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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Having sailed twice before with Ponant on expedition cruises the choice for our cruise to the Kimberley was easy to make as we knew first hand the type of cruise that we would be joining. Ponant are a little expensive compared to some ... Read More
Having sailed twice before with Ponant on expedition cruises the choice for our cruise to the Kimberley was easy to make as we knew first hand the type of cruise that we would be joining. Ponant are a little expensive compared to some other operators in the Kimberley area, however the quality with Ponant is always the same and they spare nothing to allow each person to enjoy the most out of the adventure. In Wyndham you have the choice of 3 excursions (included in the cruise price),a cruise undertaking the remarkable Ord river wildlife, a scenic flight over the east Kimberley including the Bungle Bungle Range or a day exploring El Questro station including Emma George and Zebedee Springs. We chose the Ord river which is supplied by a Ponant contractor and is a fantastic day seeing all the wild life and the water system of the river. Each day we enjoyed 2 different Zodiacs trips offered by the very experienced Expedition team which allowed us to get up close to some of the most amazing sights on earth. We will never forget the King George River, Vansittart Bay, Hunter River , Mitchell Falls, Collier Bay ( Horizontal Waterfalls), Talbot Bay (Montgomery Reef),Lacepede Islands or the amazing day trips to view and learn about the first nations people and the cave art work and way of life. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Did this cruise two years ago on L'Austral. It was so good we re-booked and took our adult children on with us this time on Le Laperouse. This trip was even better! The new ship is beautiful. Love the cabins and public areas. The new ... Read More
Did this cruise two years ago on L'Austral. It was so good we re-booked and took our adult children on with us this time on Le Laperouse. This trip was even better! The new ship is beautiful. Love the cabins and public areas. The new Zodiac landing arm is amazing. When not in use for this purpose we had a champagne cocktail party on it as well as a concert by an opera singer as the sun was setting over the Indian Ocean. Magical. The expedition team were fantastic. Very knowledgeable and likable. Wonderful Captain and crew on board and sensational food. An incredible itinerary in such a beautiful remote area. We felt very privileged to be able to hike to some of the Aboriginal rock art sites. We are quite well traveled and cruise a lot and hands down this was the best trip we have ever done. Could not fault a thing. If you haven't been to the Kimberley be sea, I would highly recommend it with Ponant. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
The crew were unfailingly friendly yet efficient. The organisation of embarkation, disembarkation and the multiple excursions was flawless, and supplemented by daily debriefing/briefing sessions which ensured passengers were well informed ... Read More
The crew were unfailingly friendly yet efficient. The organisation of embarkation, disembarkation and the multiple excursions was flawless, and supplemented by daily debriefing/briefing sessions which ensured passengers were well informed as to the requirements and expectations for each day's activities. Shore excursions were supervised by highly qualified, well-informed and enthusiastic scientist/naturalists, and we visited stunning locations which are only accessible by boat (or helicopter). While encouraged to participate, passengers could do as much or as little as they wished. With only 175 passengers aboard, there was a great sense of community on the ship. Cabin accommodation was very comfortable, well laid out and kept spotlessly clean and replenished by twice-daily staff visits; individual balconies were a bonus. There was plenty of space for lounging and relaxation. Facilities included a gymnasium and sauna/spa/massage. Although there were only about 15 children on board, they were well catered for by the cruise director and her team (and, to their parents' great credit, the children's behaviour was beyond reproach). There were ample entertainments laid on in the evenings and at night. Meals were superb in variety, cuisine and presentation, with excellent wines included (no need to subscribe to the "superior" beverage package!); all dietary requirements were catered for. Only complaint: too short! Would we go again? Definitely! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
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
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
(Apologies if this is a bit long, but I know i love to get all the details when I read a review!) Day 1 - Boarding As others have noted Ponant are very strict with their 1 hour boarding window, and even turning up 15 minutes early ... Read More
