1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Ponant
  4. Ponant Cruise Reviews

11 Ponant Family Cruise Reviews

Le Champlain is a lovely ship with only ninety-two cabins, 165 passengers and 115 crew members. We felt the on-board experience was excellent in almost every respect and were impressed that most crew members knew us by name, or at least by ... Read More
Le Champlain is a lovely ship with only ninety-two cabins, 165 passengers and 115 crew members. We felt the on-board experience was excellent in almost every respect and were impressed that most crew members knew us by name, or at least by cabin number and preferences midway through the cruise. Ponant has had difficulties with the local Mexican government and they have been unable to embark from Puerto Morelos. We were notified only a few days in advance that the embarkation had been moved to Cozumel -- too late to change our hotel reservations (and of course of flights). Had we known just a week in advance, we could have booked a hotel in Cozumel and perhaps even flown there, saving us lots of time. On the good side, Le Champlain's crew handled this as well as I would have expected. Ponant had arranged for us to meet at the Playa del Carmen Hyatt and chartered a private ferry to Cozumel. It was clear that the crew members were working hard to make sure this unexpected transfer went well. the ferry let us off at Le Champlain, so we had only a short walk to board. We were adjacent to an RCL ship and that highlighted exactly how small Le Champlain is. On board, Mexican emigration formalities took more than an hour -- but we were plied with Champaign and canapés, so there was little complaining from us. This was a Christmas cruise, so that had its own positives and negatives -- everything on board was festive and Kamel the Cruise Director could be seen everywhere throughout the cruise leading various activities. He occupied all the kids and teens each afternoon with various activities, including working with the ship's dancers to train them to do their own Christmas dance. Our teen loved it and meeting kids from around the world. Activities on board ranged from musical shows, which we thought extremely impressive, given they were performed by three dancers, two singers and one piano player -- to local dance troupes performing Garafuna dances -- to even the crew performing for the Christmas Eve show. In the afternoon, we played trivia and bingo in the main lounge and made Christmas ornaments and cards with Kamel. We thought the food was excellent, for the most part and only noted that the kitchen was perhaps "trying too hard" on the Gala Night and Christmas Eve Dinner and some of the courses felt overly experimental (Christmas Eve was the only evening where the more relaxed outdoor dining room was closed). The restaurant manager may have felt this would be an issue, as he found all of the kids the day before and asked them what they would like to have for dinner. The formal dining room is capable of seating all passengers at once and we were able to eat alone or with others as we chose. We also tried the 24-hour room service -- the menu was limited (basically burger, steak, grilled salmon or salad) but our order was delivered promptly and it tasted good. Drinks at the bar were good. The main bar was open from 6 or 7an until about 11 or midnight. The library lounge and the amazing Blue Eye lounge had a bartender present for an hour at a time for one or two hours each day. For 20 EUR per person more, there was a premium alcohol menu. If I wanted whiskey, it would definitely be worth it. Otherwise, all drinks, including those in the stateroom, were complementary. All announcements were made in French & English. I speak both and noted that the translations weren't exact and interestingly to me (at least), sometimes one language's announcement was much more detailed than the other (but sometimes English was more detailed than French). On the downside, there wasn't necessarily much to do at the ports. High rollers flew to Copan or Tikal for the day and the rest of us either stayed on the ship, took the local excursions or explored locally on our own. Puerto Cortés -- we did not take an excursion here, but reception suggested we take a Taxi into town. It cost $5 and was just a mile away. The town is not at all touristy, but we had a nice walk around "El Centro," enjoyed the Christmas decorations and visited a hardware and grocery store before walking back. Santo Tomás de Castilla -- we took the excursion to the Las Escobas Nature Trail (where some of us swam around the waterfalls), followed by a visit to a local community, where we made tortillas and ate our own tacos). Everyone on the bus was English speaking and it was not full. There were two busses of French passengers on the same tour and it looked as though their busses were more full. Our guide was local, endearing and gave us all small gifts from Guatemala. Livingston -- Christmas Day and pretty much everything was closed. We took a boat ride up the Rio Dulce and experienced the hot springs