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11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise line and ship for it's supposed 5 star rating and it's small number of passengers. We had previously been on two cruises on the Paul Gauguin out of Tahiti which were fantastic so we expected a similar ... Read More
We chose this cruise line and ship for it's supposed 5 star rating and it's small number of passengers. We had previously been on two cruises on the Paul Gauguin out of Tahiti which were fantastic so we expected a similar experience as the two ships are of similar size and capacity. We booked to travel from Noumea to New Zealand over 14 days spending Christmas and New Year on board expecting something quite special. It only took a couple of days to realise that there was a shortage of staff in the lounge/bar/entertainment area on deck 3. The lounge was nice and comfortable but could not accommodate a lot of guests and when there were quite a few there we found it could take up to an hour to get a drink. There was often only one waiter and one barman who just couldn't cope with all the orders. Sometimes the bar manager was in attendance however he did not arrange more staff and seemed more interested in talking with the French guests. We are English speakers only and it appeared that the French would receive more attention. There is a nice piano bar on deck 6 which we liked to attend however there were a few instances when the piano player was performing and the bar was closed. When the bar was open Alex, the barman, was excellent with his service and did his best for all. The a la carte restaurant on deck 2 was very nice but also short staffed when busy. The quality and range of the food was only average and the wine selection very limited. They had one particular white, red and rose house wine available each day which were very average. They had 3 chardonnays and one chablis the whole trip which were included in the open bar. If you wanted a sav blanc you had to pay 8 euros a glass. The rest of the open bar drinks were quite extensive so the cocktails, spirits and beers were plentiful. The buffet restaurant on deck 6 was always crowded which seemed to be a poor reflection on the a la carte one. The food was also average with some uncomfortable push and shove around the serveries. The cabin was very nice with sufficient storage. The cabin cleaner, Putu, was excellent and could not do enough for us. As we had visited New Zealand previously we did not do any shore excursions. We would just get off the ship for a few hours and explore the current port which was enjoyable. We spoke to quite a few other guests who had been on previous Ponant cruises who stated that they had really enjoyed their previous trips however were similarly disappointed with this one. It seems that the Ponant is great for expeditions but not so good for just cruising. We both picked up a 24/48 hour stomach bug at different times during the cruise and later discovered that this happened to several other guests also. We can only assume that this might have had something to to with the full offload of the ships stores in Auckland to be replaced by New Zealand produce which took all day at great cost. The official line was that this was a requirement of the New Zealand authorities. For 3 days there was a terrible smell on our deck which seemed to be vomit on the carpets however we were told a few days later that a sewer pipe had burst beneath the floor. This was not explained by the crew at any time. We would not go on another Ponant cruise after this trip. If asked we would recommend the Paul Gauguin over the Ponant. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Aside from major customer service issues... number one complaint was the food. Many passengers complained about the food. It was truly shockingly bad. Food was under cooked, over cooked, generally inedible. They served leftover tuna ... Read More
Aside from major customer service issues... number one complaint was the food. Many passengers complained about the food. It was truly shockingly bad. Food was under cooked, over cooked, generally inedible. They served leftover tuna steaks that were shriveled and tough. They served undercooked halibut that was slimy. IT WAS BAD. Couldn't even drink the coffee. It was bitter or burnt - they could not make a proper latte - only tried that a couple times. Truly for the price which was about 43K - this company should be ashamed of themselves. Ashamed. Don't spend so much money and go on a boat that has decent food! We suffered through this for 17 days, as did our fellow passengers. Every single meal and bar conversation had a gripe and complainer about the food. This is inexcusable. I have had better meals in hospitals and airports and from street vendors. This is no exaggeration. Stay away from this boat. The captain was great. One of the naturalists was great. The waiters great. Housekeeping great. The landings were good. One in particular even exceptional. But none of it made up for the food. Would not recommend this boat at all. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Travelling to Antarctica, the 7th continent on Board Le Boreal was the journey of a life time As we stepped on board we entered a world of comfort and luxury. The ship was elegant and classy. Staff were devoted, caring helpful and ... Read More