(Apologies if this is a bit long, but I know i love to get all the details when I read a review!) Day 1 - Boarding As others have noted Ponant are very strict with their 1 hour boarding window, and even turning up 15 minutes early meant we were only able to leave our luggage and head for a beer in the brewery next door! Boarding in Cairns was very straightforward, with no Immigration requirements as this was an Australian cruise. There was a short delay boarding while both the Captain and the Chairman (Sarina Bratton A.M.) greeted every passenger. Once on board we were escorted to our cabin (312 which is about 10m from Reception). First impressions of the cabin were excellent. The light airy décor and general cabin layout were good, and the cabin was spotless. Departure As the next day was a port call at Lizard Island, the programme once aboard was rushed. Just time to grab a welcome drink before at 5pm (as boarding finished) there was an expedition briefing in the theatre and issue of lifejackets for the Zodiacs. Then back to the cabin to retrieve our full lifejackets for lifeboat drill in the theatre at 5:30pm – fortunately nothing is too far from anywhere on Le Laperouse. This was immediately followed by drinks on the rear deck for sailaway at 6pm, then dinner from 7:00pm. Day 2 – Lizard Island Our call at Lizard Island was affected by weather with the preferred anchorage unsuitable due to wind and swell. However the crew had a Plan B and we stopped on the other side of the island (although the captain was unable to anchor and had to drift and reposition the ship all day). This meant a slightly longer 15 minute Zodiac trip to the beach, and no real opportunity for snorkelling although the water was pleasant for swimming. The passengers were split into 4 colour groups for the duration of the cruise, and this determined your activity order and Zodiac boarding time. Generally this process ran pretty efficiently and too schedule. There were a couple of guided walks offered morning and afternoon which weren’t too strenuous and allowed us to become better acquainted with some of the Expedition team. Sailaway preceded the Captains Welcome party on the rear deck and the first of what proved to be many 6-course degustation dinners! Dress was what I describe as ‘semi-formal’ with most men wearing jackets, some wearing a tie as well, but others in long-sleeve shirts and slacks (noting it was 30ºC plus outside). Due to the balmy weather, the Grill on Level 3 was open every meal for those who didn’t wan’t a large extended dinner or wished to dress more casually. Day 3 & 4 – Willis Island Due to the massive complexity of Australian marine regulation (discussed by Sarina Bratton during her Q&A session) the cruise included 2 days at sea to make a “technical stop” at Willis Island. This constitutes ‘leaving Australia’ and avoids coastal-cruising fees which otherwise would be lumped onto the fares. Activities during what were effectively 2 sea days included lectures from the Expedition crew, and Sarina’s Q&A session. Snorkelling equipment was also issued to those so inclined, which you kept for the duration of the reef visits. A highlight was the seafood luncheon prepared by the guest chef, Guillame Brahimi, and the first of his 2 degustation dinners. Worth noting that the degustation dinners took nearly 2.5 hours to get to the final course as everyone was served at once. Day 5 – Hardy Reef The visit to Hardy Reef involves being moved by Zodiac to a moored reef pontoon some 20 minutes away by Zodiac. This is due to the restricted anchorage available for ships of this size. Due to choppy weather conditions, everyone got soaked en-route to the platform – fortunately the water was warm! We had the run of the platform except for between 11am and 4pm when we were joined by day-trippers. This included a ride in a semi-submersible over the reef, an underwater observatory, and snorkelling. Coffee, tea and water and toilets were available on the platforms cruise boat moored at the platform. Day 6 – Percy Island We moored off Percy Island in calmer conditions with a 5-10 minute ride into the beach. The crew had erected beach umbrellas on the sand, and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) and 2-man kayaks were available to tour the small lagoon at the end of the beach during the morning. 2 walks were available, which were a bit more strenuous than Lizard Island, although a few wilting passengers were kindly transported by ute and quadbike by the residents (all 5 of them). Percy Island’s highlight is the “Yacht Club”, a large A-frame building covered in plaques and memorabilia from passing yachts (and cruise ships) – you could spend hours looking through them all. A pleasant surprise in the afternoon was a ‘cocktail party’ on the beach with rum punch, champagne and beer and a game of boules! Followed by another degustation dinner… Day 7 – Lady Musgrave Island Ponant arranges with the Lady Musgrave Experience tour boat for access to its facilities at Lady Musgrave Island. This includes snorkelling of their large reef boat, a glass-bottom boat tour and a walk around Lady Musgrave Island to see the turtle