As the only French-owned ocean cruise line, luxury mega-yacht and expedition-ship brand Ponant (now operated by Artemis, a holding company for the Pinault family) provides all the panache you would expect from a country known for its fine food and wine and indelible style. The crowd is chic (and largely French, although more international of late), the décor mixes breezy whites with crystalline accents, and the culinary temptation is constant. The cocktail party atmosphere never ends, even when a ship is heading into Arctic ice floes.
In fact, Ponant has focused intently on expedition cruising in recent years, and its impressively luxurious 246-guest ice-breaker Le Commandant Charcot (which features the first-ever shipboard restaurant by acclaimed French Chef Alain Ducasse) even offers voyages to the North Pole. Ponant’s ships are also chartered by bespoke tour company Abercrombie & Kent for expedition and culture-focused itineraries around the globe.