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30 Arctic Luxury Cruise Reviews

This was our first Silversea cruise and unfortunately it will also be our last. We recently took their 17 day cruise to Greenland, which turned out to be very disappointing. The scenery ws nice at first, but very monotonous after a few ... Read More
This was our first Silversea cruise and unfortunately it will also be our last. We recently took their 17 day cruise to Greenland, which turned out to be very disappointing. The scenery ws nice at first, but very monotonous after a few days. If it weren't for the interesting shapes of the icebergs, there would have been little to photograph. The villages on both the Canadian and Greenland side were uninteresting. We had hoped to see wildlife but there were almost no signs of anything living. The one polar bear we saw was so far away that it couldn't be made out with the naked eye and whale spouts were so far away they couldn't be seen either. The most annoying thing was that the cruise director and expedition crew were constantly talking about what an incredible day we had. Maybe riding in zodiacs in below freezing weather and getting soaked while seeing little of interest is exciting for some people, but definitely not for us. Our cabin was nice, but we experienced a flood along with several other cabins in our row. No one attempted to help us with the damage we incurred and we were told that we were lucky since we had minimal damage and others had much worse. The extent of their help was to put a large noisy fan inside our room for a couple of days. Knowing that our cabin was probably going to be affected when it happened, they should have been proactive when they were working in the corridor all night with noisy equipment and warned us to remove items from the floor in the closet. By the time we discovered the problem it was too late to save the things in our backpack, some of which were not replaceable. We bought our own boots for wet landings and tagged and stored them in the mud room as instructed. We wore them once and we went to the mud room after a few days for another excursion we found that someone had helped themselves to one boot from each pair. If you invest in your own boots it would be wise to clean them and keep them in your cabin at night. Already soured on the trip after these experiences, the final straw was the guest relations manager's rudeness. Far from appeasing passengers who were upset, her attitude actually caused us to cancel our already booked Kamchatka cruise and to not book the Antarctica cruise we planned to book while on board. The food in the main dining room is mostly very good, although there were a few days with some big misses. La Terrazza is good, but menu choices for dinner don't offer much variety. The disappointment is La Dame, for which you pay $120. It isn't worth the money. Altogether we can't recommend Silversea based on this experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We are experienced travelers (we've done treks in Nepal, independent travel throughout Europe, guided small-group hikes and tours in South America and Africa, and some large and small-ship cruises, including an Antarctica trip on the ... Read More
We are experienced travelers (we've done treks in Nepal, independent travel throughout Europe, guided small-group hikes and tours in South America and Africa, and some large and small-ship cruises, including an Antarctica trip on the MS Fram). We chose the Silver Cloud cruise based primarily on the itinerary; we loved the wildlife and scenery in Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands and wanted to do a trip in the Arctic. The MS Fram was our first experience with a small-ship cruise, and the Silver Cloud Expedition sounded wonderful both because of its small size and amenities--many more than on the Fram. We absolutely loved the Greenland and Canadian Arctic cruise! We found the scenery to be varied and amazing. Sam Ford Fjord in particular was like a cross between the most beautiful Norwegian Fjord and a more-spectacular Yosemite, and we were thrilled every day by the glaciers, icebergs, and remote, unspoiled places we visited. We found the towns to be colorful and interesting, and we enjoyed learning about the culture and history of the people and area both in landings and in the many high-quality lectures provided by the passionate expedition staff. We especially appreciated the opportunity to do some fairly strenuous hikes to beautiful viewpoints, most led by Truls, a very experienced Norwegian expedition staff member. One concern we had had with the cruise was that it would not be active enough, but we were quite pleased to see how many challenging hikes we were able to do. Like other reviewers, we were a little disappointed not to see much wildlife, and we did feel that the staff sometimes over-emphasized how much we had seen when this had not been the case, but we did see many birds, a polar bear, one group of walruses close-up, and a few whales. But for us, the scenery made up for the lack of wildlife. We found the ship to be lovely in almost all respects. Our vista suite cabin was comfortable, though we found the large couch and two chairs to be somewhat crowded and awkward. The MDR food was generally quite good and the service was excellent, and we appreciated the fact that on this expedition cruise, we could relax in one of the bars and then at dinner after a long day hiking or being out on deck or in zodiacs without having to dress up .Fellow travelers we met were generally well-traveled and interesting and we loved the casual, non-pretentious feel we found on the ship in the bars and meal venues. Our only criticism of the food was perhaps the lack of variety in the lunch buffet; I prefer a good sandwich or interesting "entree" salad to hot, casserole-type dishes at lunch, the buffet typically only had the latter (along with a fairly uninteresting salad bar). However, we did enjoy the made-to-order pizza a couple of times. We also found Hot Rocks to be fun, though it was a bit too cold to fully enjoy the experience. I assume that the classic Silversea ships are more formal, but we loved the feel of the Cloud and would definitely travel on her again if the right itinerary were available. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Booked this cruise from Reykjavik to Greenland while onboard Silver Cloud’s first Antarctic cruise (reviewed December 2018). It was great to see familiar faces among the crew. In spite of its refurbishment, the ship already feels a ... Read More
Booked this cruise from Reykjavik to Greenland while onboard Silver Cloud’s first Antarctic cruise (reviewed December 2018). It was great to see familiar faces among the crew. In spite of its refurbishment, the ship already feels a bit dated, with constant creaking and temperatures too high in the suite (spotless), but often too low in public areas (some noticeably dusty). Silver Cloud now has competition in the English-speaking market from Scenic Eclipse, coincidentally in Reykjavik at the same time for her much-delayed maiden voyage. Food was excellent as always, though portions seemed larger. Service was normally very good, but with the odd slip-up, perhaps because waiting staff have new tablets to take orders. We enjoyed every included wine; typically Silversea buys up entire vintages of less well-known varietals from small European vineyards – not the bland New World wines you get on most lines. Silver Cloud now has a Social Director (Moss) who handles zodiac embarkation and hosts fun afternoon and evening quizzes. Some other changes: thinner hand towels (fluffier towels changed less often would be preferable) and unlimited wi-fi (still slow). Thankfully, butlers no longer have to proffer a tray of toiletries when you embark. Exploring was what this cruise was about. Six “zodiac groups” disembarked with rotating departure times, but usually you could go ashore later on a shuttle service. Excursions could be pre-booked through MySilversea, but this was pointless as there was no set schedule. We enjoyed the ship’s passages through the fjords, and zodiac cruises close up to glaciers, but were uncomfortable wandering among people’s houses in small villages. For us, the highlight was two hours in Disko Bay (Ilulissat) on a small boat operated by a local company; under a cloudless sky we saw whales and vast icebergs that looked like islands. A note about clothing: Greenland in August was warmer than Antarctica in December. While we were exceptionally fortunate with the weather, make sure to take some lighter hiking gear, as you may get too hot ashore if you wear thermals under a parka. We skipped the only two “wet” landings so didn’t use the waterproof boots we’d hired at $90 – ordinary gumboots would have sufficed anyway. We would have given this cruise five stars, but for the horrible last day (not covered by Silversea’s onboard questionnaire). For our previous Antarctic cruise we booked our own flights to/from Ushuaia and wish we could have made our own arrangements this time. After vacating the suite by 8.30 am, it was “hurry up and wait, wait, wait” for the charter flight from Kangerlussuaq back to Reykjavik. After disembarking by zodiac group, an interesting bus tour on the tundra was followed by an acceptable BBQ-style lunch at a rowing club on a pretty lake. There we heard that the incoming flight was late due to weather in Iceland and ATC issues, as happens of course, but from then on everything went downhill. Waits for the restrooms at the rowing club were 30-40 minutes. It took 80 minutes for everyone to get through security at the airport, not least because both the ship and the charter company (Omni Air) allowed people three or even four large carry-on cases (in spite of Silversea previously specifying one piece up to 8 kg/ 18 lb plus a purse or laptop). Then we waited as long again in the gate holding area, most of us having to stand, until boarding after 4 pm. Yet another delay was due to the cabin crew being unable to reconcile the boarding cards and having to count passengers FOUR times. The plane itself was a very old 767, with a soggy defrosted snack well below Silversea standard. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Having never heard of Ponant, we chose this cruise because it did a circumnavigation of Iceland which is what we wanted. The ship was extremely clean, comfortable, and well laid-out. Embarkation from a small port outside of Reykjavik was ... Read More
Having never heard of Ponant, we chose this cruise because it did a circumnavigation of Iceland which is what we wanted. The ship was extremely clean, comfortable, and well laid-out. Embarkation from a small port outside of Reykjavik was a breeze (as was disembarkation). Captain Etienne Garcia was terrific - his enthusiasm for the immense beauty of Iceland came through in every message from him and he made sure no one on board missed a whale sighting or any other special event. Food service was in one of two rooms - on Deck 6 was a buffet-at-all-meals room that opened on to the deck which had additional seating. Weather during our cruise was wonderful so we could often eat on the deck which was delightful. Food was good and daily choices varied enough to keep us interested. The drinks-included selections were excellent and the pouring wine was very good. Other food option was a white-tablecloth dining room on Deck 2 with no outdoor access. We learned that it served the same food but with dinner served (not buffet). We did not choose that option. Excursions were very good and organization of everything on the ship was perfect. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We managed to book our cruise/expedition at a very good price due to a late booking, our previous cruise with Scenic Eclipse was cancelled at very short notice. Which was disappointing at the time, but Silverseas have now gained a loyal ... Read More
We managed to book our cruise/expedition at a very good price due to a late booking, our previous cruise with Scenic Eclipse was cancelled at very short notice. Which was disappointing at the time, but Silverseas have now gained a loyal follower! I can't imagine travel on any other line after the great experience that we had. We were met at Oslo and Tromso by Silverseas agents and professionally looked after till we boarded the ship. We had managed to upgrade to a Silver suite on the Silver Cloud, which is, in effect 2 cabins together, so a separate bedroom/dressing room with two shower rooms/toilets. Our butler was efficient, polite and a real gentleman, "Arun" helped to make this trip memorable. With only about 230 passengers, the voyage is made all the more enjoyable as it is possible to meet more people, who are from all over the world, and we met some very lovely people. The food was of an exceptional standard, real fine dining, and the staff on all levels were polite, friendly and knowledgeable. How they manage to remember all our names is a mystery, but they do, The Zodiac trips were well organised with a priority on safety, which is encouraging given the choppy seas at times, and also the land excursions to see the wildlife were also expertly organised, with forward parties going on shore to check out safety i.e.meaning making sure there were no Polar bears loolking for an early meal! It is the first trip we have had in many years, that we were not wanting it to end. Full credit to Silverseas and the ace team that they have working on the Silver Cloud, they made the expedition into one our our most memorable trips.. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose the cruise to the Arctic because the ship was supposed to be small. I made a mistake and thought it was 128 passengers. It was 128 cabins. In the arctic and antarctic only 100 passengers can be on shore at any time so ships should ... Read More
We chose the cruise to the Arctic because the ship was supposed to be small. I made a mistake and thought it was 128 passengers. It was 128 cabins. In the arctic and antarctic only 100 passengers can be on shore at any time so ships should be no more than 100 passengers to get the experience. All shore experiences except one were worthless wastes of time. More on that later. We called Ponant a week and a half before the trip began to get the flight itinerary because they neglected to send it to us in advance. They neglected to include the last page which had the flights from Paris to Spitsbergen. We discovered that the day before the flight and went nuts trying to find the flight because Ponant was closed as it was Saturday. We finally found the flight because there was only one flight from DeGaulle that day. The ship needed a refit. Paint was missing and it just was a bit worn out. The first day we had a safety briefing. They brought everyone into the theater and said if we had to abandon ship we would be told what to do. BAD The food was tasteless although it really looked nice on the plate. The service was not very good. Many of the wait staff were trained to not look at you so if you wanted something it did not happen for a while. We think they put sleepy dust in the food because there was virtually nothing to do on the ship except watch the scenery go by. After every meal we were so tired we went to our cabin and slept even after breakfast. The few other english speaking passengers agreed. There were 30 english speakers and 200 non english speakers. The crew spoke marginal Franglish and the Captain was not even good at Franglish. The few english speaking crew agreed. There we about four lectures two which were by english speakers. They were OK. The excursions off the ship were very short as there were so many passengers that we had to go in groups and there was not much to see. We expected animals and birds but there was not much of either. The piece de resistance was the film that they were peddling about the things we saw. What the crew did was send video crews on zodiacs when animals were sighted and they took videos up close to the animals to sell to the passengers as a memento of the trip. We did not get closer than a mile from the animals but the video showed them up close. A huge waste of a week. There are no guarantees of seeing animals in the arctic but to sell that video was a big huge fraud. We did see walrus but the crew kept us far away on the shore excursion. Nothing like going to the Antarctic. The cabin was OK. We have had much better elsewhere. After the second day we were so upset about the cruise that my wife went to the cruise director and was not given much satisfaction. We wanted to leave but that was not possible. Even the english speaking crew said she was a witch. Many of the excursions off the boat were to small towns with not much to see. Others were just a walk on the sea ice and champagne and then back on the ship. If you want to go on an expedition go on a small ship, one hundred passengers or less. We have been to the Antarctic on a 75 passenger ship and it was spectacular. Shore excursions were as long as we wanted to stay. We have been on other small ship expeditions in Chile and Galapagos and plan one in Western Australia. This ship was a bust and a waste of $20,000. You can be sure we will never travel with Ponant again. Be careful. They have a new icebreaker ship which is even more expensive but it has over 300 passengers. It will be a boat ride and nothing more. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Ponant markets itself as a luxury expedition cruiseline but it does not meet expectations on either account. Most other cruiselines offer at least similar or better levels of comfort, food and service, apart from the limited open bar. ... Read More