rookeries and bird colonies. However, rough weather made it impossible for the Zodiacs to be loaded, although the captain to his credit tried everything. Ultimately, to our amazement, they arranged to try a direct boat-to-boat transfer to the large reef boat! Some great seamanship on both sides saw 110 passengers taken to the reef to get a shortened experience for 2-3 hours. The snorkelling was excellent, and the guided walk (although necessarily short) was well done. All credit must go to the captains and crews for making it possible – lots of other cruises ships would have called it off hours earlier. Days 8 & 9 – At sea The next two days saw us cruise in increasingly better weather down the Australian east coast. An advantage of a ship with no casino, and smaller size, means they travel closer to the coast and there is more to see. One morning it was our colour groups turn at a Wine and Cheese Tasting hosted by the Sommelier, a chance to try some of the wines on the wine list paired with some excellent French cheeses (a step up from those on the buffet). Another degustation dinner… Day 10 – Newcastle Newcastle is a former steel making town that is re-inventing itself as a tourist destination based on its beaches and proximity to the Hunter Valley winery region. Ponant had organised an included tour, with each colour group boarding a coach to visit three of four wineries in the Hunter (so no 2 groups were at the same place at the same time), with all coaches converging on one winery for a 2-course lunch with some excellent local wine. A good day capped off with another degustation dinner… Day 11 – Sydney Our visit to Sydney highlighted the crisis the iconic harbour suffers with insufficient cruise ship capacity (particularly for large ships). We were unable to moor at the Overseas Passenger Terminal until 7pm due to another ship being port, and no other berth being available. The day started very well with the ship pulling into Broken Bay at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River. Zodiac tours ended up at a “surprise” location on a local tourist boat where we had an oyster shucking and testing session with some nice local wines – I sat among a group of non-oyster eaters and had a great time! The oysters were wonderful. About 30 passengers disembarked (mainly due to early flights the following day), and the remainder were allowed off from about 8pm to wander around The Rocks and Opera House precinct. Day 12 – Sydney Disembarkation was a nightmare – although it wasn’t particularly Ponant’s fault. At 4am Le Laperouse had to leave the OPT and moor at a mid-harbour anchorage so a large Carnival ship could berth. Passengers baggage was taken off and left at the OPT. The remaining passengers had to disembark by tender from 7am. This involved a bumpy 20 minute tender ride to the steps of the Opera House, very difficult for passengers with reduced mobility. That’s where the fun started… We were then herded across the Opera House forecourt by rude Security staff and loaded onto small buses to be taken to the OPT to clear Border Force formalities and get our baggage. This trip took nearly 20 minutes to cover what would be a 5-10 minute walk… Once at the terminal (about 8:15) we were forced to sit in the terminal (unless you joined the escorted tours to the toilets) until nearly 9:30 while Border Force finished with the Carnival ship. After all that, the actual Border Force process involved handing over the Incoming Passenger card and walking through… they would have processed all the passengers in less than 5 minutes. We could have dropped the cards in a box and been just as thoroughly processed. A very ordinary introduction to Sydney for our international visitors (although perhaps no great surprise to those of us locals who put up with their bureaucratic nonsense on a regular basis!). Overall Impression The Cabin Main Area – The bed and pillows were very comfortable, and the air-conditioning well controlled. The only real issue is the very narrow space at the foot of the bed requires the occasional pas-de-deux with your companion. Storage – shallow draws beneath the bedside tables (wide on one side of the bed, narrow on the other) with some space below. Good cupboards under the bench below the TV (although draws might have been better). Main wardrobe had good hanging space and plenty of hangers, with a shelf above (occupied by life jackets) and 4 storage shelves full-height on the side. Another cupboard to the side held the coffee/tea facilities (including a Nespresso machine and a kettle) and the mini-bar fridge (stocked with gin, vodka, scotch and bourbon along with beer, sparkling water, Coke, Coke no-sugar, tonic and fruit juice). The under-bed space was sufficient to store suitcases, although larger cases would need to be ‘butterflied’. Bathroom - The separate toilet and shower are a good idea, although the toilet cubicle is very small! The shower recess is quite roomy for a ship. All products were Hermes (a tie up with a parent company). There is a single large draw and 2 shelves and some bench space