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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
Always wanted to go to Antarctica and to see Cape Horn. The charter flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia gave us the chance to spend time in the vibrant capital of Argentina as a bonus. Le Boreal was a fantastic ship; Goldilocks size, ... Read More
Always wanted to go to Antarctica and to see Cape Horn. The charter flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia gave us the chance to spend time in the vibrant capital of Argentina as a bonus. Le Boreal was a fantastic ship; Goldilocks size, luxurious and attentively crewed. Dining choices included the full service restaurant as well as a more casual grill. Live entertainment in the theatre was relaxing and fun and the same venue held briefings and information sessions during the day. Zodiak excursions were well planned and superbly executed by highly trained staff. The spectacular coastal scenery was complemented by lots of sea-ice and great icebergs, as well as penguins, orcas and humpback whales up close and personal. We appreciated the great care taken to preserve the pristine environment when shore excursions occurred, and the opportunity to visit a shore based research station occupied throughout the year. I feel every person on board disembarked both entertained and better informed about one of the world's great wilderness areas. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I choose this cruise to visit Antarctica. I enjoyed this cruise tremendously. The scenery was breathtaking. The crew was outstanding helping you in every way and enjoying what they do. The cabins were excellent and had plenty of room. The ... Read More
I choose this cruise to visit Antarctica. I enjoyed this cruise tremendously. The scenery was breathtaking. The crew was outstanding helping you in every way and enjoying what they do. The cabins were excellent and had plenty of room. The food was very good. Seeing the penguins, seals and humpback whales made the experience worth while. Getting in and out of the zodiacs was an experience not to be forgotten. The zodiacs got you to the shore where you were able to watch the penguins going about their daily duties of nest sitting and feeding. The males carrying the stones for nest building was very amusing as the females would accept or reject the stones. The humpback whales surfacing within 15 feet of the zodiac was stimulating. The only bad thing about the cruise was the internet charges in an area where the internet was very intermittent. Overall it was an excellent cruise and I will certainly use Ponant as my premier cruise line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
I had wanted to visit Chile and the Chilean Fjords since visiting Puerto Montt in 1973. The Fjords can only be visited by ship and it is the easiest way to visit Puerto Natales and the outstanding Torres del Paine national park. ... Read More
I had wanted to visit Chile and the Chilean Fjords since visiting Puerto Montt in 1973. The Fjords can only be visited by ship and it is the easiest way to visit Puerto Natales and the outstanding Torres del Paine national park. Cruising with Ponant is very flexible. If you want to explore ports of call on your own, you don't have to pay for the shore excursions. Since we had visited Osorno before this was important for us. We took a public bus to Ancud instead of going on the organised tours. However the zodiac excursions in the fjords were included in the cruise price and were very well organised. The small number of passengers meant that getting passengers on and off the ship for excursions was quick and easy. One good reason for choosing Ponant is the quality of the food on board. The French take food very seriously and we were not disappointed. Our cabin was very comfortable and the service was excellent. I was initially disappointed by the lack of information about our route through the fjords but since Ponant have an open bridge policy, I soon found out that it was easy to visit the bridge and have a look at the charts (although the bridge is closed from time to time.) In summary, I would recommend this cruise for the magnificent scenery, good food and the flexibility that comes from being with a small number of other passengers. I shall travel with Ponant again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We like to sail on the smaller ships and had been sailing with Seabourn for 15 years (max. 208 passengers) when they had the 3 small ships. Sailed a couple of times on the larger, newer ships (max. 450 passengers) and did not like it. My ... Read More
We like to sail on the smaller ships and had been sailing with Seabourn for 15 years (max. 208 passengers) when they had the 3 small ships. Sailed a couple of times on the larger, newer ships (max. 450 passengers) and did not like it. My husband found Ponant on line and thought the line looked very interesting. Having got the brochure and saw the type of cruises we like (particularly the repositioning as we like days at sea) we booked the Boston, Mass. to Lima, Peru. Loved every minute and we will certainly book another one as soon as possible (and we have saved some money up!) The staff could not do enough for you and nothing was too much. The food was superb, particularly the wonderful French cheeses and the bread is to die for! (Take clothes that will expand with your waistline!!!!) I would have liked a bit more to do in the daytime, i.e. art and craft classes etc. The only problem was that the majority of the passengers were only French speakers. However, the staff did translate where appropriate (quizzes etc) Our cruise agent informed me that there are going to be some 'all English speaking' cruises in the future and we would be VERY interested in hearing about those. