FACE-2FACE: Monique Ponfoort
Cruise Weekly caught up with Monique Poonfort, vice president, Asia Pacific, PONANT Yacht Cruises & Expeditions, ahead of her appearance on a panel at tomorrow’s Cruise360 conference in Sydney.
1. What is your favourite part of the job?
Rising to the challenge of building a premium cruise brand - it’s such a great product that sits outside mainstream mass-market cruising. Young fleet, new ships, environmentally responsible and innovative.
2. What a racted you to a career in the cruise industry?
The true spirit of adventure, lack of boundaries, and love of the sea. I can now enrich others and awaken their sense of wonder.
3. What is key to success in the cruise industry?
Working with a driven team of talented and united individuals – it’s magic. Hard work. Passion. Tireless energy.
4. Biggest challenge facing the industry?
“Me too” product/sameness - destinations that lose their individual identity. Always be true to your brand.
5. Advice for up and comers? Work hard and play hard. Be energetic. Know your customers. Take a deep breath & throw yourself in at the deep end, you will surprise yourself.
6. What was your best famil? PONANT Indonesian/Spice Islands. Komodo Island was incredible, and I will never forget Mount Bromo by Jeep and horseback.
7. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Running PONANT Expeditions for Asia Pacific... hang on, that’s what I do now! My role from here will continue to evolve and elevate naturally.
8. How do you like to wind down a er a busy week?
Family time at Manly beach. They are a great leveller to reduce pressure and create perspective. Wine helps too!
9. Which celebrity would you most like to cruise with?
Definitely Jean Reno, a truly talented French actor. I will never forget “The Big Blue” shot in the French Antibes.
10. What should the cruise ship of the future look like?
Let’s make a purposebuilt expedition cruise ship. Compact, manoeuvrable, luxurious and environmentally responsible. It’s already here - PONANT!