Commpagnie du Ponant’s Le Boreal

If you’re an agent that books luxury travel exclusively, you might never have heard of Compagnie du Ponant. Before the launch of its latest vessel, Le Boreal, the cruise line specialized mainly in small-ship travel to exotic destinations. Its first ships—Le Ponant, a 289-ft. yacht with a capacity of 64 passengers, and Le Levant, which can accommodate up to 90 guests—certainly offer an exclusive experience. But the new ship elevates those experiences.

“We’re not just a small French cruise line anymore,” says Terri Haas, chief commercial officer, Compagnie du Ponant. “Before, we had three small yachts and an expedition ship, and the majority of the sailings were chartered by tour operators, incentive organizers and alumnae groups.” But with the launch of Le Boreal, and a sister ship, L’Austral, set to debut in May 2011, she says, “we will really be able to grow as a brand, and be ready to compete as a player in the luxury cruise segment with other established lines.”

It’s true: Le Boreal has brought new levels of luxury to Compagnie du Ponant. And with spacious, modern rooms, exemplary service and a diverse and exciting lineup of ports of call, it offers your clients the chance to be some of the first to experience the newest name in luxury cruising.

high design in huge spaces The staterooms aboard Le Boreal rank among its most luxurious features—and that’s because there’s not a bad room to be found anywhere on the ship. The majority of its 132 staterooms offer private balconies and plenty of space to relax comfortably indoors without feeling cramped. That’s a feat that’s especially hard to achieve on a small ship, and Le Boreal pulls it off with as much style as space. Red, white and grey themes are found throughout the ship, and rooms and suites are no exception, giving guests a jolt of color every time they walk in their stateroom door. The effect is bold, but not garish, and complements like a glass-encased bathroom and simple, classic furniture complete the modern look of the rooms.

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The only eight staterooms without balconies were designed that way for a reason. In place of the balcony is a couch sitting beneath a circular window, providing extra sleeping space for families traveling together. Clients can also upgrade to a deluxe suite, earning both a balcony and a sofa in the process, or go up another level to a Prestige Suite, nearly doubling the amount of space in Le Boreal’s standard Prestige Staterooms. A living room with TV and minibar mirrors the bedroom with its own standard amenities; clients in the Prestige Suites also have two bathrooms, two wardrobes and a double-size balcony stretching across from living room to bedroom.

But the ultimate in luxury is the Owner’s Suite. Located on the highest deck with accommodations, the Owner’s Suite measures 484 sq. ft. inside; its long balcony adds another 97 sq. ft. to the total. Clients staying here enjoy both a living room and dining area, as well as a restroom big enough for a jacuzzi tub.

No matter where they’re staying on board, clients can count on a few standard amenities: a choice of king or two twin beds; minibars; and upscale French bath products. Every flat-screen TV comes with satellite service as well as video on demand, and clients will also find DVD, CD and iPod players in every room. They can also stay connected via WiFi Internet access, available in every stateroom.

eat, drink and be merry The clean, modern style clients find in Le Boreal’s staterooms extends to the rest of the ship, giving all its public spaces the feel of a hip hotel with plenty of places to play. Le Boreal is, of course, a French ship, so it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that the restaurants on board serve up some of the best cuisine we’ve seen on a cruise ship. On the casual side, clients can visit an upper-deck buffet where clients choose between everyday favorites and daily specials like lamb shanks or calamari cooked up at walk-up stations by the ship’s executive chef. For an even more casual dining experience, tell clients to take their buffet plates outside to the pool deck, or up the stairs to the bar just above, where another chef serves healthy grilled meats alongside a salad and cheese station during the lunch hour.