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Ponant Suspends Operations

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Cancellation letter received this afternoon for April 22 PNG cruise. Awful situation for all cruise companies trying to get passengers and crew home, and working out what to do with ships indefinitely. 

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Ponant have updated their site with this notice hidden under Biosecurity Measures. It indicates all cruises are cancelled from March 15 through April 19 at least:

 

https://us.ponant.com/blog/covid-19-biosecurity-measures/

 

Message from Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée, 
President & co-founder of PONANT

 

Given the Covid-19 coronavirus health crisis, many of you will be worried about your next trip.
As you know, the Company's priority has always been to protect the safety and security of our guests, our crew members and the populations we meet during our stopovers. The small size of our vessels, the state-of-the-art medical infrastructure on board, the excellence of our protocols and the professionalism of our crews enabled us to get through the first weeks of crisis without any case of Covid-19 contamination.

However, in an international context which became more complex from hour to hour, our ships were unable to continue to sail in good conditions, and so we made the decision, with heavy-hearts , to stop operating the our entire fleet from March 15, until further notice.

Thanks to the exemplarity of the conduct of onboard crews and our shore teams, the repatriation of passengers currently on our cruises is being organized by our crisis center, in conjunction with our partners, travel agencies and tour operators. All our global teams are also mobilized in order to best manage the cancellation of future cruises, at least until April 19. You will be contacted personally by our employees who will offer you a Future Cruise Credit, valid over a period of 18 months to allow you to reschedule your cruise. Once this period of crisis has passed, with the arrival in our fleet of Bellot and Jacques Cartier, we will be ready to resume our activity, more mobilized than ever to offer you exceptional travel experiences.

Besides, as some of you are anticipating a return to normal and continue to book future trips, we've been implementing flexible booking conditions since March 12th.

I would also like to thank everyone for the confidence you have shown in us since the creation of the company 30 years ago and until today. Until we can sail together again, we wish you and your families and loved ones to get through this crisis in the best possible conditions.
Please be assured of our support.

Very sincerely
Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée

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So no refunds and still grasping onto to peoples' money knowing full well no one is cruising at all in March or April?

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Thanks for the list it goes in my file for fighting for a refund. Any news from Ponant today

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My TA was just sent a voucher on our behalf. I told him In email I don’t accept it but what should be next steps be since seems like they are not changing their policy. Credit card chargeback? Contact lawyer?  Write Ponant myself?? Obviously their legal department told them to proceed with vouchers 

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3 hours ago, jonikal said:

 

From a purely business point of view, it's hard to imagine that a company of this size can possibly survive losing all this business. 

 

 

 

Ponant is owned by a billionaire, third richest man in France. it is not some small struggling Mom and Pop company.

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11 hours ago, samiam1 said:

 

Ponant is owned by a billionaire, third richest man in France. it is not some small struggling Mom and Pop company.

 

 

Well, if that's the case, no worries then!

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Even with regular operations and things going wrong, Ponant handles things, to my experience, badly: No reply to complaints whatsoever, not even from the President-Founder himself. And then, there is this thing with Ponant‘s General Conditions. In their German brochures, to which I‘m subscribed, the small print says that bookings come under German consumer protection laws. However, when everything is paid, you get the travel documents stating than (the less consumer friendly) French laws apply.

Not getting any reply from Ponant over more than three months, I contacted the legal protection scheme that comes with my Visa Gold card. Their reaction: We will proceed with a law case in either Germany or France, as this is your right, or, alternatively, we’ll buy you out of the case with 20% of the money paid for the cruise, as you will get at least such an amount in a cristal-clear case through litigation anyway. Since I just wanted not to have anything to do with Ponant anymore, I accepted the offer of the insurance for the buy-out. Ponant will never see me again.

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8 hours ago, Bamboo99 said:

 Since I just wanted not to have anything to do with Ponant anymore, I accepted the offer of the insurance for the buy-out. Ponant will never see me again.

 

You should still complain to EU Consumer protection authorities.

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38 minutes ago, AussieBoyTX said:

 

39 minutes ago, AussieBoyTX said:

Wonder why they did that my cruise Bellott on April 24 no longer there 

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7 hours ago, Teach2618 said:

 

Wonder why they did that my cruise Bellott on April 24 no longer there 

 

This looks like an update of the previous cancellation list since many of these are follow ons.

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Just received an email from Ponant:

 

You will soon be setting sail on your PONANT cruise and we are pleased to offer a number of extra features to make your experience even better.

 

Our sailing date is July 20 on Le Bellot and we view this information with some skepticism.  We have no idea of the current status of the ship other than it is still located at the Norwegian shipyard.  Given Ponant's lack of communication with its passengers, is unlikely to give us a status report on its progress and eventual sea trials.   

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33 minutes ago, jonikal said:

Just received an email from Ponant:...

 

Our sailing date is July 20 on Le Bellot...

 

This was likely a computer-generated email.  It will take a long time before cruise line (and airline) staff have the free time to tie up loose ends.  [I cancelled my Air New Zealand flights via phone and have already received the credits in my Amex account – but yesterday I got an email offering me future flight credits.  Another loose end...]

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17 hours ago, AussieBoyTX said:

I also wonder about Le Jacques Cartier. Wasn't it supposed to be the last delivered?

 

 
The only itinerary showing is:
Departure Port Price from  
2020 Aug 16 7 days, round-trip Icelandic Mosaic  Reykjavik $3322
 
Unlike Le Bellot, the location of this ship does not show up on cruisemapper.

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3 hours ago, jonikal said:

Unlike Le Bellot, the location of this ship does not show up on cruisemapper.

 

Thanks, that's very helpful.

 

I see they're still selling tickets. We're booked on this one in June and I expect they're going to ask for money next week. I don't think I'll give them any non-refundable payments at this time.

https://us.ponant.com/northern-europe-scandinavia-inaugural-season-north-sea-adventure-x270620-12

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, AussieBoyTX said:

 

Thanks, that's very helpful.

 

I see they're still selling tickets. We're booked on this one in June and I expect they're going to ask for money next week. I don't think I'll give them any non-refundable payments at this time.

https://us.ponant.com/northern-europe-scandinavia-inaugural-season-north-sea-adventure-x270620-12

 

With Ponant youu might never see the money again even if they extend the new "Worry Free" policy to you.

Edited by samiam1

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Samiam1 is right. On a recent cruise on the Lapérouse there were several passengers with cruise credits from Ponant stemming from cancelled cruises. None of them were happy to be on this cruise. They just took it in order not to forfeit their very time-restrained credits. In fact they all would have preferred a cash refund. But Ponant found ways and means to declare the cancelled cruises as beyond their responsibility and therefore not qualifying for a cash refund.

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38 minutes ago, AussieBoyTX said:

Updated again. Most ships have cancellations extended to end of April. Some beyond into May and Le Ponant into June. Still no mention at all of Le Jacques Cartier. (this is now being posted on the US site as well)

 

https://wordpress.ponant.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/CANCELLED_CRUISES_MARCH23_2-1.pdf

 

Appreciate the heads-up.  Not auspicious for late June sailings, either.  It's a cascade of cancellations.  Hard to fathom how a business can continue to function after all those losses of revenue.  

Anyone know whether Ponant's cancellation policy directly resulting from Covid-19 would be the same as a new ship's completion being delayed in time for service?  

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