PONANT, THE ONLY MAJOR French-owned cruise line serving destinations worldwide, is campaigning to attract more North American passengers, having recently opened offices in New York and Miami. Ponant presents dual appeal in its fleet of small luxury ships featuring gourmet French dining and the wide range of exotic ports it serves from pole to pole.
Long known as a top polar expedition cruise line, Ponant also sails to Northern Europe, Russia and the Mediterranean; Oceania, Asia and Africa; as well as Alaska and Central and South America. Its 2019–2020 program includes 114 departures, with 23 sailings to Antarctica and 33 to Latin America. Its fleet of nine vessels ranges from one classic three-masted sailing yacht — the 64-passenger Le Ponant — to the four 244- to 264-passenger yacht-like ships Le Soleal, Le Boreal, L’Austral and Le Lyrial, each equipped with spa and fitness facilities. All feature French crews and chefs, with both French and English the official onboard languages.
A new series of 184-passenger exploration ships, led by the recent launches of Le Laperouse, Le Bougainville, Le Champlain and Le Dumont-d’Urville, extends Ponant’s French touch to high-end exploration cruising. These yacht-like exploration vessels boast Blue Eyes, the world’s first underwater passenger lounge, enabling guests to see, hear and feel the ocean from “body listening sofas.” The ships also sport private balconies and terraces, moveable marinas, heated seawater pools and solariums, two gourmet dining venues with menus by Ducasse Conseil, Champagnes by Veuve Clicquot, theaters for lectures and shows, and a fitness center with spa treatments from Paris-based Sothys.
Members of Ponant’s small-ship luxury fleet, such as the chic Le Soleal, are frequently chartered by organizations for special cruises — such as Abercrombie & Kent’s popular Wonders of Japan all-inclusive annual outing, next set for June 13–26, 2020.
Ponant’s more exotic voyages include a cruise aboard the new Le Dumont-d’Urville to the Bijagós Archipelago Oct. 8–16, 2019, off the coast of Africa’s Guinea-Bissau. This roundtrip from Dakar, Senegal, explores a rarely visited 88-island UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The same ship offers a nature-themed cruise Jan. 6–16, 2020, to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal featuring naturalist Paul Donahue. This cruise focuses on Costa Rica’s efforts to preserve its natural treasures, highlighted by a stop in Corcovado National Park, perhaps the most biodiverse location on Earth.
Ponant signals its own dedication to environmental cruising through its partnership with the British-based Aldabra Clean Up Project in the Seychelles, where passengers can help with the cleanup of the Aldabra Atoll during a shore excursion.
Whether it’s jungle or ice, Ponant makes it possible to explore the world’s diversity on seven continents while adding a French twist to expedition cruising.
GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
I imagine that when writer Hans Christian Andersen mused, “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale,” he was standing at the edge of Copenhagen’s historic Tivoli Gardens, one of his favorite haunts, enlivened by the swirl of human happiness that surrounded him: children laughing; carousels spinning; games of chance played for prizes; lovers holding hands; hungry people whispering over sweets, hot drinks, beer and towering, open-faced smørrebrød, Denmark’s quintessential sandwich. That fairy tale lives on today at the second-oldest amusement park in the world, a spectacle of folly architecture, bakeries, gardens, rides, restaurants, puppet shows and joy ... and which also happens to be one of the city’s most storied places to convene for business.
The restored Park Hyatt Toronto reopened its doors, bringing luxury, sophistication and glamour alongside a nod to the hotel’s Canadian heritage. Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge collaborated on the hotel’s refresh, drawing inspiration from Canada’s seasons and natural landscapes.
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
I recently dined at Irwin’s in Philadelphia. The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Bok Building, a former school turned collective of small businesses, non-profits, artist workshops, a bar and restaurant. I previously visited Bok for the bar and yoga classes, and I was excited to experience the restaurant.
Cathay Pacific reaffirms its commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 with a pledge to use Sustainable Aviation Fuel for 10 percent of its total fuel consumption by 2030. The airline has made pioneering efforts in supporting SAF development for more than 10 years.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
Arriving early afternoon in Puerto Rico, we jumped in an Uber and took a short, 15-minute drive from the airport to La Concha. As it was Tuesday, the streets were not too busy and the hotel lobby was calm. During the weekend, the scene likely would have been more bustling. We were greeted by a staff member who requested proof of vaccination and government-issued ID, and were given a wristband to indicate we were fully vaccinated. All guests are required to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times while moving around the hotel. Hand sanitizer stations were placed around the lobby, in elevators and in each common area.