The week got off to an inauspicious start. The instructions sent by Ponant for passengers arriving in their own car at the port of Venice turned out to be misleading and the cause of frustration and delay.
Our spirits picked up when we were shown to our cabin (deluxe suite) which was comfortable and very adequate for a week long cruise.
Any euphoria was soon dispelled the first night at dinner. We were told we could only sit with other groups throughout the cruise. On expressing surprise, the dining manage told us "Don't blame me, blame the ship's designers". The food offered was, at best, bland and, at worst, barely edible. It was suggested we might like to move to the buffet restaurant, where we offered cold rib of beef.
When I asked that same evening if we could disembark and leave the cruise at the next port of call, our concerns began to be taken seriously. In fact, we were well looked after for the rest of the voyage, including being offered a table for two every meal time. Unfortunately, the food remained mediocre and uninspiring. Perhaps our expectations of the cuisine on a French ship were too high.
There was a very large Tauck contingent on the cruise. Every evening they completely took over the bar prior to dinner; it was suggested that "we might like to take our cocktails in our cabin". We felt we were on a Tauck cruise.
The little enjoyment we got from the cruise was due to the very friendly and helpful dining and bar staff.......and gorgeous weather during the whole week.