Le Soleal Cruise Review by Solo Mariner
- Sail Date: December 2015
- Destination: South Pacific
I particularly chose this as cruise with this promise of luxury and service in the ponant marketing material. I had a very difficult personal year and wanted to be rewarded in a special cruise style, as this was held out to be. I am a single traveler and this was yet another reason my decision to take this kind of cruise was based on. I needed the personal service and attention , i had basic knowledge of the french language and wanted to integrate more of the culture into my experience during the time on board.
Where do I begin,
1. On arrival at the dock at 1pm, i was sent away, it was not the correct time. They told me to come back at 5pm. Conversation was in french and no interest to assist was offered.
Here i was up since 4.30am that morning ,departed from sydney airport looking forward to this once in a "special experience" cruise.
I had no water, no local currency, there was no phone reception, i wondered around noumea port area with two luggage and handbag etc in the heat for the afternoon. This was the beginning of my "special cruise."
When we finally were allowed to embark, doors opened to a comfortable waiting area, with water , rest rooms, shaded secure area for us and our luggage. I wonder why that reception area was not open for all us early arrivals ...4 hours before.?
I am certain that this shipping line is well aware of customer service . The ship was 2/3 french speaking, 1/3 english speaking.
So the problem was attitude mostly, if we were french speaking, we would be spoken to in a more personable manner by the senior staff in charge of our entertainment, our health and by officers etc. We the english speakers were making an effort to participate in the "french" way, however there was no attempt from the senior staff to ask how are we going, eg upstairs dining room maitre de when he saw us each day, and several times he didn't bother to address us by name, even though we did. The same with all the officers..
The good thing was they had a mid cruise survey, and we all spoke up...did things improve? hmmm
on the last day the captain saw us off personally as he knew there was a lot of dissent . Our fellow passenger was injured early on and was in a wheelchair for the rest of the cruise. No personal care or treatment from the doctor on board.
i was violently ill for over 10 hours in my cabin, on my own, there was no follow up.
if good attitude was engaged, i am sure we could have tolerated, the lack of a good daily activity schedule, a lack of authentic quality cuisine, the boredom of the day could have been a lighter burden if the crew were also enjoying themselves. They also were bored. so they couldn't pass on any positive energy to us. The 5 or so entertainers / dancers desperately tried to keep smiles on their faces and do their job. The filipino crew volunteered to sing carols to us before xmas dinner.
The food was average, nothing to get excited about. Shouldn't i be saying "there is no one who beats french cuisine". The first thing i did when i arrived home was to eat a good meal locally and be glad to be home. I have cruised many times..but sadly this was not an exceptional holiday as they are marketing it to be.
the well meaning captain needs to get rid of the uncaring staff if he wants to carry on in this region with australian passengers etc.
The positive points for me were, cleanliness throughout was excellent, cabin staff very pleasant and helpful. Dinning staff on level 6 were very helpful. Without these people the rest is zero .
It is truly a shame to see such a nice modern ship run by staff with poor customer relations and poor attitude in all.
I hope they will let us know when the many issues are resolved, we Australians are pretty easy to please. It can't be that hard. I have visited France and never been disappointed. I always had a greeting and a willingness to help and serve. In return i would support by spending my hard earned money , gladly..as i always had an enjoyable personal experience with the French people.
250,000+ people have entered their email
A very clean modern room
I was glad to be traveling on my own, there is not much room for another person
Cabin staff were excellent
I like the bathroom and separate toilet is a good idea. If they were doing it agin , a hand basin in the toilet would be perfect.
I had no music or films for a few days, finally the movies worked. More variety is needed on the TV channels.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
PictonI like the atmosphere of this town and could have spent longer thereView All 129 Picton Cruise Port Reviews
The friendly New Zealanders were a refreshing change , they welcomed us and spoke to us and asked how our day was going.
I must have been suffering withdrawals from positive people (the lack of , on my ship!)
View Cruise Critic's Picton Cruise Port Review