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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2011
We have just undertaken a cruise on L'Austral from Venice to Croatia and back to Venice. We were very excited to go on such a brand new ship. We stayed in a normal cabin while our friends booked the owner's suite. Hopefully they ... Read More
We have just undertaken a cruise on L'Austral from Venice to Croatia and back to Venice. We were very excited to go on such a brand new ship. We stayed in a normal cabin while our friends booked the owner's suite. Hopefully they will write their review but they spent many hours talking to the hotel manager about things that were unacceptable. For me the outstanding point was that it was like walking into an old age home! There were no children or anyone under 50 years of age. I would recommend anyone younger to check first what the composition of the cruise passengers is like. The cabins are very small and the double bed occupies most of the room. Our room had only a shower and no bath. Service levels in general were not great. While the food was generally very good the service in the main dining room was shocking. The few waiters could not cope and we waited very long for our food. We eventually booked dinner in the buffet restaurant on deck 6 to avoid the long waiting. The 2 nights that there were cocktail functions before dinner with the captain and then dinner for everyone in the same restaurant were chaos. Also the Tauck group seemed to get preferential bookings at dinner and special functions where bars were closed for their functions. I found that totally unacceptable as I was a fully paying passenger! Croatia is beautiful but my impression was that the excursions off the boat were very expensive. We took one cycling excursion near Dubrovnik which cost Euro 75 per person and which was certainly not worth that amount. We ended up renting cars on our own in the other locations and definitely saved money doing that. All in all for me the cruise did not live up to the expectations created the brochure and I probably will not go on another Ponant cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2011
We were disappointed in our cruise from Venice along the Croatian coast This brand new ship was elegant and comfortable though not without its design faults. This ship would suit people who speak french. The announcements were all made in ... Read More
We were disappointed in our cruise from Venice along the Croatian coast This brand new ship was elegant and comfortable though not without its design faults. This ship would suit people who speak french. The announcements were all made in French first and then when English was spoken you had to listen very carefully to understand their accents. It felt as though for every 5 minutes of french spoken only 1 minute of English was spoken during the announcements. There was a large group of TAUCK travellers (+- 130) and a group of French (60+). The ship accommodates 260 passengers. These groups enjoyed "Happy Hour" and cocktail parties that excluded the other passengers. I found the food very bland. The "Welcome" and "Farewell" dinners were both on nights that the ship was in port. The casino remained closed as we were never far away enough from the coast for it to open. There were no children and there was no happy holiday vibe I have experienced on other cruises. The dining area outside the buffet restaurant was always covered with water from the pool as the slope was incorrect (design error) and we could not sit there. The railing around the other outside seating area was not see trough and when sitting down we enjoyed no view of the sea at all. The large bed in the cabin took up most of the space and the cabin would have felt cramped if we had not had a very nice balcony. The itinerary was fabulous and the ports were all very enjoyable.Embarkation was great as we were greeted with umbrellas on the gang way and offered warm towels to wipe our hands. Disembarkation was also fine. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2010
I was surprised to read the review by Tilly-Loves-Seabourn, because our experience was nearly identical on a 10-day cruise to Antarctica in December 2010. The saving grace was that our cruise was chartered by Abercrombie & Kent, who ... Read More
I was surprised to read the review by Tilly-Loves-Seabourn, because our experience was nearly identical on a 10-day cruise to Antarctica in December 2010. The saving grace was that our cruise was chartered by Abercrombie & Kent, who supplied all of the on-board lecturers and naturalists who worked hard as our zodiac guides. This ship (and its new Ponant owners) may have five-star aspirations but they don't seem to have a clue as to the requisite service levels and cuisine. I am sad to report that both service and cuisine are below the standard of Royal Caribbean mega ships, far below Celebrity, and not even comparable to Seabourn and her real peers. We had bartenders so green that they could not identify brand-name bottles on their shelf or find/mix the drinks on their cocktail list. We had waiter-busboys so inept that they were scraping cleared plates tableside, oblivious to standard clues as to when diners where finished with a course, unable to