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this cruise as a total getaway from caregiving and because we really needed a break. We wanted a small ship with no casino, no children, no loud cruise director, and a small number of passengers. We flew to Boston from Tampa and ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a total getaway from caregiving and because we really needed a break. We wanted a small ship with no casino, no children, no loud cruise director, and a small number of passengers. We flew to Boston from Tampa and boarded with 35 other passengers - the ship holds about 200 total. As this was a repositioning cruise, the cost was very affordable and we were prepared for 8 days of total relaxation. The crew did a great job of refurbishing one area after another - new carpets, drapes, etc. while keeping enough public space open that we hardly noticed. The catering was less elaborate than ususl, we were told, but the array and quality of the food was superb. We like the occasional gourmet dinner but we also like an option for simple grilled salmon or more country food, which was always an option. This was our first Ponant cruise - we had already booked one next Spring from Martinique to Lisbon (another ocean cruise) - and took the opportunity for a short cruise in advance. We are so glad we did. We met every single other passenger - even the French, who comprised about half of the passengers. As I speak a bit of French, I had no trouble, but neither did those who spoke only English. The passengers were fun and friendly. Only ten of us disembarked in Panama and the rest were joined by others as they went on to Lima over the following week or so. The crew was excellent - only the reception staff were a bit uninterested in being responsive. The Butler, West, attended to all our needs. We had a suite - essentially two staterooms together. Beware, European sizes are small for us Americans, but there was plenty of room. For the most part, we hardly stayed in the stateroom. The public rooms are gorgeous, well cared-for and comfortable. We are going again and we actually booked a Tahiti - Honolulu - Japan trip in 2019. This is a wonderful line and perfect for adults and friends. The entertainment was just fine and much more than we expected given a repositioning cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
We choose this cruise because it took us to several places that we wanted to visit which would have been much more difficult to reach on our own. I especially enjoyed the Cod Island landing and hiking which took full advantage of a ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it took us to several places that we wanted to visit which would have been much more difficult to reach on our own. I especially enjoyed the Cod Island landing and hiking which took full advantage of a beautiful day. This opportunity to explore a tundra environment underscored the creativity and flexibility of the expedition crew to give travelers the best experiences possible. On board services were outstanding with very friendly, attentive hotel personnel and ship's crew. Most of the lectures were delivered by well-informed speakers whose enthusiasm for their areas of interest overcame all language barriers (Jean-Pierre was amazing). But a few didn't add to my current knowledge of some subjects, especially environmental issues. We took advantage of the cruise itinerary to spend four days in Paris at the start of the trip and another four days to explore Quebec at the end of the cruise. Finally, we spent a few days in Chicago to visit friends and to see Lyric Opera's production of Orphee -- a fitting end to a wonderful French experience. However, my request to learn about Le Soleal's state-of-the-art waste management system was ignored. Since I'm a board member of a waste management district which faces similar environmental challenges as the Ponant ships, I was disappointed that I did not have the opportunity to learn more about the technology and systems used by Le Soleal. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Solely because of the itineraries and the size of the ship. We had always wanted to visit Norway, the islands of the North Atlantic and Iceland. The two back to back cruises provided a wonderful introduction the the geography and history ... Read More
Solely because of the itineraries and the size of the ship. We had always wanted to visit Norway, the islands of the North Atlantic and Iceland. The two back to back cruises provided a wonderful introduction the the geography and history of this part of the world. The insight into Viking history and culture was especially interesting. The ship was very comfortable and the hotel staff were excellent. Unfortunately we found that the reception staff, although uniformly charming, often gave conflicting information, especially about excursions, The English language skills were sometimes poor. This led us to be stranded in Bergin but fortunately the tour guides saved the day. The majority of the excursions were excellent but the practice of putting the minority non-French speakers at the back of the buses with variable methods of delivering an intelligible commentary became a little tedious. If Ponant is serious about expanding its non French speaking customers it should consider these issues. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
The itinerary was fabulous, with varied and interesting ports of call: Beautiful Stockholm, elegant Helsinki, opulent St Petersburg (3 days), unspoilt Tallin with its exquisite Old Town and lovely local shops, finishing in elegant ... Read More
