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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
I had never been to Uruguay. This cruise connected with the Amazon cruise which we very much wanted to go on. I enjoyed Montevideo, but would have liked more time to explore. Very rough weather with very few ports. We were supposed to ... Read More
I had never been to Uruguay. This cruise connected with the Amazon cruise which we very much wanted to go on. I enjoyed Montevideo, but would have liked more time to explore. Very rough weather with very few ports. We were supposed to have 2 full days in Rio, but were very late getting in. We had to really cram in the 2 tours and sightseeing. Very disappointing with very little communication from the crew. Late Embarking and late most of the cruise. Balance of non-French speaking passengers was very low. No effort made to get us together. One couple ate with a table of people who spoke no English. They were very uncomfortable until they connected with other passengers. I have sailed with Ponant before and enjoyed the interaction with all passengers, but this cruise was very different. The passengers were NOT very friendly. 1 from UK, 3 from USA, 2 from Canada, 2 from Hong Kong. The rest were French. We were lucky to meet the English lady at the airport, who was traveling by herself. I would suggest a first night mixer for passengers with languages, other than French. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Above all DON'T DRINK the WINE! On day one I tried the ship's wine, it was awful (to be kind.) On the second day I ordered a bottle of French Bordeaux Margaux for 125 Euros thinking I've never had a bad Margaux. I was ... Read More
Above all DON'T DRINK the WINE! On day one I tried the ship's wine, it was awful (to be kind.) On the second day I ordered a bottle of French Bordeaux Margaux for 125 Euros thinking I've never had a bad Margaux. I was wrong this was as bad as the ship's selection. For a French line this is a sin. There were higher priced wines available but based on this experience I abstained for the rest of the voyage. This cruise was part of a Tauck tour through Australia and NZ. What I was told of Tauck being a luxury tour group was wrong. It was average in reality but priced like a luxury tour. The food in the 2nd floor dining room was generally poor with limited menu items. The buffet on the 5th deck was a little better because you could pick and choose you poison. Overall for a ship "hand picked" by Tauck for luxury this was a mistake. Like others on this trip I paid dearly for this tour and I do not believe that I got what I paid for. As this was a smaller ship I did not expect many choices with entertainment and activities. This was as expected. The ship's staff were accommodating and friendly especially the ship's Master and Doctor. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We were based on the boat with three university alum travel groups visiting Cuba. It was a great advantage to return to one location after visiting 4 of the oldest cities on the island. We were always greeted warmly by the French crew ... Read More
We were based on the boat with three university alum travel groups visiting Cuba. It was a great advantage to return to one location after visiting 4 of the oldest cities on the island. We were always greeted warmly by the French crew and it was good to have a respite from rundown Cuba. We enjoyed the special food and buffet service on the outside deck for breakfast and lunch and dinner in the dining room by outstanding crew who knew our names after the first day. We also appreciated the boat crew who helped us get on and off the boat. There was even a doctor from the boat who accompanied the tours-nice because the steps and walkways were so uneven. We had one night being tossed around at sea between Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos. The boat rocks side to side with swells. That gets me to what is totally unacceptable on this boat-THE BEDS! They are rock hard mattresses which no first class ship should ever use. My husband had a back ache every morning. When I told the hotel director I had read a cruise critic reviewer had the same complaint, he said that was the best they could do. I wonder how they ever get a return customer to sleep on that bed! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
The small ship experience was the most important factor in my choice but the so called luxury experience left a lot to be desired. Service was varied and inconsistent, the food was not of the suggested standard and sometimes quite bad. I ... Read More
The small ship experience was the most important factor in my choice but the so called luxury experience left a lot to be desired. Service was varied and inconsistent, the food was not of the suggested standard and sometimes quite bad. I returned a number of meals to be replaced. Expedition activities were very good. Meals varied but meat that was of an inferior quality is not acceptable and the attitude of staff to issues of poor quality were indifferent. The Expedition staff were very good and the general style was as one would expect of a luxury ship. Cabins do have a balcony but mold in the shower is not acceptable and staff rectification of housekeeping issues is poor. The room staff were indifferent to individual needs and often had to be asked for simple services more than once. The age of the ship is beginning to show and more attention to refurbishment and ongoing maintenance is needed. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
