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3 Dunedin Ponant Le Laperouse Cruise Reviews

It is my second attempt to explore and visit the New Zealand subantarctic islands. 2 years ago, I was on the Spirit of Enderby which I am going to call "SoE". That trip was booked by a travel agent which I trusted. The result ... Read More
It is my second attempt to explore and visit the New Zealand subantarctic islands. 2 years ago, I was on the Spirit of Enderby which I am going to call "SoE". That trip was booked by a travel agent which I trusted. The result however was something I never do again. I can't handle SoE. Sharing a small room, small shower, toilet that isn't allowed to flush toilet paper etc etc.. well, you get the idea. I am 6'10" tall and diabetic and after just 1 day and actually nice weather: Seasickness, hypo's, bad pain in the back, not good. I was able to leave the SoE expedition. If anyone is okay with that ship, that's fine. I find the ship something you can't relax on and that did it for me. So here we go, Le Laperouse which took most of the destinations SoE offered on their voyage. The Le Laperous expedition went way better. You have the room for yourself, no sharing with other travellers, a balcony which is actually great to do some birdwatching and photographing from. In comparison with SoE though... yep, we obviously don't have 50 people on board but 150 on Le Laperouse. That means that when you go on a shore excursion or zodiac cruise, you'll be split into groups. That unfortunately means, less time to actually be out of the ship. Nothing the crew could do about it, but something to think about when choosing a cruise. A ship with 50 people on board (SoE) may be too small for some (including me) but having more then 150 people probably means less excursion time. Excursion time, actually "being out there" is the most important thing for me. I don't really care how diverse the menu is. I go on holiday to watch birds first, and other wildlife / landscape second. Everything else..., yeah it needs to be comfortable so I can: Eat well Sleep well Work on my laptop to download, store and edit pictures which I have just taken. Stay clean (shower and toilet) Everything else, lectures, dancing classes, luxury dinners etc. etc. are a non priority for me. On the cruise itself, yeah it was great that we were able to go to Sandy Bay on Macquarie Island, since the Australian Government shut down the entire island because of Corona virus but through some tough negotiations we were still able to go to Sandy Bay, not to the Adare Station. Unfortunate that we couldn't do zodiac tours around The Snares but being close to the Snares was still very nice. We saw plenty of birds, seals as well as stunning landscape in the Fjords. The crew was excellent. I am certainly looking forward to one's in a few years visit a remote place on a cruise and Ponant's Le Laperouse or the other Exploration vessels do come recommended for certain. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Our recent cruise on Ponant's Le Laperouse around New Zealand went way beyond our expectations. We hadn't sailed with Ponant before, but are avid cruisers, having enjoyed several with Seabourn, Silversea, Regent and Viking, all ... Read More
Our recent cruise on Ponant's Le Laperouse around New Zealand went way beyond our expectations. We hadn't sailed with Ponant before, but are avid cruisers, having enjoyed several with Seabourn, Silversea, Regent and Viking, all of which have been wonderful, but we would have to say that our experience on Le Laperouse has most definitely been the best to date. The ship is stylish, comfortable, and well sized (with only 180 passengers), making it possible to call into every port on our itinerary without the need for tenders. Our beautiful suite was spotlessly clean, spacious, well equipped and extremely comfortable (as were all areas throughout the ship). The service in the restaurant and bar was impeccable, with highly professional and friendly staff and the food was delicious, varied and beautifully presented. One of the highlights of the ship is a unique 'Blue Eye Lounge' in the hull of Le Laperouse, offering a multi sensory underwater viewing experience in a beautiful space-age style bar. Well worth a visit. We also very much enjoyed the entertainment, attending several impressive shows with talented dancers, singers and musicians. Talks on board were offered in both French and English and there were several opportunities during the cruise to participate in quizzes and dance lessons etc. The itinerary was superb, with Le Laperouse journeying us through several of the sounds of the South Island, including the idyllic Milford Sound, Our zodiac adventure into this fjord was just amazing and made very easy with the ability to board the zodiacs directly from the back deck. Our stops at various ports as we journeyed from Dunedin to Auckland included some interesting excursions, with our favourite being a visit to Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony. We should also mention that our Captain, Fabien Roche, and his crew, did a wonderful job ensuring the passengers enjoyed comfortable sailing throughout the trip and keeping us well informed of the ships whereabouts, schedules, and local conditions. Our original itinerary was to include White Island, but due to the tragic volcanic incident just a few weeks earlier the schedule was changed. But a further issue with high seas in the aftermath of cyclone Tino meant the replacement stop (Gisborne) was also not a possibility. The captain managed the situation perfectly, keeping us all comfortable. We did, as it turned out, sail by White Island, whilst the captain made a fitting tribute, with one minutes silence , for those who had lost their lives in the spirit of adventure there. It was an emotional experience well handled in a surreal landscape. Needless to say, we highly recommended Ponant, if you are considering a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
It was my husband’s 70th birthday and we are wildlife carers so the opportunity to see so many penguin, albatross and seals in their natural,habitat was a must for us. We had never done such a cruise before, a smaller ship, only 150 ... Read More
It was my husband’s 70th birthday and we are wildlife carers so the opportunity to see so many penguin, albatross and seals in their natural,habitat was a must for us. We had never done such a cruise before, a smaller ship, only 150 passengers and 100 crew. We were amazed at having 13 expedition leaders to lead trips on zodiacs to various islands, each had speciality knowledge, flora, fauna and geological. Each day we experienced an expedition on zodiacs, we felt safe and were always assisted into and out of the boats. Despite some rough seas, we were comfortable and the shipmbehaved well, our Captain was very experienced in difficult seas, having taken passengers down to antarctic waters previously. The most wonderful experience was going to Macquarie Island where few people are able to go. We were surrounded on the beach by hundreds of King and Royal,penguins, a remarkable experience, to sit on the beach and have the birds come up to us and check us over. We visited islands of New Zealand including Enderby where we saw Royal Albatross and endangered yellow eyed penguins. I can thoroughly recommend this cruise if anyone is interested in wildlife. Despite the average age was 60+ no one seemed to miss out on the enjoyment, It was the best cruise ever, expensive but everything was provided, Nespresso machine and kettle for tea and coffee in our cabins, all wine and spirits unless expensive kinds wanted, French cuisine for lunch and dinner. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
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