Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Out-Of-The-Way Ports take Center Stage on Compagnie du Ponant’s 2011 Boston-Montreal Fall Foliage Sailings

Ponant's brand new Le Boreal

Luxury yacht cruise company Compagnie du Ponant has announced one of the most extensive Fall Foliage itineraries available from any cruise line – with 11 ports of call, nine of them in Canada, and several only accessible to the yacht-size ships.

Highlights include the small village of Perce, near the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula; Tadoussac, the oldest surviving French settlement in the Americas; Magdalen Islands, home to descendants of the more than 400 shipwrecks in the archipelago; and, of course, the historic cities of Boston, Quebec City and Montreal. The 11-day itinerary, aboard the luxury mega-yacht Le Boréal, sails from Boston to Montreal on Sept. 16, 2011, with the reverse itinerary departing on Sept. 26. Fares of $4,312 to $11,408 per person, double are currently 20% below brochure fares ($5,390 to $14,260) due to the company’s unique Ponant Bonus program – the more in advance the booking, the greater the savings.

Compagnie du Ponant is also offering a $400 per stateroom shipboard credit for new guests booking by May 31, 2011.

Ponant’s philosophy is front and center on this cruise as it is on all of them: sailings designed for the traveler who prefers to explore off-the-beaten–-path, unspoiled destinations. The New England and Eastern Canadian fall foliage is truly a never-ending panorama of colors and offers a wonderful opportunity for the guests to get both a taste of the season’s beauty and the advantages of the intimate environment of yacht travel.
The one-year-old, 264-passenger Le Boréal sets sail from Boston to spend a day in Bar Harbour, where guests can opt to explore this very-Maine of destinations on their own or take an optional tour of Acadia National Park.

In Halifax, the cultural center of the Atlantic Provinces, a tour to the 60-person seaside village of Peggy’s Cove is available, while North America’s largest historical reconstruction, the 18th-century Fortress of Louisbourg, is the main attraction in Louisbourg. Bird lovers get an eyeful on the optional Gannet Colony Walk just outside of Perce on Bonnaventure Island – 250,000 of them to be more specific. Havre St. Pierre is the jump off point for a boat ride through some of the 30 islands and 1,000 islets and reefs of the Mingan Archipelago, and a long stop in Saguenay, considered to be the province’s most beautiful area, offers time to explore its national park and stroll along it river.

The sailing comes to an end with back to back visits to two of Canada’s most prized cities: Quebec City is a jewel on the St. Lawrence River while 400-year-old Montreal has a foot in the old and new, mixing Gallic tradition with a non-stop nightlife. Both cities offer a litany of things to do and sites to see – taking in the old towns with their cobblestone streets and European flair; visiting any of the dozens of galleries and museums; dining at world-class restaurants; or shopping to the heart’s delight along Quebec’s Petit Champlain and Montreal’s Saint-Paul Street.

Designed in a seamless blend of tradition and innovation, Le Boreal boasts two restaurants specializing in both haute and country French, several spacious lounges, a fully-equipped Carita spa, a theater, a games area, two open-air bars, a swimming pool, a library, a fitness area and a staff to guest ratio of greater than 1:2. The 132 well-appointed cabins, 124 with private balconies, have king size or twin beds, a desk, minibar, dressing table, marble baths with showers, L’Occitane products and all the latest technology, including flat screen satellite TVs and Wi-Fi. Both ships employ advanced waste water treatment, reduced fuel consumption, lower exhaust emissions and dynamic positioning to reduce environmental impact.

Included in all sailings are all meals (wine, beer and soda during meals included), entertainment, excursions, Captain’s welcome and farewell parties and 24-hour room service. Lectures, guides, naturalists and expedition leaders are included on select sailings. Port charges/taxes, gratuities and transfers are additional.
Established in 1988 by Jean Emmanuel Sauvée and Philippe Videau, Compagnie du Ponant is a division of CMA CGM, the world’s third largest container shipping group. (www.ponant.com)