Compagnie du Ponant keen to grow Aussie Market

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L’Austral heading down under in 2012

by Louise Goldsbury, Editor, Cruise Weekly

The French cruise line wants to carry 1000 Australian passengers a year by 2012.

LUXURY YACHT CRUISE OPERATOR, COMPAGNIE DU Ponant, is the latest to chase the Australian cruising market.

And the company is putting its money where its mouth is, with the newest addition to its fleet, L’Austral due to visit Australian waters in March next year for the first time.

L’Austral launched just last month and the company’s international sales director, Stephen Winter, recently visited Sydney to host events with Ponant’s local representative, Travel the World

“Now is a good time to create a buzz in the local market,” said Winter.

“Our objective is 1000 passengers by 2012out of Australia, combining both individuals and groups,” he told CW.

“We combine luxury and adventure with French style and cuisine”.

During a series of lunches earlier this month, Winter showcased the Ponant product for agents with the innovative use of iPads featuring on-board videos and images from the ships which have Swarovski crystal chandeliers, fine French cuisine and of course lots of flowing Champagne

Compagnie du Ponant had no business from Australia prior to 2009 and its partnership with TTW, but the past two years has been “an easy transition”, Winter said.

Next year the 132-cabin L’Austral will sail from Noumea to Darwin, with stops along the Gold Coast meaning Aussie cruisers will be able to see her up close.

The mega-yacht offers two restaurants, a sun deck with swimming pool and bar, day spa, crystal chandeliers and spacious staterooms with balconies.

“We combine luxury and adventure with French style and cuisine, we travel to exotic locales worldwide and we do it in small ships of maximum 260 guests,” Winter said

Compagnie du Ponant has four other luxury vessels – Le Ponant, Le Levant, Le Diamant and Le Boreal.

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