Travelling to Antarctica, the 7th continent on Board Le Boreal was the journey of a life time As we stepped on board we entered a world of comfort and luxury. The ship was elegant and classy. Staff were devoted, caring helpful and every so smiling. Service in the room, bars, dining areas and reception were impeccable. The expedition team was experienced and knowledgeable. All expeditions to the shore were extremely organised and well thought out to give us a real taste of expedition to the remotest land of the world. The dining on board was the best dining experience we ever had and staff in Deck 2 dining area were amazingly knowledgeable about drinks and food and so were the bar attendants. Our ever smiling cruise director Philippe was phenomenal with an eye for details and stunned us with a spectacular Christmas show and dinner. Entertainment was classy and all singers and dancers were brilliant. Overall the whole experience was seamless and the cruise will be etched in our memory forever. I would recommend this cruise ship to friends and family and I can guarantee that everyone will be blown away. Thanks again to all the staff of Le Boreal. I am already planning my next trip Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
After travelling with Silversea for some years we decided on the Ponant voyage to Antartica. From embarkation until we reluctantly left the ship in Ushaia we could not fault any part of Ponants service standards. The captain was visible ... Read More
After travelling with Silversea for some years we decided on the Ponant voyage to Antartica. From embarkation until we reluctantly left the ship in Ushaia we could not fault any part of Ponants service standards. The captain was visible throughout the expedition, guests were invited to the bridge, the cabins were spotless, even if somewhat smaller than Silver Sea. The onshore activities by professional naturalists were outstanding. The food and wines were of a superior standard also. My wife and I were joined by some 220 other people of all ages, about 60 from Australia and a further international mix. Our highlight was being invited to the Captains table for the farewell dinner. We stayed on deck three, minimising any rolling across the Drake Passage - however both crossings were relatively calm. All staff are friendly and get to know you by name fairly quickly. We have now booked for the Athens to Aquba cruise in 2019. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
Always wanted to go to Antarctica and to see Cape Horn. The charter flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia gave us the chance to spend time in the vibrant capital of Argentina as a bonus. Le Boreal was a fantastic ship; Goldilocks size, ... Read More
Always wanted to go to Antarctica and to see Cape Horn. The charter flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia gave us the chance to spend time in the vibrant capital of Argentina as a bonus. Le Boreal was a fantastic ship; Goldilocks size, luxurious and attentively crewed. Dining choices included the full service restaurant as well as a more casual grill. Live entertainment in the theatre was relaxing and fun and the same venue held briefings and information sessions during the day. Zodiak excursions were well planned and superbly executed by highly trained staff. The spectacular coastal scenery was complemented by lots of sea-ice and great icebergs, as well as penguins, orcas and humpback whales up close and personal. We appreciated the great care taken to preserve the pristine environment when shore excursions occurred, and the opportunity to visit a shore based research station occupied throughout the year. I feel every person on board disembarked both entertained and better informed about one of the world's great wilderness areas. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I choose this cruise to visit Antarctica. I enjoyed this cruise tremendously. The scenery was breathtaking. The crew was outstanding helping you in every way and enjoying what they do. The cabins were excellent and had plenty of room. The ... Read More
I choose this cruise to visit Antarctica. I enjoyed this cruise tremendously. The scenery was breathtaking. The crew was outstanding helping you in every way and enjoying what they do. The cabins were excellent and had plenty of room. The food was very good. Seeing the penguins, seals and humpback whales made the experience worth while. Getting in and out of the zodiacs was an experience not to be forgotten. The zodiacs got you to the shore where you were able to watch the penguins going about their daily duties of nest sitting and feeding. The males carrying the stones for nest building was very amusing as the females would accept or reject the stones. The humpback whales surfacing within 15 feet of the zodiac was stimulating. The only bad thing about the cruise was the internet charges in an area where the internet was very intermittent. Overall it was an excellent cruise and I will certainly use Ponant as my premier cruise line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I Liked the idea of a ship with good food and wine as well as the safety factor. May as well enjoy the Drake passage crossings. I wanted to get off using the zodiacs and this cruise had all that and terrific naturalists who had expertise ... Read More