The itinerary was fabulous, with varied and interesting ports of call: Beautiful Stockholm, elegant Helsinki, opulent St Petersburg (3 days), unspoilt Tallin with its exquisite Old Town and lovely local shops, finishing in elegant Copenhagen. We spent a few days exploring Stockholm prior to departing for the Balic Sea and spent a couple of days in Copenhagen at the end of the cruise. The service was outstanding throughout the entire cruise with smiling helpful staff making you feel very welcome at all times. Much of the crew is from the Philippines with the cruise director and officers mostly being French. Everyone spoke excellent English. Embarkation and disembarkation ran extremely smoothly. The ship's decor is understated and elegant. Its three lounges/theatre allow plenty of room for passengers to relax in common areas and never feel crowded. The more formal restaurant on Deck 2 can seat the entire ship in one sitting. There is no need to book a table and staff will accommodate your wishes to sit alone or with a group. With about half the passengers being French and the other half English, your preferred language and preferred dining companions are taken into consideration when offering you a table for dinner. The more casual buffet and carvery restaurant is on Deck 6 and, despite being more casual, bookings are advised. There is no specific dress code, but smart casual is expected in the dining room. Some passengers choose to dress more formally for the Captain's dinner and most men wear a sports jacket, but many women are in pants. There is certainly no need for formal attire. The food is of excellent quality with a French influence. We loved it. The cabins are located towards the bow of the ship and most common areas towards the stern resulting in no discernible engine noise. Our cabin was well appointed, attractive, very comfortable and spacious, with a king-size bed and excellent storage. A desk, lounge chair and small table were very useful. The floor-ceiling doors leading to the good size balcony were wonderful and you could pull back the drapes and lie in bed and look out at the passing landsccape if you wished. A fabulous lecturer gave extremely informative and entertaining lectures on each port. We didn't pay much attention to the entertainment, choosing instead to chat with fellow passengers in the bar. The spa was wonderful. We would certainly travel with Ponant again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Tauck Tours uses this ship for the Baltic Tour. I won't write about the "tour" part, but the ship had some good aspects. The staterooms were nice and clean. The bed comfortable. After day two, we spent a lot of time off the ... Read More
Tauck Tours uses this ship for the Baltic Tour. I won't write about the "tour" part, but the ship had some good aspects. The staterooms were nice and clean. The bed comfortable. After day two, we spent a lot of time off the ship. Two points of concern. The first is the food, which effected us three times a day. It's just not good. I can't remember one thing I ate that I liked, though now a memory of some good cheese returns. But that it? Cheese? And the wifi. Really? We were given 1.5 hour vouchers, but the service is so slow, 1.5 hours goes by in a wink. I actually had to work while onboard, and it was really difficult. I know other cruise liners provide better service, and for the prices, I would say they need to work on this. Most everyone was nice, the the people at reception got a little terse, mostly because we were there asking questions and they were under-staffed. This experience has made me think I won't be cruising again soon. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
I had never been to Uruguay. This cruise connected with the Amazon cruise which we very much wanted to go on. I enjoyed Montevideo, but would have liked more time to explore. Very rough weather with very few ports. We were supposed to ... Read More
I had never been to Uruguay. This cruise connected with the Amazon cruise which we very much wanted to go on. I enjoyed Montevideo, but would have liked more time to explore. Very rough weather with very few ports. We were supposed to have 2 full days in Rio, but were very late getting in. We had to really cram in the 2 tours and sightseeing. Very disappointing with very little communication from the crew. Late Embarking and late most of the cruise. Balance of non-French speaking passengers was very low. No effort made to get us together. One couple ate with a table of people who spoke no English. They were very uncomfortable until they connected with other passengers. I have sailed with Ponant before and enjoyed the interaction with all passengers, but this cruise was very different. The passengers were NOT very friendly. 1 from UK, 3 from USA, 2 from Canada, 2 from Hong Kong. The rest were French. We were lucky to meet the English lady at the airport, who was traveling by herself. I would suggest a first night mixer for passengers with languages, other than French. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
This was a College Charter run by Gohagen & Co. booked through UCLA Alumni. Our ratings: UCLA Alumni Travel: 5/5 Gohagen & Co.: 5/5 Ponant: 5/5 Le Soleal: 5/5 Antarctica: 10/5 The booking process went very ... Read More
