Ponant chairperson Sarina Bratton may have been given the Order of Australia for her services to the cruise industry. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t suffer from sea sickness.
But her ship, the luxury expedition vessel L’Austral, is worth taking sea sickness pills for. Cruise Passenger took a recent tour while she stopped off at White Bay. The tour began in the theatre with Sales Director Steve McLaughlin taking us through the Ponant experience.
Exclusive discounts were on offer. According to Mr McLaughlin, Ponant doesn’t do last minute deals. Instead, they have a ‘promotional fare’, which is a system of sliding scale discounts for each sailing. Starting at 30% off when the booking date is opened, reducing as you get closer to the departure date.
Leave your booking to the last minute can mean only a 5% discount. This benefits those planning well ahead.
Singles are also advised to book early. They can end up paying 100% of the fare close to the departure date.
French designer Jean-Philippe Nuel is responsible for the décor, which is unique to every ship. But the layout stays the same, meaning your favourite cabin or deck area is in the same spot on each vessel L’Austral is an expedition ship, despite the luxury touches. She carries 12 zodiacs and a cargo unit of expedition gear, amongst the sun lounges on the deck.
The staterooms are well laid out to maximise space and decorated in classic neutral tones. Each room has a separate toilet and bathroom.
Our tour ended in the main restaurant, with bubbles and canapés. Of course, the bubbles were French. L’Austral cruises the Caribbean, Latin America, Pacific Asia, Antarctica or West Africa. See www.ponant.com