I Liked the idea of a ship with good food and wine as well as the safety factor. May as well enjoy the Drake passage crossings. I wanted to get off using the zodiacs and this cruise had all that and terrific naturalists who had expertise in different areas. always willing to answer questions. Restaurant staff were so friendly and remembered you well. 2 x places to eat, both different, but the same attention to detail. I loved the shore excursions, but we took one trip in the zodiac through very icy seas to look at swimming penguins and fantastic icebergs. That trip was my favourite., I Think the website needs work in helping prepare you for the cruise. There was some confusion on board when the 'white night, with a little black' turned into the blue and white night. People were mostly dressed casually even for the 'dressy' nights. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
Great expedition cruise : very knowledgeable and experienced expedition team with great selection of spots to visit on land; great interactions with locals and landings always so well prepared and fantastic welcome from locals. Very ... Read More
Great expedition cruise : very knowledgeable and experienced expedition team with great selection of spots to visit on land; great interactions with locals and landings always so well prepared and fantastic welcome from locals. Very good talks for review and preparation of excursions. Great opportunity to learn about the various indigenous population of such great diversity as Papua, Solomon and Vanuatu, with such differences in traditions from place to place. Quite interesting approach to the Second Word War in Asia Pacific, with a great talk and various visit to most historical and significant locations. As usually, luxury accommodation and excellent food in a relax ambiance. Cabin is very comfortable and functional. great choice of premium vines on top of usual free selection. The only thing we missed a little were the snorkelling opportunities, that were not so great due partially to the weather conditions and also because the choice of locations : they were too closed to beaches and not remote enough o get eth best of corals and fishes. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We discussed with friends of ours the possibility of an Antarctic cruise. They suddenly came back saying they had booked a cruise with another company. We started to look at their pricing structure but had kept Ponant as a possibility ... Read More
We discussed with friends of ours the possibility of an Antarctic cruise. They suddenly came back saying they had booked a cruise with another company. We started to look at their pricing structure but had kept Ponant as a possibility for quite a while. Ponant then hosted an information day and we decided then and there to take the plunge and book. All in all Ponant's pricing was as good as the other company with a few more inclusions and more "luxury". Instead of just flying to Argentina for the cruise we decided to make a trip of it and spend some time in Patagonia. We had been to Argentina (Buenos Aires and Igazu Falls) before but the southern part of this vast country had some serious appeal for walking and photography. We arrived in Ushuaia a day before and explored both the city and the Tierra del Fuego National Park. We made our own way to the ship. Embarkation was smooth even though we were earlier than the rest of the passengers arriving by bus. The ship has a real "human size". We were left wanting for nothing. A feature of Ponant ships, all cabins with a balcony, did not seem like a great advantage on an Antarctic cruise but made such a difference when wanting to take photographs without having to go to the main decks. Our cabin, a Deluxe Stateroom on Deck 3, was surprisingly spacious and cleverly appointed. The crew from Captain to Food and Beverage, Hotel staff and other members were very friendly and would always acknowledge you. The naturalists' team has a wealth of knowledge but also showed a great depth of "love", if there is such a word, for the Antarctic continent. Their talks very extremely informative. A casual and a formal restaurant were perfectly adequate and we never felt we could not eat in the venue we wanted to dine at because of lack of space. Food was amazing with great choices and the wine and drink selection without reproach. We enjoyed the opportunity to "upgrade" to some better wine selections on occasions. Service in restaurants and bar/lounges was attentive and by the end of the cruise a few members of the staff were starting to remember our preferred drinks. With regards to entertainment, in general we enjoyed the singers (particularly the Italian lady - can't remember her name) and the classical pianist. The dancers were so so... We felt that sitting down for the welcome cocktail party in the theatre was odd. Why not do this in the lounge area? Each shore excursion or zodiac outing was a new experience and we flt safe and in good hands. Disembarkation was smooth. Maybe some information on board the night before in regards to luggage weight limits might have avoided hassles and problems for some at the airport. Would we return? Yes, at a later part of the season to see hatchlings or juvenile penguins. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I chose it based on "Cruise Critic" reviews of all the companies that had sailed to Antarctica during the previous season. Ponant was rated as one of the leaders (#2 in small ship cruises to Antarctica). Also I was not asked to ... Read More
