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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose this cruise for its luxurious small ship experience. The ship was all the better for the French influence on the food and wine which were superb. The ship was fabulous with wonderful caring staff from Captain David Marionneau to ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its luxurious small ship experience. The ship was all the better for the French influence on the food and wine which were superb. The ship was fabulous with wonderful caring staff from Captain David Marionneau to the cabin stewards, wait staff, bar staff, housekeeping staff, reception and entertainment staff. What a trip! We boarded in Fremantle a couple of weeks into the 40 night Circumnavigation of Australia cruise which departed Sydney on 25th January and Fremantle on 8th February. Lovely cabin (315). Nice balcony, comfortable bed and adequate toilet and bathroom facilities (separate) serviced at least twice a day or on demand. Complimentary mini bar replenished daily (no wine though). If we wanted wine we needed to get it from room service. No problem. Plenty of beer, spirits and mixers along with water and soft drinks. Leaving Fremantle we sailed north to Geraldton, then on to Exmouth (glass bottomed boat experience). On to Broome, Talbot Bay for the horizontal falls. Astounding! Waterfalls everywhere- naturalists on board had not seen anything like it, nor the flows from the King George Falls. Aboriginal settlement at Yirrkala was amazing, artworks beautiful, and a performance that was exciting. On we travelled our 26 nights reducing rapidly. So many experiences - so much to see and great weather. Had no problems with the zodiacs and many people older than my 65 years managed them easily with the care and attention of the crew. Boy did we see parts of Australia I never knew existed. Other passengers were also overwhelmed by the beauty and colours of the Kimberley. This was all complimented by food (lots of high quality French inspired food but interspersed with some special lunches of Italian, Moroccan, Baltic inspired. Our bar, lounge and waiting staff knew us all by name after 24 hours, and they knew our drink preferences. Other stops at Darwin, cape york, Thursday Island, Hamilton Island and Fraser Island before heading back to Sydney where our “on board family” of 240 passengers said goodbye. A very sad time. This certainly an unforgettable cruise. So much, wonderful people, sights, eats and drinks, memories after memories, friend after friends. Thoroughly recommend the ship, it’s very professional but friendly and very happy crew and amazing entertainers. Just go, we are so glad we did. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
I have been on this ship once before to Macquarie Island and the New Zealand subantartic islands. This ship takes you to places where the others don’t go. Unbelievable experiences and excellent on board, with quality food beautifully ... Read More
I have been on this ship once before to Macquarie Island and the New Zealand subantartic islands. This ship takes you to places where the others don’t go. Unbelievable experiences and excellent on board, with quality food beautifully cooked, interesting fellow passengers and a relaxed style. Magnifique as only the French can do. The all inclusive fare includes your shore excursions in zodiacs (if on an expedition cruise) drinks, premium coffee etc which at the end of the day makes a cruise with this line much more competitive in price than it might seem at first blush when simply comparing ticket prices. Ponant ships are new, well equipped serve some of the best food I have ever experienced on a cruise ship and provide great service. All announcements are in French and English and there is a very welcoming atmosphere on board. The expedition cruises are great fun and the expedition crew are amazing. Je t’aime L’Austral Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Ponant people were at the airport the plane to ushuaia and there for all of us on the tour to antarctica it was very easy to get where i was going not being with a group as i was a single person on the tour. Once we got on the ship the ... Read More
Ponant people were at the airport the plane to ushuaia and there for all of us on the tour to antarctica it was very easy to get where i was going not being with a group as i was a single person on the tour. Once we got on the ship the cabin was great with a balcony which was great i saw many whales seals and dolphins of of my balcony . the on shore tours were great and i had a great time meeting new people and having meals in the great dining rooms on the ship.the service on the ship especially the dining rooms were excellent . The lectures were also excellent as they were given by people who were passionately and excited about telling us about what we were about to see . the drake passage was a little rough but the ships crew did a great job of keeping it to a minimum . ALL IN ALL EXCELLENT Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We wanted a more luxurious cruise than a standard converted ice breaker could offer and we were not disappointed. We were also attracted to the follow on cruise offered by Ponant from Ushuaia to Cape Town via the Falkland Islands, South ... Read More