This was a College Charter run by Gohagen & Co. booked through UCLA Alumni. Our ratings: UCLA Alumni Travel: 5/5 Gohagen & Co.: 5/5 Ponant: 5/5 Le Soleal: 5/5 Antarctica: 10/5 The booking process went very smoothly as was the follow-up to the numerous questions we had prior to the trip. Documentation was equally easy. We left from Houston IAH where we met the Gohagen staff who escorted us to Buenos Aires for two nights. We then flew to Ushuaia to board Le Soleal. We had read several poor reviews of this ship on CC so we were quite surprised when the Captain himself greeted us by name (without a prompt) as we boarded. We had never experienced anything like this on our previous 40 cruises on various lines. Most of the staff knew ours and everyone else's name by the third day. With very few exceptions, each crew member was gracious, informative and helpful. The ship was comfortable (having a suite is a big plus) and it met most of our needs. Food was good, service superb and selection was fine. The visit to Antarctica was unbelieveable. The on-board naturalists and scientists were very informative, interesting and well trained. Getting on and off the ship via Zodiacs was a challenge for us older folks, but the crew made it work well. When you tour the Polar areas everything depends on the local weather so you don't know from hour to hour what stops you will be making. The Captain did a great job of finding great stops and keeping us informed. You will not believe what you see ashore. It reminded me of my visit to the Grand Canyon: You can't really describe it with words nor can you really photograph it. In summary: A life altering experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2017
To discover Antarctica: the wild, the peaceful, the pristine landscapes, the animals, in their very own habitat, and visibly not disturbed by these strange visitors coming from other continents, To do so onboard a small size ship to be ... Read More
To discover Antarctica: the wild, the peaceful, the pristine landscapes, the animals, in their very own habitat, and visibly not disturbed by these strange visitors coming from other continents, To do so onboard a small size ship to be able to go in shore as much as possible around the icebergs and the whales, to enjoy the feeling of being part of a small family (only 200 passengers), to benefit of a strong and caring team of naturalists who were extremely helpful in preparing the visits... And to top it up, to relax in a large, nicely furnished room with a large bed, a balcony... and to enjoy a constantly amazingly good food, and good wines. What else? Very friendly staff, always ready to help. Excellent service at the various bars and restaurants. State of cleanliness very much OK. And I appreciated as well the availability and dedication of the Captain and of the Cruise Director who did everything in their power to make our cruise a memorable one, probably the "cruise of my life"... Read Less
Sail Date: December 2016
We chose the cruise upon the recommendation of a friend who had previously traveled with Ponant. We found all the staff (especially the expedition staff) to be terrific people who all seemed to enjoy their job very much. The expedition ... Read More
We chose the cruise upon the recommendation of a friend who had previously traveled with Ponant. We found all the staff (especially the expedition staff) to be terrific people who all seemed to enjoy their job very much. The expedition staff had an obvious enthusiasm for all the places we visited. Other guests were friendly. All the meals and drinks were excellent. Did not have a bad meal. Our only disappointment was the obvious mess up in getting all guests on to the chartered flight from Beunos Aires. We were amongst the 45 passengers who were not advised of the chartered aeroplane's early departure. The B.A. staff from the Ponant office were excellent and did all they could to get us to Ushaia. It was disappointing that no apology was forthcoming from the captain regarding this inconvenience. (We waited 13 hours at Jorge Newbury airport before leaving for Ushaia). Nous avons choisi la croisière sur la recommendation d'un ami qui avait auparavant voyagé avec Ponant. Nous avons constaté que tout le personnel (surtout le personnel d'expédition) a été les gens terrifiants que tous ont semblés apprécier leur emploi très beaucoup. Le personnel d'expédition avait un enthousiasme évident pour tous les endroits que nous avons visités. D'autres invités étaient sympathiques. Tous les repas et les boissons étaient excellents. N'avait pas de mauvais repas. Notre seul désappointement était le désordre évident en haut dans le fait de monter tous les invités au vol chartered de Beunos Aires. Nous étions parmi les 45 passagers à qui on n'a pas conseillé du premier départ de l'avion chartered. Le personnel B.A. du bureau Ponant était excellent et a fait tout ce qu'ils pourraient pour nous recevoir à Ushaia. Il était décevant qu'aucune apologie n'était prochaine du capitaine quant à ce dérangement. (Nous avons attendu 13 heures à l'aéroport de Jorge Newbury avant le départ pour Ushaia). Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Antarctica had been on my bucket list for years, and I finally made that dram a reality in December 2016. It was an amazing voyage, and lived up to the high expectations I had planted in my mind. Travelers should realize that when you ... Read More
Antarctica had been on my bucket list for years, and I finally made that dram a reality in December 2016. It was an amazing voyage, and lived up to the high expectations I had planted in my mind. Travelers should realize that when you cruise to Antarctica, you really only visit the tip of the Antarctic peninsula, not the great mass of the continent to which only intrepid explorers and crazy people go. Some cruises sail from Ushuaia just to the peninsula and back, usually over the course of 10-12 days. I wanted to take a longer, 16-day, cruise that included the Falklands and South Georgia island. Why Ponant? I was looking for a combination of itinerary, comfort, cuisine and cost, and it appeared that Ponant scored high on all categories. I'm sure that Silversea's offering is wonderful, but they were much more expensive. Hurtigruten was less costly, but they fall short in the comfort and cuisine areas. Ponant, which has only been actively marketing to Americans for two years or so, seemed to have the right balance. The Le Soleal is a new ship with comfortable