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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
My husband and I hadn't done a cruise before and were intimidated by the larger, floating shoe box style ships with an RSL style feel. We wanted to have an intimate cruise experience that was elegant and allowed us to experience ... Read More
My husband and I hadn't done a cruise before and were intimidated by the larger, floating shoe box style ships with an RSL style feel. We wanted to have an intimate cruise experience that was elegant and allowed us to experience destinations that the bigger ships couldn't provide. We can't speak more highly of our holiday. When the 3 horns sounded as we left Darwin, I felt we were transported back to a time of the 'romantic cruise liner' days. We met other Australian's who shared our same interests which made it easy to have engaging conversations - it was great to learn from other people and hear what they had achieved in their life. The interpretation between French and English was very exciting. We knew we were travelling with a French cruise line and had read the reviews about translation, but couldn't agree once we experienced it ourselves. It was just another feeling of being on a romantic cruise line voyage. Their service was impeccable. I loved the recognition after just a short time and the effort that was made to remember how we liked our breakfast, what wine for lunch and dinner, even cocktails at five-zizzies! The light afternoon gatherings and activities were always great fun. It was a non-pressured way to get to meet some of the other guests. Again, the other passengers were very interesting and we made some great connections with people from around the world. Our stateroom was absolutely beautiful - lazy afternoons sitting on our balcony, looking out to the passing islands, sunsets and sharing a glass of champagne with my husband. The design of our room was very stylish and tasteful with enough space to feel comfortable to stay in or spend the day out. One of the highlights was when we stopped at a sandy island and in the distance we could see a strange looking cloud, and then realised it was an active volcano way off in the distance - doubt we would have seen that on a bigger ship! Overall, we realised that starting our first cruise experience on a luxury cruise ship like PONANT would make it hard to try a different one... but we don't mind at all! We are going again this year to the Med and can't wait! Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
The voyage started in Sydney and called the various islands and anchorages a ship of only this size is capable of , with the Zodiacs on board ferrying passengers across to remote places in the region if tender service not an option , this ... Read More
The voyage started in Sydney and called the various islands and anchorages a ship of only this size is capable of , with the Zodiacs on board ferrying passengers across to remote places in the region if tender service not an option , this worked quite wel We found the staff very capable and instructions both in French and English well presented and all explained in detail in most cases the day before , the Australian expedition leaders knowledgeable and a bit of Aussie humour to flavour the experience !it was the vessels and Ponant's first experience exploring the Barrier Reef. Passengers mostly from France , My guess 60 percent and the remainder Aussies , some Anericans and other Europeans , actually a great mixture and it seemed they all enjoyed each other's company. The Ship is fairly new and cabins and beautifully appointed , comfortable beds , a flat screen TVs with all the English channels , a mini bar well stocked and replenished daily at no cost and included in the open bar policy , however be mindful of the suites , they might have a fold out couch serving as a king size bed , best to check this out if you prefer 2 singles The cabins on deck 5 very quiet and no noise from other passenger cabins nearby . The vessel boasts 2 restaurants , all open sitting , the on deck 6 more casual and booking for dinner is essential due to the limited space , the one on deck 2 very nicely appointed and seats all if required , the senior officers and Master occupy their own table apart from Welcome and Farewell dinners , The vessel has an open bar policy that includes most drinks, cocktails , wines , fancy a gin and tonic or a Martini , a Brandy after dinner , not a problem ! We experienced 2 Wine tastings , one in French and one in English , very knowledgable and presented , the stock of top wines is also on display and available from the restaurant in deck 2 . Numerous activities during the day , what ever you fancy from Quizes to Can Can shows at night in the theatre and with the amount of passengers not a busy excercise , the ship also has an open bridge policy most of the time if you fancy a look where all the action is . Food , plenty , not silver service though , not sure if that still excists nowadays , there is a Butler service if you want to dine in private , the French tone is prevellent of course and if you like this style , these sort of cruises won't disappoint , The Master and Officers are French , the crew in general a mixture of Fillipino and Indonesian , and all English speaking . Embarkation / Disembarkation not a problem , yes 4 o'clock for a 6 pm departure , what's the fuss? Your luggage tagged and delivered to your cabin and vice versa when going off . The staterooms on deck 3 don't have an totally open veranda as on the top,decks , there is a reason for that as you are closer to the water line, just a safety thing, and so are the doors towards your veranda not full length , same thing . Overall a beautiful ship , no pokies , no casino,no rowdy teenagers ! Read Less
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