and caverns. Interesting. The boat picked us up from the back of Le Champlain and the nine of us went on our way with the same guide as the day before. Belize City -- those of us who went scuba diving had a great time with Sea Sports Scuba and Ponant's Divemaster Franck (and Captain Simon, who came with us). The member of our party who went on the river cruise in hopes of seeing the manatees was disappointed -- the boat was full, there was no shade and there was lots of waiting around with no communication. After the dives, we went into Belize City, but aside from the cruise ship terminal, the entire city was completely closed for Boxing Day. The one thing that we did enjoy was there was absolutely no line for the tender back to our ship. RCL was also in town and the line for their tenders were hundreds of passengers deep. Half Moon Cay / Great Blue Hole / Lighthouse Reef -- for those of us diving, this was an awesome day with spectacular diving in the GBH and alone the reef. Our member went snorkeling and thought it was fine. The ship was only there until noon, so it was a very abbreviated beach day for those who wanted that. Overall, we really enjoyed the ship, and felt the crew made every effort to ensure we had a great cruise. We loved that everything was small, that we could meet pretty much every passenger and crew member and that nothing was ever, ever crowded. Read Less
Sail Date December 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
Ponant met our needs with their short 7 night cruise down the Dalmatian Coast. We had some friends who had taken this cruise and recommended it.Looking back on the experience we would have to say it exceeded their recommendation. Although ... Read More
Ponant met our needs with their short 7 night cruise down the Dalmatian Coast. We had some friends who had taken this cruise and recommended it.Looking back on the experience we would have to say it exceeded their recommendation. Although we only slept there the cabin was excellent, the crew (with one exception) were great, a special mention to the cabin cleaning staff who opened cabin doors with a smile,were always helpful and kept our cabin clean and tidy. The captain was brilliant (the tour of the ships bridge was memorable). Whether it be fine dining or buffet the food was amazing and one of the red wines ( the captains pick?) was a stand out. Special mention to the dining staff and their great sense of humour - great service with a laugh thrown in. In summary a very special experience and yes we would take another cruise with Ponant in a heartbeat. Well done guys. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this cruise for its luxurious small ship experience. The ship was all the better for the French influence on the food and wine which were superb. The ship was fabulous with wonderful caring staff from Captain David Marionneau to ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its luxurious small ship experience. The ship was all the better for the French influence on the food and wine which were superb. The ship was fabulous with wonderful caring staff from Captain David Marionneau to the cabin stewards, wait staff, bar staff, housekeeping staff, reception and entertainment staff. What a trip! We boarded in Fremantle a couple of weeks into the 40 night Circumnavigation of Australia cruise which departed Sydney on 25th January and Fremantle on 8th February. Lovely cabin (315). Nice balcony, comfortable bed and adequate toilet and bathroom facilities (separate) serviced at least twice a day or on demand. Complimentary mini bar replenished daily (no wine though). If we wanted wine we needed to get it from room service. No problem. Plenty of beer, spirits and mixers along with water and soft drinks. Leaving Fremantle we sailed north to Geraldton, then on to Exmouth (glass bottomed boat experience). On to Broome, Talbot Bay for the horizontal falls. Astounding! Waterfalls everywhere- naturalists on board had not seen anything like it, nor the flows from the King George Falls. Aboriginal settlement at Yirrkala was amazing, artworks beautiful, and a performance that was exciting. On we travelled our 26 nights reducing rapidly. So many experiences - so much to see and great weather. Had no problems with the zodiacs and many people older than my 65 years managed them easily with the care and attention of the crew. Boy did we see parts of Australia I never knew existed. Other passengers were also overwhelmed by the beauty and colours of the Kimberley. This was all complimented by food (lots of high quality French inspired food but interspersed with some special lunches of Italian, Moroccan, Baltic inspired. Our bar, lounge and waiting staff knew us all by name after 24 hours, and they knew our drink preferences. Other stops at Darwin, cape york, Thursday Island, Hamilton Island and Fraser Island before heading back to Sydney where our “on board family” of 240 passengers said goodbye. A very sad time. This certainly an unforgettable cruise. So much, wonderful people, sights, eats and drinks, memories after memories, friend after friends. Thoroughly recommend the ship, it’s very professional but friendly and very happy crew and amazing entertainers. Just go, we are so glad we did. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This cruise was chosen as a celebratory event for a 50th wedding anniversary and was chosen because it had an art theme. It also had an interesting itinery and the cruise dates fitted in with the dates to visit family in Sweden during ... Read More
