Great news for those looking to see the world by its waterways: French cruise and expedition operator Compagnie du Ponant is expanding into the Australian and Asian markets.
We hear that plans for the company include the positioning of a new expedition ship in and around Australia from late 2015 for a program of itineraries featuring Australia, Asia and the Pacific islands. The company will also step up its promotion efforts to other destinations with its existing expedition ships L'Austral, Le Boréal and Le Soléal and the sailing ship Le Ponant.
Another part of the initiative includes the appointment of Sarina Bratton to head Compagnie du Ponant's local operations in and around Australia. She will be the company's Australasian chairman and special advisor to its Marseilles-headquartered executive team, focusing on international development in the region.
Bratton is already well established in the Asia Pacific region and in the high-end cruise scene, having created Orion Expedition Cruises a decade ago. (She sold her remaining shares in Orion earlier this year.)
Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Compagnie du Ponant, said that the new plans and Bratton's new position are significant to the brand's development. "The Asia Pacific region [is] an important strategic development for our business...The pioneering itineraries, destinations and source markets developed by Sarina and her former team over the past ten years [are] guiding pathways for our ongoing development.”
Bratton, for her part, said Compagnie du Ponant had the assets and balance sheet to become the global leader in small and five-star expedition ship operations. “Australia has never seen ships like these,” she said in a statement. “The majority of the world’s small expedition ships are old, having been built in the late 1980s and 1990s. But Compagnie du Ponant has a fleet of four, brand-new, ‘state of the art’ ships and a touch of that unique French avant-garde style."
For more information, visit http://en.ponant.com.