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Hot news…PONANT’s Australia cruise booking going gangbusters and new CEO appointed.

March 10, 2021 Cruise News, Headline News No Comments Email Email

Deb Corbett, PONANT’s General Manager Sales & Marketing Asia Pacific told me yesterday that PONANT’s bookings over the past few days have been incredibly strong, adding that it shows the confidence the market has in PONANT’s Australian deployment, with only this week, PONANT increasing its Kimberley luxury expeditions to an unprecedented 26 departures in 2022, a significant expansion of PONANT’s Australian small ship luxury expeditions programme.

Deb Corbett said, “We have been simply amazed by the unrelenting demand for our 2021 Kimberley season, clearly confirming pent up local interest in immersive Australian coastal exploration voyages”, adding, “With the Kimberley being the absolute hallmark of Australian expedition destinations, for 2022 we are increasing the number of voyages to 26 to accommodate the continuing demand by Australians to explore our own backyard”, adding, “This means we will be increasing our already-significant presence in the Kimberley to the highest number we have ever offered, which will allow us to expand the 2022 season to include the end of the Big Wet, in March, for those who want to feel the power and majesty of the mighty rivers and waterfalls, through the peak humpback whale migration period and into September.”

She also revealed that “In order to provide this number of voyages, we are continuing with a second ship as permanent deployment within our expanded Kimberley portfolio. So, if choice, quality and expertise matter, then PONANT is the logical selection, even more so now with our continued commitment of two modern luxury expedition ships and an unprecedented 26 ‘Australia’s Iconic Kimberley’ 10-night departures on offer”, and “With so many voyages on offer between March and September 2022, guests will be able to select their preferred timing and choose between small-capacity Le Soléal, or Le Lapérouse” and “Either way, a Kimberley experience to remember, and a great opportunity for anyone who may currently be holding PONANT cruise credits”.

In addition, PONANT has announced the appointment of Hervé Gastinel as the company’s new CEO, saying that the appointment confirms the company’s objective to strengthen its position as market leader in luxury expedition cruising and its commitment to being the world leader in sustainable tourism.

PONANT, a subsidiary of Artemis since 2015 says it has significantly stepped up a gear by doubling its fleet over the last five years, with now it has twelve (soon to be thirteen) vessels, including Le Ponant, the historic sailing yacht and Le Commandant Charcot, the world’s first hybrid-electric luxury polar exploration vessel powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), due for delivery in a few months.

François Pinault, Artemis’ founder and manager, said: “I am delighted with the arrival of Hervé Gastinel, he is a true sailing enthusiast, who has all the skills to transform this wonderful company and facilitate the resumption of operations”, adding, “After a difficult year, the next months will be decisive in accelerating Ponant’s development for the coming financial years” and he also made a point of thanking “the visionary creator who is Jean Emmanuel Sauvée”, the outgoing CEO of PONANT.

Hervé Gastinel is said to be a true enthusiast of the sea and ships, a former officer-cadet and watch captain, who owns a yacht, well-known on the regatta circuit and is an experienced deep-sea sailor, he took over the reins of the Beneteau group, a world leader in pleasure craft, between 2015 and 2019, increasing its turnover from €970 million to more than €1.3 billion.

After studying management at ESSEC, finance at Dauphine and public management at Sciences Po and ENA, he worked on various projects at the General Inspectorate of Finance before becoming technical advisor to the President of the French Senate, responsible for the economy, finance and new technologies.

Said to have been overtaken by a desire for “the concrete and operational”, Hervé Gastinel joined Saint Gobain as Planning and Strategy Director and he went on to manage the building materials company, Terreal, which has 25 manufacturing sites around the world, before joining the Beneteau Group and he also remains a Senior Advisor for the consulting firm EIM.

A report by John Alwyn-Jones

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