around the sink for storage. The only issue was that you can’t plug the sink to shave. Entertainment A large flat-screen TV has about 15 channels of mixed French/English entertainment and news channels, as well as channel for the front webcam and another for an underwater camera. There is a wide selection of new and old movies (although “Titanic” and “Lifeboat” may be odd choices for a cruise ship!). The only sport was mainly soccer (EPL etc), although watching the Super Bowl in French was novel! The Ship The ship generally has everything you want. Social life focusses around the main lounge and bar and the Grill area outside in fine weather, and in the Panorama Bar/Lounge above the Bridge. The much vaunted Blue Eye lounge is only open a few hours a day, and was rarely used. A short “Blue Eye Experience” was interesting, but otherwise it wasn’t open when you wanted it to be… The medical centre is staffed by a doctor and nurse, and a couple of people who had need of their services said they were helpful but expensive! The shop sells a lot of clothing and a few souvenirs, but doesn’t really stock any forgotten necessities. The Spa was well customised, the Sauna is beautiful (but not much used when it was already 30 plus outside!) and I believe there was a gym ! The theatre is comfortable and spacious, and can seat all passengers at once. It is used for daily recaps and briefings on Excursion cruises, and shows with the ships dancers on roughly alternate nights, weather permitting. The open-bridge policy is nice, and the crew are happy to answer questions. Once per cruise you can attend a bridge visit with the Captain who spent nearly an hour talking about the ship and it’s equipment and answering questions. The marina dock at the rear of the ship made boarding the Zodiacs relatively simple, and it can be raised to serve as a stage for the Captain’s welcome. Watching it unfurl itself from under the rear deck is a piece of theatre in itself! The Crew In a word, outstanding. Always friendly, quick to learn who you were and very visible and available – particularly the Captain who would frequently be on hand at the Marina as you boarded the Zodiacs. The opportunity was presented a couple of times during the cruise to ‘dine with an officer’ via a sign-up list at the Reception desk. We had two very pleasant dinners with crew, one hosted by the Reef Pilot and his wife, and once by the Cruise Director and the Shore Tours Manager. We were also joined by one of the Expedition team for a celebration dinner for my birthday. The waiters were generally engaging and efficient, and the bar staff quick to learn your preferences and anticipate your requirements! The Expedition team were all very friendly and engaged with the passengers frequently. When manning Zodiacs or taking guided walks they were well informed on the locations and wildlife. Our cabin steward was highly efficient but must have abseiled into the cabin ninja-like, as I think I saw him twice in 11 days for about 30 seconds each time. I never even found out his name… The Food… the food… the food… I guess that on a Food and Wine theme cruise, I shouldn’t have been surprised but there was SO MUCH FOOD…! Breakfasts were served either in the Nautilus Restaurant or the Grille, and were largely self-serve although egg dishes were available to order. A good range of juices, cereals, pastries, bread and hot food were available at the buffets. Lunch was similar, with one themed lunch run by the guest chef apart from the on-shore lunch arranged in Newcastle. Afternoon ‘tea’ food was available in the Main Lounge if you couldn’t hold out until dinner. Due to the theme, the normal 3 ‘Gala’ nights were supplemented by 2 others run by the guest chef, hence there were 5 six-course degustation dinners over 11 nights which was too much! To cap it off on the guest chef nights, you returned to your cabin to find a box of caramels or nougat on the bed… There was always a small treat left by the steward every night at turn-down, although many went uneaten as we couldn’t face any more food… The food itself was extremely good, and some of the dishes produced by the guest chef were sublime. There was a strong seafood content, although alternatives were always available, and a full vegetarian degustation was always offered in parallel on Gala nights. Room service was also available and included, but unused in my case. Drinks There was an ‘open’ bar including the in-cabin minibar, however there were a variety of extra-cost items and an extensive wine list with wines up to €900+ per bottle. There was also the option to purchase a €20 Euro/day (full duration only) package on the first 2 days that added more premium spirits and cocktails, and additional wines, to the package. Oddly, any premium spirit was charged at full cost despite the cost differential to the standard spirit being small (e.g. Johnnie Walker Red was included but Johnnie Walker Black was an extra €8 per serve, despite the cost differential between whole bottles being only roughly €10 in Australia or about €0.75 per serve – the same thing