We wanted a more luxurious cruise than a standard converted ice breaker could offer and we were not disappointed. We were also attracted to the follow on cruise offered by Ponant from Ushuaia to Cape Town via the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Tristan da Cunha archipelago. To say it in a few short words, just outstanding! One factor on our cruise needs a special mention that has contributed a great deal to this outstanding success: our Capt Etienne Garcia. Being in charge of both Cruises he showed an enthusiastism and eagerness to inform us about wildlife sightings which was electrifying to the entire ship and crew. The policy of an open bridge for all in times of simple cruising created an atmosphere of one happy group of lucky people being able and privileged to experience such a unique landscape first hand. Well done and a big thank you to all Crew and expedition members for an excellent job done in a professional and caring manner. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We were incredibly impressed on the quality of our cruise aboard Le Ponant. The ship had been built as a luxury yacht vs. a cruise ship. The cabins had just recently been updated and service was fantastic. However, the best part of our ... Read More
We were incredibly impressed on the quality of our cruise aboard Le Ponant. The ship had been built as a luxury yacht vs. a cruise ship. The cabins had just recently been updated and service was fantastic. However, the best part of our cruise was by far the food! The food was a 5 course meal for almost every meal! There was a full time French pasty chef, which means it was extremely hard to come home. We were waited on constantly. I can't say thank you enough to our spectacular captain and crew! The crew to passenger ration for us was about 1:1 which meant that we had a fantastic relationship with all crew members. All evening events were extremely well thought out and the ship was prepared for everything. One day at sea we had 8-10ft swells however due to the ships sailing hull design, the ride was extremely comfortable as sailing ships have very little roll. Another fantastic attribute about Le Ponant is that its a massive sailing yacht. During one of our day's at sea, we were able to relax under her massive sails and enjoy the tropical sun without any engine power. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
this cruise was part of an APT tour to Antartica. A trip of a lifetime. Having read some of the reviews of Le Lyrial I feel the need to set the record straight. The ship is fantastic its Captain Erwan La Rouzic and Crew were extremely ... Read More
this cruise was part of an APT tour to Antartica. A trip of a lifetime. Having read some of the reviews of Le Lyrial I feel the need to set the record straight. The ship is fantastic its Captain Erwan La Rouzic and Crew were extremely professional and certainly helped make the voyage a wonderful experience. The design of the ship made crossing the renowned Drake passage a much more comfortable experience than I thought it would be. The cabins were very well designed and the housekeeping staff did a very good job. The Expedition crew went above and beyond to grab every opportunity for the passengers to experience the real Antartica. Their knowledge and pure excitement when we found whales and seals and penguins certainly made for a great time.The zodiac and shore excursions were fantastic. The dining experience on board could not of been better being a bit of a foodie I am pretty fussy but the food did not disappoint and the wines served with every meal were more than acceptable. We had never heard of the Ponant Line before but it will not be the last time we travel with them. Not being a fan of large cruise ships the size is a great advantage, and they go to places a lot of other cruise ships don't go. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
What a privilege it was to experience Antarctica. The Antarctic peninsula we explored was so magical and beautiful. Ponant offered and provided an experience of a lifetime. Everything was well organised from picking us up at our BA ... Read More
What a privilege it was to experience Antarctica. The Antarctic peninsula we explored was so magical and beautiful. Ponant offered and provided an experience of a lifetime. Everything was well organised from picking us up at our BA hotel, and on check in at Buenos Aires airport to our arrival in Ushuaia and embarkation to our ship. From our Captain of Le Boreal, Christophe Colaris and his crew, and to the expedition leader, Klemens Putz and his team, you all made it wonderful for us. From the lectures/talks given by the expedition team to the zodicac outings as well as land expeditions, all were enormously enjoyable. Safety being a priority on all these expeditions. The Le Boreal crew all looked after us extremely well. Our cabin steward was friendly and efficient; the bar and restaurant staff attentive to our requirements and the food, très bon. This is our second expedition cruise with Ponant. Once again safety, comfort and attention to detail are requirements for us and Ponant do these well. The champagne bar on an ice floe capped off an incredible cruise expedition. We have been more than enthusiastic in recommending Ponant and especially this area of the world to our friends. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this cruise because of the lines reputation and the size of the ship.I fel that the naturalists were optimistic in their rating of some of the excursions. They tend to forget that we were all quite a lot older than them and what ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the lines reputation and the size of the ship.I fel that the naturalists were optimistic in their rating of some of the excursions. They tend to forget that we were all quite a lot older than them and what is easy to mild to them is not to people over 55. But Antarctica was wonderful and hard to describe to people just how magnificent it is. The size of the ship helped in that everywhere we went was acessable. Embarkation and disembarkation was well organised as were the excursions. In particular I would give special praise to the restaurant staff. They were exceptional with their service, especially Teddy, Yogi and Baptiste. Food was exceptional and after 15-16 days it was still as fresh as when we started. With regards to the entertainment, maybe a little less electronic backing music and just the singers themselves, as they all had good voices without having to rely on electronic backing. William was an excellent entertainment officer and his piano playing was terrific, also his knowledge of the different music genres. I would recommend Ponant to anyone who will listen. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Beyond the polar circle expedition trip of 16 nights with Ponant Soleal including the Falkland and South Georgia Islands will always remain in our memories for life. Landscapes still intact and wild life of birds, penguins, seals, ... Read More
Beyond the polar circle expedition trip of 16 nights with Ponant Soleal including the Falkland and South Georgia Islands will always remain in our memories for life. Landscapes still intact and wild life of birds, penguins, seals, whales, and icebergs, sea ice, and mountains of Antarctica were no where found and still very much untouched by humans makes this expedition very unique of its kind. Ponant staff overall were very friendly and very service oriented deserve to be appreciated. Naturalists were young, multilingual, motivated, and , very knowledgeable and did a fantastic job with landings and preparing the land itineraries with poles and presence everywhere if you needed them. We had the cabin 603 deluxe suite and it was comfortable although the toilet we a bit small. Internet connection was not the best although it had to be purchased separately but we were warned about the connection. Overall, I would rate this expedition trip with Ponant high, 4.5 on a scale of 5. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We were very, very happy with our cruise. Our travel agent had recommended Ponant, in US we don't hear a lot about it. At least with the multiple brochures we receive I had not gotten anything from this amazing cruise line. Going to ... Read More
We were very, very happy with our cruise. Our travel agent had recommended Ponant, in US we don't hear a lot about it. At least with the multiple brochures we receive I had not gotten anything from this amazing cruise line. Going to the Antartica was my dream. Going first to South Georgia and Falklands was a very important part of the trip. The ship was lovely. Never a worry about being bored, hungry or thirsty. And just when I thought I was being spoiled as can be, the staff provided a new surprise like champagne and French macaroons served on an iceberg. This a cruise like no other. As the captain (who was wonderful) reminded passengers, the show is outside. You come for the penguins and fall in love with the ice. So if you like penguins, whales, seals, sea birds and ice and the most breathtaking scenery ever. this is the ultimate destination. I feel it was like another world. However, all good Antartica cruises will see what nature offers. I feel Ponant created the perfect cruise to let it happen. So if you like excellent food (too much for me), perfect service, nice entertainment and a comfortable ship Ponant has it all. We had a basic cabin and it was very functional. Small, but that comes with being an expedition ship. The zodiacs were very well run and I felt very safe. The naturalists were excellent. They went out of their way to be helpful. Each seemed to have their own niche. Also, impressed with the fact most of them were able to communicate in both French (French, first, it is a French line) and English. My only criticism is I would have liked availability of field guides for birds and mammals. I hadn't brought any because I assumed they would be available on the ship. As a bonus, we met very lovely people from Australia, England and US. What I would do different--bring less stuff and upgrade flight between B.A. and Ursula to Economy plus (ship provides basic economy). When I say bring less stuff, I am glad I included some nice dinner outfits because Europeans tend to dress nicely. My husband was happy that there was no "formal" night however. Be sure to buy the CD. The photographers were great. It's hard to take a bad penguin picture but the professional video is a great memory. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Everything on this cruise was very well organised and went smoothly. The excursions were well executed and going on the zodiac I felt very safe. All land excursions were well organised with lots of expedition staff to help and answer ... Read More
