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10 Ponant Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

We liked the idea of French food and smaller portions and not American food which we get on Seabourn. We also wanted to visit Croatia in a small ship. We loved the ship and the open bridge policy. We found the Captain, officers and crew ... Read More
We liked the idea of French food and smaller portions and not American food which we get on Seabourn. We also wanted to visit Croatia in a small ship. We loved the ship and the open bridge policy. We found the Captain, officers and crew terrific and well trained. The ship was attractive but the pool rather small. We would have liked sun umbrellas as there was no shade around that area...nor in the deck area with sunbathing chairs. Our cabin was small but had great storage & well designed. The bathroom was small but had an excellent shower. The separate toilet was very small. We liked our balcony with 2 chairs and small table. The TV sound was poor and we would have liked better news channels. The boutique had quality clothes. We liked dining in the formal restaurant on Deck 2 very much at night but loved lunch and breakfast on the deck (6) in the open air mainly. We enjoyed the Chef’s barbecue and delicious grilled fish. The French pastries were delicious as were all the meals. We saw two shows, one was modern dancers and the other a French Canadian magician. Both excellent. We had a superb tour guide in the pretty island of Rab, one of the best we have found anywhere. We enjoyed all the ports we went to but of course a couple were very crowded as it was high season. The good thing about Ponant is the ship is small enough to visit quieter places. The few, French, children who were on board were beautifully behaved. It is not ideally a cruise for children though. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This cruise was chosen as it is a smaller ship with only 220 guests. We never felt crowded and the choice of services meant everyone was spread out. A lovely group of people cruising and the whole experience was very refined. Absolutely 5 ... Read More
This cruise was chosen as it is a smaller ship with only 220 guests. We never felt crowded and the choice of services meant everyone was spread out. A lovely group of people cruising and the whole experience was very refined. Absolutely 5 star food and wine. Staff also excellent. When we stopped at each port the information and excursions made available were extensive. We did some excursions and other days did our own thing. The room was spacious enough. We were very pleased to have our own balcony. The main reason we chose Ponant was because the entry level stateroom has a balcony which I think is essential. The housekeeping was very good and attentive to our own needs with pillow menu and room service available 24/7. All inclusive. We had a classical pianist playing every night in the front bar which we really enjoyed. The dancing was great also but a bit dated. Very old fashioned French style. Overall an excellent cruise and we look forward to another. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This might be a lengthy review, but I feel it needs to be because when booking with Ponant, I found little to no reviews on this company, especially for people who were bringing children. We traveled with our kids 8 and 10 and just got ... Read More
This might be a lengthy review, but I feel it needs to be because when booking with Ponant, I found little to no reviews on this company, especially for people who were bringing children. We traveled with our kids 8 and 10 and just got home from an 8 night Mediterranean cruise onboard the Le Lyrial. We LOVED this ship. The staff were amazing, there was a kids club that I couldn't pull my kids from (more on that), and we were very pleased with the food. Cabins: Cabins are adequate in size. We have been on Royal Caribbean and Disney boats and the Deluxe Balcony stateroom was just as big, with a decent sized balcony. We had cabins 323 and 325, both rooms were perfect for 2 ppl per cabin with plenty of storage. They took out the balcony divider between out staterooms so we could come and go between the cabins. These staterooms do not connect from the inside. Kids Club: There was a kids club on this cruise, which I don't think is offered on all the itineraries. If there's a kids club, it will be listed. My kids loved kids club. The activities they provided for the children were entertaining. No there is not a basketball court, or all the other kids stuff you find on the Disney and RC boats, but my kids never complained about not having that. In fact, they told us this was the best kids club they've been too. Port stops: Because this is a smaller boat, you port in smaller ports and getting off the boat is so much less stressful. Ponant organizes everything to a "T" and we were very impressed with the tours they provided. We generally do not book cruise ship tours, but these tours never had any more than 20 ppl in a group, again a BONUS being on a smaller boat. Food and Dining: Food was great! There are 2 restaurants and we never had a problem getting seating at either of them. I do wish they had a couple more options for the included house wines. With this being a french boat, I was looking forward to tasting some good french wines. They do have them, but they come at a cost. Pool Deck: Never crowed. On a