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11 Ponant Venice 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
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
Unlike other reviewers, I was very pleased with my time spent aboard the Le Lyrial. The entire crew was very personable and took care of my every need. I found it amazing how the cleaning staff mysteriously appeared to clean my cabin ... Read More
Unlike other reviewers, I was very pleased with my time spent aboard the Le Lyrial. The entire crew was very personable and took care of my every need. I found it amazing how the cleaning staff mysteriously appeared to clean my cabin and turn down my bed at night. My omelets were cooked to perfection every morning and there was an abundant selection of entrees at the buffet. Yes some were better than others but there was quite an assortment to choose from. You could also dine out on the deck. The restaurant Le Celeste was a formal sit down restaurant and offered French cuisine. I had some of the best Vodka tonics onboard and the wine flowed freely and far from undrinkable as stated by others. On so many occasions our Captain, Regis Daumesnil, helped us board the tender for shore excursions or greeted us as we returned to the ship. He was very hands on and personable. My only complaint was that I purchased a CD "The Best of Croatia" and when I tried to play it, it was blank. That was my only disappointment. I am hoping I can be sent a replacement. The ship was nicely appointed and I would travel again with this line. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was the second cruise that we did on Le Lyrial ( Ponant ) . All of our needs were taken care of by a very professional staff and crew . We had an excellent cabin ( # 614) that was very close to one of the restaurants and the swimming ... Read More
This was the second cruise that we did on Le Lyrial ( Ponant ) . All of our needs were taken care of by a very professional staff and crew . We had an excellent cabin ( # 614) that was very close to one of the restaurants and the swimming deck . We enjoyed the buffet restaurant on the sixth level for lunch and dinner and were able to make an advance reservation at a certain table each evening for dinner . The service by the staff at this restaurant was excellent . We participated in four excursions that included the waterfall tour , sailing , kayaking and a walking tour . Each excursion had great guides and were well worth the extra money . We stayed in Venice for three nights and thought it was very crowded , hot and very expensive to get to and from the airport and the cruise terminal . Ponant did a very nice job in setting up our itinerary with very good guides . Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Our first consideration was to visit places we had chosen in the Adriatic. Not all of our needs could be met wiht any of the cruise options we explored and narrowed it down to a number of cruise providers that best met our needs. We were ... Read More
Our first consideration was to visit places we had chosen in the Adriatic. Not all of our needs could be met wiht any of the cruise options we explored and narrowed it down to a number of cruise providers that best met our needs. We were not familiar with some of the stops on this cruise but were prepared to accept those offered as good examples of the Croatian coast and towns. A second consideration was the size of the ship. We wanted to travel on a smaller vessel that was large enough too provide a high level of comfort and service but small enough to enable easy access in ports. We had travelled on a large ship previously and wanted to avoid queues and delays in the various ports we visited. A third consideration was the all inclusive price. The ease of attending the restaurants and bars without having to consider budget was important. When travelling with a group of friends the release from worrying about whether your preferences will weigh more heavily on a restaurant or bar bill makes the experience more relaxing. Our experience was that all of our needs were met on Le Lyrial. Of particular note was the quality of service provided by the friendly crew. In the short time we were on board we got to know a number of the wait and bar staff by first name. We also attended an informative, interesting and at times humourous presentation on navigation provided by the captain. We also noted that the captain took his turn as crew on the vessel taking guests ashore on one of the visits. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This back to back cruise was my fourth with Ponant and as on previous cruises, I enjoyed myself immensely. The wonderful ship, the staff, who did everything to ensure a leisurely, safe and carefree cruise......it just all fitted. The food ... Read More
This back to back cruise was my fourth with Ponant and as on previous cruises, I enjoyed myself immensely. The wonderful ship, the staff, who did everything to ensure a leisurely, safe and carefree cruise......it just all fitted. The food was delicious and offered great variety; even for a vegetarian like me. I would also like to mention the cleanliness in the cabin as well as all over the ship and especially the friendliness of the staff. The shore excursions were always very well organized with English - and French speaking guides. Thanks to the cruise designer I found the excursions interesting and always very informative. In most cases, except maybe once or twice, there was plenty of time to get the maximum enjoyment out of the excursions. Although I travel on my own, there was always a lot of diversion in the form of entertainment and activities on and off the ship. To sum it up, the whole fortnight was again a great, unforgettable experience for me and I hope to be on board of "Le Lyrial" or any other of Ponant´s ships very soon. Since I travel on my own, I would appreciate maybe more cruise-choises without single supplement. This is also the wish of some friends of mine, who also usually travel on their own. Thanks again to everybody at Ponant who is involved in making these cruises so wonderful! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
A very enjoyable cruise on a well presented and managed ship. My wife has been reluctant to cruise and this was her first. At the end of the cruise she was speaking about the next. What made this very enjoyable was the small ship ... Read More
A very enjoyable cruise on a well presented and managed ship. My wife has been reluctant to cruise and this was her first. At the end of the cruise she was speaking about the next. What made this very enjoyable was the small ship concept which made for a very pleasant uncrowded time on-board ship - we had 240 passengers with all cabins taken. A good mix of nationalities. The staff were attentive and efficient. As you would expect from a French ship the food was excellent and lived up to what you would expect from any good French restaurant. While the whole ship had an open bar, the selection of French wines in the restaurants could have been better. The ship's public areas were well appointed and not crowded. The cabin was spacious, modern and well appointed with a very usable balcony. The on-shore excursions were well organised and informative. Of course, there were some ports where doing your own thing was appealing. Read Less
Sail Date September 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 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
Maybe after the first 2 voyages the crew of L'Austral gelled, because the previous reviews were nothing like the experience we had. Took the cruise from Venice to the Dalmatian Coast and one day was more spectacular than the next. The ... Read More
Maybe after the first 2 voyages the crew of L'Austral gelled, because the previous reviews were nothing like the experience we had. Took the cruise from Venice to the Dalmatian Coast and one day was more spectacular than the next. The cabin may have been small, but luxurious, clean and comfortable. The dining hall was elegant and the meals spectacular. The outdoor grill was more modest and the food not as good, but offered a change of atmosphere. There were plenty of activities to keep you busy and private space was readily available. Excursions appealed to the sporty-types and the tourists; something for everyone. The incredible staff and the personal care shown by the ship's captain was truly unique. We just happened to take the "Family Cruise" and, although we didn't have children, this added to the fun. I'm assuming that mostly adults choose this cruise at other times and may not be appropriate for kids. Lastly, everyone on board, crew and guests, spoke English, but this is a French line and French is the dominant language. We found that this added to the exotic nature of the trip, but some may find this difficult. L'Austral was like spending time on a private yacht with a knowledgeable crew and great new friends; elegant, relaxing and memorable. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
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