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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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
The cruise was a charter for selected college graduates in the US, starting from Juneau, making it's way in a semi-expeditionary manner to Vancouver with approx 250 passengers. The voyage was a quality and satisfying experience, with ... Read More
The cruise was a charter for selected college graduates in the US, starting from Juneau, making it's way in a semi-expeditionary manner to Vancouver with approx 250 passengers. The voyage was a quality and satisfying experience, with warm and sincerely friendly service, great food on two decks, and on the house drinks including wine. The house wines were quite satisfactory. Visited small fishing towns where large liners could not go. Much of the travel was in narrow channels which are impassible for large liners. A definite plus in our book. The ship itself was very svelte, nicely decorated inside, kept very clean, and was very quiet while moving, for the most part. Some operational noise cannot be avoided, such as lowering/raising the zodiacs and lifeboats. While we had a lower fwd room without balcony, that turned out to be a definite plus, as the lack of balcony gave us more room, which was entirely adequate for the two of us. The window size was fine, the rest of the ship quite accessible to all. Absolutely did not miss the lack of wi-fi and internet. Nice to get away from it all. We left as very satisfied customers, and although not inexpensive, would travel again on this small ship, avoiding the super large ships at all cost. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This Ponant cruise greatly exceeded our expectations! We're first time cruisers and read many reviews before choosing this cruise line. We were looking for a smaller ship that would provide a more personal experience which could get ... Read More
This Ponant cruise greatly exceeded our expectations! We're first time cruisers and read many reviews before choosing this cruise line. We were looking for a smaller ship that would provide a more personal experience which could get into some of the tighter ports and avoid the crush of hundreds of other travelers with the same agenda. Embarkation was smooth. Once we cleared security at the terminal, it wasn't long before we were escorted on-board, being greeted by a smiling ship's captain and senior officers as we embarked. The Cruise Director, Kamel, and entire on-board staff we interacted with were professional, friendly, helpful and smiling. This made for a very enjoyable upbeat cruise. The ship was clean and had a very elegant feel. Each of the public areas were spacious and kept immaculate. The dining was exceptional. Whether we chose the more casual dining experience on Deck 6 or the more formal service on Level 2, the smiling staff were attentive and helpful. The food was fresh, inventive, beautifully plated and offered a variety to satisfy all tastes.We especially enjoyed the fresh fish of the day. Ponant truly delivered on its promise of 'gastonomie francaise!' There was a good choice of excursions at each port of call. Our ability to enjoy these excursions was enhanced by the on-board guest lecturers that discussed the history, geology, flora & fauna of Alaska. The zodiac excursion to the face of the Dawes Glacier and Endicott Arm was a clear trip highlight. Although this was a smaller ship with 120 staterooms, we were delighted with the quality of the nightly entertainment and hourly activities one could participate in, whether it be games for the kids, yoga, stretching, zoomba and a fitness room for the healthy-minded on-board or cozy spots in their library to curl up with a good book. Ponant also offered pre- and post-cruise travel options, which we did not participate in. We would not hesitate to travel with this company again. We're already planning our next cruise with them! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2016
A cruise up the Inside Passage of Alaska has been on our Bucket List for many years. When we discovered that Ponant operated such cruises on their luxury, small ships, we jumped at the opportunity. Life on board was fantastic, such ... Read More
A cruise up the Inside Passage of Alaska has been on our Bucket List for many years. When we discovered that Ponant operated such cruises on their luxury, small ships, we jumped at the opportunity. Life on board was fantastic, such wonderful French influence was everywhere, from welcome aboard to departure. The cabin was very nice and the dining on Level 2 exceptional. Of course the staff were helpful and caring at all times. We really enjoyed the entertainment and lectures in the theatre. The shore excursions were all very good and in particular we enjoyed the Chilkoot Trail Hike and Float outing from Skagway. It covered some rough trails, but quite manageable. The hike leader/guide was excellent. The visit to Petersburg was very special and our group voted Haines as our favourite shore outing. At the end of the cruise we spent time in Juneau, where a visit to the Red Dog Saloon is a must! Happy to recommend this cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2016
