Po­nant Je T’aime

SLOW Magazine - - Editor's Choice -

When you think of nau­ti­cal stripes, an im­age of French sailors should pop into your mind. There are 21 blue-and­white hor­i­zon­tal stripes on their jer­sey, and it is as iconic and French as the Eif­fel Tower. French sailors have be­lieved through­out his­tory that their bold stripes make them eas­ier to spot should they ever fall over­board. But for now, let’s stay on board and turn our fo­cus to the lux­ury French yacht Po­nant’s Le Lyr­ial, which has the black-and­white striped flag of Brit­tany on its for­ward mast. Ev­ery­thing about Po­nant, and its Le Lyr­ial , is quintessen­tially French.

Think about the el­e­gance and com­fort of your favourite French bou­tique ho­tel, add to that cui­sine from Miche­lin-starred chefs and a healthy dose of ad­ven­ture, and you’re sail­ing on-board a Po­nant yacht, billed as the new­est fleet on the seas. The seem­ingly small ship de­liv­ers big-hearted ser­vice from the French of­fi­cers and the in­ter­na­tional crew. Even in the el­e­gance of the fine-din­ing restau­rant, the ser­vice is warm and never makes guests feel out of place. It re­mains a mys­tery how our room­ser­vice at­ten­dant, Michael, was as cheer­ful be­fore dawn when he brought our cof­fee on a sil­ver tray, as he was when we pass him in the cor­ri­dors af­ter a late din­ner. With 144 crew mem­bers and a max­i­mum of 244 guests, Le Lyr­ial may have one of the high­est guest-to-staff ra­tios of any cruise ship on the seas, which would ac­count for the per­fect ser­vice. On leav­ing Cape Town, we got a taste of why the port is called the Cape of Storms. We were quite con­fi­dent and felt very safe on board as this ex­plorer-class ship was built to nav­i­gate the Po­lar re­gions, and was de­signed with two more anti-roll sta­bi­liz­ers than most plea­sure ves­sels. If, like me, you’ve cruised on larger ships, you will know first-hand the con­fu­sion of find­ing your way around the ship, more akin to a small town. Le Lyr­ial is tiny by com­par­i­son to the gi­ants that sail the seas, with just 122 cab­ins, 114 of which have bal­conies, so it hardly took a mo­ment to find our way around. Our Pres­tige State­room was per­fectly com­fort­able with the ben­e­fit of in­di­vid­ual cli­mate con­trol, a state-of-the-art smart TV and vast se­lec­tion of mu­sic and movies, plus an iphone dock­ing sta­tion. When you open up the screens across the win­dows, you are treated to a grand view of the sea. Decor in the state­room, and through­out the ship, is in con­tem­po­rary hues of blue and white with won­der­ful linens, fabrics and feather-filled dec­o­ra­tive cush­ions. As you’d ex­pect in a fine five-star ho­tel, here too there is a se­lec­tion of pil­low types from a ded­i­cated menu.

Al­though the ma­jor­ity of guests on our cruise from Cape Town to Dur­ban were French speak­ing, all an­nounce­ments were made in both French and English. There were two guest lec­tur­ers on board, a South African art ex­pert, Des­mond Col­borne, and Luc Ferry, the for­mer French Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion, a pub­lished au­thor and cel­e­brated philoso­pher.

The first ques­tion when not­ing the over 1,800 km dis­tance the ship will travel, is how the jour­ney is eight days, but by air it’s a mere two hours. The an­swer is sim­ple – a Po­nant

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.