Ponant is beefing up its presence in the South Pacific with a new plan to acquire Paul Gauguin Cruises. Ponant says that, following the acquisition, the two cruise lines will keep their management, with Diane Moore acting as CEO of Paul Gauguin with her team still based in Bellevue, WA, and Navin Sawhney acting as CEO Americas of Ponant, based in New York.
In a written statement Ponant President and Founder Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée said that the acquisition would broaden the range of destinations that the company is able to offer to its guests.
"This is an exciting and very logical fit for these two brands," Vicky Garcia, COO and co-owner, Cruise Planners, said in a statement provided to Travel Agent. "Both are very niche and targeted, although small, so the consolidation totally makes sense. Ponant has a great team, and our relationship and trust with Edie Rodriguez in the leadership truly makes this a no-brainer."
Sawhney noted that the deal comes as Ponant is expanding its fleet to 14 ships by 2021. Most recently the luxury brand took delivery of Le Dumont-d’Urville, the ninth ship in its fleet and the fourth in its Explorer series.
The Explorer ships, four of which have ben delivered over the past 12 months, have 92 rooms and suites, along with the signature “Blue Eye” underwater lounge. That space, which is slung below the ship, allows guests to experience the underwater world through two giant windows meant to resemble the eyes of a whale looking out to the seabed. Non-intrusive underwater spotlights provide lighting, while hydrophones built into the ship’s keel capture the sounds of the sea. The area is furnished with “Body Listening” sofas that vibrate in unison with the sounds.
Next up for Ponant is the debut of Le Bellot, which is scheduled to launch in April 2020. After that, Le Jacques-Cartier will sail in July 2020 and Le Commandant-Charcot in May 2021.