The moment we stepped aboard and were personally greeted by the Captain and crew we had a feeling this was going to be a warm and enjoyable experience. We chose the Ponnant line following a recommendation from friends who said the small ... Read More
The moment we stepped aboard and were personally greeted by the Captain and crew we had a feeling this was going to be a warm and enjoyable experience. We chose the Ponnant line following a recommendation from friends who said the small size of the ship, with about 160 passengers, allowed access to places on the Inside Passage to Alaska that other larger cruise ships cant enter. This was true and we found that the size also allowed the crew to be get to know us and make us feel very welcome. Staff even greeted us by name in the corridors. Our cabin was very roomy with enough space for all our belongings.Having a private balcony was fantastic. We could choose either the formal dining or the buffet. Both were beyond our expectations. The French cuisine included traditional dishes, beautifully prepared and presented. The Inside passage from Vancouver to Juneau,Alaska has some of the most amazing scenery with different highlights every day. We enjoyed the lectures explaining the landscapes,the fauna and flora . However it would have been better to have native English speakers as the French naturalists struggled with the language. The shore excursions were well organised and with enough variety to meet most interests. I would have preferred to be able to choose the excursions prior to boarding . We are already looking forward to our next trip with Ponnant Read Less
Sail Date: March 2016
This cruise was planned by an affinity group (MIT alumni). I signed up because they always plan great trips with stimulating fellow travelers and my wife and I are mildly addicted eclipse chasers. Also, Australia/Indonesia/Malaysia is a ... Read More
This cruise was planned by an affinity group (MIT alumni). I signed up because they always plan great trips with stimulating fellow travelers and my wife and I are mildly addicted eclipse chasers. Also, Australia/Indonesia/Malaysia is a part of the world that I had long wanted to visit. Le Soleal and Ponant exceeded expectations. The accommodations, crew, amenities, excursions, and food were all first class. We spent a day in Sydney before flying on to Darwin to meet the ship. Sydney was great fun, exactly what we expected from prior reading, surfing and recommendations. Darwin is just a place to meet the ship. Embarkation involved a long, boring wait in a typical but uncrowded, unadorned, unsupported boarding room. Disembarkation was fine. The ship has all the amenties I consider important. No casino but not much time for one. We upgraded to a suite which was a first-time, outstanding luxury to which we may become addicted. The French cuisine was outstanding, despite our various dietary restrictions. The combined MIT and ship's lectures were excellent. Service was impeccable. The shore excursions were interesting, educational, and fun. SCUBA would have been a plus but wasn't offered. However, the snorkeling sites were great. Yes, I would go again. In fact, we did, five months later on the same ship, in the same cabin, to Western Alaska and Siberia. Another great trip, albeit with somewhat lesser excursion quality. Great wildlife photo ops, though. But that's another story... Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
The voyage started in Sydney and called the various islands and anchorages a ship of only this size is capable of , with the Zodiacs on board ferrying passengers across to remote places in the region if tender service not an option , this ... Read More
The voyage started in Sydney and called the various islands and anchorages a ship of only this size is capable of , with the Zodiacs on board ferrying passengers across to remote places in the region if tender service not an option , this worked quite wel We found the staff very capable and instructions both in French and English well presented and all explained in detail in most cases the day before , the Australian expedition leaders knowledgeable and a bit of Aussie humour to flavour the experience !it was the vessels and Ponant's first experience exploring the Barrier Reef. Passengers mostly from France , My guess 60 percent and the remainder Aussies , some Anericans and other Europeans , actually a great mixture and it seemed they all enjoyed each other's company. The Ship is fairly new and cabins and beautifully appointed , comfortable beds , a flat screen TVs with all the English channels , a mini bar