cabins, an attentive and helpful crew, excellent food and the perfect itinerary. The French connection was another plus. My wife speaks French fluently, but she gets rusty from disuse and was savoring the idea that she would be able to hear and speak French for 2 1/2 weeks straight. The Cabin: Most of the cabins on Le Soleal have balconies, but I intentionally chose one of the few cabins with only a big window. Why? Because I simply didn't think I'd use the balcony very much in Antarctica. What's more, my cabin (#302) was exactly the same size as the others, except that their 30 square feet of balcony was a 30 square foot sitting area in mine. I don't regret the decision. Beyond that, the cabins were just fine. . . nothing opulent, but well-equipped and quite comfortable. A quick digression: The trip I booked was "all-inclusive" and included wine, liquor and gratuities. The mini-fridge in the cabin was stocked with sodas, water, beer and a few mini-bottles of booze, all complimentary. That was nice. But elsewhere in the cabin was an assortment of what I recall were crackers and cookies, that you were welcome to consume for several Euros each. They simply didn't fit the nom de plume "all-inclusive". I had my cabin steward remove them on the first day. Embarkation day was a disaster, most of which was NOT Ponant's fault. An eight hour strike by the baggage handlers on the day of our departure resulted in dozens of passengers missing luggage for a week, and a few of us (including me) missing luggage for the entire cruise. Ponant's senior crew and their on-shore representatives did a horrible job that day communicating with affected passengers. We were given little information and much of what was communicated was wrong. I - and many others - spent a couple of hours just before departure scouring stores in Ushuaia for socks, underwear, pants, shirts,hats, gloves, toothpaste, razors, etc. (I learned that the only place to buy underwear in Ushuaia is the grocery store.) I have to give Ponant a lot of credit. After the initial luggage SNAFU, Ponant got their act together, stepped up and bent over backwards to assist those of us without our bags. They defrayed our on-shore expenses, provided clothing items from the shop on board as well as from the crews' clothing outlet in the bowels of the ship, and gave us complimentary laundry service. They even planned and successfully executed a rendezvous six days later with another Ponant ship which enabled most of the delayed luggage to be reunited with its owners on Le Soleal. Dining on Le Soleal was excellent. There are two restaurants on Le Soleal. L'Eclipse on Deck 2 is full-service while Le Pytheas on Deck 6 is buffet and less elegant. Both were outstanding with lots of choices. I was especially impressed with the produce on board.. Remember that this was a 16 day cruise with no opportunity along the way to resupply the kitchen. Nonetheless, the fruits and salads were always excellent. Granted, as the days wore on, kiwi and bananas disappeared, and a few days later we had no more lettuce. But there was little else missing. Ponant did an outstanding job providing fresh, tasty produce throughout the cruise. Language. The passenger compliment on Le Soleal was probably 50% or more French speaking European, with the other half a mish-mash of Aussies, Americans, Asians, etc. Announcements were almost always given in both French and English. Efforts were often made (on Zodiac rides, eg., and some lectures) to have the entire group English speaking or French speaking. It was sometimes cumbersome, but necessary. (If you would prefer a totally English-speaking passenger compliment, Abercrombie & Kent, Tauk, and other companies sometimes charter the entire ship for an English-only experience.) Most passengers were quite friendly and outgoing, and I got to know and spend lots of time with many wonderful fellow travelers from around the world. I truly hope and expect that some of those relationships will endure. Daily and nightly entertainment on board were pianists and lounge singers who performed often in the lounge and observatory. Le Soleal also had a troop of young, very flexible and energetic dancers (four girls and a guy) who performed several creative and high-energy, productions in the theater. We also made out own entertainment. Kudos to Patrick, our cruise director. When several of us lobbied Patrick to schedule one or two karaoke nights, he happily complied, and we had a great time singing, dancing and making karaoke fools of ourselves. Excursions. All the above is nice, but the main reason travelers come to Antarctica is to see and walk among the wild life. And we did that in spades! There were thirteen naturalists on board. All of them were good and some were truly excellent. They were experienced, knowledgeable and willing to share with the passengers. The large fleet of Zodiacs on board was adequate to the task and Ponant had a well-trained crew to safely and efficiently get us where we needed to go. The wildlife is incredible! We saw, up close and personal, eight species of penguins, including a nesting colony of some 400,000 King Penguins on South Georgia Island. We saw what has to be the most photographed bird in Antarctica: a single, solitary Emperor Penguin on an ice shelf in Wilhelmina Bay, some two hundred miles or more from where most of the rest of the Emperors were congregating. The whale watching on this cruise was, by far, the most incredible I've ever seen. We observed Fin Whales, Minke Whales and even a rare Blue Whale. We watched a couple pods of Orca Whales. But the stars of the sea were the Humpback Whales. They were all around us, often only a few feet away from the Zodiac, lunge feeding, flipper-flapping, and, of course, proudly displaying their tails as they dove back under the surface. They were magnificent! Bottom Line: This cruise was just about everything I had hoped it would be. I would highly recommend Ponant and Le Soleal to anyone considering a cruise to Antarctica. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2016
