Le Lapérouse review: Ponant's newest ship makes her début

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What a treat to take a look at Ponant's newest vessel, and the first of the Explorer series, Le Lapérouse, when she came to the Pool of London in September.

Ponant's ships are an exceptional combination of chic design and technological innovation, with an emphasis on environmentally friendly equipment.

Smaller than the existing ships, the new Explorer class vessels accommodate just over 180 guests in a selection of sea view staterooms and suites, all with access to at least a French balcony. Décor is low key and elegant - blue, teal and cream abound, with lovely touches such as a leather panel for the door number.

Ponant - Le Laperouse - Suite de l'Armateur

The sleek Scandi-style design extends around the ship - pale woods, some slatted, some organically curved, and set off by striking individual carpets, and lots of glass and aluminium. Fabrics and chairs evoke rope and string, while wall hangings remind us of a sun-kissed beach with bleached shells and mysterious creatures.

Ponant - Le Laperouse observatory

I couldn't wait to take a look at the much fêted Blue Eye, the underwater lounge at the bottom of the ship. Access is by lift and staircase - a little claustrophobic, I have to admit. Once inside, you focus on the two portholes, shaped like the eye of a cetacean and looking out upon the subaquatic world. Integrated digital screens project the images filmed live by three underwater cameras. The unique sound design reflects the view, and the sofas themselves (known as Body Listening sofas) vibrate in unison with the sights and sounds. The effect is extraordinary - although not seen to its best on a murky autumn day on the Thames!

Ponant - Le Laperouse - Blue Eye lounge

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More impressive to me are the infinity pool and hydraulic decks at the back of the ship, creating, where appropriate, a beautiful marina and pool club, with easy boarding and zodiac embarkation. This also allows easy access to the sea for swimming and watersports such as kayaking or paddle-boarding.

Ponant - Le Champlain with kayaks

An outdoor grill gives excellent views over this deck area, whilst the Panoramic restaurant also gives onto outdoor aft deck space - there is a huge emphasis on the outside, whilst retaining plenty of comfortable indoor space for polar exploration when necessary.

Ponant - Le Champlain pool
Meet the author

Edwina Lonsdale is Managing Director and together with husband Matthew, owner of Mundy Adventures. Her most recent adventure was a cruise on Silver Origin and she has also sailed with Seabourn, Ponant and Aqua Expeditions. Her favourite adventure destination is the Galapagos however she's also enjoyed cruises in the Middle East, East Africa & Indian Ocean, Brahmaputra, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the Mekong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and the Arctic. When she’s not travelling she loves reading, food and wine.

More about Edwina

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