Everything on this cruise was very well organised and went smoothly. The excursions were well executed and going on the zodiac I felt very safe. All land excursions were well organised with lots of expedition staff to help and answer questions. The room was like a 5 star hotel room. Air con was individual which made a difference to individual room comfort. The staff were so friendly and helpful. The service in all areas of the ship was excellent. Food was very good and the bread, pastries and cheeses were excellent. There was a good selection of drinks and service at the bars was great. The cruise guests were American, French and Australians. I am glad there were about 30 Australians aboard as socially it would be different without that friendly Australian manner and there also was the language barrier. Each night there was music entertainment which was ok. The main lounge was a good place to gather for the entertainment and to also sit and have a chat. I would highly recommend this company for cruising although I would enquire about the guests nationalities. A range of different nationalities is the best. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
My wife and I went to Alaska in 2016 with Ponant. We were so impressed with the experience that we began immediately to look into another Ponant cruise. The expedition director in Alaska convinced us to look at the Antarctic. Our ... Read More
My wife and I went to Alaska in 2016 with Ponant. We were so impressed with the experience that we began immediately to look into another Ponant cruise. The expedition director in Alaska convinced us to look at the Antarctic. Our experience in the Antarctic exceeded our expectations. The expedition people were superb and always ready to answer our questions. The crew from captain to room steward was courteous, helpful and enthusiastic. The dining, as we discovered in Alaska, was first class. The highlights of the trip were seeing Nature at its purest. Walking among the penguins and seals was a thrill. At one point, when the ice prevented us from going ashore, the crew set up a table of champagne glasses on an ice flow - how perfectly French. It reminded us of our experience after a balloon ride in Africa where the passengers were treated to a champagne breakfast in the style of the original French balloonists. The 2 days across the Drake Passage were relatively smooth and the captain took us ti see Cape Horn. Ponant is concerned about every detail of the cruise and about your pleasure and comfort from checking in to checking out, from transportation to and from the airports and from ensuring that you are prepared for the expedition. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
The highlight was the Zodiac cruises to places very rarely visited. More people climb Everest each year than visit the islands we saw. We were privileged to get close to literally thousands of birds and seals (many classified as rare and ... Read More
The highlight was the Zodiac cruises to places very rarely visited. More people climb Everest each year than visit the islands we saw. We were privileged to get close to literally thousands of birds and seals (many classified as rare and endangered). What a joy to find seals and penguins who were as interested in checking out the red penguins (humans in their Ponant supplied red parkas) as we were in looking at them! The outstanding range of colourful flora on all the islands (except the Bounty group which only support some grasses) was a joy to the eye and the megaherbs a reminder that it doesn't need to be a tropical plant to be fascinating and strange. The L'Austral is a superb cruise ship and Ponant a first class company. Food, service, cabin -- all top quality. The French touch was important. Activities were divided into those for French speakers and English speakers. I joined the French speakers with my French wife. This meant we were a group of about 40 while the other group was closer to 150. Thanks to that we had a more personal expedition and got to know our guides and fellow passengers. The cruise is very dependent on the weather. We were very lucky to have the best weather ever experienced by the ship's captain and the expedition team. Two days of all day sunshine (the Snares and the Bounty Islands). The other days were mixed (think of a typical English summer in the north such as the Lake District). The Southern Ocean was unusually calm so we suffered very little from sea-sickness and soon had our sea-legs. There are 2 restaurants. Deck 2 has a better menu and tables. Deck 6 is on the "First Class" passenger level but more like a snack bar with buffet service. We dined almost every time on Deck 2 and quickly befriended our servers. Their personal service gave us a First Class experience even though we had the economy cabins on Deck 3. Value for money was