French-owned cruise line Ponant has announced a new “Gastronomy & Oenology” cruise, April 11-19, 2018 with ports of call including Médoc, Saint Emilion, Bilbao and Bordeaux. The eight-night cruise departs from Lisbon, Portugal and finishes in Lorient, France. Guests will travel on Le Soleal, a 132-room and suite ship that was built in 2013.
As part of the company’s collaboration with the Ducasse Counseil, two gala dinners will be hosted by chef Pascal Féraud of the Michelin-starred Le Jules Verne restaurant in the Eiffel Tower, and chef Stéphane Duchiron of Versailles’ Ore restaurant.
The cruise also includes a dinner hosted by Féraud, which will take place in Pauillac, with the ship moored in front of Château Latour. The menu will be paired with a selection of Médoc’s grands crus.
Famous cheesemaker Bernard Antony will also hold tastings while Jean-Robert Pitte, president of the Académie du vin de France since 2011 and member of the Institut de France (Academy of Moral and Political Sciences) since 2008, will lead discussions onboard. On land, guests will travel to prestigious estates, like Taylor Flagdates’s in Porto and vineyards in Bordeaux, including Château Siaurac.
The cruise line has also announced the appointment of Theresa Gatta to the role of vice president of sales - North America, and Ellen Mcilvaine as its new director of business development in the Pacific Northwest. Gatta will lead the development of growth with Ponant's travel agency partners and consortia throughout North America and will oversee the U.S.-based sales team. McIlvaine, since joining earlier this month, has managed clientele development in the northwest, including Northern California, Washington, and British Columbia.
It’s been a big year for Ponant: Edie Rodriguez, formerly of Crystal Cruises, also joined the line as its new Americas brand chairman and corporate special advisor. It also announced that its four new ships, launching in summer 2018 (Le Lapérouse and Le Champlain) and 2019 (Le Bougainville and Le Dumont-d'Urville), will include an underwater lounge.
Rates for the “Gastronomy & Oenology” cruise start €4,050 ($5,130) per person based on double occupancy.