Ponant eyes the South Pacific with Paul Gauguin Cruises acquisition


French luxury line Ponant has acquired Paul Gauguin Cruises, which specialises in boutique cruising in the South Pacific.

Paul Gauguin Cruises has only one ship in their fleet, a 332-guest Paul Gauguin that has been sailing in the South Pacific year-round since 1997.

The two brands will continue to remain separate in Ponant’s plans to expand their fleet in the South Pacific. Ponant has added six new ships over three years, bringing their rapidly expanding fleet to 14 by 2020.

The Paul Gauguin has won several awards including best Midsize-Ship Cruise Line in Travel + Leisure’s 2019 World’s Best Awards. She will be reflagged in France next year.

The ship is specifically designed for the shallow ports in the French Polynesia and offers a posh experience without pretentiousness.

“Our guests can now select from a wider range of iconic destinations and become enriched by cultural and expedition cruises of their choice, that literally travel to the ends of the earth from the most remote ports to more perennial favourites, on our combined fleet of small ships,” said Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée, Founder and President of Ponant, in a statement.

“We share the same core values. The synergy between our operations makes this the perfect collaboration while preserving the unique DNA of both brand experiences.”

Monique Ponfort, Vice President Asia Pacific for Ponant told Cruise Passenger that these two brands are of great value, and very close to each other in terms of attributes on the luxury small ship niche market.

“Our two companies share the same philosophy of authenticity, environmental consciousness, amazing destinations, small ships, respect and relationship with locals.”

“We intend to globally develop on a worldwide basis in parallel the two brands. We are indeed considering expanding our fleet in this region. However, it is too early to be more specific on this subject.”

Ponant says the two cruise lines will keep their management, with Diane Moore acting as CEO of Paul Gauguin with her team still based in Bellevue, Washington, and Navin Sawhney acting as CEO Americas of Ponant, based in New York.