Looks like some more restructuring is happening for Compagnie Du Ponant, a small French luxury river cruise line. Compagnie recently sold two of its ships: the 3,500-ton, 90-passenger Le Levant went to Paul Gauguin Cruises and has been renamed Tere Moana, to sail in the South Pacific. The 8,282-ton, 226-passenger expedition ship Le Diamant has been chartered to Quark Expeditions, who will rechristen it Ocean Diamond and sail her to both poles.
This leaves the luxury line just three ships: the 850-ton, 64-passenger Le Ponant, and newly-built twin luxury ships, 264-passenger L’Austral and Le Boréal. The company plans to add a third identical ship, to be named the Le Soleal, next summer.
The latest news reports are saying that Companie du Ponant now has new ownership; it was recently purchased by a private equity company, Bridgepoint, that owns the well-known sandwich company Pret a Manger.
As part of the company’s new format, the line intends to switch to a pricing structure in which all meals, alcoholic drinks, tips, port charges, taxes and fees are included in the base price of a voyage. The line will also offer fully stocked mini-bars in cabins and 24-hour room service, so the only extra charges passengers will have are personal expenses, flights, transfers and optional excursions.
This new pricing policy takes effect immediately for all new bookings and will be offered on all of the company’s ships and itineraries.