Friday, February 24, 2012

Compagnie du Ponant Golf Theme Cruises on Le Ponant

Compagnie du Ponant invites golf and travel enthusiasts to combine their two passions with a nine-day “Nice–Nice” voyage that sails to eight ports and visits five stunning courses in Italy and France aboard the three-masted sailing yacht Le Ponant. As the 64-passenger yacht traverses the Mediterranean Sea, golfers head to play rounds at courses including La Pevero, considered one of the world’s “best kept secrets,” and Cannes-Mougins, nestled within the protected lands of the Valmasque Forest. Non-golfers will also be entranced with stops in Civitavecchia, the gateway to Rome; Viareggio, a placid Tuscan seaside resort town; and Calvi, home to the Genoese Citadel. The three departures – May 6, 17 and 25 – are designed for the golfer looking for a little adventure and the traveler looking to exceed the bounds of traditional cruising -- unspoiled destinations, less-visited ports and out-of-the-way locales. Stylish accommodations, elegant design and discrete, personalized service – assured by a staff to guest ratio of greater than 1:2 – all contribute to the guest’s “private yachting experience.” And for golfers - a sports director will be onboard to assist with their needs. Fares range from $4,841 to $5,453 per person, double; golfers pay an additional $760 per person.

  • Acquabona Golf Club – set in hilly countryside bordered by oak pines and eucalyptus trees, this nine-hole course with double starting ground challenges guests with uphill and downhill shots complicated by crosswinds from the sea. Situated on the Island of Elba, halfway between Portoferraio and Porto Azzurro, the course offers stunning panoramic views of the gulf and inland landscape.
  • Le Pavoniere – the former playground of Lorenzo de'Medici, this relatively flat course in the old Tavola Farmhouse Estate Park is surrounded by holm-oak woods, cluster pines and Tuscan cypresses. Designed in 1986 by Arnold Palmer, the course suits golfers of all skill levels.
  • Pevero – a creation of Robert Trent Jones Sr. is renowned for the beauty of its tree-covered hills and rocky coastline and has been ranked in the top 50 courses in the world by Golf Magazine. The innovative layout incorporates the natural challenges in the landscape, from the Mistral – the northern wind that shaped the rocks in the area – to vegetation, lakes and 70 bunkers that dot the 6,688-yard course.
  • Sperone Golf Club – comprised partly of rocky scrubland and partly linked, this 18-hole course is considered to be one of Robert Trent Jones Sr.’s masterpieces – and is ranked 6th in all of France. The course offers three signature holes: the 10th, where your drive must carry the water; the 15th, which has a cliff-top green; and the 16th, named one of the world’s most stunning Par 5 holes by Golf Magazine.
  • Golf Country Club de Cannes-Mougins – nestled within the heart of the Valmasque Forest and traversed by the Boullide River, this 6,906 yard, 18-hole course offers a round that is as breathtaking as it is complex. Founded in 1923, the course was rebuilt in 1977 by golf architects Peter Allis and Dave Thomas and has since organized the Cannes Open, serving as a highlight on the European Tour.
The Mediterranean itinerary keeps in mind there are non-golfers aboard, so after Le Ponant journeys out from Nice, the largest of the French Riviera’s balmy cities, it heads to Portoferraio. In this ancient Tuscan town, non-golfers can take in the three historical forts or Napoleon’s home while golfers head off to Acquabona Golf Club. Other highlights along the way for the ‘golf widows and widowers’ include Viareggio, a lovely seaside town where beaches reign supreme and the seaside promenade is ideal for strolling; the ancient city of Civitavecchia with its hundreds of cultural gems – churches, monasteries, fountains, ancient ruins; and the Sardinian village of Porto Rotondo -- known as the vacation village with many wonderful restaurants and stunning beaches (golfers head off to Pevero). There is also the Corsica fortress town of Bonifacio where non-golfers wander the labyrinth of narrow streets in the 1,200-year-old Old Town, or take in the white sand Corsican beaches; and the “citadel city” of Calvi, dating back to 1000BC, with its L’Eglise Santa Maria (Big Pink Church) and of course, the Citadel.

The 290-foot Le Ponant, a three-masted sailing yacht, creates an atmosphere of intimacy and luxury with a full roster of high-end amenities and a ship capacity limited to 64 passengers. The ship boasts a vast sun deck with panoramic views, two restaurants, several spacious lounges, bar complete with piano and a sea-level platform for viewing marine life. Its 32 outside staterooms have an abundance of space and amenities – king size or twin beds, a desk, minibar, dressing table, marble baths with showers and L’Occitane amenities as well as the latest technology: flat screen satellite TVs, DVD/CD players, satellite direct-dial telephone and Wi-Fi and 110/220 outlets.

Included are all meals, accompanied by wine, beer and soda (lunch, dinner); Captain’s welcome aboard cocktail party and gala dinner; 24-hour room service; golf course fees (for those with the golf package), and all entertainment, events and shows as indicated within the itinerary. Port charges/taxes, gratuities, optional excursions and transfers are additional.

Established in 1988, Compagnie du Ponant is a member of both La Charte Bleue d’Armateurs de France and IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators). All of Compagnie du Ponant’s ships and cruise itineraries are designed to protect marine wildlife, coastal environments and local flora and fauna.


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