PONANT Sets Sights On North American Market

With four new explorer ships on the way and a renewed interest in the North American market, French-owned PONANT is set to make waves in the luxury cruise market.

Navin Sawhney, chief executive officer for PONANT, Americas, was in Toronto yesterday and described PONANT, the leader in luxury polar expeditions and the only cruise line carrying the French flag, to PressToday as “the best kept secret in the industry.”

“Everything French, everything classic, everything superb,” he said.

Sawhney also unveiled the line’s new “Quintessential Collection,” a series of themed cruises designed to inspire travellers in destinations. Launching in May 2019, the sailings include speakers and performances aboard the ship, and excursions ashore that embrace the local culture and theme.

Sawhney said the new collection offers travel agents a great opportunity to sell groups (five staterooms) and earn healthy commissions.

The themes are Green and Gentle Lands: Exploring Gardens and Historic Sites, May 14-22, 2019; Sicilian Food and Wine Experience, June 28-July 6, 2019; Treasures of the Mediterranean World: A Family Learning Adventure, July 15-22, 2019; History, Art, and Architecture Along the North Sea, Aug. 23-Sept. 1, 2019; A Musical Odyssey in the Mediterranean, Sept. 18-27, 2019; World War II History – From Hong Kong to Japan’s Inland Sea, Sept. 27-Oct. 10, 2019; World Affairs Cruise – Origins of Greek Civilizations, Oct. 9-18. 2019.

Sawhney said PONANT’s new ships – two coming this year and two in 2019 – will be a little smaller than the current fleet, offering 92 staterooms, all with balconies, and an industry first – an underwater passenger lounge, Blue Eye.

PONANT also has on order the industry’s first electric hybrid icebreaker, propelled by Liquefied Natural Gas, with delivery expected for 2021.

PONANT is represented in Canada by Cruise Strategies.

Pictured at a Toronto PONANT trade event yesterday (Feb. 8) are (l-r) Sawhney, Vanessa Lee of Cruise Strategies, and Theresa Gatta of PONANT.