This cruise was chosen as a celebratory event for a 50th wedding anniversary and was chosen because it had an art theme. It also had an interesting itinery and the cruise dates fitted in with the dates to visit family in Sweden during their summer holidays. The features included special excursions to coincide with the Venice Biennale with open tickets to the evnts whilst in Venice. The cruise had attendance of some art specialists from the international firm of Christies and this provided interesting insights into the bsuiness world of collectable art assets. The food was well balanced with some specialties such as fresh oysters and calamari at selected ports. The excursions were led by very competant guides and with the exception of being placed in a french speaking group (an issue that was rectified at the first rerst stop) the information and content was very interesting. In Dubrovnik we were treated to some excellent singing in the Rector's palace by a local group of male acapella singers known as the Klapa Subrenum singers. The Adriatic was at peace during the whole trip and the ship was very quiet being electrically propelled. Passing though the Corinth canal was a treat and worth a special mention in case the choice of ship size is important. The small ship format was importnant to us as we had only cruised twice previously ( on the Orion under Australian waters and SS Catherine on the Rhone river cruise with Uniworld) and so prefered the more intimate and casual style which we were happy with. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
1. Loved the ship itself. 2. Crew Excellent. 3. Food extremely disappointing. Considering the French have a reputation for fine food, the food was boring, often tasteless unless it was the soup which was always too salty and seemed ... Read More
1. Loved the ship itself. 2. Crew Excellent. 3. Food extremely disappointing. Considering the French have a reputation for fine food, the food was boring, often tasteless unless it was the soup which was always too salty and seemed to be lack variety 4. Itinerary and excursions terrific. We went to places in Polynesia that were absolutely magic. The excursion staff were exceptional in providing both the background to the area and the current activities. Their enthusiasm was infectious. 5. WIFI was pathetic. Constantly dropping out. I had to have a conversation with an Australian company at 10pm when I was alone at reception. A 2 minute conversation took half an hour. At times there were 8 -10 people at reception trying to get a connection. WIFI should be available in the cabin and at speeds equal to Seabourn and Silversea. Ponant need to recognise that many people still need to be connected to the outside world. 6. Post cruise arrangements should have been better Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We found the Trip a great experience, the crew friendly professional and helpful at any time .The food and beverages of high quality and selection. The selection of stops for swimming excellent. The stop for Sardinia,-Porto Cervo a waste ... Read More
We found the Trip a great experience, the crew friendly professional and helpful at any time .The food and beverages of high quality and selection. The selection of stops for swimming excellent. The stop for Sardinia,-Porto Cervo a waste of time. Bonifacio a great location. Also we enjoyed the mix of people on the boat and the occasion of meeting Mr. Stephen Winter who gave us an insight on the cruise business in general and the Le Potent concept in particular. All in All nothing to complain about except two small issues: - The introduction after coming on board held in english was very poor and the information given was only a fraction of the same in French. This needs to be improved. - The beds are simply too small and this could eb improved by having them facing the wall on side as it would be perfectly OK just to enter from one side or the foot end. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Love the Expedition Cruises! The locations visited are amazing and without hords of tourist. The Expedition Crew are so knowledgeable on the locations; People, flora, fauna and wildlife found there. We love the small ship size: The ... Read More