This was called an "expedition cruise". And yes, there were some interesting excursions. But most afternoons were scheduled for swimming and/or snorkelling off a small island with no alternative activities. Not everyone in ... Read More
This was called an "expedition cruise". And yes, there were some interesting excursions. But most afternoons were scheduled for swimming and/or snorkelling off a small island with no alternative activities. Not everyone in the main cruising demographic needs so much water activity. We had been to some of the excursion sites before and found this time the visits were shorter, rather watered-down especially in Rabaul where we did not go as close to Mt Tavurvur as on a previous cruise, and were closely shepherded around the town and not allowed to wander. The visits to Kitava and Tufi were good, but we had seen more of Alotau on a previous trip. And please, Ponant, don't bother with Gizo! L'Austral is a very attractive ship, is very smooth. But there is very little area to sit and look at the sea with the exception of your cabin balcony. The bars were good, ditto the interior lounge spaces. The staff were excellent. Ditto the expedition leaders, especially Mick Fogg, Harry Christensen, and Justin Friend. Their summaries and information were extensive although a little more onshore involvement of expedition staff would have been appreciated. Now to the great disappointment - the food. For what could be classed as a reasonably expensive cruise the quality of the food could not even be classed as average. This is the first occasion that we have had to return meals because they were inedible or unchewable. This occurred on three occasions. Once, with a steak, we asked for English mustard and even the maître d' had not heard of it! Courses were very small and in many cases lacked flavour. However, the cheese selections were outstanding even though a little repetitive. The ship carries a good selection of wines which can be purchased but are reasonably expensive when charged in euros. We chose the house wines which were adequate but very limited in choice. We would have appreciated speaking to the sommelier about the wine selections but did not have the opportunity. However, the dining staff were excellent. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Ponant is a lovely yacht if the seas are kind. We were lucky and it only got rough the last night. Despite the excellent service onboard, there are a few things that, for the price, should be addressed. 1. Do not be fooled by the ... Read More
Ponant is a lovely yacht if the seas are kind. We were lucky and it only got rough the last night. Despite the excellent service onboard, there are a few things that, for the price, should be addressed. 1. Do not be fooled by the deck chart. Cabins 1 through 5 are very tiny and definitely should be your last choice. The beds are fixed queens and cannot be separated. These cabins themselves are very tiny. 2. On day two of sleeping onboard I awoke with the most horrible pain in my hip. This has never happened before. This pain stayed with me throughout the entire cruise. I could only get to a standing position very slowly with much pain and walking pain. Then I found out I was not alone. Two other people were having such issues, another one actually having to stay onboard like I did. There is something wrong with the mattresses. Even adding two duvets to the top and a pillow did not help. 3. Food choices are really geared to lamb and fish. I never saw chicken on the menu. Although the ship was very accomodating on some food issues, in general all I can say is that both my husband and I lost weight on the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2016
i was offered a deal by your sydney sales woman,gina. i had to take advantage of it.the only part of the cruise that was 5 star ,was the service provided by the receptionists, the excursion officer, all the cabin attendants,the house ... Read More
i was offered a deal by your sydney sales woman,gina. i had to take advantage of it.the only part of the cruise that was 5 star ,was the service provided by the receptionists, the excursion officer, all the cabin attendants,the house keeping supervisor,the restaurants serving staff and supervisors,most of the bar attendants and some of the crew members. some of the a la carte food would be considered illegal in australia. the quality of food was from sizzlers 3 star quality to 5 star. embarkation was not pleasant. logistically not well organised. the on board lectures by sophie and pascal were a high light. the theatre has great atmosphere. the stage performances were french formula type. pleasant ,but average. the islands childrens and dancers visiting at night were very pleasant. the trivia games