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Antarctica Compagniedu PonantUpscale French cruise line Compagnie du Ponant is offering would-be cruisers to the Antarctic some sizable savings for select sailings this fall and winter. A notoriously expense cruising journey, Ponant offers a top-of-the-line experience to the White Continent aboard its luxurious yachts, and is now slashing rates by up to 20 percent on seven sailings between November 2011 and February 2012. Plus, they’ve extended the value even further by offering a $1,400 flight credit per cabin (or $700 per passenger), applicable towards airfare to the embarkation (and disembarkation) point in Ushuaia, Argentina.

Snag the reduced rates for select 11- or 16-night Antarctica itineraries aboard the 264-passenger sister mega-yachts L’Austral and Le Boreal, and be on your way to experience mesmerizing Antarctic landscapes of glaciers, icebergs, and the big blue ocean, all marked by wondrous wildlife like penguins, whales, and sea elephants. The yachts travel through the Drake Passage, and make several landings, including stops in Paradise Bay, Culverville, Deception Island, and Neko Harbor (the longer itinerary features additional calls in South Georgia and the Falklands). Notable naturalists and speakers onboard provide additional enrichment.


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We’ve been fairly googly-eyed over sleek Compangie du Ponant’s luxury-meets-eco-conscious ships since they made a push towards the American market a couple of years back, awarding the 18-month-old Le Boreal with the title of Best Expedition Cruise Ship Debut in 2010, and the more recently debuted L’Austral with the Best Small Ship Debut of 2011. Ponant’s presence has redefined the Antarctic market (where no-frills has long been the mantra of the expedition-style ships that brave the journey), with their sumptuous ships offering all of the extras you’ve come to expect of high-end cruising, including a swimming pool, theater, library, comprehensive spa, and more.

The lowest promotional rates, while still pricey at $4,860, are a deal when considering they’re reduced from $6,075. Plus, rates are inclusive of wine, beer, and soda during meals. Book by December 31 to secure the promotional flight credit. www.ponant.com

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