Mediterranean cruise one would have thought you would have problems finding a chair. We never did. Also, ppl do not reserve chairs with towels, which was nice! There were 122 people onboard our ship. Amazing! I can't imagine we will ever be able to go back to a bigger boat after being on the Le Lyrial. I would also like to add that our tour manager, Nina was phenomenal. She organized all our excursions, and they went above and beyond to make sure we had the best experience possible. For example, we booked an excursion that was not offered as an inclusion to the US passengers, and was given only in French. My husband and I knew this going into it. We fully expected that we were going on a French speaking excursion and were OK with that. To our surprise, Nina had organized an English speaking guide to accommodate us that day. It was like we had our on personal guide. We did not expect this at all! But again, this is Ponant, and Nina was just exceptional. All in all we will book again with Ponant. Not having to deal with the crowds on embarking and disembarking is so worth the extra cost! Plus the attention you get on the cruise is priceless. Sail Date: July 2019 Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We booked Ponant without ever having sailed with this cruise line. Overall, I would rate as very good for the value. The accommodations were comfortable, Hermes products, comfy beds and linen. Small but efficient pool area. Bars ... Read More
We booked Ponant without ever having sailed with this cruise line. Overall, I would rate as very good for the value. The accommodations were comfortable, Hermes products, comfy beds and linen. Small but efficient pool area. Bars were generally comfortable and service was nice but they did run out of simple things for a couple of days like bloody mary mix and cranberry juice. That seemed odd that they didn't restock while in port. They seemed surprised when we questioned it. The meal service in the restaurant and buffet area was decent but not overly attentive. Sometimes orders were mixed up and sometimes you had to ask for wine but if you are not too sensitive to this your expectations will be met. The actual food was nicely done especially appetizers and deserts. There were some mains that were less than great such as pork loin which was very tough. There was one caviar testing that was nice but they held it on the pool deck in the blazing sun. I think they will rethink it. Shows were cute but this is a small ship so mostly ballet type dancing and some singing. I did not attend the lectures. The outdoor lounges are lovely but the allowed smoking area made it difficult for non-smokers if sensitive to this. The pool deck was not always attended too and there were towels all over the place by midday and you have to walk up to the bar upstairs to have a drink -- no pool service. The bars sometimes seemed overwhelmed but if you don't mind waiting you are ok. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was our first cruise with Ponant and we were not disappointed. It was 5 star all the way. The food was magnificent and delicious for every meal. Our cabin with veranda was completely adequate for our needs as we do not spend much ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Ponant and we were not disappointed. It was 5 star all the way. The food was magnificent and delicious for every meal. Our cabin with veranda was completely adequate for our needs as we do not spend much time in there. The toilet was separate to the bathroom which was unusual and very pleasing. The bed was comfortable and there was plenty of storage. My only criticism is that the balustrade for the balcony is steel so if sitting on the veranda, one cannot see much at all. A perspex or some other transparent material would be better. Maybe becaue it is an icebreaker - I don't know? Rhis is also our first cruise on a small ship and we were dispoointed some times in the lack of activities in the afternoon. Is this because the passengers are having nana naps?! Staff were excellent and catered to our every request. Shore excursions - we only did one in Tangier which was really good and the other in Casablanca which was only satisfactory because we were put on a bus with French speakers and their French guide who dominated our English speaking guide and monopolised the microphone on the bus. There is not a lot to see in Casablanca and I felt that the tour was "padded out" with useless information to fill in time. One could easily walk from the port to the mosque and that's all you really need ro see. While we loved the cruise, I am not sure that I would do a small ship cruise again as we had some not rough seas, but serious swells that made quite a few people sea sick. I have been on big ships with rough seas and never felt sick like I did on this one. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
The itinerary of Morocco and Andalusia was our primary attraction. The itinerary and the tours were up to expectations. Excellent and recommended We expected a 6 star cruise line, although Ponant and their ships are fairly new in the ... Read More
