Birds-Eye View: Compagnie du Ponant
Cruises are floating escapes, an avenue into the great blue yonder without lifting a finger or feeling around for those mysterious sea legs everyone talks about. While you’re clicking around, trying to find the best deal, the best price, the most appetising package, stop for a moment and step outside the generic alternatives. Though financially savvy holidays are always pleasing, there comes a time when you simply must spoil yourself; imagine a liner of opulence and sparkling excess, gourmet restaurants, relaxing spas, intimate settings, a rolling sundeck and beauty parlours to help you feel your best. To celebrate the pure decadence of Compagnie du Ponant, we’ve tabulated a backstage feature to two scintillating fleet ships – A Compagnie cruise is not just a holiday, it’s a state of mind.
When we think of cruise ships, it’s hard not to picture a buoyant city of portholes and gleaming white walls; some tower, some sluice, others look comparatively small, almost compact. L’Austral does not have the capacity or mind-staggering size of a classic P&O, nor is it extensively labelled like other cruise lines. It is stylish, discreet and an embodiment of maritime class, with dark greys, teak and whites combined to communicate a true luxury feel. If the thought of packing yourself into a mammoth liner makes you quiver with sweaty trepidation, L’Austral is an exclusive ship, servicing just 264 people at full portage (most liners carry over 2000). Smaller does not mean skint or wanting for facilities and cruise entertainment – there are countless things to lose yourself in onboard; from relaxing, aromatic massages, to gastronomic delights on the dining deck, L’Austral delivers holiday relaxation with genuine flair and none of the garish flourishes.
If the cool, crisp appeal of an imposing liner doesn’t quite stir your adventurous streak, there are other alternatives. The graceful Le Ponant is a class apart from modern cruises, favouring the tradition of a three masted yacht and a haven of peace, refinement and familiarity – you will explore ports, unwind worlds and experience culture with a meagre 64 other passengers. Recline on the sundeck, read a book, take a dip in the ocean and get to know the crew of 32 who will surely feel like family by the very end. Will you want for anything, considering its limited size? No. Le Ponant houses two high class restuarants, serving up French delicacies and gorgeous meals, complete with a list of white, red and rose wines without any additional charge. There are no karaoke nights or colourful stage acts, just the magnetic notes of an expert pianist and the hum of happy conversation.
Cruises are not always loud affairs of bustling families and throw-away friends, happy snaps and rushed itineraries. If you desire to disconnect from the world and limit the drumming of midnight door slamming or cramped staterooms, your options are numerous. And though the expense may seem heavy at first, what price would you put on a memory you’ll treasure and share, without a plastic cocktail glass or branded boat in sight? Decadence, elegance and supple class, you know you deserve it.
For the month of October, Cruiseabout is offering amazing deals on Compagnie du Ponant itineraries... discover the world of yacht cruising, and if you book for 2014 you can save up to $1315* per person on European sailings. For more information, call one of our Cruise Specialists on 1300 954 661 today.