Ponant markets itself as a luxury expedition cruiseline but it does not meet expectations on either account. Most other cruiselines offer at least similar or better levels of comfort, food and service, apart from the limited open bar. Although the overall appearance of the ships is attractive some of the cabins are not particularly well-designed, having for example, only a narrow hanging space for a wardrobe. With only one chair In some, room service is not really an option. As for the expedition claim, Ponant ships carry far more pasengers - over 230 on Le Soleal - than expedtion companies such as Aurora, Coral Expeditions, Orion or True North. Smaller numbers of passengers means easier logistics and a more personal experience. The main drawback with Ponant is its pricing. You are paying a premium for the marketing claims which cannot be justified. If cost is not a concern then by all means go with Ponant. You will have a pleasant trip but it will not be good value for money. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Over many months prior to the cruise, my TA asked the same question of Silverseas central offices: “What are the charter flight departure and arrival times in and out of KEF?” Each time he asked, there was a different story. They ... Read More
Over many months prior to the cruise, my TA asked the same question of Silverseas central offices: “What are the charter flight departure and arrival times in and out of KEF?” Each time he asked, there was a different story. They varied from 7 am to 10 am to 1 pm to 2 pm departure on the first day. The arrival time in KEF on the return was given as noon, 2 pm and 6 pm. How does a person plan their international flights with such bogus information? The charter flights to and from Kangerlussuaq from KEF were a joke. They should have been scheduled 5-6 hours earlier from KEF on both days. There was nothing to be gained by arriving in Greenland so late in the day on the first day. On the debarkation day after 16 days seeing spectacular things, all 200 passengers were loaded on buses for a tundra tour and a lunch at a lake. When people are leaving on the last day of the cruise just wanting to either get home or on to their next adventure of their vacation, being dragged around on a hokey tour left the guests with a very bad last impression of SIlverseas. Having 200+ passengers sitting in a miserable Kangerlussuaq airport for hours waiting on a “charter” flight is just plain stupid. From our experiences with NatGeo/Lindblad and Ponant, this Expedition crew is the amateur hour of that class of ship. For the first two ship days, virtually no information about procedures in the mud/changing room are explained. Also, the proper procedures for entering and exiting a Zodiac for a wet landing are never explained. There were a number of guests who required assistance from the ship doctor for serious injuries during the cruise. An example of the hapless Expedition crew came at the second port, when one of the staff fell overboard on a Zodiac. It provided an unplanned demonstration of the inflatable life preserver, but it reflected the inexperience of members of the staff. During the first few days of the cruise, the Expedition staff were very difficult to identify. Everyone looks alike, even some of the guests, what with everyone wearing parkas and wet gear. Some of your younger Expedition crew were standoffish while others interfaced with the guests in an inappropriate manner or flippantly. As expected, the reception desk, hotel and food/beverage staff were nothing short of world class. They created a “Four Seasons Hotel” experience on the ocean. The cuisine and beverage quality was world class. The many, daily educational briefings were fabulous, even if some of the presenters were a little hard to understand. The ship interior was great. The exterior could use some more frequent preventative maintenance, re: paint. The smallest cabin was very roomy and the shipboard entertainment and ship information system on the TV monitor was world class. In summary, we cannot recommend Silverseas for the new expedition efforts on the Silver Cloud. The company is trying to capitalize on the superb quality reputation of Silverseas earned for many years by the ship staff. That reputation is badly tarnished by the Expedition staff management and the poor pre- & post- cruise ground planning and execution. We can recommend and continue to recommend the non-expedition ships to our well financed, retired friends. The reputation of those ships are well-sustained, despite the hapless Expedition and shoreside transportation operations. All these comments were shared with Silverseas using their comment system. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
My friend actually chose this Ponant cruise because of its interesting title: "In the Wake of the Vikings", and because of historical interest and curiosity about lands I had never before visited I decided it was a grand idea to ... Read More
My friend actually chose this Ponant cruise because of its interesting title: "In the Wake of the Vikings", and because of historical interest and curiosity about lands I had never before visited I decided it was a grand idea to see parts of Iceland and Scotland and finish in Norway where great adventurers had set out from to explore initially unknown lands. This cruise did not disappoint - the ship was absolutely perfect in its size and outlay. As there are only a small number of passengers the dining seating allowed us to meet many different people or we could be seated by ourselves if required.The meals were always beautifully cooked and served (5courses if you wanted with superb choices for each). This may sound over indulgent but portion size enabled us to taste such a wonderful assemblage of offerings! From the moment we stepped on board (to be greeted by the captain is a special delight) we were spoiled - our cabin (we had a stateroom on level 5 with its own balcony) was very well equipped and serviced(at several times throughout the day). All our needs were met immediately because of the small size so crew did not have to go far. A special bonus was access to the bridge when appropriate. The entertainment was varied and interesting - from the captain's welcome dinner to lectures about various lands and explorers; musical and film - all different! We had a variety of shore excursions to choose from - the "Chasing Waterfalls" walk from Seyisfiordur (Eastern Iceland) was particularly interesting and beautiful. The tours from Kirkwall (Orkney Islands), Lewrick (Shetland Islands) and Isle of Skye were always on time and exceeded expectation after we had sailed into these ports through beautiful scenery. Again because of the small ship there was absolutely no waiting for any shore excursion or to board a tender - it was instant.Consequently embarkation and disembarkation proceeded very smoothly (even in Bergen at the end of our cruise on a cold rainy day I think my face was more wet from tears of leaving such a wonderful trip and departing from newly found friends, than from the rain) - the crew were there with large umbrellas for the short walk from ship to terminal. Would I go again - you bet - in a flash - I have absolutely no question in my mind! In fact I would be loathe to embark on a "large liner" - I have been on 2 previous cruises with passenger numbers over 2000 and adamantly would NOT go with that type of cruise again! I'm staying with Ponant and hope to travel on a Kimberly cruise when their ships are in that area - or perhaps an Antarctic Expedition on their new custom designed icebreaker small ship.( Dreaming of visiting new sights again!) Ponant Cruising is ........(of numerous words to use which one?).....EXCEPTIONAL. Ponant Cruises will not disappoint. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We booked this cruise because we have always wanted to see icebergs and the Disko bay. My husband only speaks french and we wanted to enjoy beautiful scenery, interesting conferences, and an all inclusive drink and food cruise. ... Read More