well stocked and replenished daily at no cost and included in the open bar policy , however be mindful of the suites , they might have a fold out couch serving as a king size bed , best to check this out if you prefer 2 singles The cabins on deck 5 very quiet and no noise from other passenger cabins nearby . The vessel boasts 2 restaurants , all open sitting , the on deck 6 more casual and booking for dinner is essential due to the limited space , the one on deck 2 very nicely appointed and seats all if required , the senior officers and Master occupy their own table apart from Welcome and Farewell dinners , The vessel has an open bar policy that includes most drinks, cocktails , wines , fancy a gin and tonic or a Martini , a Brandy after dinner , not a problem ! We experienced 2 Wine tastings , one in French and one in English , very knowledgable and presented , the stock of top wines is also on display and available from the restaurant in deck 2 . Numerous activities during the day , what ever you fancy from Quizes to Can Can shows at night in the theatre and with the amount of passengers not a busy excercise , the ship also has an open bridge policy most of the time if you fancy a look where all the action is . Food , plenty , not silver service though , not sure if that still excists nowadays , there is a Butler service if you want to dine in private , the French tone is prevellent of course and if you like this style , these sort of cruises won't disappoint , The Master and Officers are French , the crew in general a mixture of Fillipino and Indonesian , and all English speaking . Embarkation / Disembarkation not a problem , yes 4 o'clock for a 6 pm departure , what's the fuss? Your luggage tagged and delivered to your cabin and vice versa when going off . The staterooms on deck 3 don't have an totally open veranda as on the top,decks , there is a reason for that as you are closer to the water line, just a safety thing, and so are the doors towards your veranda not full length , same thing . Overall a beautiful ship , no pokies , no casino,no rowdy teenagers ! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We boarded LeSoleal in the Solomon Islands, and cruised southwards through the Coral Sea to the very remote isles of Vanuatu and New Caledonia. We disembarked in Noumea. The ship was spotless, well maintained and operated to ... Read More
We boarded LeSoleal in the Solomon Islands, and cruised southwards through the Coral Sea to the very remote isles of Vanuatu and New Caledonia. We disembarked in Noumea. The ship was spotless, well maintained and operated to perfection. The crew from the captain down were polite and helpful, even though we basically only speak English. The cabins are small but comfortable, and well equipped. We found thefood very varied and tasty. The Expedition Cruising was spectacular, indeed we visited small islands of the Coral Sea that had never experienced a cruise ship visit. Landings were made by the use of 14 zodiacs, hence we never needed any facilities for the ship. The Expedition Crew of 8 extremely knowledgeable & multilingual experts in Marine Biology, Vulcanology, Ornithology etc were brilliant, and accommodated the pax of many languages (but mainly French & English). Mick Fogg was expedition leader, and "burned the midnight" oil to ensure the whole schedule ran like clockwork. Each of the islands staged their own (and very different) island welcome, and the captain was ever willing to modify the itinerary to visit out of the way places of interest to pax. We visited Japan for Cherry Blossom in April 2015 on sister ship L'Austral, and had a wonderful memorable experience. We like small ship cruising. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
Traveled with excellent Tauck group from Buenos Aires on charter flight to Ushuaia. Boarded Le Soleal in the afternoon. Welcomed by captain and officers. Immediately impressed by cleanliness, subtle design and classiness of this new and ... Read More
Traveled with excellent Tauck group from Buenos Aires on charter flight to Ushuaia. Boarded Le Soleal in the afternoon. Welcomed by captain and officers. Immediately impressed by cleanliness, subtle design and classiness of this new and beautiful small ship. Enjoyed smooth Drake passage and great Antarctica weather. 12 zodiac landings led by outstanding team of naturalists. Impressed by safety and care taken by crew and naturalists. Cabin housekeeping excellent. Superb cruise director. Officers friendly and evident. Open bridge policy meant you can observe the ship being maneuvered, navigated and operated. Food good with choice of buffet on level 6 or dining room on level 2. Don't miss the superb steak tartare served at one lunch buffet. Pastry, desserts and baking fabulous. Crew smiling and helpful. Truly a fine voyage on a well run friendly ship. Read Less
Le Soleal Ratings
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