Le Ponant Antarctica  B Low Res.Q – We’ve read a great deal about some of the programs using, I guess renting is the right term, boats from the Ponant Line. My lovely wife has agreed to join me on my dream trip to Antarctica in 2017. Is this the right line. I figure of Abercrombie & Kent and Tauck use them they must be OK, but I wonder about their financial stability this far out. By the way, my wife has absolutely no interest in this cruise. She feels we will be spending a great deal of money to stare at miles of ice. She will be reading your response, as will several of our friends in Ann Arbor.

A – Actually, Le Ponant is growing. They recently purchased the assets of Travel Dynamics and they now have a real office in Manhattan. Personally, we believe that this French-held company is one of the best financed of the small ship lines. So, no worries there. Your point about the quality of the companies that use these three nearly identical luxury yachts with ice-breaking hulls and the original, smaller sailing yacht, is extremely well taken. The top-end tour operators will not renew their contracts with any cruise supplier who does not rank extremely high in the matter of guest satisfaction. It is a sort of guarantee.

Ponant has offices in France and is now sourcing guests from the Asia-Pacific region via their new office in Australia. Cabins can be tight and some of the French-inspired service is a bit reserved. But they are among the world’s Top Ten Cruise Lines currently and we expect them to remain on the list through our next series of evaluation reports.

Your wife may think she can get the same experience available on a cruise to Antarctica by staring at the ice-cube tray in the frig for a few hours a day. Our approach would be not to try to sell the destination. It will sell itself once she boards. Instead, we think that each spouse has to be allowed, with support from their loved ones, to live through their own, personal bucket list. That’s what love is all about. She is right – you will be spending a lot of money. But it strikes us that you are on the right track. Be aware that the books for 2017 are now open. Antarctica generally requires a 14-16 month booking window.