were very retirement village type. the incidental music provided by the onboard singers/musicians was average. the rudeness towards some of the staff and fellow passengers by some of the french passengers was intolerable. from the time of the the meeting in the theatre regarding disembarkation,some of us felt abandoned. the company has our money . so get off. we have to start to think about the next group of arriving passengers. the cruise director should of gone around to every table the night before disembarkation and quickly thanked everybody. but we noted it did not happen. he represents the owner and senior managers of the company. but overall it was a french experience,but certainly not 5 star. that was reflected in the attitude of the captain, officers and hotel management. you may not like it ,but we passengers do talk to each other about the various qualities of the 5 star cruise ship market. i sent an email to head office regarding employment for somebody. but typically ,no reply. i would like to embark on another ponant cruise, but it depends upon where and how long. i want to go to antarctica. but so far what you are offering ,is inadequate. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
1. Loved the ship itself. 2. Crew Excellent. 3. Food extremely disappointing. Considering the French have a reputation for fine food, the food was boring, often tasteless unless it was the soup which was always too salty and seemed ... Read More
1. Loved the ship itself. 2. Crew Excellent. 3. Food extremely disappointing. Considering the French have a reputation for fine food, the food was boring, often tasteless unless it was the soup which was always too salty and seemed to be lack variety 4. Itinerary and excursions terrific. We went to places in Polynesia that were absolutely magic. The excursion staff were exceptional in providing both the background to the area and the current activities. Their enthusiasm was infectious. 5. WIFI was pathetic. Constantly dropping out. I had to have a conversation with an Australian company at 10pm when I was alone at reception. A 2 minute conversation took half an hour. At times there were 8 -10 people at reception trying to get a connection. WIFI should be available in the cabin and at speeds equal to Seabourn and Silversea. Ponant need to recognise that many people still need to be connected to the outside world. 6. Post cruise arrangements should have been better Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Chosen specifically for the Iceland, Greenland and Northwest Artic passage to Alaska. Excellent itinerary with great shore excursions and expedition excursions. Many great features such as the ship design, 24/7 access to bridge, zodiacs, ... Read More
Chosen specifically for the Iceland, Greenland and Northwest Artic passage to Alaska. Excellent itinerary with great shore excursions and expedition excursions. Many great features such as the ship design, 24/7 access to bridge, zodiacs, etc. Had a suite which was great, but a regular cabin was not of sufficient size. The dining, menu, food preparation was very bad, not at all up to standard, let alone luxury! Dining room service was poor. Room service was excellent and the selected acceptable food items were good. Cabin service was outstanding. Went for the specific itinerary and expeditionary cruise which was excellent, HOWEVER would never ever take or recommend Ponant to anyone unless the specific itinerary was unique and special. There are now other much better expeditionary modern cruise ships which are ice rated. The expedition team was mixed, some very good and some very very poor. Very few English speaking passengers, at a significant disadvantage unless French! Captain, ship officers and receptionists were excellent. Organization of the charter flight from Nome was horrible. Some information from home sales group was significantly wrong. Lectures were badly organized with bad time management. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Have cruise we other small ships such as Windstar and Seaboure. The Ship it self was fantastic having only been launched in 2015. The cabins were small and difficult for 2 people to dress for dinner etc if both in the cabin at the same ... Read More
Have cruise we other small ships such as Windstar and Seaboure. The Ship it self was fantastic having only been launched in 2015. The cabins were small and difficult for 2 people to dress for dinner etc if both in the cabin at the same time. `The food was fantastic and the service second to none, except being a french owned boat the crew and staff assume you are french which is fine to start with but after a couple of days can be very annoying if you do not speak french. With circa 240 people on board having 19 sun loungers with large french families of unto and over 16 per group will not end well when travelling to destinations during the day. Overall a good cruise but with important details letting it down can't feel disappointed. One being that from the top enrtainment and pool bar you had to go down 2 deck levels to find a WC?. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This particular cruise was the transportation/living accommodations from an alumni organization trip booked by my husband (whom I love dearly but didn't do much research on what the trip entailed). Instead of a small group, the ... Read More