with Gordons vs Bombay Sapphire gin). The Itinerary The itinerary was as interesting as you would like an Expedition on the Great Barrier Reef to be. A pity that the local regulations forced the 2 sea days for the ‘technical stop’ as it would have been good to visit another part of the Great Barrier Reef (or one of the coastal towns). As a first time visitor, all the locations were interesting however they were all unsurprisingly to the same theme (swimming, snorkelling, beach) except Newcastle. In Summary Summing up this was a really excellent cruise despite the weather and the intervention of the Australian rules and regulations. Ponant have an excellent product and their crew are determined to make sure you enjoy your holiday. The cruise, even when hampered by weather, was conducted in good spirits and the small number of passengers made it very social as you ended up dining with nearly everyone at least once. As a first time Ponant cruiser, it was interesting to see the number of repeat cruisers with many following Sarina Bratton from her former Orion line. There was a definite French ‘touch’ to the ship, mainly in the décor, food and entertainment, but with 70% of the passengers being Australian the cruise was conducted entirely in English with all the crew bi- (or tri) lingual. I heard very few complaints (one woman was outraged she couldn’t order Eggs Benedict one day when it wasn’t the ‘egg of the day’) apart from the general concern about the disembarkation. A few passengers were amazed that they wouldn’t be able to disembark and make an 11am international flight – however their stupidity in booking a flight that required them to be at the airport (30 minutes from the terminal), an hour before the scheduled disembarkation time can hardly be laid at Ponant’s door, despite the passengers best efforts. All in all, highly recommended. We cruise again on Le Laperouse in 2 weeks to the Sub-Antarctic Islands and I can’t wait! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Words can’t do this cruise justice as is was far beyond anything that you expect The team are great and very knowledgeable. They are only too happy to share this with you. The wild life is amazing, beautiful and diverse. The ... Read More
Words can’t do this cruise justice as is was far beyond anything that you expect The team are great and very knowledgeable. They are only too happy to share this with you. The wild life is amazing, beautiful and diverse. The zodiac tours are great with lots of penguins all around you and the ship at Macca. They follow you like babies following mum. They are so fast in the water and waddle on land. The weather is cold but you are dressed properly and I was never cold. The ship is a great haven in the middle of nowhere. Warm, good food, drinks. There are rules that you have to abide by, no food to leave the ship, take nothing with you when you leave, stay on the boardwalk, don’t touch the wildlife. All outer clothes have to be vacuumed when you get back so as not to contaminate the next stop. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We spent two days in Bali before embarking. We chose this cruise for the remote expedition excursions, and we were not disappointed. Mick, the expedition director, created some wonderful and unusual experiences on fairly isolated ... Read More
We spent two days in Bali before embarking. We chose this cruise for the remote expedition excursions, and we were not disappointed. Mick, the expedition director, created some wonderful and unusual experiences on fairly isolated Indonesian islands. Expedition staff was excellent. Lectures were excellent. Weather was hot and muggy, but we expected that. Two of our excursions had to be dropped because of bad weather. Cabin service was fine, no complaints. We are Ponant "Yacht Club" members and receive free laundry service which is an exceptional benefit, especially on a trip this long. Restaurant staff was friendly and helpful, but service was slow and uneven. The food was excellent. Reception staff was snooty, but got things done when asked. Ship was about 30% English speaking (American, Australian, English-speaking Europeans), the rest were French. We did not attend any of the entertainment activities. Fitness room was fine, but small. Embarkation was chaotic. Everyone crowded the entrance at one time and got a little pushy on the way onto the ship. We were surprised they didn't create lines or some better system. Luggage arrived reasonably promptly. Debarkation was smooth and easy. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
After nearly 14 days tour in Sri Lanka time to enjoy the newest ship in the Ponant fleet, Le Laperouse. The time fit perfect in school holidays and single travel appealed. I was fortunate to have the disabilty cabin on deck 4, which made ... Read More