We booked this cruise because we have always wanted to see icebergs and the Disko bay. My husband only speaks french and we wanted to enjoy beautiful scenery, interesting conferences, and an all inclusive drink and food cruise. • Travel To Port of Embarkation We live in France and made our own way to Reykjavik Iceland to join the ship.We arrived the day before and stayed at the Storm Hotel, which was walking distance to town center. It's a simple and very clean modern hotel, rooms are small, no closet, but a clothes rack with a few hangers. It's okay for a night or 2. • Boarding was very easy, there are many people waiting to carry our bags on board and the captain and staff are there to welcome us. Stateroom • Our prestige stateroom was on the 5th floor, with a balcony. The rooms are beautiful, clean, and there are a lot of storage room. Double wardrobe with drawers and enough hangers, and opposite the bed there are 3 big drawers with a coffee machine and electric kettle on top . There is also a safe and small fridge. Note that you cannot store suitcases under the bed, we laid them flat in the wardrobe. • Shower room is small but very nice. It's a walk-in shower and there's a clothes line in it to hang your washing. Don't forget to bring a few clothes pins! Dining There are 2 dining rooms, one on the 6th floor which is a buffet, and another one on the 2nd floor which is a more formal dining room. Food is fabulous french cuisine, drinks and wine are included.You can also enjoy more expensive wines , but we found them very expensive, around 100€ a bottle. • Entertainment Don't expect entertainment like on Costa or other huge cruises! On the 6th floor there is a observatory bar with a musician who plays classical music and on the 3rd floor in the evening there's a singer and musician who are more lively and you can dance to disco, rock & roll or other music. • Port & Shore Excursions There are excursions organized in Reykjavit before leaving port, a few small towns, in the capital Nuuk, Illulisat, and bay of Disko. Most of the excursions are not free and you have to sign up for them. They are not cheap either! Considering that Ponant sells luxury cruises, they could have included these excursions in their price. • Disembarkation Disembarkation was at Kangerlussuaq which is an old american military base and we left the ship at 5:30AM, with a bus. Return flight to Paris was a chartered flight with Iberia. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Fabulous ship. The ship was appointed well, luxurious, clean, well serviced. The crew and management were perfect. The cuisine was remarkable. The Captain was out of the movies elegant and efficient. The expedition staff was uncaring, ... Read More
Fabulous ship. The ship was appointed well, luxurious, clean, well serviced. The crew and management were perfect. The cuisine was remarkable. The Captain was out of the movies elegant and efficient. The expedition staff was uncaring, sloppy, not friendly, poor in execution of excursions. As soon as the ship handed us off to the expedition staff, it became like we at a campground. The expedition staff is indifferent without service attitude. We had no idea which landings were wet and which were dry. As we got to the port, it was clear and the ship could have told us before we boarded. Guess they enjoy their free ride and leave the clients to their own. The last day of the cruise, we left the boat on Zodiacs and were put on a bus enclosed for one hour waiting without direction. No staff accompanied us. We had no direction. Senior citizens were left to figure out where to go on the plains of windy Greenlandon excursions. It’s a miracle no one was seriously injured although a few people fell a bit. As we left the ship, the expedition guide said, “Honestly, I have not heard back from the guide company, so I hope they come.” At lunch, a buffet was set up insufficient creating a large cafeteria line. The bathroom wait was 45 minutes. The excursions on Zodiacs to see the icebergs were brilliant and beautiful. Really unmatchable. The cruise was generally fantastic. It was hard to leave the ship. Only the expedition segment was painful and disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We had a bucket list wish to travel to Greenland. We had been to Iceland previously and wanted to experience more of these two beautiful and remote islands. The Silver Cloud is a comfortable and sleek ship with all of the amenities of ... Read More
We had a bucket list wish to travel to Greenland. We had been to Iceland previously and wanted to experience more of these two beautiful and remote islands. The Silver Cloud is a comfortable and sleek ship with all of the amenities of the larger ships (no casino and no shows though). Awesome specialty restaurants to choose from, especially our favorite, the Grille (hot rock cooking at its' best). The crew service was outstanding in every way. Our butler and attendant were especially attentive and provided the best service we have ever received on board any ship. We enjoyed our first use of the spa services and were pleasantly surprised by how nice the service was! We also wanted to suggest that the disembarkation tour of 5 hours, was not the best use of time for us. It was too long and too confined in the rustic artic buses with all of our carry on luggage. Also, restroom facilities were very limited, which made us uncomfortable. We were really spoiled being on the ship and had a rude awakening when we disemabarked. Definitely enjoyed all aspects of the cruise until the very end and when we did our post trip hotel. We had lunch on the 5 hour tour and then our flight was delayed so much that we missed dinner completely and about 50 of us arrived at the hotel both hungry and exhausted, only to find no food available. To top it off, someone neglected to arrange for our transportation to the airport (which was included). We had to find a way on our own and it made our last day of the trip terribly stressful. Even with the end of the trip not going so well, would we do it again? Absolutely! Loved the SilverSea Silver Cloud and it's crew a lot!! Thank you for asking our opinion. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We were intrigued by the idea of a 'luxury' expedition on a 'small' ship. Unfortunately, the ship chose(despite the brochure's promise to have a maximum of 200 passengers) to embark fully booked, creating lines ... Read More
We were intrigued by the idea of a 'luxury' expedition on a 'small' ship. Unfortunately, the ship chose(despite the brochure's promise to have a maximum of 200 passengers) to embark fully booked, creating lines for everything--from dinner in the main restaurant, La Terrazza breakfasts and lunches, and boarding the zodiaks. The service was perfunctory, with some exceptions--our assistant butler was wonderful, as were many individual members of the staff. And there were some unique experiences, from the 'polar plunge' to kayaking in dry suits. The captain was welcoming and generally terrific. But the overall experience--from spending hours trying to figure out what appropriate clothing to bring(no, Silversea--not 4 pairs of gloves PLUS glove liners for a 10 day cruise; not hugely difficult-to-pack calf-length waterproof boots for what turned out to be ONE!! wet zodiac landing) to the final day--again, no details til night before,but basically a lovely almost 5 hour excursion offset by standing in way too many lines--did not in any way measure up either to my expectations or Silversea's promises. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We’ve sailed several times on SilverSea and have had mixed experiences. Our favorite expedition was Antarctica; our favorite ocean cruise was The Baltic’s where we spent 3 days in St. Petersburg. We selected the SS Arctic ... Read More
