L'Austral Cruise Review by spw1947
- Sail Date: August 2018
- Destination: Australia & New Zealand
There was a bit of a mess embarking as the papers were late arriving and the meeting point had changed but the Visitors' Centre in Broome was very accommodating. All was soon forgotten when we boarded, greeted by senior staff and with a glass of bubbles, we were escorted to our cabin where our bags were waiting.
Our cabin, 508, was very comfortable, with plenty of space for our belongings, and the screen in the bathroom giving a view of the outside from the shower was exciting, as well as acting as a source of light. Our attendant kept everything very clean and was helpful in a range of small ways.
I have never had such a thorough lifeboat drill, leaving the theatre to fetch our life jackets, donning them, being checked off and then shown row by row to the lifeboat boarding area. This attention to safety was also shown by the zodiac with the doctor, and a senior officer accompanying all excursions, people on hand to assist with difficult parts of walks and a briefing each evening on how rigorous the next day would be.
There always seemed to be entertainment in the main lounge, a singer, classical pianist or a mood music, and on the only sea day there were two short documentaries related to the area. The main lounge and the observation lounge as well as the outdoor areas gave plenty of places to relax, read, talk, play games or just watch the passing views. Even at night it was very pleasant to take the air and look at the stars.
The main entertainment however was the excursion program, and what a program. After the evening briefing we looked forward tot he sights of the next day and weren't disappointed. The zodiacs were manned by mainly young, but always very enthusiastic and informative members of the expedition team. We saw whales, turtles, rays, many varieties of birds, crocodiles, dolphins, and some lucky passengers saw a dugong. On shore we visited rock art sites from different periods, and a beach with strange shaped rocks of significance to indigenous Australians, as well as venturing up rivers and gorges. The sunsets were amazing, and the sunrises were probably also spectacular judging by the light I saw early one morning!
It was the most wonderful experience to go out on a zodiac and then return to a ship with excellent French food and wine, good company and a warm ambiance.
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