On 13th July, 2022, PONANT’s expedition icebreaking cruise ship ‘Le Commandant Charcot’ reached the geographic North Pole with guests on board.
Last September, she became the first French vessel to reach this latitude but without carrying guests.
“It is with great humility, and emotion that we have reached this latitude, each of us aware of the exceptional character of this moment we have been living,” said Capt Patrick Marchesseau, the vessel’s Master.
‘Le Commandant Charcot’ is also the first hybrid-electric cruise ship powered by LNG to accommodate scientific research teams on board, with their own dedicated work areas.
In addition, PONANT recently expanded its US operations.
Bert van Middendorp, was appointed development director hotel experience; Natasha Hanson, expedition exploration director; and Vanessa Kraus, as director of marketing, Americas.
This announcement followed the news that PONANT subsidiary Paul Gauguin Cruises had appointed Susan Robison, general manager, sales and marketing; and Liz Coleman, Vice President of sales.
With more than 30 years of experience in the cruise and hospitality industry, Van Middendorp is responsible for managing the on board hotel experience across PONANT’s fleet.
Before joining PONANT, he led teams at Seabourn, Cunard, Crystal and Azamara.
Hanson now oversees all expeditions and excursion activities for Ponant. She also manages the team of expedition guides, excursion managers and local guides.
Previously, Hanson was the senior operations manager at Crystal Cruises as head of expeditions. She has held various positions at Holland America Group and Hurtigruten, besides working as an expedition leader at Seabourn Cruise Line and Poseidon Expeditions.
As director of marketing, Americas, Kraus will be responsible for continuing to build awareness and drive bookings for the brand’s portfolio.
She joins PONANT with over 15 years of brand management and communications experience.
Van Middendorp and Kraus are based in New York, while Hanson is based in Seattle.