The cruise was titled Fire and Ice in the Arctic and was promoted as "an unforgettable expedition". Unforgettable perhaps but for all the wrong reasons. For some reason Ponant did not publish details of the flights at the start and end of the cruise so we had to add two nights in Seattle for their convenience (at our expense). Boarding the charter flight from Seattle to Nome in Alaska was tedious as the check in was manual not computerized. Ponant even managed to place part of our luggage on the wrong bus when going from the port at Seward to the airport at Anchorage for the return flight. We had less than half the promised excursions with all sorts of excuses such as not having charts for some of the islands visited. Instead we were expected to watch birds on cliffs as the ship cruised past several kilometers out to sea. Although there were plenty of Zodiac inflatable boats these were not used to take us inshore except in harbor. The officers and expedition staff seemed more interested in each other than in their passengers. The Filipino crew and staff were much more helpful. The ship was refitted some years ago after an engine room fire in the southern ocean and is in reasonably good shape but needs a coat of paint on some or the exterior areas. The restaurant was well run but the housekeeping staff seemed disorganized compared with other cruise ships that we have experienced. The entertainment was limited to a few short shows by a small troupe of dancers, pianists at the cocktail hour and a solo singer performing karaoke. The lounges were comfortable and the bars served reasonable drinks and snacks. We did not make use of the gym or spa. The less said about the expedition manager and guides the better with the exception of two Russians who were enthusiastic and well informed and who gave interesting lectures.So if you want a boutique hotel floating around the Mediterranean Ponant is fine. But if you want a well organized and reliable expedition cruise I suggest that you go with professionals such as Quark Expeditions.
Well appointed cabin but with temporary beds which can be removed to convert the cabin to a lounge if sold as a stateroom. My wife broke her toe on the projecting leg of one of these beds and to add insult to injury (literally) had to pay the ship's doctor 60 euro for a five minute consultation to be told nothing could be done aboard the ship. There was no follow up by the doctor or any other officer.
The expedition leader and guides were disorganized and did not provide any useful or interesting information about the island, its history, its topography, its flora and fauna, etc. It seemed that they were as ignorant as we the passengers except for the one Russian guide and another Russian researcher from Wrangel island.View All undefined undefined Reviews
This is a fascinating port with a rich history but the stop was so short that it did not allow any time to explore. I guess the port fees were too high for Ponant to indulge its passengers!