Vale Dr Nancy Sullivan                                                                                         

Adventure * Expedition * Small Ship * River Cruises * Luxury * Boutique

Thursday, 30 July 2015

“C’est magnifique!” Bratton buoyed by impending Ponant buyout


While the ink on the paperwork may already be dry, the imminent transfer of ownership is not yet formalised. But Ponant’s Chairman Asia Pacific, Sarina Bratton, already has her Veuve Cliquot on ice.
Sarina Bratton signing her agreement with the co-founder and
CEO of  Compagnie du Ponant, Jean-Emannuel Sauvee in 2013.
Sauvee will remain with his company after the handover.
“It’s absolutely brilliant,” Bratton told in an exclusive phone interview, “the Bridgepoint (a pan-European private equity investment group) phase has run a normal four-year course for a private equity fund and now they are moving on. Their timing is perfect for everyone.”

Artemis patriarch, François Pinault

New owners, the Pinault family-owned holding company Artemis S.A, is poised to move in any day. The billionaire French businessman, François Pinault, is listed by Forbes as 65th on their Billionaires List and owns such brands as Converse shoes, Samsonite luggage, Château Latour, the Vail Ski Resort in Colorado and Christie's auction house. His estimated fortune is US$13.7 billion.

“Ponant is now exceptionally profitable thanks to support from Bridgepoint,” says Bratton,”the funds allowed us to expand the fleet into what we have today.”

Bratton, whose luxury brand connections are well known, was uncharacteristically reserved when pressed on the question of her involvement in securing this massive deal.

“I was close to the activity, sure, but as you will understand, there are things we are not able to comment on at this critical point.

“What I am excited about is the long-term financial security, confidence and brand alignment we  stand to gain with this proposed transaction.”
Bratton was awarded an Order of Australia in 2014 “for her significant service to tourism, particularly the cruise ship industry and to business” and took the helm of Ponant in Australia after the luxury small ship cruise line she founded, Orion Expedition Cruises, was acquired by Lindblad Expeditions around the same time.

Bloomberg has estimated Ponant to have equity of around 400 million euro. The luxury French-flagged yacht operator had 120 million euro in revenue last year, according to its website. It was founded in 1988 and carried 23,000 passengers last year.

When the final nod is given, the popping of corks will surely be heard all the way to Marseilles.

Get Up & Go Goes Cruising!

EC editor, Roderick Eime, writes about his voyage on the Hooghly River.
There's plenty more small ship action too.

This new, bumper edition of Get Up & Go magazine heads out to sea and along rivers to show you what's happening on the water now. Greece, India, Australia, Austria, PNG and Cambodia are visited by ships – big and small. We talk to Dame Judi Dench – the best Bond girl ever and reminisce about The Sound of Music. Places covered include: Toyama Japan, Macau, Fiji, Switzerland's heritage hotels, Wellington NZ celebrating, Botswana, Zambia, Germany, England and more. At home we head to Norfolk Island, the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales.

WIN a return flights with Tiger Air to Cairns for a stay in the fabulous Thala Beach Nature Reserve. Go on, get going and read all about travelling the world.


Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Featured Brochure: Tauck Small Ship Cruising 2016


Yacht and Expeditionary Small Ship Cruising

The difference in Tauck's small ship cruising lies in the choreography – the combination of personalised cruising with cultural land exploration. From the moment you step ashore, our 90+ years of expertise on land ensures that on every moment of your shore excursions (all included in the price) count! Small ship cruising means more personal attention from the captain and the crew – you'll find the on-board atmosphere to be both club-like and comfortable. The pace is more relaxed, the conversations are richer, and the day-to-day experiences are shared with like-minded travellers.

Order this brochure today. Hard copy or digital option available.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

More small ships headed to Cuba

The 210-passenger Pearl Mist could be heading for Cuba soon? (Pearl Seas Cruises)
While still awaiting governmental approval, Pearl Seas Cruises announced plans to launch cruises to Cuba in the spring.

The seven- to 10-night cruises would offer the People-to-People educational and cultural programming that legalizes travel to the island long off-limits to Americans.

Read full report at Travel Pulse

French cruise company, Ponant, sold to Artemis

Artémis announces exclusive talks for the acquisition of PONANT

Artemis, the holding company of the Pinault family*, has announced yesterday holding exclusive talks for the acquisition of PONANT, the leader in the operation of luxury cruises.

Founded in 1988 by Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée and headquartered in Marseille, PONANT epitomizes the grand tradition of French Marine Navigation. Venturing to mythical destinations, PONANT is the leading cruise operator in the polar region. The company has the youngest and finest fleet in the market, including Le Ponant, the celebrated 88-meters (288 feet), three-masted yacht, plus 4 other luxury cruise yachts, each with between 32 and 132 cabins and suites. In 2015, PONANT will transport over 30 000 passengers, with revenues expected to exceed 140 million euros.