We’ve sailed several times on SilverSea and have had mixed experiences. Our favorite expedition was Antarctica; our favorite ocean cruise was The Baltic’s where we spent 3 days in St. Petersburg. We selected the SS Arctic expedition because we wanted to see Arctic wildlife and especially polar bears. We certainly knew there was no guarantee of seeing polar bears, whales, seals, foxes, etc., but we thought there would be a huge effort from the expedition leader and captain to meet our goals since that was our experience with previous expedition ships. They are known for not having a set schedule and route but rather a day by day or moment by moment agenda depending on where they have to go to meet expectations. We found this expedition full of an inexperienced expedition leader and expedition team. It was the first time in this area for all of them. There was very little effort in reaching their passengers goals and we followed a very preplanned route. We knew days in advance of exactly where we were going and there was no variance in that plan. The only expedition experience on this cruise was that you were in zodiacs vs. tenders. We saw very, very few animals and there was no effort in finding them. While they can say we saw a polar bear, it was our very first day and they said there was one on shore. Everyone rushed to see it but even with decent binoculars, most people couldn’t identify it. We were told that what looked like a rock was actually a polar bear laying down with his back towards us. Maybe it was?? I thought at that time the ship would check that off as a sighting and make no effort in finding another. Unfortunately, that proved true. We saw a couple of seals and 1 haul of walrus. We saw reindeer at a reindeer farm...could have done that in a zoo. We did see tons of birds, tons. The other very disturbing situation was that there was a 3 year old child on board. The SS website clearly states that children under 5 will absolutely not be allowed on the zodiacs. This child was on most of the zodiac outings. When we questioned the staff, they responded that they weren’t aware of their policy. Totally unacceptable ...this child endangered himself and everyone in each zodiac. While I voiced my concern, no one at SS responded. Overall, very disappointing in the lack of effort and excitement but I do think some of that is attributed to the inexperienceof the entire team. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Our long awaited and much anticipated Northwest Passage trip has ended and will long be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Inputing required information into Ponant’s website before the trip was frustratingly difficult and ... Read More
Our long awaited and much anticipated Northwest Passage trip has ended and will long be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Inputing required information into Ponant’s website before the trip was frustratingly difficult and generally only remedied by Sydney’s staff. Thank you to all who assisted. The required medical information was widely regarded by GPs and fellow travellers as an invasion of privacy. Our travels to Antarctica onboard MV Orion in 2007 and a previous 42-day Arctic expedition cruise aboard MV Silver Explorer in 2013 did not require such detailed information, simply evidence of travel insurance that included repatriation from remote areas. And then there were the charter flights. Check-in at Charles de Gaulle airport was an absolute shambles. Many, if not most, passengers had arrived long before the Ponant representative and located a Ponant banner near gates 50-51. Nobody was aware that there were two charter flights, the other check-in being on the opposite side of the terminal at gates 1-2. Much cross-terminal activity ensued as people realised they were in the wrong queues! My partner and I were allocated the Trade Air flight that used a Fokker 100 aircraft. The aircraft was not designed to carry a full economy-class passenger load with everyone having hold-stowed baggage, and consequently some baggage was loaded into some of the toilets at the captain’s suggestion. That carrier has been cited on previous occasions for regulatory breaches, according to internet entries, and this was possibly another. Being a charter flight we parked remotely from the terminal in Copenhagen and much of the baggage was offloaded into open baggage-carts in a downpour. Some passengers reported their baggage was sodden upon retrieval. Transferring to the Air Greenland commercial flight was another exercise involving a very long walk with little guidance. A couple of quick-thinking passengers were able to pay for a business-class upgrade, while most of us continued to languish in economy. Upon arrival in Kangerlussuaq we were directed to board coaches for the transfer to the ship. Nobody bothered to inform us, until asked, about what was to happen to our luggage....it was collected in bulk and transferred (successfully) to the ship. The reception on boarding the ship, was adequate but not exceptional, particularly as it was close to midnight when we boarded. Our cabin, 528, was tiny with no under-bed storage for luggage and was apparently designed as the sitting-room to the adjoining cabin 526, to which it had a connecting door for use when both cabins were sold as one suite. It was a similar story for other cabins on deck 5, some with under-bed storage, others without. Within the cabin, the bathroom and toilet doors opened outwards into the entrance passageway, as did the wardrobe doors. Open one door but beware opening another as they clashed with one another. Inexplicably, the shower door opened inwards to the stall and if anyone fell while in the shower and could not pick themselves up, access for assistants would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, without demolishing the screens. Compactness was also a feature of both restaurants, with tables very close together hampering access for both passengers and waiters. Both restaurants were badly under-staffed, with waiters having too many tables to look after and also doubling as wine waiters. Under these very trying circumstances, the waiters did the best they could, but lengthy delays were normal. The bars were also understaffed. Some food items and beverages ran very low, with some items completely exhausted within 10 days of the start of a 23 day cruise! Somebody needs to answer for that. The much-hyped French cuisine was disappointing, with a preponderance of fish on the dinner menu. The cruise proceeded much as advertised until it was announced that we would be unable to transit the Northwest Passage because of the ice conditions in Bellot Strait and further west. That decision was based on ice charts and forecasts available before we had even set sail from Kangerlussuaq on the cruise, and that changed little as the cruise progressed. We were initially offered early disembarkation (at Pond Inlet, Canada), an option that a number of us selected, and two other options, each less appealing than the other. Eventually it was decided an early disembarkation would unnecessarily delay the ship sailing north in Baffin Bay on a random itinerary taking us towards the very north of Greenland towards another channel blocked by sea ice, before turning south and returning to Kangerlussuaq by the 18th September, the date we were originally due to disembark in Nome. Mutterings were heard that we’d paid the ransom before we’d been kidnapped! Communications from staff members was poor on many occasions, with the constant changing from French to English difficult to follow. And once the revised itinerary got underway, we were only told on a daily basis what to expect the next day, with nobody sure when we would be back in Kangerlussuaq (17th or 18th, morning or afternoon etc). Eventually we found ourselves back in Kangerlussuaq and the charter flight shambles started all over again. Europeans won the lottery with a short flight back to Paris. The rest of us had to endure a long, uncomfortable economy-class flight all the way to Seattle with a refuelling stop in Buffalo. And finally liberation! We could never, in good conscience, recommend Ponant. As a luxury expedition/cruise line it barely rates a 3, based on this experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We choose SilverSea to experience a luxury expedition. The staff and the Arctic lived up to reputation but the ship was a huge disappointment. See our review of the cabin. The quality of food was excellent however to have hot dishes ... Read More
