March 18th, 2022
Le Ponant, the company’s iconic three-mast sailing yacht, launches a new itinerary, ‘The Seychelles under the trade winds,’ with 11 departures in the Winter 2022-2023 season. Following a complete refit led by Jean-Philippe Nuel Studio, Le Ponant now accommodates just 16 staterooms, offering an intimate sailing adventure in the Seychelles archipelago.
Sailing roundtrip from Mahé, the nine-night itinerary explores a new island each day including two new ports of call for PONANT – the African Banks north of the Amirante Islands and Thérèse Island. Fringed by white sandy beaches, these uninhabited islands will be exclusive hosts to PONANT guests for the day. Venturing as close as possible to the fauna and flora of the Seychelles, an expedition leader, three naturalist guides, and a free diver instructor will be on ship to lead excursions, conferences, and discussions on the region’s biodiversity. Highlighted activities include scuba diving, free diving initiation, yoga at sunrise and sunset led by a yoga expert, meditation, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and outings in glass-bottomed kayaks. As a prelude to the Seychelles, guests also have the option to book a one-night pre-cruise program – sleeping under the stars in an eco-lodge nestled into the dunes on the Arabian Peninsula desert. Rates start from $10,890 per person. The itineraries depart from November 22, 2022 – February 20, 2023. For more information, please find the full itinerary listed here.
Having been completely renovated with a sleek sophisticated design by the Jean-Philippe Nuel Studio, the end result is an intimate setting with only 16 staterooms for a maximum of 32 guests. Le Ponant, a symbol of PONANT’s ongoing commitment to responsible tourism since the beginning, is now fitted with the latest technological innovations to reduce her impact on the region. Le Ponant, which will navigate under sail as often as possible, includes other improvements such as a dockside connection, an innovative system of SCR filters to eliminate fine particles and reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 90%, waste sorting, and a state-of-the-art water treatment system. No detail has been overlooked to preserve and honor the local heritage and community.
Please find hi-res images linked here. Photo credit details are noted in the file name.
Founded in 1988 by French Merchant Navy officers, PONANT offers a new style of cruises under the French flag with its own concept of sea travel and commitment to promoting sustainable and responsible tourism. Centered around sailing to exceptional and unusual destinations aboard refined design yachts, where lifestyle and excellent cuisine take pride of place, the promise of a voyage with PONANT is that it will be truly unique and authentic. For more information: us.ponant.com.
March 16th, 2022
While Italy and Spain are perennial favorites (both are topping Virtuoso’s list of most-booked international destinations this year), this year brings dreamy new experiences and buzzy cultural events that beckon new visitors. In Venice, don’t miss Peggy Guggenheim Museum’s first large-scale international loan exhibition, Surrealism and Magic. And if your travels take you to the Amalfi Coast, organize a side trip to the sister island of Procida—a short ferry from Naples—which was dubbed Italy’s Capital of Culture for 2022.
Filtered through the lens of Belmond, visitors will experience the splendor of a European summer like never before. Drift along the Italian Riviera in a traditional gozzo fishing boat, tour an artist’s Sicilian studio inside a former monastery, and enjoy Spanish guitar melodies amid a 15th-century winery on Mallorca. Access is everything, and guests of Belmond get front-row seats to these region’s most spectacular landscapes, experiences, and attractions.
At Splendido Mare and sister property, Splendido, discover the Portofino that has lured artists and writers to the coastal town throughout the centuries. Following a complete restoration that debuted last summer, Splendido Mare is the epitome of Italian glamor, with a picturesque location overlooking the yacht-filled harbor and 14 rooms filled with Ulrich Guglielmo armchairs, Carrara marble surfaces, and works by Italian painter Gabriele Cappelli. Off-property, guests can walk in the footsteps of aristocrats and artists including Peter Paul Rubens by touring two private palaces that date back to the 16th century. Or play out private villa fantasies at a pair of cliff-hugging private residences surrounded by herb gardens and overlooking the shimmering sea. For deeper immersion in nature, plan a sunrise hike to a sustainable eco-farm overlooking the Ligurian Sea, where you can wander around olive groves and vegetable gardens and feast on local delicacies.
A quick jaunt away is Splendido, a Portofino icon housed inside a 16th-century monastery. Take a motorboat to the secluded bay of San Fruttuoso or drift along tranquil waters on traditional gozzo fishing boats, exploring secret coves and hidden bays. At the vineyard of La Portofinese—the only vineyard in Portofino with views of the Ligurian Sea—walk through sloping vines while tasting local grape varieties like Vermentino and Bianchetta Genovese.
Over the next few months, Italy’s floating city will host several can’t miss cultural events, including the Arte Laguna Prize, the Surrealism and Magic exhibition at Peggy Guggenheim Museum, and the Venice Biennale. There’s never been a better moment to visit—and at Belmond’s Cipriani, the city’s most iconic stay, guests will have access to exclusive experiences that will deepen their perspectives and whisk them away from the crowds. During tours of the Fondazione Cini Library and the 13th-century Library San Francesco della Vigna, rare books and preserved manuscripts will be on exclusive display for Belmond guests. Meanwhile, at the tiny island of Giudecca, guests will tour medieval pharmacies, visit an authentic gondola boatyard, and meet one of the last “moecante” (soft-shelled green crab) fishing families.