Antarctica has been #1 on my "bucket list" for as long as I can remember. Le Soleal and its crew made the Antarctic a one of a kind experience. From the captain's greeting as we boarded the ship to the ship itself, the ... Read More
Antarctica has been #1 on my "bucket list" for as long as I can remember. Le Soleal and its crew made the Antarctic a one of a kind experience. From the captain's greeting as we boarded the ship to the ship itself, the crew, the food, the shore excursions and more, I will always remember my visit to Antarctica. If you choose to venture so far south, go with Ponant. You won't regret it! Prior to the cruise we had been warned that setting foot on the continent might not ne possible given ice. My goal was to set foot on it at least once and I would die a happy cruiser. Not only did we landed once, but we did so nine more times. Unlike other cruises, the captain had the freedom to change the itinerary to capture the best weather, the stay within sighting distance of a pod of Orcas, and maneuver us among magnificent icebergs. We saw tens of thousands of penguins as well as elephant seal, whales and Orcas. The knowledgeable crew gave daily lectures on the birds, mammals, penguins, and types of ice we would see. And the fine touches were the icing on the cake. One day our zodiac rounded the side of an iceberg where we were greeting by crew in another zodiac with champagne. Although I will likely never venture to the Antarctic again, I will cruise with Ponant! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
The itinerary was for a few days on Pitcairn and Easter Island, which is not possible with large ships. So small ships are the way to go. the food was divine and the entertainment excellent. the cruise director made cry non french ... Read More
The itinerary was for a few days on Pitcairn and Easter Island, which is not possible with large ships. So small ships are the way to go. the food was divine and the entertainment excellent. the cruise director made cry non french speaking traveller part of the cruise. The provided history and cultural videos of our cruise and ports were excellent and added to ur experiences. It was a memorable time for family and friends to finally reach Easter Island and put a big tick off our bucket list. Spending 3 days on Easter Island was just the best highlight of the cruise as there was so much to see the than the few Moi's that you see on the postcards. ti be up close and personal especially the moi's from the quarry was just an amazing experience. If you want o see Easter Island, you need seen some solid days exploring the Island and not just a scenic cruise by. this was achieved with Ponant. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
Have just returned from a cruise on Le Soleal from Tahiti to Easter Island. We chose this cruise as it visited remote islands, particularly the difficult to access Pitcairn Island. Having seen some quite negative reviews from Australians ... Read More
Have just returned from a cruise on Le Soleal from Tahiti to Easter Island. We chose this cruise as it visited remote islands, particularly the difficult to access Pitcairn Island. Having seen some quite negative reviews from Australians on this site about this cruiseline I was a bit concerned before we left. Having travelled on a few cruise lines I found Ponant friendly, professional, staff catered well to non French speaking passengers and the food and service were excellent. There was a balance of fun, comfort and adventure. The Captain was frequently accessible and the cruise director one of the best. The cabins were comfortable and always clean. With such difficult to access islands it was sometimes unclear whether we would be able to land until the last minute, but we were always kept informed by the Captain about the conditions. So some flexibility is needed when undertaking this type of cruise but it all adds up to an unforgettable holiday. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this cruise because Ponant is one of the very few companies to offer a cruise starting and ending in Tahiti. We also chose it because, being a very small yacht, it was able to visit remote islands that were too small to service or ... Read More
We chose this cruise because Ponant is one of the very few companies to offer a cruise starting and ending in Tahiti. We also chose it because, being a very small yacht, it was able to visit remote islands that were too small to service or accommodate big cruise ships. Having read the wildly varying reviews of Ponant and Le Soleal on this site we wondered if we had done the right thing. In the end our fears, raised by some of the reviewers on this site proved to be complete unfounded. Le Soleal is a fabulous cruise yacht, the staff are friendly to a fault and the food is absolutely the finest French cuisine. All the excursions including the zodiac disembarkation onto tiny little islets were organised with the utmost professionalism and slickness. Really impossible to fault. Almost everyone we spoke to and dined with loved the cruise unreservedly. The notable exceptions were the Australians who had cruised on Seabourne etc. They whinged incessantly and I guess it's they who are responsible for the poor reviews here. None of the Europeans we spoke to were anything other than delighted with the ship and the crew. I haven't been on a Seabourne cruise but I have dined in some of the finest restaurants and stayed at some of the finest hotels and as fas as I'm concerned Le Soleal was right up there with the best. However, to sample the very finest wines you you have to leave the all-inclusive menu and choose something (expensive) a la carte. Only once did I see anything less than exemplary behaviour from one of the staff and that was the result of constant whinging and harping from one of our Australian cruisers. I can quite see how the French crew would get wound up by people who do nothing but criticise. In short Le Soleal is a wonderful cruise experience best suited to middle aged affluent travellers who are still agile enough to enjoy all their is to offer (snorkelling, diving etc). But even if you have advanced beyond that the Polynesian cruise on Le Soleal is a perfect way to sample the islands. Best of all you get to see the ones that are well off the beaten track as well as the standard favourites such as Bora Bora. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this cruise because of the smaller size of the ship, the French language (although everything on board is bilingual French/English) the food, the trip, the reputation of this company and the itinerary. It was our first cruise and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the smaller size of the ship, the French language (although everything on board is bilingual French/English) the food, the trip, the reputation of this company and the itinerary. It was our first cruise and we are hooked. The service was impeccable, the captain and crew outstanding, the cabin modern, gorgeous and luxurious, the food was absolutely wonderful, the best we have ever had (in our lives). The itinerary was the stuff of dreams, the lecturers of the highest possible qualifications and knowledge. I honestly don't think we would consider another cruise company. We are aware that we have found perfection and need look no further. We immediately pre-booked our upcoming trips while on board and are still suffering from withdrawal symptoms. What I appreciated the most was the peace and quiet, and the sophisticated quietness (no rowdy parties, loud discotheques, queues) and the lack of formal palava (no need to wear tuxedos and ball gowns), just to be correctly dressed for dinner for example. For us this cruise ticked every box on our dream list, and more. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2016
i was offered a deal by your sydney sales woman,gina. i had to take advantage of it.the only part of the cruise that was 5 star ,was the service provided by the receptionists, the excursion officer, all the cabin attendants,the house ... Read More
i was offered a deal by your sydney sales woman,gina. i had to take advantage of it.the only part of the cruise that was 5 star ,was the service provided by the receptionists, the excursion officer, all the cabin attendants,the house keeping supervisor,the restaurants serving staff and supervisors,most of the bar attendants and some of the crew members. some of the a la carte food would be considered illegal in australia. the quality of food was from sizzlers 3 star quality to 5 star. embarkation was not pleasant. logistically not well organised. the on board lectures by sophie and pascal were a high light. the theatre has great atmosphere. the stage performances were french formula type. pleasant ,but average. the islands childrens and dancers visiting at night were very pleasant. the trivia games were very retirement village type. the incidental music provided by the onboard singers/musicians was average. the rudeness towards some of the staff and fellow passengers by some of the french passengers was intolerable. from the time of the the meeting in the theatre regarding disembarkation,some of us felt abandoned. the company has our money . so get off. we have to start to think about the next group of arriving passengers. the cruise director should of gone around to every table the night before disembarkation and quickly thanked everybody. but we noted it did not happen. he represents the owner and senior managers of the company. but overall it was a french experience,but certainly not 5 star. that was reflected in the attitude of the captain, officers and hotel management. you may not like it ,but we passengers do talk to each other about the various qualities of the 5 star cruise ship market. i sent an email to head office regarding employment for somebody. but typically ,no reply. i would like to embark on another ponant cruise, but it depends upon where and how long. i want to go to antarctica. but so far what you are offering ,is inadequate. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
1. Loved the ship itself. 2. Crew Excellent. 3. Food extremely disappointing. Considering the French have a reputation for fine food, the food was boring, often tasteless unless it was the soup which was always too salty and seemed ... Read More
1. Loved the ship itself. 2. Crew Excellent. 3. Food extremely disappointing. Considering the French have a reputation for fine food, the food was boring, often tasteless unless it was the soup which was always too salty and seemed to be lack variety 4. Itinerary and excursions terrific. We went to places in Polynesia that were absolutely magic. The excursion staff were exceptional in providing both the background to the area and the current activities. Their enthusiasm was infectious. 5. WIFI was pathetic. Constantly dropping out. I had to have a conversation with an Australian company at 10pm when I was alone at reception. A 2 minute conversation took half an hour. At times there were 8 -10 people at reception trying to get a connection. WIFI should be available in the cabin and at speeds equal to Seabourn and Silversea. Ponant need to recognise that many people still need to be connected to the outside world. 6. Post cruise arrangements should have been better Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