We choose SilverSea to experience a luxury expedition. The staff and the Arctic lived up to reputation but the ship was a huge disappointment. See our review of the cabin. The quality of food was excellent however to have hot dishes served luke warm from the buffet at breakfast and lunch was a complete turn off. By the end of the week I was reduced to eating from the pasta station as this was the only food hot. Dinner service was dependent on the side of the restaurant you were seated. Waiting over 30 minutes from the end of main course until dessert arrived is not acceptable. The next night the meal service took over 3 hours to be completed. The public rooms are tired with the door to the observation lounge half falling off and cracking window ledges in the theater. The smoking policy makes no sense. With the smoking room attached to the panorama lounge every time the door is opened the room fills with the smell of cigarettes. The staff serve the smokers and their uniforms absorb the smoke. That made afternoon tea and bar service totally out of bounds. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We have friends who work in the Cruise travel industry. Ponant was portrayed as a luxury cruise small ship company with an expedition theme. We should have had some idea when we first booked that the cruise would not be "smooth" ... Read More
We have friends who work in the Cruise travel industry. Ponant was portrayed as a luxury cruise small ship company with an expedition theme. We should have had some idea when we first booked that the cruise would not be "smooth" sailing because all questions were referred to head office in France and the Sydney staff could not assist us. Day 1 arrived at Orly Airport at 7.30 am - there was no company staffer nor sign assisting us to find the charter flight at Orly Airport despite being reassured by Sydney Office the flight would be listed on Departures Board - it wasn't. Finally when we found check in desk in the basement we stood for 80 minutes waiting to be processed (there were no seats anywhere to be found on this floor). Through no fault of Ponant's our charter flight was delayed but there were no Ponant staff to give us an update or any information such as would it be at the same gate! Orly airport have very few seats at the departure gates so many of us sat on the floor for several hours.The rest I will dot point but its downhill all the way until we arrived safely back in Paris. 1. Arriving in Bergen to meet the ship there was no assistance with luggage from carousel to charter bus, we were not offered water upon our arrival to the bus and couldn't purchase any as Bergen shops wanted the local currency. We were met by some young ladies outside the airport who told us the bus number and take luggage and put it into the luggage hold. Our guide on the bus was a lovely young woman she shared her local knowledge and in particular that is rains in Bergen 360 pus days of the year. Shame Ponant didn't know that! 2. Taken on city tour of Bergen - 3 three times around the town centre and an hour later we were taken to wharf. All 4 buses at the same time arrived at the wharf. 3. Promptly told we had to collect our luggage and take it along the wharf to the ship - at this point we were tired but did as we told without complaint. 4. At the gang plank we had a 45 minute wait in light rain whilst the Captain greeted each of the 220 something passengers. Whilst waiting we were exposed to fumes as the ship was being refuelled and the truck would've been about 5 metres from us. I hoped no one would light up! Still no offer of beverages nor umbrellas and no concern for those of us who were waiting patiently on the dock: dehydrated and nauseous from the fumes and standing in the queue we approached the officer who was controlling the number of passengers on the gang plank and got an apologetic shrug.We got to our cabin at 5.20 pm and told over the loud speaker that the english shore excursions talk would begin in 10 minutes - no rest for the wicked! There was bottled water in our cabin thank goodness! 5. During the entire cruise the onboard staff were rude and unwelcoming. No "Bonjour" greetings. "No! you can't have that wine tonight", "no we've run out of croissants". 6. The cruise was advertised as "Expeditionary " but the first part of the cruise from Bergen to Tromso was not and paid Shore Excursions were on offer but limited numbers. The information session held on the first evening at 5.30pm repeated the information that we had printed out from the website, we were all making notes but despite this the speakers were difficult to understand with their broad accents and we struggled to comprehend what was on offer, there was much confusion amongst the english speaking guests (50 of us) but we bonded really well over this confusion pooled our fragments of information and worked out what to book. The popular excursions were quickly booked out e.g. the kayaking in one of the fjords and you couldn't book all your excursions at once they only opened for bookings for one hour in the early evening about one or two days in advance. No pre cruise booking was available. 7. English Lectures were interesting but whilst out in the field one of the Expedition team described the birdlife in French when he had finished he refused my request to translate the information to English although he had lectured to us in English the day before. One of the french speaking passengers was kind enough to tell me what was said. We found two of the expedition leaders were generous with their information and time and passionate about their work,we became their shadow where possible. Shore Excursions this was part expedition and part shore excursions. 8. Food served a la carte in formal dining room always tepid never hot. Returned it one day but waited 1/2 hr before it arrived back whilst those dining with me had finished their desserts! Didn't do that again. However the Ice Cream served warm 9.. Observation Deck Bar: Don't ask for a beverage before 12.00 noon (it was 11.55 am unaware the bar opened at 12.00) because you will get an unopened can, no glass and thumped down on the coffee table. Except the day the "tip" envelopes were delivered to our cabin - then we were offered a smile and nuts and a cocktail! 10. Departure: again no staff member to supervise the charter flights at the airport in Longyearbyen - flight delayed 1 1/2 hrs or more and when we finally arrived at CDG we discovered that our luggage was mistakenly put on the other charter flight 2 hours behind ours and their luggage was on the carousel in CDG with us! Again no official Ponant staff to speak to, however, as luck would have it, one of the expedition leaders was on our flight, thank goodness, he rang the ship and told us our luggage was on the other charter flight. Needless to say we missed our train to Lille but Ponant did reimburse us the fare. Approx 60 Euros. 11. We wrote to the Sydney Office detailing our issues and disappointment and were offered a 10% discount on a Ponant cruise. Thanks but no thanks Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
A disastrous holiday from start to finish. Charter flight from Orly Aiport was exhausting. One would expect a staff representing Ponant to be at a designated Meeting Place but we were told the flight would be advertised on the Departure ... Read More
A disastrous holiday from start to finish. Charter flight from Orly Aiport was exhausting. One would expect a staff representing Ponant to be at a designated Meeting Place but we were told the flight would be advertised on the Departure Boards with check in details so need for signage or staff - there wasn't any information airport staff weren't sure. We finally found the charter flight check in ( in the basement) by accident. Flight delayed but no information at the gates as to expected time, no seating at the gates - sat on the floor. At our destination we were met by staff taken on a city tour with all 4 buses arriving at the wharf simultaneuosly. No assistnace with luggage, we queued in the rain for 45 minutes as the captain and his hotel manager stood at the top of the gang plank and welcomed each passenger. No regard for us getting wet, no beverages offered and no seating whilst we waited on wharf. Excursion staff and accessibilty to details: Poor Expedition Staff: Rude Waitstaff: Rude in both the dining room and Observation Deck Bar Food: Variety: reasonable Main Dining Room: Food served luke warm Alcohol: Wine of the day - if you preferred the wine served the previous day - "not available tonight" bad luck Organisation of Shore excursions: Chaotic Overall staff never greeted you on approach. They appeared to be disgruntled employees. We have traveeld on many cruise ship lines of various categoriesand have never been treated with such rudeness. Never again Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Every aspect of this expedition exceeded expectations (even though we had travelled with Linblad before). This was a photo expedition and we had full access to a photo instructor and a professional Nat Geo photographer at all times ... Read More