A hidden treasure of the Amalfi Coast, Ravello is known for its cliffside gardens and dramatic Tyrrhenian Sea scenery. And Caruso, an 11th-century palace set on a cliff’s edge 1,000 feet above sea level, features all the worldly luxuries anyone could desire—paintings by old masters, marble-clad hallways, a pool that appears to drop into the sea below. Go beyond the usual tourist sites and enjoy exclusive access to secret underground networks deep below the historic town, where you’ll discover archeological treasures from Roman times. And while Amalfi is synonymous with hairpin turns and ribbon-like highways that stretch along the coastline, locals know that there’s a better way to discover the scenery: a hike along the Path of the Gods, an ancient route that links Agerola and Nocelle and offers hair-raising views. An expert guide will join you as you climb into the mountains and picnic on local specialties before descending 1,680 steps to the bustling town below.
Travelers are finally catching onto Sicily’s diverse charms. With two glamorous hideaways on Italy’s boot, Belmond can offer every perspective on the island. Grand Hotel Timeo is a private home reborn as a lush tropical paradise. The enchanting hotel is located in the seaside commune of Taormina, on the island’s east coast, where it offers commanding views of Mount Etna, Naxos Bay, and beyond. Go on a private tour of artist Sergio Fiorentino’s private atelier, head to a winery on the slopes of Mount Etna for lunch and a tasting, or see the sights from above on a helicopter tour.
Set on a craggy coastline on the secluded Bay of Mazzaro, Villa Sant’Andrea has been dazzling visitors since the 1950s. Sit on a cabana on the hotel’s private beach, or set off to explore the island’s full range of adventures and experiences. Catch a show at the ancient Greek Theater with Mount Etna as your backdrop, or sail along the Sicilian coast to the charming town of Aci Trezza to meet members of the Rodolico family, who have been building handcrafted boats since 1908. For further local immersion, spend an afternoon with a fisherman and enjoy lunch inside his home overlooking the Messina Strait.
Florence is synonymous with the Renaissance—what better way to immerse yourself in the period by staying at Villa San Michele, a former medieval monastery whose 15th-century façade is attributed to Michelangelo? Nestled in the Fiesole hills, the historic hotel is surrounded by lush woodland and terraced gardens, with views of the Chianti hills in the distance. Meet local makers and craftsmen who are powering Florence’s New Renaissance, enjoy a private visit to the Zeffirelli Museum where you’ll be personally greeted by the family, and end the day with a meditation session in a tranquil corner of the Leonardo woodland.
Mallorca is an island of many sides, and at La Residencia, guests can truly choose their own adventures. Wedged between the Mediterranean and the island’s spectacular Tramuntana mountains, the boutique jewel is steeped in soulfulness, with 800 works from local painters, 35 rooms and 32 suites set inside 16th-century manor houses, and easy access to the magical village of Deià. In a remote enclave near Alucudia, the Fundacion Yannick y Ben Jakober is a cultural institution comprising an underground art gallery, a sculpture park, and a rose garden with over a hundred varieties of old English roses. Belmond guests can round out their visits by touring a neighboring country estate and enjoying a picnic on the grounds of the Sa Bassa Blanca museum. For a different feast of the senses, meet acclaimed winemaker Javier Jara for a walk through his 15th-century winery, Son Sureda Ric. The experience will conclude with a bossa nova performance amid vines, with Javier on the guitar and his talented wife, Carmè, on vocals.
March 16th, 2022
On February 27, 2022, PONANT’s Le Commandant Charcot set a new world record in reaching the latitude of 78°44.3’ South, the closet geographic latitude to the South Pole located in the Bay of Whales in the Ross Sea.
Captain Patrick Marchesseau, who was at the helm, describes the moment when the vessel reached this point, “The Bay of Whales was the point of departure for the Amundsen expedition which was the first to reach the South Pole on December 14, 1911. The temperature was around -15°C. It was in this beautiful landscape, as striking as the cold which reigns here, that Le Commandant Charcot reached 78°44.3’ South, which is the closest geographical latitude to the South Pole by sea on the entire Antarctic continent.”
The latest addition to the PONANT fleet, Le Commandant Charcot is the first hybrid electric high polar exploration ship powered by liquified natural gas (LNG). It is a leading innovation that signals the company’s commitment to sustainable tourism and to minimizing the environmental impact. A ship of scientific opportunity, she is also the only cruise ship to host researchers on board and provide them with a dedicated scientific laboratory. With Le Commandant Charcot, PONANT is collaborating with the scientific world to collect data and gain new insights into these extreme polar regions with that society becomes the best ambassadors once experienced firsthand.
Founded in 1988 by French Merchant Navy officers, PONANT offers a new style of cruises under the French flag with its own concept of sea travel and commitment to promoting sustainable and responsible tourism. Centered around sailing to exceptional and unusual destinations aboard refined design yachts, where lifestyle and excellent cuisine take pride of place, the promise of a voyage with PONANT is that it will be truly unique and authentic. For more information: us.ponant.com