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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.

Extraordinary

Le Soleal Cruise Review by Jeffrytx

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2017
  • Destination: Antarctica
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.
Jeffrytx’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 623
This is the second largest suite on the ship. It is essentially two adjacent staterooms, with a bed on one side and a couch & table on the other. A large doorway connects the two sides. Two bathrooms and two closets make for a comfortable experience. In addition to the normal room attendant, Suites come with Philippe, a very pleasant Butler who takes care of many things such as laundry, canapes, shoe shining, room supplies, errands, reservations, room service, information and wine or champagne on request. He was a funny guy too.

This was the cleanest ship we've ever sailed. Everything was in good repair and staff was constantly working on keeping it so.
The wait staff was attentive and accommodating. We each have a specific food allergy which we listed on our pre cruise documents. The first day on board the Head Chef sought us out and discussed his plan to protect us.
The bar staff remembered everyone's requests after the first order.
The housekeeping staff took care of any request with a smile.
The Gym is small but usable. Actually getting in and out of the Zodiacs is plenty of exercise.
The Spa too is small but has all the necessary services at the same high prices as other cruise lines.
The gift shop is tiny and a bit limited. But you can still manage to pad your bill.
We are planning to re-book this same ship next year.