ponant’s newest series of vessel, Le Bellot, was recently launched in Europe and will arrive in the Kimberley in 2021 to join its sister ship, Le Laperouse, in operating 10-night cruises along the Kimberley coast between Darwin and Broome (and vice versa). Offering up all the French ambience for which Ponant has come to be known, this 184-passenger vessel is equipped with Zodiac rafts, panoramic lounge and sun deck and a stand out underwater viewing lounge.
To help guests explore the highlights of the rugged Kimberley coast, Le Bellot has a flotilla of 10 Zodiac boats for expeditions as well as a marina platform that allows access to the sea (although sadly swimming is not an option off the vessel in the Kimberley due to the preponderance of crocodiles!). Whilst the experience on board will be identifiably French, the excursion team is lead by Australians with about a dozen or so expedition guides who are experts in their fields – renowned anthropologists, marine biologists, historians, botanists, geologists, naturalists and ornithologists all giving guests a greater understanding of the area. Ponant’s Kimberley excursion team is led by exploring icon, Mick Fogg, an icon of expedition cruising in the area having worked with Ponant and Orion Expeditions over two decades.
Kimberley cruises on Le Bellot will explore all the ‘must sees’ of the Kimberley including Montgomery Reef. King Cascade, King George Falls and the Horizontal Waterfalls. Don’t worry about this being a larger vessel in the Kimberley. You won’t miss any of the sights the smaller vessels cover. It may anchor a little further away but excursions in the zodiacs will still take you up close to the action.
France is famous for its cuisine of course and thus Ponant take their on board dining very seriously indeed. Two different restaurants are featured aboard Le Bellot. The first is the ship’s main dining room on Deck 4, which can accommodate all passengers in a single seating. The main dining room offers the ability to open up to the aft stern decks, creating an alfresco dining experience when conditions permit. In addition to a buffet, a full menu is offered there. More casual diners might want to head to the outdoor grill on Deck 3, which serves up a variety of pool deck favourites.
Note that Ponant do request that men wear collared shirts/polos for evening dining in the main room.
Le Bellot (all Ponant explorer ships are named after great French navigators) has a total of 92 cabins onboard, separated into eight grades of accommodation. Across all levels, passengers will find complimentary room service and Wi-Fi internet access. All cabin types have private balconies, a relatively unusual feature of expedition ships along the Kimberley coast.
The lead in cabin type are the Deluxe and Prestige Staterooms. Each measures 19 square metres with a balcony measuring 4 square metres. These come complete with king or twin beds and a bathroom stocked with French toiletries. Other niceties include an interactive television system, iPod sound system, bathrobes, a desk and vanity area, and a hair dryer.
Entertainment options aboard Le Bellot are excellent for a ship of this size. The most talked-about feature is the Blue Eye Lounge – an underwater observation area with windows that allow guests to spy on the undersea life outside the vessel. And the lounge comes with a bar of course. Le Bellot also features a pool, spa, salon, outside bar, theatre and fitness centre.
For more information on Le Bellot by Ponant check out Le Bellot website page.
To book please call 1300 654 861 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Available for 2021|
Le Bellot is an excellent Kimberley cruise option. For 2021 Deluxe Balcony Staterooms start at $10990 per person twin share or $11,973 per person for a prestige Deck Stateroom on Deck 4; again with private balcony. And for single travellers, we still have a couple of single cabin options on Le Bellot at just $12990 for a single cabin.
Note all rates include two free nights’ accommodation in either Broome or Darwin (1 free night for single cabins) and a free sight-seeing tour.
I’m an expert in small ship cruising in the Kimberley and have completed four cruises on different vessels along this spectacular coastline. With a family I now work part-time so if you would like to have a chat with me about Kimberley cruising at a time that suits you book in a call here and I will call you then.
Cruises in the Kimberley are not ‘one size fits all’ scenario; there are different ships and itineraries each offering their own special elements. If you would like some general information to start your research then download my free guide to Kimberley cruising here. I have also written some really interesting blogs (if I do say so myself) click here to have read.
Here are a few of the most popular ones.