Ponant & The Luxury Of Expedition Yachting

with Ming Tappin

On our guided tour of Ponant – the ship’s intimate but elegant lobby.

With Tamara Mallin, Director of Sales in Western Canada for Cruise Strategies, who organized the tour. 

Owner’s Suite bedroom

Cozy corner of the Main Lounge – modern furnishings in muted colours. 

Last week, travel agents in Vancouver were treated to a tour Ponant's  L'Austral - one of 4 identical luxury yachts in the French company's 5-ship fleet. 

Docked at Canada Place, the ship was dwarfed by two large mainstream ships, but at the same time exuded great appeal for small ship cruising.

This allure was immediately felt upon stepping onboard. Regular expedition ships tend to focus almost singularly on the destination and less on the ship. Not so with Ponant.

The L'Austral is decorated in contemporary style, with white leather chairs, natural wood paneling and floors, and muted tones throughout. I was surprised to see such fine details as gold-rimmed charger plates, Nespresso machines in staterooms, and renowned French institution Sothys spa.

The travel agents I spoke to were all pleasantly surprised at the ship's elegance and all agree that L'Austral is perfectly designed for expedition cruising in style.

With itineraries that can satisfy anyone's bucket list, Ponant caters to clients who want adventure and education while traveling in a luxurious, small group environment.

Look in your database for clients who want a destination immersive experience but still want upscale comforts - clients who want to walk among the king penguins by day, dine on haute French cuisine by night.

Consider introducing non-cruisers to Ponant. Newcomers will quickly settle into an extraordinary routine so different from traditional large ship cruising.
Opportunities for groups and full ship charters is another great source of business. L'Austral and her sisters carry only 264 guests, able to provide a completely tailor-made itinerary.

As with small ship and niche product, proper positioning is crucial. Absent are the soaring ceilings, expansive balconies, and production shows, replaced by cozy spaces, impeccable service, and five-star expeditions. What a great trade off!

Having a healthy budget is to be expected, per diems start at around $700, all-inclusive. Ponant sails at capacity on almost every cruise, proving that affluent clients abound! 

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