Ponant

About

Ponant, the world’s only French-flagged cruise company, offers luxury small-ship cruising on four distinctive yachts. Ponant, based in Marseilles, France, is a subsidiary of CMA CGM, the world’s third-largest container shipping company.

Ponant’s first ship, Le Ponant a three-mast sailing ship with 32 oceanview staterooms—was delivered in May 1991. The 100-meter yacht Le Levant—with 45 oceanview staterooms—was inaugurated by Bernadette Chirac (wife of former French President Jacques Chirac) in 1998. In 2004, the company acquired Le Diamant, a 124-meter steamer with 113staterooms and suites. This ship is also an expedition ship, perfectly equipped to reach the polar destinations. Le Boréal, which was delivered in May 2010 is a mega-yacht equipped with a fleet of Zodiac boats, which comfortably transport passengers back and forth to land and allowsfor exceptional voyages of discovery. Her sister-ship, L’Austral, debuted April 2011. These two ships provide maximum comfort, with 132 stateroom and suites (95% with private verandas). Le Boréal has earned the international “green ship” label for its numerous eco-friendly features. Ulitmately, a guest on one of their ships can enjoy the best that France has to offer: exquisite cuisine, stylish accommodations, elegant design, and a chic yet informal style.

Expansive sun decks and open-air restaurants allow guests to enjoy an authentic sailing experience. Because of the intimate size of the vessels, guests feel as if they are sailing on their own private yacht. Personalized service is assured, with a staff-to-guest ratio of 1:2. All the captains and officers are French, and all speak fluent English. Ships feature two or more indoor and outdoor lounges, with live musical entertainment and dancing under the stars; guest speakers on various subjects; a library with Internet access, reading materials and games; a watersports platform for diving and snorkeling; a fitness center with a massage area and Hammam Turkish baths; gift shop; beauty salon; and infirmary. Select ships have a Wii activity area and on-demand movies. Smoking is only permitted on outside decks of all ships. Le Boreal and L’Austral provide flexible stateroom configurations which accommodate families nicely. On select ships, Ponant Kids Club provides baby-sitting service upon request, children’s menus, tea parties, games, piano lessons and a host of other activities.

On average, Ponant’s rates start at $2,300 per person, depending on the itinerary and category. About 80% of its itineraries are seven nights, with some sailings between 4 and 15 nights.

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