L’Austral Sails to Unusual Ports with French Style

Ponant stresses friendly service, yacht-like ambience By: Marilyn Green
A rendering of L'Austral // © 2010 Compagnie du Ponant
A rendering of L'Austral // © 2010 Compagnie du Ponant

The Details

Compagnie du Ponant

Prices start at $3,430, with agent commissions between 10 and 15 percent

Luxury line Compagnie du Ponant, which launched a strong campaign in North America in 2010, will christen the 264-guest L’Austral — its second new vessel in a year — in April 2011. Agents and guests alike received sister ship Boreal with warm reviews, particularly regarding the French style and superlative cuisine, but it was the exceptional service from the crew, fluent in English, that was stressed by everyone who experienced the product.

Onboard, L’Austral will have a theater, a main lounge with a dance floor and live music, a Panoramic Lounge hosting more entertainment, a library and Internet area, three bars and two restaurants. The main restaurant will serve French and international cuisine, while the more casual grill restaurant will provide breakfast, a buffet lunch and themed dinners. The yacht will also have 24-hour room service.

L’Austral’s spa has a new partnership with Paris-based Sothys, with its 60-plus years of experience, featuring therapies and beauty treatments including a hammam and a hydrotherapy room. The fitness center will offer treadmills, bicycles and kinesis equipment. A fleet of Zodiacs will allow guests to explore private coves and, in addition to the pool, passengers can jump off the marina platform for a swim.

All but eight of the 132 suites and staterooms, running from 200 to 400 square feet, have verandas ranging 43 to 97 square feet. Accommodations have flat-screen satellite televisions with on-demand first-run movies, iPod players and Wi-Fi access. Suites also come with Nespresso machines and Sothys amenities. The yacht has the flexibility to reconfigure 40 staterooms into 20 suites for a total of 24 suites and 88 staterooms.

Ponant takes guests to unusual destinations that access local culture, according to Terri Haas, chief commercial officer. For instance, the seven-night Dalmatian Coast Secrets of the Adriatic very unique, calling in 11 ports and islands in Croatia and Montenegro, including Rovinj, Pula, Kotor, Rab, Zadar and Sibenik as well as Dubrovnik, sailing roundtrip from Venice. And, after visiting Greek isles and Turkish archeological sites, Boreal and L’Austral will meet in Antarctica from late 2011 until mid-February 2012. 

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