Compagnie du Ponant to introduce new mega-yacht this spring

Compagnie du Ponant, a French company that recently opened a U.S. office, is introducing a new $150 million mega-yacht, the 264-guest Le Boréal, this spring. The 466-foot mega-yacht was built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy. A sister ship, L’Austral, will debut in spring 2011.

Le Boréal will have a staff-to-guest ratio of 1:2. Public spaces include a theater for performances and lectures, the Main Lounge with a dance floor and live music, the Panoramic Lounge for live entertainment and Internet access, a library, two open-air bars and two restaurants. Serving French and international cuisine, La Licorne will offer three meals a day in an elegant setting. At the more casual La Boussole, guests can dine inside or in the open air on lighter meals for breakfast, buffet lunch and themed dinners. The yacht also provides 24-hour room service.

The vessel will have a Carita spa with a hammam and a hydrotherapy room. The fitness center will be equipped with treadmills, bicycles and kinesis equipment. The ship also has an expansive Sun Deck with a swimming pool and terrace with panoramic views. Le Boréal has will carry a fleet of Zodiac rubberized rafts that allow guests to explore as well as a marina platform that allows access to the water for swimming or water sports.

All but eight of Le Boréal’s 132 suites and staterooms have verandas. Measuring between 484 to 200 square feet, the suites and staterooms have king or twin beds, bathtubs or showers, L’Occitane amenities, flat-screen satellite TV, DVD, CD and iPod players, satellite telephone and Wi-Fi. Suites also have Nespresso machines and Carita amenities. Le Boréal has the flexibility to reconfigure 40 staterooms into 20 suites, making a total of 24 suites and 88 staterooms.

Capt. Jean-Philippe Lemaire and his officers are French and all speak fluent English, as does the rest of the crew, which is a mix of European and Asian. The yacht’s open-bridge policy means guests can visit the captain any time.

The yacht’s itineraries include ports and out-of-the way islands not accessible to large cruise ships. Two “Secrets of the Adriatic” itineraries departing May 20 and May 27 will sail to and from Venice along the Dalmatian Coast, stopping at eight ports and islands in Croatia and Montenegro. On June 8, “Cruising to the Rhythms of Jazz and Gospel” takes guests around Italy from Venice to Nice. The June 18 Nice-to-Honfleur cruise has a wellness theme, so guests can practice yoga and Pilates and visit ports in France, Spain and Portugal. The ship will offer two Baltic sailings before heading to Iceland for two cruises on July 22 and July 29.

Starting Aug. 23, Le Boréal will return to the Mediterranean with three Greek Island and Turkey itineraries and two cruises to the Black Sea, and then makes its way to the Western Mediterranean at the end of October. On Nov. 1, the yacht departs Nice for Rio on a 15-day repositioning voyage for its first season in Antarctica, where it will remain until the end of February.

All but two cruises for the spring, summer and fall season are seven-day itineraries. Prices start at $2,885 per person, double occupancy, and include all wine, beer, mineral water, soft drinks and specialty coffees served with meals.

Established in 1988 by Jean Emmanuel Sauvée and Philippe Videau, Compagnie du Ponant launched its first vessel, Le Ponant, in 1991. Le Levant was added in 1998, and Le Diamant, the former Song of Flower, was purchased from Radisson (now Regent) Seven Seas in 2004.

The company’s North American sales office is in Miami, Florida. For more information, call (888) 400-1082, e-mail USreservations@ponant.com or visit www.ponant.com.

About Cynthia Boal Janssens

Cynthia Boal Janssens is the editor and chief blogger for AllThingsCruise.com. She is a former national president of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). She has sailed on over 40 cruises all over the world.

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