The itinerary of Morocco and Andalusia was our primary attraction. The itinerary and the tours were up to expectations. Excellent and recommended We expected a 6 star cruise line, although Ponant and their ships are fairly new in the cruise industry. We appreciated the modest number of passengers, and we look for the cruise lines that have smaller ships. We have been Seabourn fans for some years, but are now avoiding them as their ships have grown from ~150 to over 700. Ponant provided an excellent and engaging set of talks and lectures which we thoroughly enjoyed on the history of Morocco, Andalusia and Islam. We long for the more intimate cruising experience with an emphasis on historic and cultural presentations. Ponant delivered on this promise. Ponant’s service outside of the dining room was excellent, their staff well trained. The food was not up to our expectations, a surprise given the French ownership of the line. The dining room service was the weak point in an otherwise excellent service experience. We routinely required almost two hours to eat in the dining room with extended waits for the food. Perhaps our biggest problem was with the staterooms. They were incredibly small and cramped. Significantly smaller than the Seabourn staterooms. We will not likely cruise with Ponant again in the future because of the cramped staterooms. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I have to confess that I am not easy to please so when I read some of the previous reviews of the L'Austral to the Dalmatian Coast, I was nervous. I have been across the Atlantic many times, including the SS France, and on one cruise ... Read More
I have to confess that I am not easy to please so when I read some of the previous reviews of the L'Austral to the Dalmatian Coast, I was nervous. I have been across the Atlantic many times, including the SS France, and on one cruise line and have to say this was as good as it gets for this size ship/crew. The service was perfect, the food excellent and the attention to detail (eg not waking everybody on the ship to announce the daily tours at 8:00 am) help with whatever you needed and including moving your table the next night from very loud neighbors. There was a Tauk group on the ship but we never even noticed that it was there except we were told...certainly no preferential treatment. This cruise was perfect for US...we weren't looking for night life etc. The cabins are small but extremely efficient and we didn't even use all our drawer space. On the negative side, the internet is ridiculously expensive and for me a bit difficult to navigate. On the whole, our ship mates ages were from late 40's to 70's. A well dressed, sophisticated group of travelers, primarily in the 60's group. Many French, many Australians. I hesitate to even write this review as I think the reviews are catching on and it will be more and more difficult to book on this and other Ponant cruises for Americans as word gets out across the ocean. We're already working on another. Hope this reassure those of you have already booked. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
In a word, our experience on L'Austral was exceptional. We just got back from a 10 day cruise from Venice to Athens. As hospitality professionals, we immediately recognized and appreciated the elegant quality of the ship, attention to ... Read More
In a word, our experience on L'Austral was exceptional. We just got back from a 10 day cruise from Venice to Athens. As hospitality professionals, we immediately recognized and appreciated the elegant quality of the ship, attention to detail, excellent selection of food, and high standard of customer service. We decided to book a prestige suite which turned out to be worth it as it was extremely comfortable and kept immaculately clean by the attentive staff. The bed and pillows were so comfortable my husband and I hadn't slept that well in quite awhile. The views from our double balcony were breathtaking. Fortunately our cabin was on the port side of the ship which faced the gorgeous Adriatic coastline. As a first time cruiser I suddenly knew why some people love cruises so much. We absolutely loved the relatively small size of L'Austral. It made for an intimate atmosphere and yet we had lots of privacy when we felt like it. We looked forward, a little too much, to our meals in one of the two dining rooms each day. On deck 2 the formal dining room has a daily four course dinner menu with various choices of delicious, beautifully presented dishes served by a team of hard-working and always friendly waiters. Lunch was a different theme each day. One day on deck 6 they had a huge bucket of fresh oysters which were being cracked open as we watched! Breakfast was also perfectly complete from steaming coffee to fresh croissants, and the whole nine yards for those who felt like it. The staff also went out of their way when we had some special food requests. English and French were spoken interchangeably. Although I speak a fair amount of French, I mostly spoke English and had no problem whatsoever. They were so genuinely helpful and professional, it felt like leaving old friends at the end of our cruise. We really enjoyed the itinerary. Croatia is absolutely lovely, and we are now officially in love with the Greek islands we visited, the Greek people, and of course, the Greek food. Conclusion, after weeks of planning and wondering if we had made the right choice, L'Austral turned out to be such a perfect fit for us that, you guessed it, we are already planning our next cruise to Asia with Le Ponant cruise line. Thank you to everyone who made this the best trip of our lives so far. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