Love the Expedition Cruises! The locations visited are amazing and without hords of tourist. The Expedition Crew are so knowledgeable on the locations; People, flora, fauna and wildlife found there. We love the small ship size: The entire Crew is friendly from the waiters, bartenders, bus boys & housekeeping personnel to the Bridge crew and the Captain himself. The food is 5 star across the board taste, choices and presentation. Accomodations are graciously made for allergies. The Piano and Cabaret are very nice. A few fun activities are provided on sea days. The children on board ages 7 and up, seem to enjoy the various activities provided by the AMAZING cruise director, Note:These Expeditions are not really suitable for children under the age of 6. This is not your typical big boat cruise. This is a Luxary Mega Yacht with Mega Amazing prople on board who treat you like a Royal Family. The Gym & Spa on board were a nice feature for sea days. See you again soon. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This Ponant cruise greatly exceeded our expectations! We're first time cruisers and read many reviews before choosing this cruise line. We were looking for a smaller ship that would provide a more personal experience which could get ... Read More
This Ponant cruise greatly exceeded our expectations! We're first time cruisers and read many reviews before choosing this cruise line. We were looking for a smaller ship that would provide a more personal experience which could get into some of the tighter ports and avoid the crush of hundreds of other travelers with the same agenda. Embarkation was smooth. Once we cleared security at the terminal, it wasn't long before we were escorted on-board, being greeted by a smiling ship's captain and senior officers as we embarked. The Cruise Director, Kamel, and entire on-board staff we interacted with were professional, friendly, helpful and smiling. This made for a very enjoyable upbeat cruise. The ship was clean and had a very elegant feel. Each of the public areas were spacious and kept immaculate. The dining was exceptional. Whether we chose the more casual dining experience on Deck 6 or the more formal service on Level 2, the smiling staff were attentive and helpful. The food was fresh, inventive, beautifully plated and offered a variety to satisfy all tastes.We especially enjoyed the fresh fish of the day. Ponant truly delivered on its promise of 'gastonomie francaise!' There was a good choice of excursions at each port of call. Our ability to enjoy these excursions was enhanced by the on-board guest lecturers that discussed the history, geology, flora & fauna of Alaska. The zodiac excursion to the face of the Dawes Glacier and Endicott Arm was a clear trip highlight. Although this was a smaller ship with 120 staterooms, we were delighted with the quality of the nightly entertainment and hourly activities one could participate in, whether it be games for the kids, yoga, stretching, zoomba and a fitness room for the healthy-minded on-board or cozy spots in their library to curl up with a good book. Ponant also offered pre- and post-cruise travel options, which we did not participate in. We would not hesitate to travel with this company again. We're already planning our next cruise with them! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
There is much to praise and little to dislike about this ship. The crew are very proficient in all departments and go out of their way to provide a friendly helpful service. Generally speaking, they are also happy to strike up a ... Read More
There is much to praise and little to dislike about this ship. The crew are very proficient in all departments and go out of their way to provide a friendly helpful service. Generally speaking, they are also happy to strike up a conversation. The barman quickly learnt our coffee preferences and never forgot them. Our air-conditioned cabin on Level 3 was well-designed, with a separate toilet to the bathroom and good storage facilities including under-bed space for the suitcases, a wardrobe and many drawers. There were lots of electrical sockets although these of course all use the European design. The food is provided mainly in a formal Level 2 restaurant with quality French-oriented cuisine and a more relaxed buffet on level 6 which is so popular one has to book for dinner each night. Level 6 has an outdoor area and meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) taken here are the epitome of indulgence and relaxation, with a wide variety of items on display. Drinks are included. We also found ourselves at home in the Level 3 lounge which serves coffee, tea and alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. These are free except for speciality items. A lot goes on in the way of entertainment and talks on the ship. There is an excellent theatre but the lounge and observation bar are also used for entertainment. There are many shore excursions available for a price – we used some of them but also explored some ports independently. Our favourite tour was the one to the Krka National Park with its lovely waterfalls. The one thing that everyone complained about is the Wi-Fi, which is satellite-based. Reception and download speeds vary considerably depending on location and the number of users. It’s also expensive – ninety euros for four hours. The ship is English and French bi-lingual as a matter of routine but some staff speak other languages too. Overall, Le Lyrial is a floating palace. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I cruised on Le Boreal as part of a chartered Abercrombie and Kent expedition including The Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the Antarctic peninsula in Dec 14/Jan 15. There are many reasons to select Le Boreal/A&K for this ... Read More
