Wednesday,  May 22, 2019  1:06 pm

Ponant: environmentally-friendly cruising can still be luxurious


Ponant: environmentally-friendly cruising can still be luxurious
Ellen McIlvaine and Theresa Gatta of Ponant Cruises, and Vanessa Lee and Olga Sebestova of Cruise Strategies.
Ming Tappin

Ming Tappin, a cruise expert and industry veteran based in Vancouver, is the owner of Your Cruise Coach Consulting.

Representatives from Ponant and Cruise Strategies hosted a reception at Vancouver’s Rosewood Hotel Georgia last night to speak about luxury expedition cruising and Ponant's commitment to environmental preservation.

READ MORE: Ponant brings two new ships and nearly 40 itineraries for 2019

Launched in 1988, Ponant has a global presence.

“We sail to seven continents, and we are constantly adding new destinations for our guests,” Theresa Gatta, vice president sales, North America, told PAX. “We cruise the world with extreme safety, and extreme style. Our ships have spas, restaurants, theatre, boutiques, but we are small enough to feel like you’re on your own private yacht. I’d like to call our onboard ambiance a warm and elegant hug. We’re not stuffy.”

Aggressive growth

Ponant is currently on track to grow its fleet to 12 ships by 2021

Six identical explorer ships are part of this plan, with two launched in 2018, two this year, and two more in 2020. 

These all-balcony vessels each accommodate 184 guests, and feature the world’s first multi-sensory underwater observation lounge located three metres below the waterline. 

In 2021, Ponant will launch its first hybrid polar exploration yacht powered by liquefied natural gas, to take guests into the far reaches of the polar regions.

Expedition meets luxury

Does luxury really matter when you're on expedition?

“Absolutely, yes!” said Ellen McIlvaine, director of business development, Northwest. 

“Your clients may be traveling up to 16 hours to reach their expedition ship, which is a tiring journey. Ponant makes sure that when they arrive, they can drop their bags and let their travel stress melt away. They will be sleeping well in their luxury suite, enjoying pampering service and excellent cuisine for their entire vacation.” 

Luxury also means not having to worry about the extras. Ponant fares include all meals, open bar, taxes, gratuities, shore excursions (on expedition sailings), and unlimited complimentary WiFi.

Responsible cruising

Ponant takes environmental conservation seriously. 

The ships are “beyond green”, operating with quiet hybrid electric propulsion, and a dynamic positioning system that keeps the ship in place without having to drop anchor in environmentally sensitive areas. 

Other shipboard practices include advanced wastewater treatment, the use of far-sounding sonar to keep surrounding marine life safe, and 3D ocean floor mapping for safe navigation and preservation of reef systems. Most importantly, the Ponant team performs environmental impact assessments prior to and after each expedition to ensure minimal impact to the ecosystems. 

"We’re proud of what we’ve done for the industry," said McIlvaine.

Current booking incentives

Ponant is currently offering the following incentives to its travel partners:

  • $600 per person first time to PONANT savings + $200 first timer agent reward gift card for bookings made by March 31.
  • Five per cent bonus commission + $950 per person air credit on select Latin America departures for bookings made by June 30.
  • No single supplements on close to 40 departures.

Agents can register at PONANT Pro to access availability, the e-learning platform, sales and marketing tools.

In Canada, Ponant is represented by Cruise Strategies, headed by Vanessa Lee, whose team can provide sales and marketing support, product training webinars, and assistance with charters and groups.

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