I will initially explain that I have now cruised with quite a few of the luxury lines including Seabourn, Silversea and Regent. I have therefore come to expect a distinct level of service provided by these superior lines.
Upon booking for Le Boreal it was explained to me that Compagnie du Ponant were putting this yacht in service to try to compete with the high end lines, the prices for the cruise were also very high over £4000 each for a week's cruise with only wine and tea coffee with meals included, for a small suite.
We quickly embarked the ship and were promptly recieved and shown our suite, there was no welcome drink or pleasantries, just straight to our suite.
The suite one down from the owners suite was compact, dread to think of the size of the other rooms! The balcony was solid and the room was quite dark because of this. This was not explained to us at the time of booking so visibility from the balcony was quite a problem, which we thought was very poor for a room of this magnitude. We complained to the hotel manager, but he showed little interest, and was more keen on taking every phone call he had whilst talking to us, extremely rude to say the least! We had a TV that did not work for 4 days of a 8 day cruise, but champagne was sent to the room as an apology.
The public areas of the ship were very modern and sophisticated and the vessel with the right management could proove a successful enterprise. The restaurant was lovely, but we were told that we could not reserve tables and every time we went to a table it had a reserved sticker on it??? It seemed WE could not, but others could, and this pattern unfortunately continued for the whole of the cruise. I am used to hearing YES on a cruise, with our party on this cruise it became NO all of the time!
The restaurant opened at not a set time, and the same wines were served EVERY DAY AND NIGHT for a week, to make you buy additional wines of course!! A cheap ploy for such an expensive cruise. The food ranged form the sublime to the plain awful and there seemed no in between. At lunch there was just a buffet available no grill menu, we saw a man special order a burger,so I called over the maitre'd to ask if I could pre order for the next day 2 burgers for our friends, the reply ......... The chef won't be very happy....my reply with a face of thunder,and I wont be very happy if you dont sort it out!! Unfortunately, this behaviour was typical of the whole experience one rule for one and one for the others. It really depended on which nationality you were as to the level of service you recieved, and I was shocked this kind of thing was happening.
The rooms were small and although imaculate, they were brand new, they were furnished well and featured L'occitane amenities, these however were never replenished, which was just terrible, service like this you wouldnt receive in a cheap hotel.
There was little to do and next to no entertainment in the day,apart from a singer or two, not even a game of bridge, trivia, cooking demonsration or wine tasting, nothing and with 3 days at sea it became pretty boring.
I will summarise by saying that if the company do not adjust their business model I think it will quickly run out of staem, if clientele are paying premium money they expect good service,food,QUALITY wine, and ambience. LeBoreal is seriously lacking al of the above,which is a real shame as the vessel is stunning.
Some fellow cruisers enjoyed themselves, but when I asked them if they had cruised before, I kinda knew the answer would be NO. If they had, they would have been seriously unhappy with this shower!!!