This particular cruise was the transportation/living accommodations from an alumni organization trip booked by my husband (whom I love dearly but didn't do much research on what the trip entailed). Instead of a small group, the ship was under charter by Gohagan as the agent for alumni organization consortium travel. This meant 240 in the "small group." The ship itself is clean, neat and decorated in the hotel lobby fashion with leather, chrome, and glass. The service from the bar and cabin staff was outstanding, the dining staff much less so. According to the alcohol drinkers in the group, the included wines, beers, and liquors were fine. The food was beautifully presented, both in the buffet and the main dining room. Flavorless, but the presentation was amazing. However, if you are a vegetarian - forget it. There is literally nothing worth eating. On a ship this expensive, I really expected a better choice that cream covered pasta at dinner. There are only so many times you can make do with a tasteless omelette. The tofu option was worse - three slabs of tofu barely warmed up and sprinkled with paprika. Eating cheese and hard boiled eggs is not my preferred way of getting protein. The meat eaters praised some of the meat dishes and many of the fish entrees. Two of the three treadmills were broken with zero knowledge of repair date. There is neither an elliptical or stair stepper. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
The itinerary of Morocco and Andalusia was our primary attraction. The itinerary and the tours were up to expectations. Excellent and recommended We expected a 6 star cruise line, although Ponant and their ships are fairly new in the ... Read More
The itinerary of Morocco and Andalusia was our primary attraction. The itinerary and the tours were up to expectations. Excellent and recommended We expected a 6 star cruise line, although Ponant and their ships are fairly new in the cruise industry. We appreciated the modest number of passengers, and we look for the cruise lines that have smaller ships. We have been Seabourn fans for some years, but are now avoiding them as their ships have grown from ~150 to over 700. Ponant provided an excellent and engaging set of talks and lectures which we thoroughly enjoyed on the history of Morocco, Andalusia and Islam. We long for the more intimate cruising experience with an emphasis on historic and cultural presentations. Ponant delivered on this promise. Ponant’s service outside of the dining room was excellent, their staff well trained. The food was not up to our expectations, a surprise given the French ownership of the line. The dining room service was the weak point in an otherwise excellent service experience. We routinely required almost two hours to eat in the dining room with extended waits for the food. Perhaps our biggest problem was with the staterooms. They were incredibly small and cramped. Significantly smaller than the Seabourn staterooms. We will not likely cruise with Ponant again in the future because of the cramped staterooms. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Only part i can give 5 stars to are the ship and the suites. Our suite was small but felt larger than it was. There was amazing storage and hanging places to put all our stuff. Bathroom was elegant with a separate toilet. Good fitness ... Read More
Only part i can give 5 stars to are the ship and the suites. Our suite was small but felt larger than it was. There was amazing storage and hanging places to put all our stuff. Bathroom was elegant with a separate toilet. Good fitness center with floor to ceiling windows to see the view. Service was reluctant at best. When ever I went to reception for a question or information, the first response was always, "Well, I don't know" rather than "How can I help you" The staff seems to find you an annoyance rather than a paying customer. The wine that was served on board (included) was of the quality of wine in a box. Several passengers beside me commented on the poor quality for a French ship. The wine they wanted you to pay for was always very expensive. The cheapest recommended wine was 79 Euros a bottle.The food was inconsistent. Some times it was excellent; other times it was mediocre. On the final night, the veal medallion was like a hockey puck. The night of the captain's dinner we did not get served our main course until 10:30 pm. Service in the Dining Rooms needs improvement. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
I choose the ship and trip expecting to be fed interesting French cusine rather than the typical steam table cardboard. Apparently quite a number of the other guests expected the same and were as disapointed as I was. Breakfasts and ... Read More
