Ponant Yacht Cruises and Expeditions invited me to visit their ship Le Boreal while it was in San Francisco today.
Two things immediately come to mind: One – the itineraries this ship does are wild. This baby was coming from Europe via the Northwest Passage and down to Alaska. And she’s headed for several months of cruising in Antarctica.
And Two – this ship is gorgeous. It’s about as French chic as you can get and she’s luxurious. And small – just over 10,000 GRT and typically sails with just about 225 guests. For comparison Seabourn’s original ships were also 10,000 GRT and sailed with 200 guests.
Take a look at my pix which will give you some idea of what I’m talking about. I have them posted on my Facebook page
Short Analysis – She does have competition – most definitely Silversea who now operates an entire fleet of expedition vessels. They both operate small ships, sail in exotic locales and are all-inclusive of drinks and gratuities. I’d put them both in the Ultra Luxury category and both are focused on learning as well.
But she’s definitely not an American ship – Le Boreal and the other Ponant ships (there are 4 identical ones plus the original sailing ship Le Ponant) cater to an international crowd and Americans can expect to be the minority, in company with Aussies, Brits, French and others. The ship is bi-lingual French/English which is fun and the feel of the vessel is very French from the very tailored and minimal design and colors to the quirky sense of humor (look at the photo associated with this post!) which Americans might find a bit unusual.
josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
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Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals. His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays. He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.
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