I chose it based on "Cruise Critic" reviews of all the companies that had sailed to Antarctica during the previous season. Ponant was rated as one of the leaders (#2 in small ship cruises to Antarctica). Also I was not asked to pay a single supplement. These two points made it very attractive. The timing of the cruise was also correct for me as I was on vacation in November elsewhere and I intend to travel again in late January. I was atracted by the itinerary of the cruise and the expertise and knowledge of the guides. I also had the opportunity to explore Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls before flying to the cruise terminal. Everything about this cruise was well organized and even when we could not land at one of the harbours, due to ice, we quickly moved on to an equally breathtaking location. The meals were top class with plenty of variety and flavours. I have already booked back to back cruises with Ponant for 2019, through the Northwest passage to Vancouver. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We’d cruised with Ponant previously and had an enjoyable cruise. This time – definitely NOT. This cruise was to Antarctica and we had both been looking forward to it. Antarctica is simply amazing - nothing can ever take away from that! ... Read More
We’d cruised with Ponant previously and had an enjoyable cruise. This time – definitely NOT. This cruise was to Antarctica and we had both been looking forward to it. Antarctica is simply amazing - nothing can ever take away from that! I'd love to go again - but with a different cruise line. The good things first – o The expedition crew were simply amazing, excursions well organised and managed. o Fantastic captain - so enthusiastic. It was obvious he loved sailing in Antarctic waters. o Friendly staff & crew – except for maintenance staff who were dour, totally unhelpful and had a shocking attitude to solving issues o Although spotless, the cabins are small (but we knew that from a previous cruise). Just one chair in a cabin is useless although having a second would mean no space to walk around the bed o Bathrooms are well laid out and we like the concept of a separate toilet. Now to the things which mean we will never sail with Ponant again - o On some nights food was less than ordinary even for one of us who is a meat eater. Fish had a smell about it – totally off putting. An example of overcooked food– ordering breaded turkey. Originally to be without a sauce, the waiter offered béarnaise (the only sauce available evidently). The small piece of very overcooked and dried out turkey arrived with nothing else on the plate except for the béarnaise in a little pot - so frozen that it was impossible to even put a knife in it! o When food was sent back virtually untouched no one bothered to ask if there was an issue o A lot of the menu from the restaurant on level 2 was repeated in the restaurant on level 6. OK there were a few extra items on level 6 but most cruise ships would have had a totally different menu in each restaurant after all why both with more than one restaurant if food is the same. o Wine, as others have described, was awful - yet the French make fabulous wines o Staff unhappy to offer another wine when we did not like or want the “wine of the evening” Many luxury cruise lines include gratuities. Ponant asks guests to either place money in an envelope or have reception charge a per day amount to accounts at the end of the cruise. This is despite Ponant charging similar rates to other luxury cruise companies who include gratuities in the overall rate paid! OK, it wasn’t compulsory but it made things difficult not to! Ponant claims it is in the luxury cruise market and is trying to attract cruisers internationally (not just the French). Standards have most certainly dropped from our previous cruise. Overall cruise costs are similar to other luxury lines, eg Seabourn. Yes, they offer itineraries out of the ordinary but, in our opinion, Ponant has a long way to go before it can compete favourably with those lines. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
The absolute best way to see Cabo Verde - we were able to see 7 of the 10 islands. Small ship enabled us to get into all the small ports. Who can say NO to french cuisine. We had a wonderful time on this cruise. Remember this is a ... Read More
The absolute best way to see Cabo Verde - we were able to see 7 of the 10 islands. Small ship enabled us to get into all the small ports. Who can say NO to french cuisine. We had a wonderful time on this cruise. Remember this is a small ship and it's not about the ship or the on board amenities, it's about the location. We found most of the staff to be very accommodating, remember on a small ship they all have dual roles. Captain and his crew were fantastic about explain the ship, the sails and sailing. The islands are interesting not much wildlife but the hiking on Fogo Volcano was incredible. It's still very active. The beaches on Maio were very nice as well. Santo Antão was the absolute highlight. The mountains are breaktaking. If you have extra time, it's worth spending it on this island. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
I had wanted to visit Chile and the Chilean Fjords since visiting Puerto Montt in 1973. The Fjords can only be visited by ship and it is the easiest way to visit Puerto Natales and the outstanding Torres del Paine national park. ... Read More