'Welcome aboard Mr & Mrs Cooper' were the first words we heard from the Cruise Director on arrival by taxi at the quayside. How Sendrine knew who we were I have no idea, but she did. This was to be an extremely good insight ... Read More
'Welcome aboard Mr & Mrs Cooper' were the first words we heard from the Cruise Director on arrival by taxi at the quayside. How Sendrine knew who we were I have no idea, but she did. This was to be an extremely good insight as to how the rest of the week on board one of the most beautiful yatchs in the world would pan out. By the the next morning even the Captain was greeting us by name and the 50 or so lucky enough to be on board all soon knew each other as well. The food was out of this world with a Michelin star chef heading the team and an extremely accomplished pastry chef helped keep us going morning, noon and night. Eating breakfast and lunch on the after-deck was so relaxed and you felt in a different world so complete relaxation and escapism were achieved almost effortlessly. Most of the time at sea was under sail, in fact so much so that we all received a fuel rebate with our end of cruise accounts. This gave a wonderful easy motion to the yatch and watching the stars under a moonlit sky after dinner was quite romantic even for a fifty plus old git. It was not cheap, but rightly so, which also meant, and I'm going to sound snobby here, there were only people one would have chosen to be away with on board. There was no shouting, no swearing and never any pushing. Only refined good manners and everyone was elegantly dressed. Perfect in every way and we cannot wait to go again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
I have had the pleasure of cruising on the new Ponant creature Le Boreal. After cruising 134 times, I still think Ponant is the perfect choice for all who want quality at low prices, in the premium cruising category. Aimed to give the ... Read More
I have had the pleasure of cruising on the new Ponant creature Le Boreal. After cruising 134 times, I still think Ponant is the perfect choice for all who want quality at low prices, in the premium cruising category. Aimed to give the company passengers a bigger ship, I have to admit that Jean Philip Nuel, one of the most prestigious designer has made a terrific job creating a masterpiece in minimalism, class, and luxury. If externally is one of the most discerning yacht ship afloat, internally nobody can match Le Boreal decoration. Monochromatic earthly tones are remarked by notes of crimson everywhere. Almost 10.000 tones gives an deep feeling of space containing everything one deserves: lower main restaurant decorated in white and grey colours, a huge circular lobby with hanging creative glass motives, the stunning Ispashan Lounge ideal for afternoon tea. The company has also fitted a new sidereal like theatre, a Carita Spa, and in the upper decks I would remark the beautiful buffet and the bar-lounge-library in the front. The outside decks are designed to look like a smart Yacht Club with the same decoration as the rest of the ship. Essentially most cabins are virtually the same except a couple of suites. Most of the cabin furniture seems to be taken from a "modern art studio" in Milan, with volumes, ideas, arrangements not seem in any other ship. I remark the stunning bath with an spectacular glass panel which allows you to have a shower while the daily light comes into. FOOD; French, elaborate and sublime. Everything tastes as it should taste. Desserts are sinful. Meats and fishes are of prime quality. The meals are a perfect combination of ingredients, freshly prepared recipes, graceful service and wines included. The stemware, china and service is second to none. Meals in the buffet (which offers plenty of space for alfresco dinning) always contains classics of the french cuisine like the best Chocolate Mousse ever tasted, exquisite Moroccan buffets, and delicious french soups, pasta, and crispy salads. Cabin service is sensational. Even baguette is freshly made, not frozen dough as in most cruise lines. Breakfast is sensational as well as coffee which is european style. EXPERIENCE: Don´t compare it to anyone. Ponant is aimed to discerning international passengers, specially those who love the french way of live, and who can´t pay overpriced cruises in the other luxury cruise companies. All those who love a sophisticated service without being stiff, all people who don´t really need an American way of cruising full of shows, casinos, and so on. I would recommend the Le Boreal, to all those who can´t afford the frills of the expensive luxury cruise, but need the feel the "flair" and taste of the luxury vessel, french style. I would suggest it to everyone who needs feeling in a familiar environment would love the friendliness of the crew, attentive attitude of the captain and chic live on board. Routes are simply imaginative and exotic, and usually visit many ports other can´t even dream to get at. However I would remark some minor negative aspects: plastic bottles on the buffet tables are not really elegant. The pool deck lacks shade areas, and the communication between the pool and the upper sun deck could be improved. Some members of the crew need a little bit more subtle with passengers who serve themselves a cup of tea in the main lounge before tea time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
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