After nearly 14 days tour in Sri Lanka time to enjoy the newest ship in the Ponant fleet, Le Laperouse. The time fit perfect in school holidays and single travel appealed. I was fortunate to have the disabilty cabin on deck 4, which made the time on board comfortable. As always, the French flair in dining was great, and the bistro style on deck 3 always had surprises, but you needed to find seats here for lunch quickly. Evenings in the dining room were relaxed, and a beautiful Christmas Eve meal, as well as New Year’s Eve. The special degastation evening I enkoyed gave an opportunity to taste some very special Food and French wines. Luck was with us in spotting whales on the Sri Lankan coast on the way to Trincomale, a late afternoon special. Christmas Day was in Chennai and the shore excusion to Kanchipurum and the Kailasananthar temple and sari silk weavers was an intersting day. Boxing Day was in Mamallapura looking at temples carved out of the granite bedrock. Who knew that Chennai had such a long and wide natural beach, and not far from the Chennai cricket stadium! The Bay of Bengal was kind to us and the days at sea were relatively calm. The time in the Andaman Islands was weather and tide dependant. The swim behind La Laperouse in the sea was terrific and we did experience the idyllic beach on one day. As always nature has no consideration for tourists, The special part of the ship is the Blue Eye. what an amzing space! While in the port of Galle and in the Blue Eye we managed to see fish swim past the window. I even have a photo! I can see how this space would be in the areas with corals and when stationery in the polar waters. The ship is special and I look forward to be on board again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We first saw Le Lapérouse from above, in port, next to a massive Costa ship - the contrast couldn't have been greater! If you like all the benefits of a small, well-run, brand new ship and enjoy French food and style, then this is ... Read More
We first saw Le Lapérouse from above, in port, next to a massive Costa ship - the contrast couldn't have been greater! If you like all the benefits of a small, well-run, brand new ship and enjoy French food and style, then this is definitely for you. Everything was impeccable - the warm welcome, the incredible ease of embarkation, the super-excellent service, the delicious and very imaginative French food, the pool area (with its glass wall - you can watch the horizon from the pool) the delightful public areas and a back deck that drops down to sea level for trips out on Zodiacs / RIBs - perfect for the kind of adventures you would never get on a bigger ship. We swam in the middle of the Indian Ocean, we snorkelled around an idyllic island in the Maldives that we had to ourselves - a truly unforgettable trip. Highly recommended, but not really suitable for children. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
In August, 2018, we first cruised along the coast of Croatia on Le Lyrial. It was fabulous-great weather, beautiful scenery with clear bright skies and turquoise waters. Our choice to do the Laperouse cruise was in part due to coordinating ... Read More
In August, 2018, we first cruised along the coast of Croatia on Le Lyrial. It was fabulous-great weather, beautiful scenery with clear bright skies and turquoise waters. Our choice to do the Laperouse cruise was in part due to coordinating it with the end of the Croatian cruise on Le Lyrial. We had a wonderful week in between the two cruises in Portugal before embarking on Le Laperouse. The interesting feature of Le Laperouse was its attention to live Jazz during the cruise, the intimate size of the ship and the service we received. On both ships we were treated with a great deal of personal care. Our cabin stewards were attentive and thorough. The dining choices were quite varied and the menus were delicious. Our wine stewards were quite helpful with pairing delicious tastes to complement our meals. We very much enjoy meeting with other English speaking guests and having lively discussions with them. The Captain and the cruise directors are very good at organizing get together sessions-both formal and informal. We had a very informative group discussion with the French guest journalist on Le Laprouse, Ms. Christian Makarian. It was a much appreciated chance to listen to viewpoints from all over the world concerning global affairs. We only wish it could have been longer! Our dinners at the Captain's table are always the highlight of our cruises. Thank you for allowing us the priviilege to dine with them. It is wonderful to share conversation about informative and cultural experiences with the Captains and his guests. It is the best! We also enjoy the time the Captain's Bridge is available for touring. We are big fans of seeing the intricacies that it takes to operate your ships. In closing we would like to express our appreciation to all the ship's staff that complete the making of our trips with Ponant so enlightening. We look forward to many more to come. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We wanted a grand experience to celebrate our 50th wedding annivesary. Ponant certainly delivered on our wishes. Le Laperouse is a gorgeous ship, the crew and staff were professional while also warm and welcoming and the food was ... Read More
