Ponant sales up

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Source: Cruise Weekly

The 20-y-o Le Ponant was the French line’s first vessel.

In two months, the French line has sold a yacht, ordered a yacht, and may soon increase its presence in Australia.

COMPAGNIE du Ponant has recorded a strong year of sales in Australia and may be sending its next luxury vessel down under.

A Ponant spokesperson told Cruise Weekly that the company is “seriously looking at the yet-to-be-named new ship spending some time in Australian waters”.

Until then, L’Austral, launched in April, is set to make its maiden visit to Australia in March 2012, calling at Townsville, Cairns, Port Douglas and Darwin.

Represented in Australia by Travel the World, Ponant has been encouraged by the growth in local sales.

“We have had a good year and the sales are significantly up on last years departures – approximately 40%,” said Michelle Taylor, TTW’s director of sales and marketing.

Taylor also confirmed further details about the sale of Le Diamant to International Shipping Partners (CW, 29 Nov).

Ponant will continue to operate the vessel next summer for its scheduled Celtic itineraries from 06 June to 20 Sep 2012.

“This enables CDP to honour several charters planned for a long time and to commercialise five Celtic cruises, which should be as successful as last year considering the first level of 2012 bookings,” Taylor said.

The sale of the 37-year old Le Diamant is part of the line’s fleet modernisation, but Taylor said there were no plans to sell the 20- year-old Le Ponant.

“CDP does not intend to sell Le Ponant, which is an iconic ship of CDP, her three sails being the symbol of its logo.

“Le Ponant offers unique itineraries and moorings in the cruising industry.”

MEANWHILE, a new name has not yet been chosen for the next yacht, which is set to debut in June 2013, but it is likely to be selected through a consumer competition.

“Timing is still being finalised,” Taylor said.

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