Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
TORONTO — Ponant, the world’s only French owned cruise line and the leader in luxury expeditions and its Canadian representative Cruise Strategies Ltd. met with media and Canadian travel agents yesterday to introduce Ponant to the Canadian luxury travel marketplace.
Ponant currently operates five luxury explorer vessels and is leading the way with a new style of luxury cruising through a unique concept of sea travel, which combines exceptional itineraries and luxury hotel services, aboard luxurious smaller-scale ships.
Ponant plans to launch six new vessels in the Ponant Explorer Series and the world’s first luxury ice breaker before 2021.
Two of the Explorer Series ships will be launched each year starting in 2018.
Ponant’s 2019 brochure features 100 cruises including 11 new sailings. Two of the ships in the Explorer Series will cruise the Baltic and the Mediterranean. The ships will feature 92 staterooms attended by a crew of 110 and will offer exceptional comfort, personalized service and refined gastronomy.
New itineraries include ‘Greenland of Great Explorers’, ‘Great Lakes of North America’, ‘Natural Wonders of Central America’, and ‘Adventures in the Bijagos Archipelago’.
Starting in 2019 Ponant will also offer the ‘Quintessential Collection’ a series of themed cruises designed to inspire travellers. These sailings will feature notable North American artists, authors and experts relevant to the theme of the sailing. The ‘World Affairs Cruise’ will feature Fareed Zakaria, CNN host and Washington Post columnist, Michael V. Hayden, U.S. Airforce General and former CIA director and Daniel Mendelsohn, a best-selling author and columnist for Harpers.
Other ‘Quintessential Collection’ cruise themes include Green and Gentle Lands: Exploring Gardens and Historic Sites, Sicilian Food and Wine Experience, Treasures of the Mediterranean World, History, art and Architecture along the North Sea, A Musical Odyssey in the Mediterranean and World War II history.
Yesterday’s industry event comes on the heels of an earlier visit from Ponant executives, who said the luxury line is prioritizing a strong working relationship with Canadian travel agents. In February 2018, in Toronto to meet with the media and travel agency reps, Navin Sawhney, CEO, Ponant USA, said more than 90% of Ponant’s bookings come through the trade.