I had wanted to visit Chile and the Chilean Fjords since visiting Puerto Montt in 1973. The Fjords can only be visited by ship and it is the easiest way to visit Puerto Natales and the outstanding Torres del Paine national park. Cruising with Ponant is very flexible. If you want to explore ports of call on your own, you don't have to pay for the shore excursions. Since we had visited Osorno before this was important for us. We took a public bus to Ancud instead of going on the organised tours. However the zodiac excursions in the fjords were included in the cruise price and were very well organised. The small number of passengers meant that getting passengers on and off the ship for excursions was quick and easy. One good reason for choosing Ponant is the quality of the food on board. The French take food very seriously and we were not disappointed. Our cabin was very comfortable and the service was excellent. I was initially disappointed by the lack of information about our route through the fjords but since Ponant have an open bridge policy, I soon found out that it was easy to visit the bridge and have a look at the charts (although the bridge is closed from time to time.) In summary, I would recommend this cruise for the magnificent scenery, good food and the flexibility that comes from being with a small number of other passengers. I shall travel with Ponant again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this cruise on L'Austral as the pre and post cruise land tours gave us the opportunity to visit both the amazing Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Bagan in Myanmar. Both of these tours were fantastic and we saw so much. We ... Read More
We chose this cruise on L'Austral as the pre and post cruise land tours gave us the opportunity to visit both the amazing Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Bagan in Myanmar. Both of these tours were fantastic and we saw so much. We very much enjoy travelling on the small ships these days, we find Ponant suits our taste and you do get to know the crew and many of the other passengers on such a small ship. With the choice of the casual buffet on Deck 6 where you can dine inside or out,or the more formal restaurant on Deck 2, you have the best of both worlds. Cabins are very tastefully decorated in muted tones and there is a seperate toilet to the bathroom which proves far more convenient. Whilst you do not have the selection of entertainment found on the larger ships, we find the smaller production shows quite adequate. The shore excursions offered onboard are usually very good and Ponant quite often provide some of the excursions free of charge. Overall we would definitely recommend Ponant especially the expedition cruises. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We saw this ship while on a another cruise and was impressed by its look and finish and commented that we should try this company/ship. When we saw a cruise around French Polynesia we were excited, the online information sounded great, ... Read More
We saw this ship while on a another cruise and was impressed by its look and finish and commented that we should try this company/ship. When we saw a cruise around French Polynesia we were excited, the online information sounded great, the cost was high compared to other all inclusive lines. I booked direct with Ponant in Sydney and the staff were very helpful and I was able to obtain the cabin I thought would suit us best. Boarding in Papeete was unprofessional and dysfunctional, no staff were on the ground to help you or tell you what you needed to do, we were treated as if we were just off for the day sightseeing and not as new guests arriving. There was also NO security screening of any kind. The cabin was adequate, storage was limited but after a day or so we sorted out the room. The bathroom was small in size but well designed, large walk in shower with good water pressure, a rain shower and a hand held, with a glass door/wall. Another great feature is a glass wall panel the looks out into the cabin, this made the space seem much bigger and you can look out to the ocean while in the bathroom, there is also a seperate toilet. The bed/ linen/ pillows were good, over the 7 nights we only saw our room steward once, the room was well maintained and keep clean, toiletries were replenished as required.the fridge in the room did not get cold at all. The ship itself is well designed and easy to get around, being on the small side, the public spaces were limited but they worked well. The dining areas were well presented and I will give more detail re this by area. The Bistro dining area was very well laid out and it opened out onto the pool deck, plenty of seats for two, great selection of food and it was always presented very well.The staff in this area were very helpful and the wine supplied was quite drinkable. We enjoyed every meal we had in this space. The main dining room was formal, the issues I had was there were no tables set for two, I am not a fan of sharing a table for meals, at this level of ship I think this is a major failure in design. We also had very erratic service in this restaurant it went from fantastic to us walking out one night as we sat waiting for 20 minutes for anybody to supply a menu or any form of service. I must admit the Maitre'd did his best to make amends and we did not have any issues again, the food was well presented and very enjoyable. The one major concern we had was the public announcements, all were in French which was as expected, but the English announcements were always short and sometimes not at all and you had the impression that you were only getting half the information. The other guests on the ship were predominantly French and they excelled themselves at being rude and impolite. We have been to different areas of France and spent weeks in Paris over the years and I have never encounted this before. We befriended