Today I'd Go ... to the South Pacific

Amy Bertrand, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 10, 2011

Every Thursday I write about a place I'd love to visit ... if only ....

Today I'm dreaming about a cruise through the South Pacific (yes, I'm humming the tune to "Bali Hai").

Compagnie du Ponant's newest mega-yacht, L'Austral, takes cruisers to the white sand beaches in Fiji, rainforests in French Polynesia, Australia's Great Barrier Reef and more.

From the email:

Two March itineraries are designed for the traveler who prefers visits to off-the-beaten-path, unspoiled destinations, on a ship that is well-suited to sailing into the smaller, less-visited ports, especially one that has been rated as a "Cleanship" by Bureau Veritas. The 16-day "Papeete -- Noumea itinerary," departing March 2, visits 10 ports between French Polynesia and New Caledonia, including the stunning island of Moorea, named "the most beautiful island in the world" by Arthur Frommer, and Fiji's capital city of Suva, home to a large expat community. On March 17, L'Austral sets sail on its 15-day "Noumea -- Darwin" itinerary, exploring several French and Australian treasures, such as the Isle of Pines, nicknamed l'île la plus proche du paradis ("the closest island to paradise"), and the Great Barrier Reef. Stylish accommodations, elegant design, and discrete and attentive personalized service -- assured by a staff to guest ratio of greater than 1:2 -- all contribute to the guest's "private yachting experience." Prices range from $6,075 to $16,070 per person, double, for the "Papeete -- Noumea" itinerary and $5,670 to $14,998 for "Noumea -- Darwin."

Included in all 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.

For reservations and further information, call: 1-305-398-9849 or toll free: 1-888-400-1082; fax: 1-877-533-3043; email: [email protected] or go to