ABOVE: L'Austral is a 264-passenger megayacht that caters to a French- and English-speaking clientele.
Compagnie du Ponant, a French cruise line that serves the small-ship luxury market, is combining music with maritime pursuits during its 2012 summer and fall season. This year's musical cruises include such themes as "Magic Platters," "Mamma Mia!" (in French), chamber music, and opera.
- On July 13, Ponant's newest ship--the megayacht L'Austral--will depart Venice on one of its many Adriatic roundtrip cruises from Venice this season. The July 13th voyage will have a "Bel Canto" theme, with a mixture of solos, duets, and quartets from operas such as Don Giovanni, Tosca, The Magic Flute, La Bohème, Rigoletto, and Carmen.
- On September 28, L'Austral will offer "symphonies and Sifnos, rhapsodies and Rhodes" as it sets off on a eight-day cruise from Athens to Istanbul. Performers aboard the ship will include the New York-based Rose Colored Glasses Chamber Ensemble and the Swiss-born American pianist Gilles Vonsattel. Passengers will be treated to six concerts during the voyage, featuring the music of Beethoven, Sibelius, Ravel, Brahms, Schnittke, Debussy, Milhaud, Liszt, Schumann, and Dvorak.
Although Compagnie du Ponant is based in Marseille, the company has an international following, and most of the line's cruise staff are fluent in both French and English.
We'll be publishing a first-hand report on an Adriatic cruise with L'Austral later in the summer, but in the meantime, you can learn about Compagnie du Ponant and its cruises (including advance-purchase discounts and other special offers) at www.ponant.com.
Ship image: Compagnie du Ponant.