Le Boreal as seen during her first visit to the port of Amsterdam at the 29th of june, 2010. At that time, the ship had been in service for just under two months.
Le Boreal is the first ship of a class of four for the Compagnie des Iles du Ponant, based in Marseilles, France. The company started in 1988 to operate the 1189-ton luxury yaught Le Ponant. To buy the ship, several investors purchased a share in the ship and they were later bought out by the company when financials were good enough. This system was again used when the company bought their second ship, Le Levant. These two ships were newly built for the company, very small and intimate yaught-like cruiseships. In 2003, the larger ship Song Of Flower, measuring 8282 tons was bought from Radisson Seven Seas Cruises and renamed Le Diamant. This ship was aquired together with the French touroperator Tapis Rouge Croisieres and operated under a different banner, Compagnie des Iles du Diamant. At that time, the big French containershipping company CMA-CGM was a major shareholder in the company, owning at least 70% of shares. Of course, CMA-CGM is the successor to the once great Compagnie Generale Transatlantique, so maybe we can say that this company had again has some cruiseships in its fleet.
With the backing of this great company, an order was placed for two new ships that were to be introduced during 2010. The ships would become the largest in the fleet of CDIP (Compangnie des Iles du Ponant) measuring 10.944 tons. Their lenght is 142,10 meters, they are 18 meters wide and their draft is 4,80 meters. Their speed is very modest, just 16 knots in the normal cruisingspeed. To todays standards, they are still very small ships, with a very modern, yaughtlike style. The ship was designed by the French designer Joel Bretecher, who also designed several cars for Ferrari earlier in his carreer. The ships sail with 264 passengers and 139 crewmembers, showing off their luxurious style in these numbers. The first ship of the pair was Le Boreal and she sailed out of her building dock at the Fincantieri Cantieri Navali Italiani wharf at Ancona, Italy in october 2009. Shortly before, due to the economic downturn, the company postponed the delivery of the second ship, that was to be named L'Austral.
Le Boreal was built under yardnumber 6192 and was delivered to CDIP in april of 2010. Her first cruise from the French port of Marseilles, the home base of the company, started at the 6th of may of that year. Immidiately, the ship won the 'Best Newcomer of the Year- Gold' award from the European Cruises Association. The ship sails a very wide cruise-program, from South America to Europe and the North American continent.
At full sea, just after leaving IJmuiden at the 18th of may 2014.
L'Austral was finally delivered in 2011 and another sister was introduced in 2013 under the name of Le Soleal. The ships interiours feel very sophisticated, with much use of very light and neutral colouring. In the reception-area, there is a large Swarovski-crystal sculpture and the main dining room is lit by chandeliers. The ship is also accessible for disabled passengers, as she is equipped with stair lifts and ramps throughout. Le Boreal is practicly child-free, although children's programs can be provided when passengers want to bring their children along. But the main focus is on people who seek a quiet and relaxed cruise product in a luxury style, but not too formal. That this concept is popular for the company was made clear in the end of january of 2014, when still a fourth sistership was announced to be built by Fincantieri in Italy. She entered service in the spring of 2015 under the name of Le Lyrial.
At the 17th of november of 2015, on a cruise close to the Falkland Islands, Le Boreal suffered a large engine room fire and because of the severeness, the ship was evacuated. Luckily, there were no injuries reported and the ship was towed to the Falklands by two tugs so the damage could be examined. Several of the ships passengers were taken over by L'Austral, one of the sisterships of Le Boreal. t is companies policy that the ships will sail in eachothers proximity while sailing in remote areas.