GALLIC chic is set to make its mark on the Australian cruise scene following news that respected industry mover and shaker, Sarina Bratton has become Australasian chairman of the luxury French cruise line Compagnie du Ponant.
Bratton is set to spearhead Ponant’s growth, particularly in the Asia Pacific region which she knows so well after a decade as founder and MD of Australia’s Orion Expedition Cruises.
Orion, recently sold to the Lindblad Expedition fleet, featured diverse itineraries in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia and in Papua New Guinea, South East Asia, as well as cruising to Antarctica.
australiancruisingnews.com notes the numerous immigration stamps on Sarina Bratton’s passport hint of her adventures in some of the world’s wilder places, and she was very much involved in the development of a wealth of diverse cruise itineraries while with Orion Expeditions.
Now Bratton’s focus has turned to the sleek silhouettes of the 5-star Ponant fleet which has three 264-passenger sister ships – Le Soleal which was launched six months ago, L’Austral in 2011, and Le Boreal in 2010.
Also in the fleet is the traditional three-masted sailing yacht, Le Ponant, carrying 64 passengers, which not-surprisingly focuses on sun-kissed ports including the French, Spanish and Italian Rivieras.
Ponant’s modern fleet is claimed to be the world’s youngest, and one of these ships is likely to be based in and around Australian waters from 2015.
Known for its French flair and French-inspired cuisine, the Ponant ships have spacious cabins and a bi-lingual crew. The fleet’s website states, “Our mission is to transport you to mythical destinations and secret ports only accessible to small ships”, en.ponant.com