Friday, October 28, 2011

Compagnie du Ponant Announces Flight Credits On Antarctica Itineraries

Compagnie du Ponant has announced flight credits of $700 per person ($1,400 per cabin) on seven of its 11- and 16-day Antarctica itineraries aboard the new 264-passenger twin mega-yachts: L’Austral and Le Boréal. The credit allows for substantial savings from the cost of flights to and from Ushuaia, Argentina, the world’s southernmost city, and jumping off point for Antarctica cruises. The round trip sailings, November 2011 through February 2012, take in the “White Continent’s” majestic landscape of glaciers and icebergs as well as exotic wildlife as the yachts travel through the famous Drake Passage, and make several Antarctica landings including Paradise Bay, Culverville, Deception Island and Neko Harbor – and, on the longer itinerary, South Georgia and the Falklands. Fares of $4,860 to $18,078 per person, double on the 11- and 16-day sailings are currently up to 20% below brochure fares ($6,075 to $24,103) on the shoulder season departures due to the company’s unique Ponant Bonus program -- the more in advance the booking, the greater the savings. Flight credits are good on new cruise bookings through December 31, 2011 when U.S. or Canadian origination flights are booked through the Miami reservations office.

The recent change in the rules governing Antarctica cruising now allows only environmental secure vessels to visit this remote scenic wonder and Compagnie du Ponant is leading the way. Making use of the world’s two newest mega-yachts, the 18-month-old Le Boréal and recently debuted L’Austral -- named “Best New Ship of the Year” by the European Cruiser Association – allows guests to go ashore in the rugged environment while still enjoying the comfort of luxurious surroundings. Adding to the depth of the experience is the accompaniment of notable lecturers and naturalists, including polar expedition guide Nicolas Dubreuil; Marco Favero, whose has a Doctorate on Antarctic seabird ecology; Louis Justin, who shares his knowledge of the history of exploration and the sciences that made geographical discoveries possible; and Sophie Favrolt, a historian of art and a lecturer approved by the French National Museums Union.

Each port reveals the breathtaking landscape and wildlife unique to this rarely visited region, from the flora and fauna of Tierra del Fuego National Park to the 20,000 Adelie penguin couples in Brown Bluff. Other possible ports in Antarctica include Paradise Bay, a haven for sea mammals such as seals, orcas, whales and sea elephants; Lemaire Channel, a narrow passageway surrounded by towering cliffs; and Deception Island, home to colonies of Chinstrap Penguins. The ship’s fleet of zodiacs allows travelers to get up-close-and-personal with these natural wonders as they navigate within feet of towering icebergs and into the heart of penguin colonies. In addition to these stops, guests on the 16-day voyage will get the chance to observe majestic King Penguins and other impressive birdlife for which South Georgia and the Falkland Islands are known.

Compagnie du Ponant’s dual vision of luxury travel and environmental consciousness allows for a multitude of top-of-the-line amenities while also enjoying the highly regarded “clean ship” label due to their numerous eco-friendly features: dynamic-positioning, advanced waste water treatment, reduced fuel consumption and emissions, and underwater detection system, making them ideal sailing vessels for the highly-regulated Antarctica environment.

The 466-foot Le Boréal and L’Austral mega-yachts offer guests the feeling of sailing on their own private yacht as they explore off-the-beaten­-path destinations. Each ship boasts knowledgeable and friendly staff, two restaurants, several spacious lounges, theater, games area, two open-air bars, a swimming pool, library, fitness area, comprehensive spa in partnership with Paris’s Sothys (L’Austral) and Carita (Le Boreal) and a staff to guest ratio of greater than 1:2. The 132 well-appointed staterooms, 124 with private balconies, have king size or twin beds, desk, minibar, dressing table, marble baths with showers, L’Occitane products and all the latest technology, including flat screen satellite TVs and Wi-Fi.

Included in all sailings are all meals (wine, beer and soda during meals), entertainment, excursions, Captain’s welcome, farewell parties, 24-hour room service and all lectures, guides, naturalists and expedition leaders. Port charges/taxes, gratuities 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 cruise itineraries are designed to protect marine wildlife, coastal environments and local flora and fauna.


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