I choose the ship and trip expecting to be fed interesting French cusine rather than the typical steam table cardboard. Apparently quite a number of the other guests expected the same and were as disapointed as I was. Breakfasts and lunches were typical shipboard fare, pleasantly presented and abundant. Bacon at breakfast was tasteless and rubbery, difficult to chew. Soups at lunch and dinner were generally good with the rare excellent. Dinners were mainly medicore except for one memorable meal which served properly seasoned and cooked lamb chops. They were tender and juicy! The included wines were drinkable at best. The wait staff, cabin attendants and ships crew in general were outstanding. The physical ship was comfortable and well maintained. The open bridge policy was a welcome amenity especially on the Canal transit.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Having never heard of Ponant, we chose this cruise because it did a circumnavigation of Iceland which is what we wanted. The ship was extremely clean, comfortable, and well laid-out. Embarkation from a small port outside of Reykjavik was ... Read More
Having never heard of Ponant, we chose this cruise because it did a circumnavigation of Iceland which is what we wanted. The ship was extremely clean, comfortable, and well laid-out. Embarkation from a small port outside of Reykjavik was a breeze (as was disembarkation). Captain Etienne Garcia was terrific - his enthusiasm for the immense beauty of Iceland came through in every message from him and he made sure no one on board missed a whale sighting or any other special event. Food service was in one of two rooms - on Deck 6 was a buffet-at-all-meals room that opened on to the deck which had additional seating. Weather during our cruise was wonderful so we could often eat on the deck which was delightful. Food was good and daily choices varied enough to keep us interested. The drinks-included selections were excellent and the pouring wine was very good. Other food option was a white-tablecloth dining room on Deck 2 with no outdoor access. We learned that it served the same food but with dinner served (not buffet). We did not choose that option. Excursions were very good and organization of everything on the ship was perfect. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We booked Ponant without ever having sailed with this cruise line. Overall, I would rate as very good for the value. The accommodations were comfortable, Hermes products, comfy beds and linen. Small but efficient pool area. Bars ... Read More
We booked Ponant without ever having sailed with this cruise line. Overall, I would rate as very good for the value. The accommodations were comfortable, Hermes products, comfy beds and linen. Small but efficient pool area. Bars were generally comfortable and service was nice but they did run out of simple things for a couple of days like bloody mary mix and cranberry juice. That seemed odd that they didn't restock while in port. They seemed surprised when we questioned it. The meal service in the restaurant and buffet area was decent but not overly attentive. Sometimes orders were mixed up and sometimes you had to ask for wine but if you are not too sensitive to this your expectations will be met. The actual food was nicely done especially appetizers and deserts. There were some mains that were less than great such as pork loin which was very tough. There was one caviar testing that was nice but they held it on the pool deck in the blazing sun. I think they will rethink it. Shows were cute but this is a small ship so mostly ballet type dancing and some singing. I did not attend the lectures. The outdoor lounges are lovely but the allowed smoking area made it difficult for non-smokers if sensitive to this. The pool deck was not always attended too and there were towels all over the place by midday and you have to walk up to the bar upstairs to have a drink -- no pool service. The bars sometimes seemed overwhelmed but if you don't mind waiting you are ok. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We sailed from Hawaii to japan 15 days approx. 65 passengers . This Cruise which is about 15th was one of the best . Great Food Great service (with exception to the Butler bad) Fantastic mix of travellers We had 4 days of ... Read More
We sailed from Hawaii to japan 15 days approx. 65 passengers . This Cruise which is about 15th was one of the best . Great Food Great service (with exception to the Butler bad) Fantastic mix of travellers We had 4 days of rough sea's but no one really bothered .I was cruising alone and met a fantastic group of people which we met each day for lunch and Dinner with Cocktails in the Lounge pre dinner .The Crew were fantastic friendly. I had a Butler servicing my suite on Deck 6 he was the only disappointment (you would have thought he had paid to be aboard unfortunately very arrogant.. This was April 2nd.Some of the People I met are all catching up for a Cruise from Boston to Cancun on Le Champlain cant wait ... I highly recommend Ponant from this experience it is a definite cut above large Cruise lines Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because it went to all the places we dreamed of going to. The expedition team were exceptional, very knowledgeable and made the trip forever memorable. Cruising to Falklands and South Georgia were a highlight. Captain ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it