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L'Austral Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
108 reviews
8 Awards

Expedition cruise at its best

Review for L'Austral to the Arctic
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Andy Panda
2-5 Cruises • Age 70s

Rating by category

Value for Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Sep 2016

We were taken with the promotional video of the animals to be found in Siberia, Russia and Kuril Islands and booked three back to back cruises. L'Austral was the perfect ship to perform all requirements having 10 or more Zodiacs along with 11 Naturalists who were experts in various fields - whales, orcas, lichen, bears, etc. The ship was small enough to enter shallow waters and in some instances, entered areas never before visited by Ponant. The pre and post lectures were exceptionally good and were conducted in both French and English. Other groups including Chinese and Russian had their own interpreters who filled their groups in after the main lectures. The Captain was amazing. He avoided adverse weather conditions where and whenever possible whilst keeping all passengers fully appraised of all situations including tides, northern lights, winds and typhoons. Although I could not enter our specific departure port of Nome in the section provided, I believe the ship did begin the Arctic cruise in Iceland. With only 180 passengers on board out of a total capacity of 250, rarely was there a wait of more than 15 minutes to board Zodiacs to enjoy all activities provided. All staff were exceptional from the Hotel Manager and Maitre 'D down to wait and cabin staff. 10 out of 10 for service in all areas. If there was a criticism it would be in the beverage department. For a French ship the daily wines were very basic and if a person wanted a better quality, you paid through the nose. Basic items such as a milkshake cost E10 as did the daily cocktail.

Cabin Review

Cabin Deluxe suite

The cabin 616/18 was exceptional. Having basically two back to back cabins, one as sleeping quarters and the other as lounge/TV area was amazing especially as each cabin had exactly the same storage, bathroom and toilet facilities which meant that each person had his/her own dressing and bathing area as well as storage/closets. We would not select any other cabin type should we travel with Ponant again. Along with this particular type of cabin came the services of a personal butler. We had nothing but praise for Baptiste who waited on us hand and foot this making this trip a pleasure. He had a wonderful personality.

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