Luxury Cruise Company Opens Up in U.S. Market

Ponant expands business with American agents.

An artist's rendering of the Le Boreal // (c) 2010 Compagnie Du Ponant

An artist's rendering of the Le Boreal // (c) 2010 Compagnie Du Ponant

With its capacity doubling in the next 13 months, Marseille, France-based Compagnie du Ponant is opening a dedicated U.S. sales office in Miami, headed by chief commercial officer Terri Haas, who brings years of previous executive sales experience with such lines as Costa Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises.

Ponant has two, 264-passenger newbuilds — Le Boreal and L’Austral — debuting in May 2010 and 2011, in addition to the 64-passenger sailing yacht Le Ponant, the 90-passenger yacht Le Levant and the 226-passenger luxury expedition ship Le Diamant (formerly known as the Song of Flower).

Americans have cruised with the bilingual line previously through tour operators including Tauck and Abercrombie & Kent. Now, however, agents can sell FIT cruises as well as conduct meeting and incentive business with Ponant. Commissions range from 10 to 15 percent and per diems run from $450-$550.

Haas said that the company’s casual, easy-going style and unusual itineraries are a perfect fit for today’s luxury customer. She also said there will be extensive education and training Webinars for agents, and a dedicated agent section will appear on the line’s Web site shortly.

“We are putting 100 percent of our resources into the trade,” Haas added.