a couple from Quebec and even they said the same thing, so I know I was not being sensitive, the other English speaking people told me they had the same issue. The staff ranged from rude and unhelpful to lovely, I found the most problems at the main reception desk on level 3, I rang on one occasion and the lady who answered could not speak any English. I always knew that English would be the second language but the office staff were at times just rude while answering you in English. This is the first time in all the cruises we have done that I was pleased to disembark, I wonder was it a "tour group" mentality that the other passengers had, or the fact that it was cruising in a French territory, but either way it was unpleasant. Would I cruise with Ponant again, I am not sure, I loved the ship but..... I feel Ponant have not decided if they are a French Domestic Cruise company only because thats how it seems onboard or if they are truly a global cruise company, compared to Silversea and Azamara they have a long way to go. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose Ponant for its size and so called ‘luxury’ cruising. We found the cabin very small and could not store our bags anywhere. We struggled to move around the cabin without bumping in to one another! We were disappointed in the ... Read More
We chose Ponant for its size and so called ‘luxury’ cruising. We found the cabin very small and could not store our bags anywhere. We struggled to move around the cabin without bumping in to one another! We were disappointed in the meals which we expected to be of a higher standard in both restaurants. We felt general information was lacking. The shore excursions were incredibly over priced for what we received and certainly would not recommend any that we went on. The staff on board were excellent however and have no criticism of them. We did not attend any entertainment activities except for the last night where a local Tahitian dance company came on board and we thoroughly enjoyed the night. Papeete was a huge disappointment for us- very neglected -obviously the French have not poured any money into their colonies over the years. The Tahitians however are a lovely race, friendly and welcoming. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We've traveled with Ponant ships on a number of trips. The cabins have amble room and storage. Essentially the same layouts on levels 3, 4 and 5. The toilet is in a separate area from the sink and shower. Great water pressure. The ... Read More
We've traveled with Ponant ships on a number of trips. The cabins have amble room and storage. Essentially the same layouts on levels 3, 4 and 5. The toilet is in a separate area from the sink and shower. Great water pressure. The ship staff seems to truly enjoy what they do and seem to work together under the guidance of a ship captain who seems to foster a sense of family for all onboard. Guests and workers. You will find the ship impeccably clean. Lots of places to relax and enjoy (and drink). Indoors and out of doors. The bread/pastries/dessert are fantastic. Pastry chefs gets a gold star. Where there is need for more attention is the food -- lacking choice, laden with fats and gluten, overcooked, uninspiring. Not keeping with European and American current food trends. Also the captains evenings are very old school. Too much pomp and circumstance. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this cruise as a total getaway from caregiving and because we really needed a break. We wanted a small ship with no casino, no children, no loud cruise director, and a small number of passengers. We flew to Boston from Tampa and ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a total getaway from caregiving and because we really needed a break. We wanted a small ship with no casino, no children, no loud cruise director, and a small number of passengers. We flew to Boston from Tampa and boarded with 35 other passengers - the ship holds about 200 total. As this was a repositioning cruise, the cost was very affordable and we were prepared for 8 days of total relaxation. The crew did a great job of refurbishing one area after another - new carpets, drapes, etc. while keeping enough public space open that we hardly noticed. The catering was less elaborate than ususl, we were told, but the array and quality of the food was superb. We like the occasional gourmet dinner but we also like an option for simple grilled salmon or more country food, which was always an option. This was our first Ponant cruise - we had already booked one next Spring from Martinique to Lisbon (another ocean cruise) - and took the opportunity for a short cruise in advance. We are so glad we did. We met every single other passenger - even the French, who comprised about half of the passengers. As I speak a bit of French, I had no trouble, but neither did those who spoke only English. The passengers were fun and friendly. Only ten of us disembarked in Panama and the rest were joined by others as they went on to Lima over the following week or so. The crew was excellent - only the reception staff were a bit uninterested in being responsive. The Butler, West, attended to all our needs. We had a suite - essentially two staterooms together. Beware, European sizes are small for us Americans, but there was plenty of room. For the most part, we hardly stayed in the stateroom. The public rooms are gorgeous, well cared-for and comfortable. We are going again and we actually booked a Tahiti - Honolulu - Japan trip in 2019. This is a wonderful line and perfect for adults and friends. The entertainment was just fine and much more than we expected given a repositioning cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We like to sail on the smaller ships and had been sailing with Seabourn for 15 years (max. 208 passengers) when they had the 3 small ships. Sailed a couple of times on the larger, newer ships (max. 450 passengers) and did not like it. My ... Read More