Every aspect of this expedition exceeded expectations (even though we had travelled with Linblad before). This was a photo expedition and we had full access to a photo instructor and a professional Nat Geo photographer at all times throughout the voyage. The captain and crew went above and beyond to provide access to all types of wildlife and scenic landscapes. (Polar bears, walruses, etc. and Norway's fjords and fishing villages) The onboard facilities, service, food and camaraderie were outstanding. Every request was fulfilled quickly and with courtesy and friendliness. The expedition leaders and naturalists were extremely knowledgable and friendly and the photo experts were incredibly helpful with technical as well as artistic advice and support. Every detail from the moment of our arrival in Oslo, to the charter flight to Svalbard, embarkation in Longyearbyen through final disembarkation in Copenhagen was handled professionally and without any stress or problems. I look forward to our next trip with Linblad. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Fabulous trip to some of the most remote and beautiful parts of the world, teeming with wildlife and wonderful autumn colours.. Superbly organised shore trips with excellent and very helpful crew members. We were landed ashore safely in ... Read More
Fabulous trip to some of the most remote and beautiful parts of the world, teeming with wildlife and wonderful autumn colours.. Superbly organised shore trips with excellent and very helpful crew members. We were landed ashore safely in often difficult conditions. A safety perimeter was established and the guides were freely available to provide information about the plant life and animals we saw. On board the captain would announce any wild life viewings and would follow whales and other wild life to provide passengers with the best possible views The cabin was spacious and well appointed with lots of storage space. The cabin crew were efficient and inobtrusive. The attached balcony was a great asset and a good place to relax and watch the coastline and birds drift past. The dining areas were elegant and the waiters attentive and helpful. The food was top quality, especially the cheeses, one of my weaknesses, and the menus varied.. There was probably too much but the energetic walks ashore prevented too much damage to the waistline. The lectures by the guides were interesting and informative but I was not a great fan of the stage shows. They did not seem appropriate for an adventure cruise and probably I was too tired to enjoy them at the end of a usually energetic day. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We were taken with the promotional video of the animals to be found in Siberia, Russia and Kuril Islands and booked three back to back cruises. L'Austral was the perfect ship to perform all requirements having 10 or more Zodiacs ... Read More
We were taken with the promotional video of the animals to be found in Siberia, Russia and Kuril Islands and booked three back to back cruises. L'Austral was the perfect ship to perform all requirements having 10 or more Zodiacs along with 11 Naturalists who were experts in various fields - whales, orcas, lichen, bears, etc. The ship was small enough to enter shallow waters and in some instances, entered areas never before visited by Ponant. The pre and post lectures were exceptionally good and were conducted in both French and English. Other groups including Chinese and Russian had their own interpreters who filled their groups in after the main lectures. The Captain was amazing. He avoided adverse weather conditions where and whenever possible whilst keeping all passengers fully appraised of all situations including tides, northern lights, winds and typhoons. Although I could not enter our specific departure port of Nome in the section provided, I believe the ship did begin the Arctic cruise in Iceland. With only 180 passengers on board out of a total capacity of 250, rarely was there a wait of more than 15 minutes to board Zodiacs to enjoy all activities provided. All staff were exceptional from the Hotel Manager and Maitre 'D down to wait and cabin staff. 10 out of 10 for service in all areas. If there was a criticism it would be in the beverage department. For a French ship the daily wines were very basic and if a person wanted a better quality, you paid through the nose. Basic items such as a milkshake cost E10 as did the daily cocktail. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was almost so good. But yet it wasn't. And I doubt I would ever sail with Ponant again because of this experience. The itinerary was amazing - a 23 night cruise through the Arctic Circle, crossing from Greenland to Alaska ... Read More
This was almost so good. But yet it wasn't. And I doubt I would ever sail with Ponant again because of this experience. The itinerary was amazing - a 23 night cruise through the Arctic Circle, crossing from Greenland to Alaska via the North West Passage, it's the stuff of adventurous dreams. The expeditions were truly amazing, can you imagine the delight of zodiacs right up to the front of a glacier; tramping across pristine arctic tundra (though of course it won't stay pristine for much longer once the tourists really start to visit); being entertained by local Inuit people; and watching walruses and polar bears and seals and whales and narwhals and and and. The whole itinerary was simply wonderful; the expeditions were amazing and the expedition staff friendly and knowledgable (if occasionally slightly unintelligable). So, why was it all so disappointing? Well, it was billed as luxury luxury luxury 5 star 6 star best ever. And as such my expectations were way up. And it was expensive, but as a once in a lifetime cruise, I saved for it and then splurged. But it was all pretty ordinary. The cabins were small and in need of some major refurbishing and certainly a redesign. It was awkward to move in the cabin; with dressing table and drawers in the wrong spot. Storage was very narrow and deep and there was only one chair, no couch, to sit on So if you wanted to relax in the cabin one of you has to sit on the bed. Not so good for my back. The bed was very comfortable though and I slept brilliantly. The toilet was separate from the bathroom and basin and the actual bathroom was quite small. Ok for petites, not sure how some people could turn around in the shower. There is no guest laundry which means that all of your washing is either done by hand in the bathroom basin (not my idea of luxury) or sent out at expense for the ship to do. And it added up to quite an expense. The food was basic and as a vegetarian I struggled to get any variety. A strict vegan would be advised to bring their own! There were nights when my main meal consisted of pasta; potato and rice (and, mostly, dessert). Too often, the vegetables dishes had bacon included and for example on the barbeque meals, while there were all sorts of hamburger patties: beef; pork; chicken;and lamb, there were never any vegetable or chickpea patties. I ate salads mostly, but they lacked variety and 23 nights of almost the same meal is not what I call luxury. I must add though that the bread was amazing - best ever - and the desserts were without question as good as any patisserie. The 'inlcuded' wine was pretty ordinary plonk. The premium wine was just expensive. The dining hours were limited, and both the restaurant and the buffet filled up quickly. If you cruise normally there are extended options for your meals and being crowded out happens rarely. There were only shared tables of 4 or 6, but no tables of 2. I don't mind sharing on most nights but occasionally you like to have just a quiet night without having to make conversation. And, of course, if you got the seats next the window on a 6 person table you could barely get in or out of your seat until the others moved out. The cabin was not set up for a meal, sohaving