take accurate non-standard meal requests (e.g., substitutions). And don't get me started about the unsanitary way that I saw cutlery, fruits and straws handled. There were a few senior people in the dining room who seemed to understand our expectations but when privately pressed were frankly embarrassed that they lacked the new corporate head office support for adequate staffing or quality supplies. That may be true, but they were doing a poor job of training staff and working with what they had. There also was a certain French indifference to service requests, even though I'm fluent in French. Room service breakfast after 10:00 a.m. (because the restaurant stops serving at 9:30, even on at-sea days) -- impossible (not even toast or a hard-boiled egg). Someone is sick in the cabin and we need sheets changed -- no message passed on to the cabin stewards who arrive 3.5 hours later on their regular rounds. Except for the A&K Staff, there was virtually no entertainment or activity on board (not even a daily crossword puzzle). This may be the best looking boat sailing in the Antarctic, but I'll bet that many others offer better service and far better food. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2010
We boarded the brand new mega yacht Le Boreal in May for her Monaco Grand Prix cruise, with high expectations for an ultra luxury cruise experience. I will initially explain that I have now cruised with quite a few of the luxury lines ... Read More
We boarded the brand new mega yacht Le Boreal in May for her Monaco Grand Prix cruise, with high expectations for an ultra luxury cruise experience. I will initially explain that I have now cruised with quite a few of the luxury lines including Seabourn, Silversea and Regent. I have therefore come to expect a distinct level of service provided by these superior lines. Upon booking for Le Boreal it was explained to me that Compagnie du Ponant were putting this yacht in service to try to compete with the high end lines, the prices for the cruise were also very high over £4000 each for a week's cruise with only wine and tea coffee with meals included, for a small suite. We quickly embarked the ship and were promptly recieved and shown our suite, there was no welcome drink or pleasantries, just straight to our suite. The suite one down from the owners suite was compact, dread to think of the size of the other rooms! The balcony was solid and the room was quite dark because of this. This was not explained to us at the time of booking so visibility from the balcony was quite a problem, which we thought was very poor for a room of this magnitude. We complained to the hotel manager, but he showed little interest, and was more keen on taking every phone call he had whilst talking to us, extremely rude to say the least! We had a TV that did not work for 4 days of a 8 day cruise, but champagne was sent to the room as an apology. The public areas of the ship were very modern and sophisticated and the vessel with the right management could proove a successful enterprise. The restaurant was lovely, but we were told that we could not reserve tables and every time we went to a table it had a reserved sticker on it??? It seemed WE could not, but others could, and this pattern unfortunately continued for the whole of the cruise. I am used to hearing YES on a cruise, with our party on this cruise it became NO all of the time! The restaurant opened at not a set time, and the same wines were served EVERY DAY AND NIGHT for a week, to make you buy additional wines of course!! A cheap ploy for such an expensive cruise. The food ranged form the sublime to the plain awful and there seemed no in between. At lunch there was just a buffet available no grill menu, we saw a man special order a burger,so I called over the maitre'd to ask if I could pre order for the next day 2 burgers for our friends, the reply ......... The chef won't be very happy....my reply with a face of thunder,and I wont be very happy if you dont sort it out!! Unfortunately, this behaviour was typical of the whole experience one rule for one and one for the others. It really depended on which nationality you were as to the level of service you recieved, and I was shocked this kind of thing was happening. The rooms were small and although imaculate, they were brand new, they were furnished well and featured L'occitane amenities, these however were never replenished, which was just terrible, service like this you wouldnt receive in a cheap hotel. There was little to do and next to no entertainment in the day,apart from a singer or two, not even a game of bridge, trivia, cooking demonsration or wine tasting, nothing and with 3 days at sea it became pretty boring. I will summarise by saying that if the company do not adjust their business model I think it will quickly run out of staem, if clientele are paying premium money they expect good service,food,QUALITY wine, and ambience. LeBoreal is seriously lacking al of the above,which is a real shame as the vessel is stunning. Some fellow cruisers enjoyed themselves, but when I asked them if they had cruised before, I kinda knew the answer would be NO. If they had, they would have been seriously unhappy with this shower!!! Read Less
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