We like to sail on the smaller ships and had been sailing with Seabourn for 15 years (max. 208 passengers) when they had the 3 small ships. Sailed a couple of times on the larger, newer ships (max. 450 passengers) and did not like it. My husband found Ponant on line and thought the line looked very interesting. Having got the brochure and saw the type of cruises we like (particularly the repositioning as we like days at sea) we booked the Boston, Mass. to Lima, Peru. Loved every minute and we will certainly book another one as soon as possible (and we have saved some money up!) The staff could not do enough for you and nothing was too much. The food was superb, particularly the wonderful French cheeses and the bread is to die for! (Take clothes that will expand with your waistline!!!!) I would have liked a bit more to do in the daytime, i.e. art and craft classes etc. The only problem was that the majority of the passengers were only French speakers. However, the staff did translate where appropriate (quizzes etc) Our cruise agent informed me that there are going to be some 'all English speaking' cruises in the future and we would be VERY interested in hearing about those. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
Sailed on Le Soleal before and really like these vessels, not huge , excellent service and well appointed cabins , also around 250 passengers and around 140 crew, no casino or Pokies , these ships cater for a mature audience with a sense ... Read More
Sailed on Le Soleal before and really like these vessels, not huge , excellent service and well appointed cabins , also around 250 passengers and around 140 crew, no casino or Pokies , these ships cater for a mature audience with a sense of adventure hence the Zodiac inflatables on board to explore and land on remote beaches . With this in mind we booked on a cruise from Honolulu to French Polynesia , passengers mostly French , this can be a challenge if your French language skills are not up to scratch and , on their turf the French mostly keep themselves , a pity we had a great experience when sailing along the Australian coast ( Our Turf) on Le Soleal , more English speaking passengers , however the Crew from the top down are English speaking. This is a very important factor, Ponant is doing all it can to include all pasengers, but you have to keep this in mind when booking a cruise with Ponant and the area you visit, On our last cruise we stayed on Deck 5 , this time deck 3, the only difference a door to and instead sliding door and a partly enclosed balcony , the cabins are identical . Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
To see paradise in the South Pacific, the Marquesas Islands. Embarkation and disembarkation very smooth operation.Greeted and farewelled by the Captain and members of the crew. The ship is small and intimate with luxuriously ... Read More
To see paradise in the South Pacific, the Marquesas Islands. Embarkation and disembarkation very smooth operation.Greeted and farewelled by the Captain and members of the crew. The ship is small and intimate with luxuriously appointed cabins,complimentery mini bar,and French toiletries. The crew are friendly and no task is a problem. Would love to have brought some home. Dining is a pleasure with top French Cuisine,good wine, a choice of 2 dining rooms, and snacks available in 3 lounge/bar areas, The ship has a nice library and internet centre.also a small fitness centre and Spa. Enjoyed the entertainment, dancers,musicians,the Cruise directors programmes also the lectures on the South Pacific. The Port and shore excursions were excellent plenty of time and no pressure or rush to leave the ship or the destinations. My sort of holiday, relaxing and laid back with plenty to do if you wished,but no pressure. Would love to go again and fully recommend Ponant. Enjoyed it so much have booked another trip. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I chose this cruise because of the "no single supplement". Ponant is the only luxury cruise with this option and I really think it is a good marketing option for the company. More and more you have a lot of women traveling and ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the "no single supplement". Ponant is the only luxury cruise with this option and I really think it is a good marketing option for the company. More and more you have a lot of women traveling and exploring the world by themselves. At the beginning of my cruise Ponant had a get together for all the people traveling alone, so we could meet each other. I also selected Ponant because I wanted to speak French and eat French! I was not disappointed! We visited some very remote islands in Indonesia and met fabulous ethnies: the Torajans for example. Ponant went out of its way to find an event so we could observe first hand the Torajan Funeral rites (we even went there with two live pigs we could offer to the family!). It was superb! The conferences were always of great interest: the naturalists were experienced on board and we were lucky to have Jean Marie Rouart from the Academie française in a panel Paris Match (a great addition for this cruise)! I am now a fan of Ponant! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Our travel agent recommended Ponant and we were very satisfied with everything on the ship . The cabins were very nicely decorated and had a lot of space ( deck # 6 ) . The food and service were excellent . There was a little confusion by ... Read More