The demand in the luxury cruise market has been robust, buoyed with great resilience by an affluent and international client base, particularly from North America and Australasia.

Artemis will provide the capital to fuel PONANT's ambitions, its international expansion and the company's next level of growth. Partnering closely with co-founder & CEO Jean Emmanuel Sauvée and Deputy CEO Véronique Saadé, Artemis will continue to pursue PONANT's winning strategy, while preserving its essence - the refinement and excellence à la Française.

* holding company Artemis S.A., owns (or owned), among others, Converse shoes, Samsonite luggage, Château Latour, the Vail Ski Resort in Colorado, and Christie's auction house.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Crystal Cruises to enter luxury adventure cruise market with repurposed Megastar Taurus

MegaStar Taurus at Singapore in 2007. Photo © Linda Sergey
Recent announcement by luxury cruise brand, Crystal Cruises, revealed that new parent company, Genting Hong Kong (GHK), intends to form a sub-brand Crystal Yacht Cruises to attack the small ship and adventure market.

To achieve this, the company will reallocate the 82m (270ft) Megastar Taurus, (IMO 8705266) renaming it Crystal Esprit. Built by the now defunct Flender Werft shipyard in Lübeck, Germany, in 1989 it has been known by former names Lady Sarah and Aurora II. Genting also owns the sister ship, The Taipan, (IMO 8705278 formerly MegaStar Aires). Both were acquired in 1994 from distressed European owners and have been somewhat underutilised, sailing out of Singapore primarily on private charters. The aging vessel will require some considerable refitting to bring it up to Crystal standards.

Artist rendering of Crystal Esprit
Artist rendering of Crystal Espirit marina with submarine deployed
Once repurposed, vessel will carry just 62 passengers as well as four 10-passenger Zodiacs and a 12-passenger Wider 32-foot megayacht tender. Guests will have a two-seat submarine, water skis, wakeboards, kayaks, Jet Skis, fishing, scuba and snorkel equipment at their disposal.

Crystal Esprit is scheduled to leave on her first “warm water itinerary” on December 23, 2015, bound for the Seychelles and followed by a post-cruise New Year’s Eve celebration at the Taj Hotel in Dubai. For 2016 and 2017, and early 2018, Crystal Esprit will sail the Seychelles, the Arabian Gulf and the Adriatic Coast.

Beyond this, GHK said it had also signed a letter of intent with Lloyd Werft in Germany to build three 1000-passenger “Crystal Exclusive Class” ocean cruise ships with the first of these polar ice class vessels expected for delivery in late 2018.

Crystal Yacht Cruises is the first of several expansive changes now being planned at Crystal since the line was purchased from Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line) by GHK for a reported US$550million in May. In addition to the new expedition ship, Crystal intends to adopt a more aggressive growth strategy.

Portions of this report sourced from Kevin Griffin's The Cruise Examiner

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Exciting competition to name Hurtigruten's new ship


In 2016, the Hurtigruten fleet will be joined by a new addition - one of the most flexible expedition ships in the world. She will embark on thrilling exploration voyages, but before she begins her journey, she needs a name. Come up with something suitable and you and a friend could be joining her as the special guest of the Captain, on the voyage of a lifetime along the Norwegian coast.

The ship, which has been temporarily called 'MS Norway Explorer', will initially operate on Hurtigruten's coastal route, taking the place of the MS Midnatsol, who will be heading south for a season in Antarctica.

The name must start with 'MS' (motor vessel) and has to be a Norwegian word or words or be an international word of Norwegian origin, for example the word "fjord". Other ships in the fleet are named after natural phenomena, places along the Hurtigruten route or key figures in Norwegian history.

Entrants can upload their suggestion to Hurtigruten's facebook page between 21 July and 10 August 2015 and the winner will enjoy a voyage on the new ship next year, as she travels along the Norwegian coast.

The prize will include cabin on full-board basis and excursions. More information about the competition can be found at:

Facts about the ship

·         Built in 2009 by the Portuguese shipyard Estaleiro Navais de Viana do Castelo (ENVC).
·         Modern and fuel efficient propulsion system
·         Highly maneuverable
·         Number of guests: 320
·         Total bunk capacity: 180
·         Gross tonnage: 7025
·         Length: 97.53 m
·         Width: 18 m
·         Draught: 5 m
·         Propeller system: 2x 360 Azimut thrusters
·         Machine: Diesel Electric
·         Speed: 17.4 knots

For more information contact your local Travel Agent, email Discover the World on or call 1800 OCEANS (1800 623 267).