on Deck 3. Every deck higher was a couple of thousand $/EUR higher without any tangible benefit. Satellite based internet was expensive (30 EUR for 1 hour) and so slow it was essentially unusable. Perhaps because I was trying to get to a NZ based server and the satellite service was tuned to Europe (my wife and I live 6 months in NZ and 6 months in France)? Deck 3 gave us quick access to the central services of the boat - the 24 h staffed reception and the grand salon with its bar and outside deck looking over the stern. The outside deck was always a delight to get the feel of the sea and sky. All food and drink is included. This means a mini-bar with beer, spirits, juice, water (but no wine) and 2 other bars with wine, cocktails, beer (only Heineken to my dismay) and spirits. The restaurant service also provided unlimited access to the same array of drinks. Nibbles are provided (even without asking) in the bar areas. The range of food was good - always with a French touch. The standard did not really come up to the rest of our experiences on the ship. The food was never bad but was only occasionally exceptional. The breads and cheeses were well up to the high standard of French cuisine. The captain (le commandant) is soft spoken in French (his native tongue) and English (with an English accent). We looked forward to his daily bulletins with eagerness and pleasure at his insightful commentary and confidence inspiring information. The cruise director was French but communicated clearly in English. As a French speaking Englishman I found the bilingual announcements to have sometimes quite different interpretations but never really misleading. The main fault I found was the poor port service in Dunedin and Wellington. Not a fault of the cruise company. Both these cities are known for their wet and windy weather. There is no shelter for passengers or baggage during embarkation or disembarkation which can mean being at the mercy of the elements for 20 - 30 minutes at each end of the trip. Congratulations to Ponant, the ship's crew and the Expedition team for making this one of the top adventures in my life (along with running the Grand Canyon with just 2 inflatable rafts and 4 people over 3 weeks). Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
These islands are possibly the least visited and unspoilt islands in the world with unique flora and fauna. They cruise visits these island positioned halfway between Australia and New Zealand and Antarctica. In the great southern ocean ... Read More
These islands are possibly the least visited and unspoilt islands in the world with unique flora and fauna. They cruise visits these island positioned halfway between Australia and New Zealand and Antarctica. In the great southern ocean The islands contain the greatest variety of penguins and the opportunity to sit on the beach and have these highly curios birds come and investigate the stranger in their midst On Macquarie hugh breeding colonies of up to 500,000 pairs can be observed plus smaller breading colonies Colony’s of elephant seal, New Zealand fur seals, New Zealand sea lions can be observed while wali g on the islands Bird life is abundant and breading colonies of various breeds of Albatros can be observed whilst on land and also from zodiacs while investigating the shore line and inlets and cliffs of the various islands. Apart from. Penguins, seals, and a great diversity of bird life the islands have their own unique forms of vegetation This all takes place with a team of highly experienced specialised experts who daily give lecture on what we can expect to see on the next days excursions ashore or from the zodiacs Ponant take you to these far away places in the luxury of their ship with fine food,fine wine and great service that makes the trip even more enjoyable Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We originally choose this Cruise because of the destination, which was on our bucket list, and thankfully because a friend introduced us to Ponant. The cruise was exceptional in every experience, the ship, the cabin, the Captain and ... Read More
We originally choose this Cruise because of the destination, which was on our bucket list, and thankfully because a friend introduced us to Ponant. The cruise was exceptional in every experience, the ship, the cabin, the Captain and crew, the food and beverage, the naturalists and the understated but excellent entertainment. From the time we me some of our fellow travellers at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Buenos Aires until our departure we were continually impressed by the staff management of activities and the friendly co-operation of all guests. All communication was bi-lingual, but very clear and precise. We benefitted by excellent weather which allowed us to pass the Artic/Polar Circle and land and climb Cape Horn which were added bonuses to our planned itinerary. The attention to detail in every aspect safety, service, customer satisfaction was superb. The cruise was everything we hoped for and more with the excersion experiences remaining life memories. 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
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
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