went to all the places we dreamed of going to. The expedition team were exceptional, very knowledgeable and made the trip forever memorable. Cruising to Falklands and South Georgia were a highlight. Captain and crew did an amazing job enabling us to land at all but one location Food was very good except never hot enough from the buffet on level 6. Many lovely desserts and great variety of French bread and cheese at all meals. One meal was spoiled by finding a piece of metal in tomato salad. Charter flight to embarkation port was standard domestic flight which took 2 hours longer than normal as it made a stop along the way. We thought the group photo was not very good and too expensive to purchase. Lectures by the naturalists were very engaging and informative. One criticism was that all announcement were made in French first and then English so sometimes it was hard to hear the English version in public areas as the French speakers talked over it. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This is going to be the most difficult review of a ship I have written, I was on Le Ponant for 6 days as part of a Tauck sponsored People to People tour in Cuba which is one of the few ways Americans can visit Cuba. I searched in vein ... Read More
This is going to be the most difficult review of a ship I have written, I was on Le Ponant for 6 days as part of a Tauck sponsored People to People tour in Cuba which is one of the few ways Americans can visit Cuba. I searched in vein for in-depth comments on Le Ponant on Cruise Critic and there really isn't anything that proved helpful. So I decided to provide one. Le Ponant is primarily a sailing ship, its 3 masts having an acre or so of sail. It has an engine for backup. I believe it is the last cruise ship afloat that relies mostly on its sails. It is a beautiful ship, gorgeous to look at, like a sleek modern yacht. I carries a maximum of about 60 passengers in its 30 or so cabins. Its decor is art-deco, its blue white and mahogany furnishings are a throwback to years gone by. It has three large public spaces an art deco restaurant, again elegant, a large lounge where all enrichment lectures and briefings are held, and another largish area that is outside and covered where breakfast and lunch buffets are served. The restaurant serves all passengers at a fixed time 7:30 pm. ( a couple of times at 7:00) Some passengers might not like the fixed hours. All cabins except 1-5 are off a single long corridor. All are approximately 130 square feet. More on this later. Cabins 1-5 are a deck up and no larger but they afford a greater degree of privacy but are more susceptible to the roll from rougher seas. The crew is predominately French although everyone speaks English. Every member of the crew is helpful, polite, without exception. The captain, David Lemaire clearly loves being at the helm of a sailing ship. He is perhaps the youngest captain of a major cruise ship. So don't be alarmed when you are introduced to the Captain who is probably in his 30's. He does everything, from helping people in and out of zodiacs to having an open bridge which is unheard of. His bridge tour is not to be missed. Also not to be missed is the raising of the sails, a very complicated maneuver which is the high point of the journey. The captain could have a second career as a Hollywood movie star. This voyage was run by Tauck, all the passengers on the ship were Tauck clients. This means that all the enrichment activities and shore excursions were run by Tauck professionals. The tour directors were first rate, a cut above those I sailed with from luxe lines like Silversea and Cunard. I want to single out Laura Nunez and Ronny (?) who made this voyage something very special. They were always there to solve any difficulties. I could not imagine this voyage without them. Le Ponant's small size, around 270 feet enables it visit small ports that larger ships can't navigate. This is a huge plus. But, it is also a problem. And I hope potential passengers take careful notice here. This is not your large ocean liner. In rough seas the ships rolls. As the Captain constantly reminds you "one hand for you, one hand for the vessel". If you are prone to sea seasickness Le Ponant is not the ship for you. Rough seas also prevented us from sailing into Havana which for me would have been a high point of the voyage. But here I have to say the Captain made the absolute right decision, this was the day a huge tornado hit Havana which could have been a disaster. Now for the hard part. First, this review will be totally irrelevant in a year or so, Le Ponant is supposedly going into dry dock for a major retrofit (not confirmed). Which makes this review relevant for only a year or so. The primary purpose of the retrofit is to enlarge some of the cabins. And this is the second problem. Even though the cabins use every inch of possible space they are, after all, only 130 square feet. Hopefully this doesn't sound jaded and elitist but my primary cruise line is Silversea (8 trips) and the size of one of Le Ponant's staterooms is about the size of one of Silverseas closets. Needless to say, Le Ponant doesn't have