Cruising Partners for 25 Years
Posted by Mary-Frances Walsh
Posted in: Tauck’s Travelogue
Tags: Small Ship Cruising, Travel
In April 1988, a Frenchman named Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée – a former officer in the French Merchant Navy – founded a cruise company with a unique mission: to transport travelers to “mythical destinations and secret ports” accessible only by small ship. With limited means, a single ship and big dreams, the company’s aim was to offer “front-row seats to nature’s spectacular shows.”
Twenty-five years and four vessels later, Jean-Emmanuel’s Compagnie du Ponant (CDP) is doing just that with a fleet of small ships based in Marseilles. They include the handsome, three-masted Le Ponant
, and three stylish super-yachts, Le Boréal, L’Austral
and Le Soléal
. CDP’s fourth sister-yacht, Le Lyrial
, is currently under construction in Italy; she’ll be ready for the waters in mid-2015.
CDP takes the best of French style – tasteful décor, sophisticated cuisine and attentive yet discreet service – and puts it to work in the hands of bilingual crews who love sharing unspoiled corners of the globe with a personal touch. Her modern yachts are equipped with the latest in eco-friendly technologies, like: “dynamic positioning” that means not having to drop anchor which can disturb the seabed; “underwater optical detection systems” to avoid collisions with whales and other sea life; “electrical propulsion systems” for quieter operations; less-polluting marine diesel fuels; and onboard waste and sewer treatment systems.
In Antarctica, CDP ships carry experienced ice pilots who assist the captain in choosing a safe course; instruments that monitor their position and those of other vessels in the area in real time; and double hulls to safely withstand icy conditions. Their crews are specifically trained to sail in polar waters.
When Tauck decided to expand our travel horizons to include small ship cruises
(1993), we found a like-minded partner in CDP. Together, CDP’s superb vessels and onboard savoir-faire
and Tauck’s 89+ years of destination-rich travel on land add up to sailing experiences that go above and beyond…. without a crowd… where larger ships cannot go… to offer experiences such as:
• Resplendent Venice and six UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia & Montenegro
• A full transit of the Panama Canal, idyllic island coves & Costa Rican jungle and wildlife
• Mediterranean island beauty & villages, plus the Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel after hours
• Stepping ashore amidst a “sea” of curious Antarctic penguins, with expert naturalist guides
• Vibrant Hong Kong, peaceful Vietnam and the crossroad cultures of modern Singapore
• Reykjavik, the Arctic Circle, puffins, Viking ships, and Iceland’s geothermal wonders
And in 2015, we’re sailing ahead together with three new itineraries to explore:
• Temples, shrines, geishas, Kyoto, Tokyo, history and culture in eight Japanese ports of call
• Unequalled wild beauty, from sea life to soaring eagles, in Alaska’s Inside Passage
• Waterfront splendors, wildlife, city life, wines & traditions in New Zealand & Australia
Like Jean-Emmanuel, we believe that travel can be magical – and that it’s at its best when the experience is up close and personal. As Compagnie du Ponant celebrates its 25th anniversary, we’re raising a toast to Jean-Emmanuel, his entire team and a partnership that creates dreams at sea.