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Has Sarina Bratton found her perfect match?

February 11, 2014 Cruise, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Australia’s newly honoured ‘first lady’ of cruising, Sarina Bratton AM, claimed she would use her time after the separation from Orion Expeditions to work on her golf handicap and “maybe sit on a few boards to keep the brain cells ticking”.

But instead she is already in the arms of another suitor, French-flagged Ponant Cruises, revelling in the Gallic charms of this major player in boutique, small ship adventure cruising.

IMG_20140206_181817While no-one is doubting Sarina’s tenacity in trying to keep the relationship with Orion and its investors going, it was time to call it quits when the high profile global eco-operator, Lindblad National Geographic Expeditions moved in.

Orion, like it or not, is going to a different home. A home where the champagne flows less frequently and the style of ‘luxury boutique’ cruising is largely a thing of the past.

The French, however, just get it. They understand that Moet and glaciers can co-exist and that  fine dining and fjords are a perfect fit and founder and CEO of Compagnie du Ponant, Jean Emmanuel Sauvee, is in lock step with Sarina on this.

“Australians are an important part of our global marketing strategy and Ponant is both the world’s youngest fleet of adventure vessels as well as the largest mover of passengers in polar regions,” he says.

In 2015, Compagnie du Ponant will have four identical 250-passenger ships in all the world’s key regions, effectively delivering – on a plate – exactly what Sarina wanted for Orion in the medium to long-term.

It might be too early to call it a marriage made in heaven, but the signs are there and the stars are certainly aligned for the effusive Sarina and suave Jean Emmanuel. We’ll all be watching closely.

Written by Roderick Eime

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