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Cruises, Special Cruise Deals, Cruise Lines, Cruse Destinations, Luxury Cruises…Everything About Cruises by Travel Author/Editor Lillian Africano

Opera with a Twist on an 8-Day Ponant Cruise



Limited Time Savings of up to 20% Available

A vibrant mix of solos, duets and quartets from famed operas such as Don Giovanni, Tosca, The Magic Flute, La Boheme, Rigoletto and Carmen – topped off by a grand operatic brindisi finale from La Traviata – await guests on Compagnie du Ponant’s 8-day “Musical: Bel Canto” cruise.

Ponant's luxury yacht L'Austral.

The July 13, 2012 departure aboard the 264-passenger L’Austral, rated as a “Cleanship” by Bureau Veritas, takes in nine ports as it sails roundtrip from Venice on an exploration of the Adriatic Sea.  Highlights include the island of Hvar, known for Gothic and Renaissance art; and Pula, famous for its numerous ancient Roman ruins — including one of the largest surviving Roman arenas.  Optional excursions range from a visit to the Sibenik & Krka Waterfalls to a walking tour of Dubrovnik, which can be purchased individually or as part of two new packages, saving up to 10%.  As with all Compagnie du Ponant cruises, guests enjoy stylish accommodations, excellent foods and wines, and attentive personalized service.

Fares are currently being offered at a discount of up to 20% under Ponant’s Bonus program – the more in advance the booking, the greater the savings – with resulting prices of $3,102 to $8,517 (regularly $3,878 to $10,020).

The cruise’s initial port of Venice, the birthplace of Vivaldi and a key player in the history of opera, sets the tone for the voyage to come.  Arriving in Dalmatia, the ship visits Sibenik, the oldest Croatian town on the Adriatic’s eastern coast, and the Mediterranean city of Split, built around the ancient Roman Palace of the Emperor Diocletian.  In Korčula, guests are free to explore the town’s impressive series of alleyways, squares and charming homes with roofs the color of blood oranges, while Dubrovnik – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – offers an architecturally rich mix of palaces, monuments and white stone churches.  After visiting Kotor, a secluded port in Montenegro encircled by an impressive city wall, the yacht visits two historical Croatian ports – each a seeming time machine into centuries past: Hvar, known for its Franciscan Monastery and the view from its fortress, and Pula, a center of Roman relics that includes the Arch of the Sergii and the co-eval temple of Rome and Augustus.  After a stop in the bustling fishing town of Rovinj, L’Austral returns to Venice, where guests can add a pre- or post-cruise program featuring a chartered boat ride to San Basillo quay.

Compagnie du Ponant offers a range of excursions, each delving deeper into the ports visited, that can be purchased individually or as part of two new specials: the Freedom Excursions Package and the Classic Excursions Package.  The Freedom Excursions Package grants guests a 10% discount for shore excursions purchased during the cruise, with a minimum of one shore excursion each day, while the Classic Excursions Package bundles four popular excursions – Sibenik & Krka Waterfalls, mini tour of Montenegro with lunch, Dubrovnik Walking Tour and a tour of Pula and its amphitheatre – for the discounted price of $259.  The Classic Excursions Package must be booked and paid in full at least seven days prior to cruise departure.

The 466-foot L’Austral mega-yacht affords guests the feeling of sailing on a private yacht while also providing them with all of the comforts of a true vacation.  .  It boasts two restaurants specializing in both haute and country French cuisine, an open-air bar, spacious lounges, a library, a theater, a fully equipped spa in partnership with Sothys, a fitness area, a swimming pool, a games area, and a crew of 139.  The 132 cabins, most with private balconies, have king-size or twin beds, a desk, minibar, dressing table, marble baths with showers, and L’Occitane bath products.  Guests will also find all the latest technology in these cabins, including flat-screen satellite televisions, iPod docking stations and Wi-Fi.

L’Austral’s “Cleanship” rating is in recognition that it exceeds the MARPOL convention for waste treatment, antifouling or propulsion systems – an exclusive label given to a select few vessels.

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.

Established in 1988, Compagnie du Ponant is a member of both La Charte Bleue d’Armateurs de France and IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators). All of Compagnie du Ponant’s ships and cruise itineraries are designed to protect marine wildlife, coastal environments and local flora and fauna.

Compagnie du Ponant’s North American sales office is located at: 2 Biscayne Boulevard, Suite 2000, Miami, Florida 33131.  For reservations and further information, call: 1-305-398-9849 or toll free: 1-888-400-1082; fax: 1-877-533-3043; email: or go to

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