Our travel agent recommended Ponant and we were very satisfied with everything on the ship . The cabins were very nicely decorated and had a lot of space ( deck # 6 ) . The food and service were excellent . There was a little confusion by the staff when we arrived at the Athens port and when they went to check in the passengers . They originally announced that they would check in people by cabin level but only had three people at check in and that confused everyone in line . After that , the staff was first class and provided everything that we asked for . We also enjoyed the shore excursions . The guides were well trained and easy to understand . Early in the cruise , there seemed to be some confusion on who could get onto the excursion boats first ? The staff did not announce that the excursions were to get on the boats first and this lead to some confusion . All in all a very nice cruise . Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
We choose this cruise because it took us to several places that we wanted to visit which would have been much more difficult to reach on our own. I especially enjoyed the Cod Island landing and hiking which took full advantage of a ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it took us to several places that we wanted to visit which would have been much more difficult to reach on our own. I especially enjoyed the Cod Island landing and hiking which took full advantage of a beautiful day. This opportunity to explore a tundra environment underscored the creativity and flexibility of the expedition crew to give travelers the best experiences possible. On board services were outstanding with very friendly, attentive hotel personnel and ship's crew. Most of the lectures were delivered by well-informed speakers whose enthusiasm for their areas of interest overcame all language barriers (Jean-Pierre was amazing). But a few didn't add to my current knowledge of some subjects, especially environmental issues. We took advantage of the cruise itinerary to spend four days in Paris at the start of the trip and another four days to explore Quebec at the end of the cruise. Finally, we spent a few days in Chicago to visit friends and to see Lyric Opera's production of Orphee -- a fitting end to a wonderful French experience. However, my request to learn about Le Soleal's state-of-the-art waste management system was ignored. Since I'm a board member of a waste management district which faces similar environmental challenges as the Ponant ships, I was disappointed that I did not have the opportunity to learn more about the technology and systems used by Le Soleal. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
First time on Ponant but 16th cruise overall. We were totally spoilt like never before. The ship is beautiful and the staff were all so very nice and went the extra mile with everything they did. The rooms were bigger than other cruise ... Read More
First time on Ponant but 16th cruise overall. We were totally spoilt like never before. The ship is beautiful and the staff were all so very nice and went the extra mile with everything they did. The rooms were bigger than other cruise lines we have travelled on and the finishing touches were lovely. Very comfortable beds and pillows. Plenty of closet space, an in room safe, good quality toiletries and a drinks fridge. The included mini bar was constantly restocked. It was great having an open bar and the French wines and champagne were very good. Some of the best red and Rose we have had for quite some time. Now the food, it couldn't be any better. Young Chef Tony deserves a medal along with his team for feeding us so well. It was all so delicious and we came home much heavier than when we boarded the ship. The French cuisine was superb. There were 3 formal nights on board, 2 of which we ate in the a la carte restaurant, all other meals were taken mostly outside by the pool at the buffet area. It was just so nice to sit outside at night and bookings were needed in advance due to the popularity. Morning and afternoon tea were always delicious little French cakes, pastries and savoury treats. This was an Expedition cruise Darwin to Darwin visiting the Kimberley's. Mick Fogg and the team were brilliant. Very friendly and extremely knowledgeable. We were awestruck day after day by what we saw in this very special part of the world. Just incredible scenery and Aboriginal rock art. Daily outing in the Zodiacs were well organised as were the couple of the optional tours we chose to do. There were daily evening recaps about what we had seen and what was in store the following day. Full credit to the team on a fantastic job.. There was nightly entertainment but we didn't see any of it as after dinner we were so tired that we went to bed ready for the following days big adventure. We are early 50's and we couldn't keep our eyes open after 10pm! If you are considering a Kimberley trip I would choose Ponant over every other option. We could not fault a thing. It was worth every cent and then some. . Read Less
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