the amenities of a Siversea, Seabourn, Crystal Regent and the other luxury brands. There are no balconies, no swimming pool, no spa and all the other bells and whistles I have become used to. Le Ponant has a very small sun deck with about a dozen chaises and that is about it. (One major suggestion is for Ponant to put in a whirlpool on the sun deck so you could at least get wet, please) One factor I just don't know about is the quality of Le Ponant's shore excursions. As I noted above, this was a Tauck expedition. The Tauck folks simply could not be any better. Not having sailed with Tauck before I don't know whether Ponant would achieve the same level of excellence. I will write about Cuba in the Trip Advisor forum. It is a time machine, truly fascinating. If Le Ponant is retrofitted with larger cabins and Tauck runs the tour again, it is a trip that seasoned travelers should not miss. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We spent two days in Bali before embarking. We chose this cruise for the remote expedition excursions, and we were not disappointed. Mick, the expedition director, created some wonderful and unusual experiences on fairly isolated ... Read More
We spent two days in Bali before embarking. We chose this cruise for the remote expedition excursions, and we were not disappointed. Mick, the expedition director, created some wonderful and unusual experiences on fairly isolated Indonesian islands. Expedition staff was excellent. Lectures were excellent. Weather was hot and muggy, but we expected that. Two of our excursions had to be dropped because of bad weather. Cabin service was fine, no complaints. We are Ponant "Yacht Club" members and receive free laundry service which is an exceptional benefit, especially on a trip this long. Restaurant staff was friendly and helpful, but service was slow and uneven. The food was excellent. Reception staff was snooty, but got things done when asked. Ship was about 30% English speaking (American, Australian, English-speaking Europeans), the rest were French. We did not attend any of the entertainment activities. Fitness room was fine, but small. Embarkation was chaotic. Everyone crowded the entrance at one time and got a little pushy on the way onto the ship. We were surprised they didn't create lines or some better system. Luggage arrived reasonably promptly. Debarkation was smooth and easy. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Pretty well everything about this voyage was great. The only concern I had was the obvious lack of experience from some of the expedition crew in their lack of ability and skill in operating the RIB's ( zodiac ). In saying that ... Read More
Pretty well everything about this voyage was great. The only concern I had was the obvious lack of experience from some of the expedition crew in their lack of ability and skill in operating the RIB's ( zodiac ). In saying that I was just a bit careful who I travelled with. But all of their lectures were great. And they were quite passionate in what they did in regards to the preservation of the environment and passing on information to the passengers. I think the captain certainly did his best along with the crew to make our experience the best ever. Which they achieved. The Patagonian coast with the Andes in the distance made for fabulous scenery every day while aboard. I felt the food was more than adequate and their was plenty of it. Travelling as a single person I also had no problems in meeting a lot of great people. Not only from Australia, but from a number of other countries. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
we chose this cruise because it was an Expedition Cruise in an area we had not yet been to and we had had good experiences with both Ponant in general and Expedition Cruises in particular. Unfortunately Ponant were not up to scratch with ... Read More
we chose this cruise because it was an Expedition Cruise in an area we had not yet been to and we had had good experiences with both Ponant in general and Expedition Cruises in particular. Unfortunately Ponant were not up to scratch with this one. Things started badly when we discovered that the cabin we had been allocated, ( the one for the physically disabled), was not the one we believed we had booked. After a while our concerns were noted that afternoon and we were reallocated a normal cabin. The cruise was in association with a magazine "Paris Match' whic we soon came to discover to be the reason why there were 80% French passengers and that lectures etc were scewed towards the benifit of the French. Organisation of tours and trips seemed to somewhat haphazard, compared with our previous experences. While 'laid back' is good but only in controlled moderation. Luckily all other activities, including crew, were up to the usual high standandards that we have come to expect. The fitness programmes are excellent and as used by only the few healthy ones likes us there was never ever overcrowding.. Exercise was important in order to try and minimalize the ourmet food experiences match with the unlimited alcohol consumption. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We had been to Croatia on our own, driving a car, 30 years ago. It was fascinating to see how it had changed (and how it had not changed) since then. We had a delightful time, met some interesting people, enjoyed the excursions as well ... Read More