I cruised on Le Boreal as part of a chartered Abercrombie and Kent expedition including The Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the Antarctic peninsula in Dec 14/Jan 15. There are many reasons to select Le Boreal/A&K for this adventure: * Itinerary: every other expedition in this category and with these stops is 20+ days. This was 17, and was certainly not too short. It hit all the highlights you want to see, and there were plenty of expeditions at each stop. * Expedition staff: A&K gathered an impressive team led by Dr. Marco Favero, and cruise director Jannie Cloete. There were several PhDs, and many other skilled naturalists, photographers and historians. From my research, only Lindblad/Nat Geo can compare with this level of experienced staff. * Ship: Le Boreal is new, clean, and incredibly stylish. The cabins are streamlined but comfortable, and the public spaces are subtly beautiful. Look at the Lindblad/NatGeo ships and you'll see old-fashioned, somewhat hokey interiors. I cannot overstate how nice the ship design is. AND, every single cabin has a balcony, which I found incredibly nice. * The price: Though A&K is by no means known as affordable...the combination of the shorter itinerary and discounts for early bookings resulted in this cruise being several thousand dollars cheaper than the alternatives like Lindblad/NatGeo, SilverSeas, etc. And * The ship staff: service and professionalism was at the highest level. The captain and crew kept the bridge open to visitors daily, and navigated skillfully through heavy and icy seas...often changing course to see whales, add stops to our itineraries, etc. Bar and Restaurant staff...a mix of French and Filipino...was tremendously friendly and offered great personal service. You can read the company websites and brochures for day-by-day detailed itineraries so there is no point in repeating those here. Here are some tips/tricks/observations: * You are at sea for several days at a time with no stops, and there is limited entertainment, so bring books, movies, games, etc. Expedition staff will give lectures that can vary in quality, and there are about 20-25 movies on demand...not alot. The onboard library has a small selection of books, and WiFi is available by satellite, but quite expensive. In short, don't go if you are easily bored and you don't like reading or quiet times. * Food is overall good, but a bit on the French hotel bland side. The weakest areas are proteins...fish and meats usually overcooked. But, over 3 weeks with no stops to resupply there was always great fresh fruit, salads, and vegetables. Soups were good, desserts as well. And, breads and pastries were always consistently excellent. There is a buffet and a sit-down restaurant, and both were open for all meals. Cookies and tea were served in 2 bars off hours. A brief room service menu was available 24x7 when the restaurants were closed for meals. * Packing. Everyone but me seemed to ignore the many warnings to limit baggage to a minimum. There were huge suitcases, and about 1/3 of people had packed suits/ties and cocktail dresses for the welcome reception, xmas dinner, new year's eve, and farewell dinner. On this trip, you could rent boots for the onshore expeditions, and I recommend that option rather than bringing them. * Spa and Fitness Center. The spa was roomy and super comfortable...but I didn't hear anyone rave about the treatments. In France, there are levels of massage...with the highest requiring training and licensing and practiced usually in medical offices This is not what you get on Le Boreal. I heard people say it was usually light Swedish massage that was only passable. I got a facial which I thought was pretty good. The fitness center is nice but VERY small...2 treadmills, 2 bikes and a combination cable/weight machine. The end. It gets understandably crowded. * Getting to the ship from Buenos Aires. A&K arranged airport pickup which was perfect, and overnight stay at the Sofitel in BA. Ask for a high floor with a view...because I was on floor 3 overlooking an airshaft. Have patience during the trip to Ushuaia. A&K screwed up our tickets...we got boarding passes to the NatGeo charter flight...so all info was wrong. We also waiting in the airport for quite a while. I get that its hard to move 200 people around, but things seemed especially slow and ponderous. * When to go. We chose the xmas/new year "family" cruise with A&K...and it was a great choice. The demographic was younger than the usual A&K stuffy and pretentious oldsters...which livened up the mood. There were about 30 kids from 7 to 18...and they were all great.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click