Compagnie du Ponant’s newest mega-yacht, L’Austral, takes opera enthusiasts from Suez to Venice on its 12-day “Et Vogue l'Opéra” cruise, departing May 10. The cruise features the music of Jules Massenet, Mozart, Rossini, Puccini, Delibes and Verdi, as performed by accomplished artists. Onboard events include Apér’Opéra (cocktails with guests and performers), and Operatic-themed lectures from experts such as Dr. Elizabeth Fresnel, an author and phoniatrician who specializes in the voice as related to memory.
Returning artistic and stage director Jean-Francois Vinciguerra directs a selection of compositions on board and in private concerts ashore. Featured performers include dancer Eugenie Andrin, known for her choreography work in Parisian musicals and operatic ballets; Swiss soprano Brigitte Hool, awarded the Parisian Prize Trofemina; and Fabrice di Falco, who has performed before Denmark’s Queen.
Guests looking for a shorter version of the cruise can join the itinerary for seven days (May 10-16) on the sailing from Suez to Itea, or join the second half of the journey for six days (May 16-21) from Itea to Venice. Fares are currently being offered at a 30 percent discount under Ponant’s bonus program: the more in advance the booking, the greater the savings. Reduced prices range from $3,910 to $9,885 per person, double for the 12-day option; $2,542 to $6,459 for seven days; and $2,093 to $5,314 for six days.
Embarking from the city of Suez, L’Austral makes its way through the Suez Canal from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, and explores Lebanon’s capital city of Beirut. Guests visit Greek ports including Rhodes, Nafplion, Itea and Parga. The ship spends a day in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Dubrovnik, and visits the largest of the Dalmatian Islands, Split, centered around the ancient Roman Palace of the Emperor Diocletian. After a stop in the fishing port of Rovinj, L’Austral leaves Croatia and sails to its final port of Venice, where guests may choose to add a post-cruise tour of St. Mark’s Square.
The 466-foot L’Austral mega-yacht instills a feeling of sailing on a private yacht while also providing guests all of the comforts of a true vacation. The “Cleanship”-rated ship -- given to a select group of vessels that exceed the MARPOL convention for waste treatment, antifouling or propulsion systems -- boasts two restaurants – both haute and country French, several lounges, theater, games area, two open-air bars, a swimming pool, library, fitness area, sun decks and spa in partnership with Paris’s Sothys. The 132 staterooms, 124 with private balconies, have king size or twin beds, desk, minibar, dressing table, marble baths with showers, L’Occitane products, flat screen satellite TVs and Wi-Fi.
Included in sailings are all meals, accompanied by wine, beer and soda; Captain’s welcome aboard cocktail party and gala dinner; 24-hour room service; and all entertainment, events and shows as indicated within the itinerary. Port charges/taxes, gratuities, optional excursions and transfers are additional.