room service regualrly was really out of the question. In addition, whole sections of both the buffet and the restaurant were put aside for tour groups, which was good for them, but not so convenient for the other passengers. The tour groups also seemed to take over one of the two guest lounges. A concern for me was that the usual cruise ship hygiene precautions did not seem to have high priority. The two hand sanitiser dispensers near the eating areas were rarely used (and their use never encouraged let alone enforced). Embarkation and disembarkation were both a schemozzle. I am aware that neither Kangerlussuaq nor Nome are luxury destinations, but Ponant was quite simply disorganised. The disembarkation was timed around getting the next group of passengers flown up from Seattle, so we had a full day to bumble around Nome waiting for the plane. That wasn't so bad as it's an interesting town, but then getting to the airport - tour groups got precedence (of course they did!) and the rest of us had to just line up and take what was left. It was 'open seating' so once the others were on, there were very limited options for the last bus load. Didn't seem quite fair but hey ho! The flight was a budget airline and quite squashed and running very late, so our day ended at about midnight in Seattle. So, I'd absolutely recommend the itinerary. I didn't object to paying a huge amount for the cruise but I was very disappointed in the shipping line. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
The expeditions on this cruise were amazing. The scenery, the wildlife and the excursions onshore in the remote arctic were the stuff of dreams and I would do it all again. But I would do it on a different ship and with a different ... Read More
The expeditions on this cruise were amazing. The scenery, the wildlife and the excursions onshore in the remote arctic were the stuff of dreams and I would do it all again. But I would do it on a different ship and with a different cruise line. This was expensive (very expensive) and was billed as '5 star luxury' but it was really at the class of the Queen Victoria (Cunard) - ie a good mid-level, small ship. It's not anywhere near the luxury levels of Silverseas or Regent. For example, the room only had one chair, not two nor a couch so that at any time in the room one of us had to sit on the bed. There were no rugs for covering us when on the balcony so we couldn't comfortably sit outside to watch the icebergs. And the main lounge opened onto the 'smokers deck' and was always having cold and smoky air rush in. Curiously, for a French line, the food was probably the most disappointing aspect. Well, that and the pushiness of most other passengers. It did not cater well for vegetarians and not at all for vegans. When specific foods were checked, the sous chef was abrupt to the point of rudeness in his responses. Not really good enough. The embarkation and disembarkation were disorganised (and, yes, I appreciate that neither Kangerlussuaq nor Nome are set up for big groups) but the arrangements were not good and the charter flights were very basic. It was not pleasant being in the crush for seats when boarding and then landing in Seattle late at night was tiring. If you look at just the 'expediaiton' nature of this cruise, then I would wholeheartedly recommend it. It was truly wonderful. But the luxury aspect wasn't. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Chosen specifically for the Iceland, Greenland and Northwest Artic passage to Alaska. Excellent itinerary with great shore excursions and expedition excursions. Many great features such as the ship design, 24/7 access to bridge, zodiacs, ... Read More
Chosen specifically for the Iceland, Greenland and Northwest Artic passage to Alaska. Excellent itinerary with great shore excursions and expedition excursions. Many great features such as the ship design, 24/7 access to bridge, zodiacs, etc. Had a suite which was great, but a regular cabin was not of sufficient size. The dining, menu, food preparation was very bad, not at all up to standard, let alone luxury! Dining room service was poor. Room service was excellent and the selected acceptable food items were good. Cabin service was outstanding. Went for the specific itinerary and expeditionary cruise which was excellent, HOWEVER would never ever take or recommend Ponant to anyone unless the specific itinerary was unique and special. There are now other much better expeditionary modern cruise ships which are ice rated. The expedition team was mixed, some very good and some very very poor. Very few English speaking passengers, at a significant disadvantage unless French! Captain, ship officers and receptionists were excellent. Organization of the charter flight from Nome was horrible. Some information from home sales group was significantly wrong. Lectures were badly organized with bad time management. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Loved the ship & the cruise. We had previously done an Antarctic cruise on the same ship and the Arctic cruise held a few surprises for us. But it was all great. The land excursions in the Arctic are VERY short. Sometimes as short ... Read More
Loved the ship & the cruise. We had previously done an Antarctic cruise on the same ship and the Arctic cruise held a few surprises for us. But it was all great. The land excursions in the Arctic are VERY short. Sometimes as short as a few hundred meters. We quickly learned that the reason was the potential for a Polar Bear attack. If it is foggy, then the zodiacs will not land since the bear guards can not see far enough to verify there are no polar bears. If they see a polar bear, then the zodiacs will not land. Instead you get to cruise about in the zodiac watching the polar bear. Okay! As in the Antarctic, the passengers are split into 4 zodiac groups. The zodiacs can hold 2 groups at a time with rotating staggered boarding times. So some days you get to sleep in (and then be rushed to get to dinner). We were lucky enough to see multiple polar bears. 2 with fresh kills. Our first bear encounter occurred shortly after our group land excursion was complete (we were sipping champagne on the top deck and getting ready to think about ordering lunch when the bear was reported). The 2 groups onshore were quickly evacuated to the zodiacs and spent the last half of their time slot watching a polar bear walk along the shore. They were brought back to the boat and our group reboarded the zodiacs to spend over an hour following the bear down the coast. The zodiac expedition crew radioed back to the ship to tell them that we would be very late returning and to delay lunch. Awesome. But not common. We started up north in Longyearbyen and ended in Tromso. This meant we had a lot of lectures at the end of the trip (during at sea days) telling us what we had already seen. Maybe we should have started at the south? Our week started out with the first excursion delayed and almost cancelled due to weather. We had fog & horizontal sleet / rain. Not nice. We then lucked out for the rest of the week with lots of sunshine. We only had 1 day cancelled due to weather conditions. You should normally expect at least 2 to 3 days (or more) cancelled due to weather. The unexpected great weather also meant we could eat lunch on the deck 5 times (sunshine, champagne, blankets & winter coats!) and we also did the Hot Rocks dinner on the rear deck 2 of the 3 nights it was offered. This trip we were upstairs which is really midships (our friend was down below on 4 and much closer to the front). This cabin included a few extras like free laundry (which i used several times) free wifi (i think the whole boat had it?) and daily canapes service (which we consumed with a bottle of champagne). We had a balcony which was great for checking the weather of looking around, but it was too cold to actually sit out there very long. The cabin was standard silver sea. No issues. A little worn around the edges but perfectly fine for people that were wearing waterproof clothes and lots of underwear. We enjoyed this as much as our Antarctic trip. But you need to remember this is an expedition cruise. The weather is often bad to terrible. This will affect your trip. After the Polar Bears & Walrus the highlight was the birds on Bear Island. My hat still needs a little more cleaning. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016

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