I chose this trip because it offered an opportunity to go ashore on Pitcairn Island, a remote island in the South Pacific. I am 86 years old, in good physical condition, exercise regularly. I was discriminated because of my age from the ... Read More
I chose this trip because it offered an opportunity to go ashore on Pitcairn Island, a remote island in the South Pacific. I am 86 years old, in good physical condition, exercise regularly. I was discriminated because of my age from the very start of the trip. When we assembled in the auditorium for the mandatory life boat drill, I was immediately singled out by one of the attendants. I was told to go to my cabin instead of going to my life boat. The reason? I couldn't climb the two flights of stairs to get to my life boat station; someone would come to my cabin to get me. I argued that I climb four or more flights of stairs nearly every day to my apartment, No, I had to wait in my cabin. My desire in going on this cruise was to walk on Pitcairn Island the terrain of which was a major feature in the famous Mutiny on the Bounty trilogy. When we reached Pitcairn, where landing was by Zodiac, we were called by stateroom floor to load on the Zodiacs. When my group was called we lined up in the aft cabin. I was immediately noted by the ship's doctor who took me aside and said I couldn't board the Zodiac. I asked why and she said the road (that could be seen from the ship) was too steep. I said I hike 8 to 12 km. in the mountains near Seattle on trails much steeper than the one on Pitcairn. She then changed her tune and said the water was too rough. I had boarded Zodiacs in an Antarctica cruise recently in much rougher conditions. Yet I watched obese people getting into Zodiacs. Only age discrimination explains these insults. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2016
My wife and I were facing such a cruise for the 1st time. Good friends of ours told us to join them, I was not ready to do it because I was reserving this kind of experiences for my 80's... Well, even if we had explored the program ... Read More
My wife and I were facing such a cruise for the 1st time. Good friends of ours told us to join them, I was not ready to do it because I was reserving this kind of experiences for my 80's... Well, even if we had explored the program before departing, the surprise went far beyond expectations: we personally loved the "small yacht" principle and the expeditions side surrounded by top quality in all its aspects: registration process, boarding, logistic, high maintenance of equipment/material, organization and variety of expeditions, lodging, service, personnel, restaurants and food, etc. Last but not least we greatly appreciated that 'nature' linked with 'culture' with the level of specialists who accompanied us, and with who we shared their so interesting professional experiences. Yes we are planning to go again, with other friends why not? since they are all paying interest to all what we are telling them. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2016
Love the Expedition Cruises! The locations visited are amazing and without hords of tourist. The Expedition Crew are so knowledgeable on the locations; People, flora, fauna and wildlife found there. We love the small ship size: The ... Read More
Love the Expedition Cruises! The locations visited are amazing and without hords of tourist. The Expedition Crew are so knowledgeable on the locations; People, flora, fauna and wildlife found there. We love the small ship size: The entire Crew is friendly from the waiters, bartenders, bus boys & housekeeping personnel to the Bridge crew and the Captain himself. The food is 5 star across the board taste, choices and presentation. Accomodations are graciously made for allergies. The Piano and Cabaret are very nice. A few fun activities are provided on sea days. The children on board ages 7 and up, seem to enjoy the various activities provided by the AMAZING cruise director, Note:These Expeditions are not really suitable for children under the age of 6. This is not your typical big boat cruise. This is a Luxary Mega Yacht with Mega Amazing prople on board who treat you like a Royal Family. The Gym & Spa on board were a nice feature for sea days. See you again soon. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
What a lovely experience on Le Soleal. The captain, the crew and our expedition team were fantastic. I have never seen a more accessible ship's captain The ship was ideal for our expedition cruise through the Inside Passage, in ... Read More
What a lovely experience on Le Soleal. The captain, the crew and our expedition team were fantastic. I have never seen a more accessible ship's captain The ship was ideal for our expedition cruise through the Inside Passage, in and out of some of the tiniest places. The itinerary needed to be modified for rough seas and a danger to participants in boarding Zodiacs so another treat was planned. It was fantastic. With the shallow draft were were able to go where ships seldom venture. Icy Bay was an example, to see glaciers down to sea level. Cabin space was about the same as comparable space on other ships we have experienced, but the walk in shower made bathing so much easier. Ours was well appointed with a. iPod player and coffee machine. Dining in the two dining rooms was easy and staff very attentive. Food quality was good and as usual, I had potential to add too much when dining in the buffet. Our activities were to the fullest, as we had up to two Zodiac or tender visits a day to some out of the way places. Other activities were well organised and enjoyable. Our trip on Le Soleal was organised and marketed through APT (Australian Pacific Tours) Read Less
Le Soleal Ratings
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