We wanted a grand experience to celebrate our 50th wedding annivesary. Ponant certainly delivered on our wishes. Le Laperouse is a gorgeous ship, the crew and staff were professional while also warm and welcoming and the food was outstanding. We had a deluxe suite stateroom which was very comfortable with a walk in closet/dressingroom, lots of storage and all the amenities of a 5 star hotel. Our cabin attendant, Precy, wonderfully attendant we lacked for no thing. The public spaces are beautifully designed with comfortable furnishings and a very airy feel to them. One of our favorites was the Panoramic Lounge on deck 6. Dean took very good care of the passengers and the views were spectacular. We mostly dined in the main diningroom, the food was exceptional. The chef stopped by tables to hear how things were and we were some of his biggest fans. All of the diningroom staff were attentive and again they were personable without being obtusive. The Fjords were why we chose this particular cruise and they are so stunningly beautiful. Our favorite day was spent in the 6th deck lounge watching the scenery pass by as we went deep into the Fjords. Norway is beautiful! We also enjoyed the climb to the Bryggen Glacier and the scenic journey to it. Ponant has made everything so easy and pleasant with the all inclusive pricing for the shipboard experience. We hope to sail with Ponant again soon. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My cruise with Ponant was definitely a memorable experience! We were in the Reykjavik to Bergen cruise onboard Le Laperouse, the newest ship in the fleet. The ship was modern and luxurious - perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but I really ... Read More
My cruise with Ponant was definitely a memorable experience! We were in the Reykjavik to Bergen cruise onboard Le Laperouse, the newest ship in the fleet. The ship was modern and luxurious - perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but I really liked it! However, the two things that stood out the most for me were the staff’s excellent and friendly service and the sumptuous food. The restaurant staff knew our preferences after the 2nd day, so they’d always have our favorite drinks delivered to our table even before they take our order. My husband and I love French food, so it was a gastronomic delight for us. As dinners were served in the formal restaurant, we normally went to the grill for lunch. It was our first time to go on a cruise trip, and it really set the bar high. We’ll definitely take Ponant again when we go for our next cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our fourth cruise with Ponant and we are big fans of this French cruiseline. We love the small ship experience, Ponant's first class service, food and crew. We were excited to experience their newest ship, Le Laperouse on ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise with Ponant and we are big fans of this French cruiseline. We love the small ship experience, Ponant's first class service, food and crew. We were excited to experience their newest ship, Le Laperouse on it's maiden voyage (actually it's second week sailing around Iceland). The ship is beautiful, obviously everything was brand new. The capitan was great and very imformative. Iceland was fantastic. We took a Ponant excursion in every port and they were all fantastic. Some local guides were better than others (which is always the case) but all seemed to know their stuff and were very enthusiastic to show us and tell us about their country. Given that this was a new ship on only it's second voyage, we should have realized that the most of the crew would also be new. Many were and appeared to be unexperienced. This was most obvious in the food service and kitchen areas. Many of the waiters appeared to have no idea how to provide first class service. Many guests experienced very slow service and cold food. Waiters rarely ever return to your table after delivering your food. You had to ask (if you could find your waiter) to get more water or coffee. For most meals, only the dinning room (not the grill) was open which they said was due to the weather but it meant that only a buffet was open for breakfast. The grill was completely outside which is dfferent from the other Ponant ships that we have been on. I I think that this was a design faux. Outide dinning is great in warm weather climates but not in Iceland. The food on the buffet was not to the Ponant standard. The eggs were unsually cold and there was no cooked to order eggs available (on other Ponant ships they cook eggs to order in the grill). After a few days, we started ordering our breakfast through room service and the service and food was great but we missed dinning with the other guests. It did appear that things in the kitchen and diningroom were improving slightly towards the end of the week and hopefully service and food quality will be up to the Ponant standard on future voyages. We will be back. Read Less
Le Laperouse Ratings
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