French cruise line Ponant has completed a first in navigation after sailing two ships through the Northwest Passage.
Sister vessels Le Boréal and Le Soléal sailed the legendary route from Greenland in the east to Siberia in the west.
Having achieved a first for France in 2013, the line pulled off a world first with two of its ships crossing the passage three days apart on the explorers’ route via the Bellot Strait.
“It is with great pride that we announce this crossing under the French flag, unique in international maritime history,” says Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée, chief executive officer of Ponant.
The line is known for its expedition cruises, above, and its ships are designed to sail in extreme regions – but maintain a high standard of luxury. Each yacht has 132 staterooms and suites.
The line reports that, along the voyage, the ships explored historic landmarks such as Beechey Island and Gjoa Haven where explorer Roald Amundsen anchored his ship over a century ago.
Passengers were also treated to the sight of hundreds of belugas, around 60 bears and nearly 500 narwhals. They also met French adventurer Charles Hedrich, the first man to cross the Northwest Passage solo in a rowing boat.
- Cruise Adviser’s Expedition & Adventure guide is out in October