We had been to Croatia on our own, driving a car, 30 years ago. It was fascinating to see how it had changed (and how it had not changed) since then. We had a delightful time, met some interesting people, enjoyed the excursions as well as the time to explore on our own. We have not been on many cruises and the fact that Le Lyrial was a small ship was appealing to us. The food was very good and beautifully presented. We found the food choices in the casual dining area were much more extensive than the formal dining room and wish we had eaten more dinners there. All of the staff from the Captain to the maids were very effecient and personable. Everyone was very friendly. It was a bit off-putting to have the cruise advertised as "all-inclusive - to include gratuity" and then find an envelope with a "suggested" amount for gratuities in our cabin toward the end of the cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We went to the Kimberleys, having embarked in Broome. We spent a few days in Broome and thoroughly enjoyed our time there. The Cabin was well appointed but somewhat small, however not really a problem The naturalists and experts on ... Read More
We went to the Kimberleys, having embarked in Broome. We spent a few days in Broome and thoroughly enjoyed our time there. The Cabin was well appointed but somewhat small, however not really a problem The naturalists and experts on the cruise were really fantastic. They were knowledgeable and friendly, and always willing to speak to passengers about their specialities The excursions ashore were really interesting, educational, extremely well organised and most enjoyable. Most of the on board lectures were very informative and interesting. The food was Ok , not so fantastic, but the crew, and stewards were excellent and professional. For coffee afficionados there is definite room for improvement. Entertainment was usually scheduled a little too late, and we would have to wait around too long after dinner. However the on board entertainers were of a high standard and we enjoyed the shows that we attended Our departure from the ship was very well organised and all went very smoothly for our group. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We booked this cruise because we have always wanted to see icebergs and the Disko bay. My husband only speaks french and we wanted to enjoy beautiful scenery, interesting conferences, and an all inclusive drink and food cruise. ... Read More
We booked this cruise because we have always wanted to see icebergs and the Disko bay. My husband only speaks french and we wanted to enjoy beautiful scenery, interesting conferences, and an all inclusive drink and food cruise. • Travel To Port of Embarkation We live in France and made our own way to Reykjavik Iceland to join the ship.We arrived the day before and stayed at the Storm Hotel, which was walking distance to town center. It's a simple and very clean modern hotel, rooms are small, no closet, but a clothes rack with a few hangers. It's okay for a night or 2. • Boarding was very easy, there are many people waiting to carry our bags on board and the captain and staff are there to welcome us. Stateroom • Our prestige stateroom was on the 5th floor, with a balcony. The rooms are beautiful, clean, and there are a lot of storage room. Double wardrobe with drawers and enough hangers, and opposite the bed there are 3 big drawers with a coffee machine and electric kettle on top . There is also a safe and small fridge. Note that you cannot store suitcases under the bed, we laid them flat in the wardrobe. • Shower room is small but very nice. It's a walk-in shower and there's a clothes line in it to hang your washing. Don't forget to bring a few clothes pins! Dining There are 2 dining rooms, one on the 6th floor which is a buffet, and another one on the 2nd floor which is a more formal dining room. Food is fabulous french cuisine, drinks and wine are included.You can also enjoy more expensive wines , but we found them very expensive, around 100€ a bottle. • Entertainment Don't expect entertainment like on Costa or other huge cruises! On the 6th floor there is a observatory bar with a musician who plays classical music and on the 3rd floor in the evening there's a singer and musician who are more lively and you can dance to disco, rock & roll or other music. • Port & Shore Excursions There are excursions organized in Reykjavit before leaving port, a few small towns, in the capital Nuuk, Illulisat, and bay of Disko. Most of the excursions are not free and you have to sign up for them. They are not cheap either! Considering that Ponant sells luxury cruises, they could have included these excursions in their price. • Disembarkation Disembarkation was at Kangerlussuaq which is an old american military base and we left the ship at 5:30AM, with a bus. Return flight to Paris was a chartered flight with Iberia. Read Less
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